Today at Fellowship Church we host our annual Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) Worship Service. We do this because we are charged to preach good news to those on the edges by liberating them from systems of abuse that spawn individual abuse. That is our spiritual/cultural inheritance. There should be no choice of us but to be vigilant against the continued bloodshed of our transgender and gender-non-conforming kin derived from the nation’s culture of violence.
Trans lives matter!
Each of our individual lives matters. It matters that we become agents of compassion, of security, of creating a brighter day ahead.
Our celebrating the gifts of our diverse identities must share with our need to mourn those too often rejected as full-fledged members of beloved community. It is through mourning the deep losses we as a global community have lost through these murders that we understand how important each life is, how precious each life is, and vow to honor those whom the God of Life has given us.
Our speaker for our service at 2041 Larkin Street will be Nadia Tavera (they/them/elle). Nadia was born and raised in Mexico City and moved to Oakland, CA, in 2018 to pursue a Christian ministry career. In 2021, Nadia obtained an MDiv from Pacific School of Religion and worked one year as an Assistant Minister at Eden UCC in Hayward, CA. Currently, Nadia serves as Associate Pastor of Ministerio Latinx, a UCC ministry for LGBTQ Spanish-speaking in the Bay Area and works at the Interfaith Movements for Human Integrity. Recently Nadia was nominated for the 2023 Entrepreneurship cohort of the National Benevolent Association to launch AGAPE Project, an initiative to accompany LGBTQ newcomers who look for Asylum in the U.S. Nadia is passionate about building a beloved community with people from diverse contexts and experiences.
I am grateful that each year the Human Rights Campaign lists transgender people who have been killed between transgender days of remembrance.
As Rev. Josefina Gabuya said during last year’s service, These victims, like all of us, are loving partners, parents, family members, friends and community members. They worked, went to school and attended houses of worship. They were real people – people who did not deserve to have their lives taken from them.
Religious systems and institutions have been at the forefront of oppression. As an alternative religious community/fellowship, let us with high resolve pledge ourselves to be partners in bringing into being a world that works for all who want to be a part of that alternative world.
I suggest lighting a candle and listening to Samuel Barber’s Adagio for String while reading the names and brief biographical information.