Lately, requests have been coming in from religious organizations for me to address their members. I’ve been asked to write a blog for a national group of Christian clergy, to speak at a Unitarian church, and to give a sermon at a Jewish synagogue. I haven’t sought these opportunities out; they’ve just fallen in my lap.
The synagogue where I’ll be speaking this Friday night, Sha’ar Zahav, was founded as a space for LGBT people and their families; as they’ve grown, their membership has broadened to include many straight families. Increasingly, synagogues, churches, and other places of worship in our country are opening their doors and their liturgies to include gay, lesbian, transgender, and gender-nonconforming people. In response to a culture that is starting to accept its LGBT citizens, religion is changing, too. Not everywhere, certainly. But as the unexpected invitations float in, I can feel the strong current that brings them to me.
Sha’ar Zahav invited me to help them commemorate International Transgender Day of Remembrance, a memorial to those who have died from anti-trans violence. Names will be read of all the people who have died in the past year, and the kaddish, the Jewish prayer for the dead, will be said. The Day of Remembrance is a deeply sad and wrenching day. But I have been asked to talk about my son and the work being done to make the world a safer place for children like him. I’ve been asked to speak about hope. Even as we speak of violence and hate and loss and all that is wrong in the world, this congregation also wants to talk about hope.
Dip your toe in the water; you can feel the tide changing.