By Rev. Dr. Serene Jones & Rev. Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas
Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced last week that the Justice Department will no longer consider discrimination against transgender people a violation of the Civil Rights Act. In doing so, he is attempting to not only make bigotry against transgender persons an official U.S. policy, but to legally protect and venerate hatred. This policy shift is an abdication of the Justice department’s responsibility to seek justice for all U.S. citizens and is an affront to sacred creation of all human beings.
In Genesis, we read that humanity was created in God’s own image without exception. The diversity of human creation is an expression of the fullness of God. In this regard, our diverse gender identities and sexual orientations come from God and reflect God, Godself. Human attempts to label select communities within this divine creation as unworthy of respect and love are blasphemous; a direct affront to God. Indeed, in rejecting the full personhood of transgender people, Sessions’ position defiles the very goodness of God’s creation.
This shift in Justice Department policy is consequential. Without the protections of the Civil Rights Act, transgender people will be fired from their jobs or refused housing, as just two examples of its effects, simply for expressing their full humanity. Moreover, this withdrawal of protections exacerbates the potential for outright violence and persecution. This year, twenty-one transgender people have already been murdered. Such murders are an urgent call for more protections not less.
The Union Theological Seminary and EDS@Union community stands in solidarity with LGBTQ persons and all people of conscience in this country in affirming the full humanity and sacred dignity of all persons. We vow to confront and denounce LGBTQ bigotry, hatred and discrimination wherever it is present until this world truly reflects the all-encompassing justice and love of God.