TransEpiscopal: Transgender Episcopalians/Anglicans and Allies
Anaheim, CA (July 17, 2009): For the first time in its history, the Episcopal
Church has taken official actions in support of transgender civil rights and inclusion at its 76th General Convention.
“It was a true privilege to participate in the legislative process of this Church, to bear witness to transgender lives and experiences, and to urge the Episcopal Church to fully include and to stand in solidarity with us,” commented the Rev. Dr. Cameron Partridge, a member of TransEpiscopal and Integrity USA. “I am thrilled to be able to say that the General Convention voted overwhelmingly to put the Episcopal Church on record in support of such legislation as the Matthew Shepherd Hate Crimes Act and the Employment Nondiscrimination Act, and analogous efforts at municipal and state levels. But I am even more moved to say how many people spontaneously shared with us how their eyes have been opened, their hearts turned, by our presence and stories here. To have someone stop me in a coffee line to say, `I had never thought about this issue before, and I’m going to take what I have learned here and share it with my little congregation in the Ozarks’ means more than I can say.”
Today the Convention completed approval of resolutions supporting the enactment
of anti-discrimination and hate crimes legislation protecting transgender people at
local, state and federal levels. The House of Deputies passed these resolutions overwhelmingly on Wednesday, and the House of Bishops then approved these resolutions today in near-unanimous votes.
These actions took place as the United States Congress debates both the Matthew
Shepherd Hate Crimes Act and the Employment Nondiscrimination Act, which respectively address hate crimes and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation as well as gender identity and expression.
Testifying in hearings at various levels of the Convention were representatives
of the organizations TransEpiscopal and Integrity USA, including the Episcopal Church’s first openly transgender Deputy, Dee Tavolaro of Rhode Island.
In addition to today’s actions, earlier this week the Convention approved two
The first adds “gender identity and expression” to its nondiscrimination policy
for hiring lay employees, while the second calls for the revision of church paper and
electronic forms to allow a wider range of gender identifications.
“As we celebrate this moment and give thanks for the amazing allies walking with
us, particularly Integrity USA and the Consultation, we look forward to progressing
further toward full inclusion of transgender people —and, indeed, all people — in all areas of ministry in The Episcopal Church.”