The UUBridge Welcoming Congregation Committee observed the International Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) an annual observance on November 20 that honored the memory of those whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence (details at www.glaad.org/tdor).
In observing the TDOR, we are keeping in mind the following:
• GLAAD.org reported that in 2015, of the 24 reported LGBTQ people killed by hate violence, 67 percent (16) were transgender and gender nonconforming people.
• In 2016, the deaths of 27 transgender people were reported. This number does not include transgender people whose deaths were not reported due to misgendering in police reports, news stories, and sometimes by the victim’s family.
• HRC.org reports that 2017 has already seen at least 25 transgender people fatally shot or killed by other violent means.
Department of Justice recent legal guidance advised that organizations may be exempt from following certain laws if doing so conflicts with their religious belief.
The guidance, which does not change existing law, has been criticized by civil rights groups as a move to encourage taxpayer-funded discrimination against LGBTQ people and other groups. The ruling could also result in the denial of access to contraceptive care that was previously guaranteed under the ACA.
According to the Human Rights Campaign, the Department of Justice guidance could put women and LGBTQ people at risk in the following ways:
• Social Security employees could refuse to accept or process spousal or survivor benefits paperwork for a surviving same-sex spouse.
• Organizations that had been prohibited from requiring that all of their employees follow the tenets of the organization’s faith could now discriminate against LGBTQ people in the provision of benefits and overall employment status.
• Agencies receiving federal funding, and even their individual staff members, could refuse to provide services to LGBTQ children in crisis, or to place adoptive or foster children with a same-sex couple or transgender couple simply because of who they are.
For more information, contact the Human Rights Campaign at www.hrc.org
Welcoming Congregation Committee, Unitarian Universalists of the Blue Ridge