#TransLivesMatter: Ms Naomi On Being A Gender And Development Advocate

I was moved to read in Chris Beam’s book Transparent about a group of teenage transpeople in Los Angeles who mentor and assist one another in learning the skills necessary for survival in a transgender-phobic society. Who taught these trans-teenagers to be so helpful and faithful to one another? Chris Beam found that “whether they’re still being parented at home or not, many transgender teenagers will find new parents. These parents are called drag mothers or drag fathers and often they are just a few years older than their ‘children.’”

Beam continues, “They’ll mentor anywhere from a handful to dozens of the younger street kids, sometimes renting out large apartments as shelter for the more transitory kids. This especially happens in Harlem…” Instead of allowing their own suffering to make them bitter, these drag mothers and fathers somehow find it possible to transform their pain into supportiveness for those growing up after them.

Seven Reasons Why Congregations Should Embrace Their Transgender Members by Virginia Ramey Mollenkott, Ph.D.

For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another. We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in proportion to faith; ministry, in ministering; the teacher, in teaching; the exhorter, in exhortation; the giver, in generosity; the leader, in diligence; the compassionate, in cheerfulness.

Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.

Romans 12:4-15 (NRSV)

Ms. Naomi Fontanos is a co-founder and the executive director of Gender and Development Advocates Filipinas, or GANDA Filipinas – a nonprofit, nonpartisan and non-government organisation in the Philippines.

Founded in June 2012, GANDA Filipinas believes that gender is at the heart and center of issues of development including access to education, economic justice, environmental justice, and sexuality and reproductive health rights—areas where transgender voices are commonly left out or neglected.

Open Table MCC is a church for all, including LGBT+ people. All are welcome! Sign up for our newsletter to receive the latest news and events from our church community.

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