DALLAS, Texas (Nov. 2, 2021) A national coalition of 37 organizations and more than 171 individuals have endorsed a multi-faith statement of solidarity with transgender children in Texas, after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law Texas House Bill 25, prohibiting K-12 student-athletes from competing on school sports teams aligned with their gender identity.
"It breaks my heart that some see our differences as threats instead of gifts to be cherished," said Rev. Dr. Neil Thomas, Senior Pastor of Cathedral of Hope United Church of Christ. "Our transgender children do not need to be excluded. Now, more than ever, they need to be validated and told they are perfect just the way they are."
The statement, stewarded by Believe Out Loud, a global digital project providing resources and community for LGBTQIA people of faith and allies and a program of the Cathedral of Hope, says in part:
Sports teams should be a shining example to children of how working together with people of different backgrounds can foster close bonds and help young people find success through teamwork. Giving transgender youth a place on such teams could improve mental health by leaps and bounds and provide a network of friends who don't see their differences as grounds for exclusion but opportunities for celebration.
Believe Out Loud calls on people of faith to stand with transgender siblings who are being targeted by legislators around the country. In Texas, during a historic pandemic and ongoing suffering Governor Greg Abbot called a special session to pass legislation to prevent transgender children in school from playing sports in their gender identity.
Join us in letting Governor Greg Abbott know that people of faith stand with our transgender siblings and that the God we know would welcome all children to come and play.
The statement received endorsements from organizations, religious leaders, and concerned community members of diverse backgrounds, including United Church of Christ, New Alternatives for LGBT Homeless Youth, Soulforce, Houston Canterbury, Episcopal Diocese of Texas, Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church, CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers, Center for LGBTQ and Gender Studies, Estuary Space, Trinity Episcopal Church, Parity, West End Collegiate Church, Congregation Kol Ami, Lake Street Church of Evanston, Metropolitan Community Church of Greater St Louis, Zion Episcopal Church, Cathedral of Hope United Church of Christ, and Ferndale First United Methodist Church.
Dozens of Christian clergy, rabbi's and community leaders endorsed the statement, including Dr. Wilhelmina Perry (Founder Emeritus, LGBT Faith Leaders of African Descent), Mark Edward Pettis (Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations Manager, United Church of Christ), Jeff Mummert (Treasurer and Board Member, New Alternatives for LGBT Homeless Youth), Rev. Alba Onofrio (Co-Executive Director, Soulforce), Tanya Tassi (National Community Center Policy Manager, CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers), Rev. Dr. Roland Stringfellow (Director of the African-American Roundtable Center for LGBTQ and Gender Studies), Danny Cortez (Executive Director, Estuary Space), Rachel Taber-Hamilton (Rector, Trinity Episcopal Church), Rev. Marian Edmonds-Allen (Executive Director, Parity), Rabbi Denise L Eger (Senior Rabbi, Congregation Kol Ami), Reverend Wes Mullins (Metropolitan Community Church of Greater St Louis), Reverend Lucy LaRocca (Zion Episcopal Church), Reverend Dr. Neil Thomas (Senior Pastor, Cathedral of Hope United Church of Christ), and Reverend Robert Schoenhals (Ferndale First United Methodist Church).
Signatures came from the following states: Ohio, West Coast, New York, Alabama, California, North Carolina, Texas, Washington D.C., Connecticut, Maryland, Virginia, Maine, Missouri, Illinois, Tennessee, Michigan, New Jersey, and Washington.
Notable comments from our endorsers:
I am transgender and I am a religious professional. Full Transgender inclusion is a tenet of my faith.
Thomas Earthman, Director of Religious Exploration
I am so grateful that people of faith are standing up for a community of people who need people to back them in the walk and seek justice for them...with them.
Reverend Bobbi Anderson, Church of the Savior, UCC
As a long-time activist for racial, economic, and social justice since the late fifties (I am now 85), I heartily sign this petition.
