Transgender Day of Remembrance 2021
We invite you to say this prayer with us today, written by Reuben Zellman. Following it is a poem from Tash (they/them) - a reflection that speaks profoundly for itself.
God full of mercy, bless the souls of all who are in our hearts on this Transgender Day of Remembrance. We call to mind today young and old, of every race, faith, and gender experience, who have died by violence. We remember those who have died because they would not hide, or did not pass, or did pass, or stood too proud. Today we name them: the reluctant activist; the fiery hurler of heels; the warrior for quiet truth; the one whom no one really knew.
As many as we can name, there are thousands more whom we cannot, and for whom no Kaddish may have been said. We mourn their senseless deaths, and give thanks for their lives, for their teaching, and for the brief glow of each holy flame. We pray for the strength to carry on their legacy of vision, bravery, and love.
And as we remember them, we remember with them the thousands more who have taken their own lives. We pray for resolve to root out the injustice, ignorance, and cruelty that grow despair. And we pray, God, that all those who perpetrate hate and violence will speedily come to understand that Your creation has many faces, many genders, many holy expressions.
Blessed are they, who have allowed their divine image to shine in the world. Blessed is God, in Whom no light is extinguished.
Reuben Zellman (He/They)
I stopped going to church 3 years ago
My place there was conditional
On so many things that were too much a part of me to let go
I don’t think it is supposed to be so painful to be at home
But “The Lord’s House” always felt like crossing a threshold where I left parts of me at the door
A few weeks ago we came together
We ate autumnal stew and talked about the things we were grateful for from the year
We wrote down what we wanted to let go of and burned them all in the fire
I wrote church
We printed pictures of our loved ones and spoke about their lives on our own make-shift altar
A house of trans folk sharing stories
With cups of home brewed herbal tea
I told about the time my grandma J was dying
When we crowded round her hospital bed and the vicar was there but he wouldn’t start the prayers until everyone arrived
I kept thinking how furious Gma J would be if she didn’t get her prayers
In the end I told him I didn’t care about his service order and I prayed aloud as I held her tiny hand
I actually saw the last breath leave her body
I also tell the story of when she ran over my grandad in sainsbury’s car park and got a caution for having no driving licence
We all laugh
We all listen
We honour the lives and the bodies we have
We drink tea
We see each other, properly see
These are our bodies
This is our blood
I left church 3 years ago.
Jesus wasn’t there.
[Page thumbnail: Adrien Olichon, via Unsplash]