How to Show Transgender People you Love Them


As a transgender pastor and parent of a trans child, I am often asked how people can support the faith lives of trans individuals. My answer: love who people have been, love people as they are now and love the future people are working towards.


Love who people have been. This means that you can love all your memories. You can even find joy in memories after you learn that others experienced those same moments differently. Parents since the beginning of time have had to recalibrate their memories in light of feedback from children.


When you love your memories of what people have been, you must do so without requiring others to be frozen in time by your memories. All people grow and change. The love you have cultivated through time is important, not because it predicts how people will be in the future, but because it gives you a stockpile of love to carry you through times when it feels harder to connect or communicate.


Love people as they are now. Be present with those you love. Love them just as they are in a way that supports their ideal future. Take the time to learn the words that are important to those you love. Learn how they talk about their gender, their sexuality, their preferred pronouns, their body, their love and any other thing that feels helpful to talk about. After you ask which words are important to them, ask if there is anything else they is important for you to know about their journey.


Avoid asking follow up questions to learn more about the words the individual has used to describe themselves. Instead, after your celebrate your time together research the words and learn about them. Just as you might research how to use a new tech device, care for a new pet or learn a few phrases before traveling abroad, you will need to invest in learning more about the words that are important to your loved one.


Love the future people are working towards. Love the dreams of those you love. Especially when you are convinced your loved one will never achieve their goals, support them. When you can, help them achieve their goals.


At times it feels like the whole world is against trans people. All the concerns you have about their future has been stated loudly by the world at large. It was hard for your loved one to tell you they are trans. They told you because they want you to continue to be their family or friend. They are asking you for support and love, not for your permission.


If their vision of the future changes, love that future without contributing to their shame, blame or doubts. The more you let people know that you love their future, the more they will want you in it.



Prayers for Transitioning

an excerpt from Prayers from Norway: Untangling our Shame of Body, Mind and Politic


Everchanging God,

Puberty is hard when it is done in the company of peers

It is even harder as a solo journey.

Provide me with the strength to love myself

as I transgress the middle spaces.

Protect me from others

who will use my vulnerabilities

as a weapon against me.

Surgery is always hard.

It is even harder when

friends and family,

political leaders

and the world at large

does not understand.

Provide me with the strength to love myself

as I heal

not only my body,

but also my heart and mind.

Help me to rest more than I think I should.

Surround me with support and care.

And help my scars to fade into the skin I have dreamed of.

You are a God who renames others

when they have a significant encounter with you.

Help others honor the name and pronouns

that mark my sacred journey.

When others forget, help them to apologize privately

without drawing attention to me and my journey.

God who knit me in my mother’s womb

and declared me

fearfully and wonderfully made,

thank you for giving me free will

to make choices about my body and hormones.

Paul imagined a world where the

powers, privileges and prejudices

that separated men and woman

would disappear forever.

May those transgressing gender

take comfort in the gender creativity

within God’s grace.

May those seeking a new identity or expression

find that their journey is smoother than expected.

Fill my heart with love

and surround me with everything I need

to live my life fully.

Thank You for loving me always,

even when it was hard for me to love myself.

Thank You for loving me always,

even if others chose not to.

Thank You for loving me always

and walking with me through this transition.

Provide me with a strong light at the end of the tunnel

so that I may achieve my goals,

be seen as I would like

and follow the path I have dreamed of for so long.

Amen.

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©2019 by the Rev. Dr. Megan Rohrer