Dr. Harold Kooden, Retired
The #1 value in our school is Tzelem Elohim - we are all made in the divine image, the #1 Jewish law is "save a life" I am signing as a Jew, parent, educator, colleague and friend for both reasons.
Tehilah Eisenstadt, Director of Yachad & Family Education CBE/Congregation Beth Elo-him
The ability to play team sports was integral to becoming who I am. However, I can't imagine what my life would have been like if I'd been able to transition as a young person AND be able to engage in sports that aligned with my gender identity. Please don't exclude transgender kids from those opportunities.
The Rev. M.E. Eccles, St. Martin's Episcopal Church
Sports promote confidence, self-awareness, physical and mental wellbeing, teamwork, and encourage growth, leadership, and engagement across backgrounds and experiences. To deny these opportunities to any child is harmful. Everyone is a child of God and should be treated as such.
Rev. Andria Davis, Executive Pastor of Digital Experience and Worship, Cathedral of Hope
Discriminating against transgender people (especially youth & children!) is not Christian. Defending them is.
Rosina Snow, Dir. of Christian Discipleship Wesley Memorial UMC
I believe in inclusivity.
Reverend Don Storey, United Methodist Church
I am a rabbi and the mom of a transgender child and a non-binary child. I know first hand from both seats how vital it is to protect trans children, whose lives are at stake.
Rabbi Lauren Grabelle Herrmann, SAJ-Judaism that Stands for All
Every human carries God's DNA as a child of God. God would not deny any of them health care!
Every child of God is loved by God unconditionally. Every child — every trans child — deserves respect, equal opportunity in life including sports!
Rev Jim Cunningham, Chaplain/Pastor United Church Of Christ
Thank you for your continuing faith and work on behalf of our transgender youth, some of the most vulnerable in our society.
Millicent Bain, Layperson Church of the Redeemer
These young people are more at risk and deal with much pain because of people's lack of acceptance. Provide them with acceptance and opportunities.
Reverend Pamela Werner, St. James Lutheran
Transgender Rights are Human Rights.
Jeff Mummert, Treasurer and Board Member New Alternatives for LGBT Homeless Youth
As a church community, we welcome all people regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity. We believe that trans women and girls are female and trans men and boys are male and that God loves them as such. We aspire to create an affirming space where transgender and non-binary people feel welcome and loved and where intersectional diversity is normalized and embraced.
Monica McCormack, Church Administrative Assistant Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church
All children deserve to be protected. Any law that would diminish a child's right to thrive in school and sports must be challenged as being anti-democratic.
Rev. Dr. Roland Stringfellow, Director of the African-American Roundtable Center for LGBTQ and Gender Studies
Our baptismal covenant calls us to respect the dignity of every human being, including children and LGBTQIA+ children.
Reverend Rachel Taber-Hamilton, Trinity Episcopal Church
About Cathedral of Hope
Cathedral of Hope, a congregation of the United Church of Christ (UCC), based in Dallas, Texas, is the world's largest liberal Christian church with a primary outreach to lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender people. Local and national church ministries, outreach programs, pastoral counseling, television media and the Internet touch thousands of lives each day. The Mission of the Cathedral of Hope is to reclaim Christianity as a faith of extravagant grace, radical inclusion and relentless compassion. Our beliefs are based upon our Core Values. The Core Values of Cathedral of Hope are Compassion, Inclusion, Liberation, Hope and Faith in Jesus.
About Believe Out Loud
Believe Out Loud is a global digital community working to move all people toward an expansive, transformative understanding of divine love. We center and sanctify queer spirituality across our programs, from our online worship services led by LGBTQIA faith leaders to our grantmaking program supporting faith-driven LGBTQIA peacebuilders around the world. On our social media platforms, hundreds of thousands of queer people of faith and allies gather to experience affirmation of their divinityand to heal from damaging societal messages that alienate the LGBTQIA community from spiritual resources.