Letter: Community reflects on gender diversity, violence

From: Ann Jones

Open and Affirming Committee at First Presbyterian Church


“Life is good” the heart sings when the sun is up, the job is secure and the road ahead is clear. But for everyone, at some time without warning, suddenly the space between a good day and a bad day is only a second. Life has changed.

A falling feeling settles in the center of the heart where just moments ago lightness was present. We read about this in the newspaper — an accident, talk of violence and hatred, an obituary, quiet stories of tragedy. While tragedy is everybody’s story at some time, it is disproportionately true for transgender individuals.

On Nov. 4 at First Presbyterian Church, three congregations collaborated to acknowledge and honor transgender people from around the world who have lost their lives to violence within the past year. The community-wide sixth annual Transgender Day of Remembrance served to lift up the many ways these people enriched the lives of others, contributed to their families, friends and their local communities.

We celebrate the dignity and worth of all people, especially those who experience the hatred and heavy emptiness because culturally they live on the margins. We acknowledge the day of remembrance because true justice flourishes when all people can live with authenticity and integrity. While we weep at this senseless loss of life, it is an honor to acknowledge sexual and gender diversity as a blessing that enriches all of us.

I am grateful for all in attendance and grateful to be part of an inclusive community that experiences the fundamental call to love one another. As the holidays approach, let us reach out to all those who may be experiencing that space between a good day and a bad day.