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Transgender Christians Tell Their Story

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  • umcornet
    See online videos of this event at: http://www.generalconference2008.org/2008/04/videoaudio-tran.html Transgender Christians Tell Their Story Press Release:
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 25, 2008
      See online videos of this event at:
      http://www.generalconference2008.org/2008/04/videoaudio-tran.html

      Transgender Christians Tell Their Story
      Press Release: April 24, 2008

      Affirmation: United Methodists for LGBTQ Concerns
      PO Box 1021 Evanston, IL 60204.
      (978) 884-7401
      www.umaffirm.org
      umaffirmation@...

      Transgender Christians told their stories to press and delegates at
      the United Methodist General Conference in Fort Worth, Texas, on
      Thursday, April 24. Compelling stories of "coming home" and "saving
      their life" by living as a transgender person provided listeners with
      insights into their lives.

      The future of transgender participation hangs in the balance of
      pending legislation as United Methodists, who meet once every four
      years to pass legislation, consider resolutions that ban transgender
      persons in and those that affirm inclusion regardless of gender
      identity or expression.

      The event was opened with introductions by Diane DeLap, National
      Spokesperson of Affirmation, which is the United Methodists for
      Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Concerns group
      Panelists included Rev. Drew Phoenix pastor of St. John's United
      Methodist Church of Baltimore City, MD, Tina Seitz, a United Methodist
      from the Detroit area and Sean Delmore, a doctoral student of
      sociology at Boston University's School of Theology and Program
      Director of MIT's LBGT Center.

      Ms. DeLap said, "For over 30 years, United Methodists have ignored the
      Wesleyan tradition of inclusion and are now considering adding
      transgender Christians to the list of those who are excluded from full
      participation in the church. It's time for the Church to abandon the
      politics of exclusion and to start following Jesus again. Jesus
      reached out to include anyone who heard the good news, and began to
      love God and neighbor. The church follows the teachings of Jesus when
      it accepts the service of transgender people like Rev. Phoenix, who
      clearly have the gifts and graces for ministry."

      Rev Phoenix, transgender pastor in good standing from the
      Baltimore-Washington United Methodist conference, said, "It is my hope
      that my presence and my story will be an occasion for our church to
      sit down together and explore the complexity and diversity of gender
      identity and expression and that out of that process, we will open our
      hearts and church doors to transgender persons. Jesus' central
      message is that God's love and grace extend unconditionally to all of
      us, not because we look a certain way or have a particular identity,
      but because we are all children of God created in God's image. Each
      of us is a beloved child of God. No exceptions."

      "I am SO proud to be a member of denomination that recognized a long
      time ago that gender discrimination is wrong," said Sean Delmore. "In
      my church, the pastor and the two lay leaders are women. 50 years
      ago, we granted full ordination rights to women. We decided that
      stereotypes about the "proper" role and place for women were outdated,
      were divisive, and – most importantly – ran counter to God's work on
      earth. We decided that God does not discriminate on the basis of gender."

      Tina Seitz said "During transition, I needed spiritual guidance more
      than ever before, yet the church I attended at the time rejected me. I
      found another church with an accepting pastor, and things went well.
      Within a few months though, that pastor was replaced by one that was
      non-accepting. The last service I went to at that church was when the
      pastor, speaking about me, delivered a sermon about "good people who
      defile the church". Thankfully, I have now found a home within the
      United Methodist Church. I am now working to help bring an end to the
      misunderstanding so many people have about transgender people. We only
      wish to be allowed to live our lives like everybody else."
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