By Debbie Richards
As we move into the Transgender Week of Awareness (Nov. 13-23) and then the Day of Remembrance (Nov. 20th) I am reminded of two quotes from scripture, both from Matthew 25: “Well done good and faithful servant” and “Whatever you have done to the least of these people, you’ve done to me.” I find both of these quotes inspirational to me as a Transgender person advocating for the education and equality of all gender-variant peoples. I want those who have paved the way so that I might be able to speak out as freely as I have to say to me, “Well done good and faithful servant." I also want to be a sheep; I want to continue to pave the way for trans identified people so that their tomorrow can be better than my yesterday! I want to "Do unto the least of these" because when I do these things I am doing it to and for Jesus.
In this article I will be giving my commentary on Matthew 25:31-46. I will discuss the Importance in continuing to pave the way for trans identified peoples so that someday we might not need a Transgender Day of Remembrance to honor and remember those who have come before us and who have passed on due to violent hate crimes due to ignorance. But rather, we can celebrate a day of remembrance honoring those who have come before us paving the way to make it better!
The Sheep and the Goats
31 ‘When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. 32All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, 33and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. 34Then the king will say to those at his right hand, “Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.” 37Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? 38And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? 39And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?” 40And the king will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” 41Then he will say to those at his left hand, “You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; 42for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.”44Then they also will answer, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?” 45Then he will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.” 46And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.’
The fact that we need a Transgender Day of remembrance tells me that there are too many goats in the world - people who ignore Christ’s calling to social justice, His calling to us to serve those who are considered “less than” by various people in the world. Christ Calls us to “do unto the least of these” and in today’s society, that unfortunately includes transgender people. The Transgender Day of Remembrance is a day set aside to remember, to honor the people who have died from violence, due to ignorant hate crimes because of who they were.
As a Transgender person (male to female), and as a Christ follower, I find myself hearing the words of Jesus from this parable as a call to social justice, a call to pave the way. I hear not only the voice of Jesus calling me to pave the way, but I hear also the voices of Gwendolyn Ann Smith (founder of TDOR), Sylvia Rivera (Mother of trans rights), Kate Bornstein (transgender author, actor, activist and gender theorist), Carmen Carrera (transgender model, Actress, and activist), Laverne Cox (Transgender actress and activist), Masen Davis (Executive director of the Transgender Law Center), Mara Keisling (Founding Executive Director of National Center for Transgender Equality), Monica Roberts Of TransGriot (well known blogger and trans activist) and all the other people out there who continue to speak out against injustice and educate us on ways to better love and respect our transgender siblings, calling out to me, telling me, “Whatever you do to the least of these, you have done for me!” I want to live a life of activism and education, paving the way for a better tomorrow for my trans siblings. I want to be able to stand up before all of the people I just listed and hear them say, “Well done good and faithful servant!” Not only do I want this for myself in the trans community, but I want this for the people who boldly stand up and profess to be allies of the trans community. It isn’t enough to say “I support you” and sit there and do nothing to back up that claim. Stand up and be a sheep! Proudly do unto the least of these, so that those who have come before you may find you faithful and say unto you “Well done good and faithful servant.”
May those who’ve come before us find us faithful! May we be a part of the legacy that they have left us, so that someday, instead of mourning and remembering those we have lost to hate, we can celebrate and honor those who made it possible for us to live authentically and safely in this world!