How do I reconcile my faith and being transgender with our political leaders? And what can we do to make human rights be at the forefront?

This past week I have felt deep sadness, humiliation, anger and ashamed of being a citizen. Why? Our Washington leaders have forsaken the most vulnerable members of our society after telling us they supported the LGBTQ+ community.

They are guided by misinformation, hate and bigotry towards the transgender community and our young transgender children are being told that they are lesser for who they are.  It is government sanctioned discrimination at its highest. The past administration created the guidelines under title IX that protected transgender youth in public schools enabling them to go to the bathroom and using the locker rooms they align their gender with. We are talking about a very small minority in schools.

There has been a flurry of hateful transgender bathroom bills in several states that are guided by religious freedom organizations and legislators. There are already several dozens bills proposed throughout the country this year.

We are fast eroding any progress we have made and are turning back to a time where discrimination was accepted in parts of our society. Some think by making America great again it’s the only way for progress, unfortunately in this case it means removing civil rights, human rights and abandonment of a part of our population.

As many of us do, I fear for the future and loosing my spiritual guidance, which I believed was stronger among us. The sad fact is that I am working very hard at keeping my faith.

How do I deal with this on a personal level? I struggle enough with feeling like a stranger in my body some times and I want my faith to be strong, but I feel I’m in the wilderness of hate and we are told we are the “undesirables” in our society. Attacks are spreading into other categories such as handicapped, immigrants, marriage equality and civil rights? From what I see our government is leading us in that direction very fast.

As a Christian, I cannot understand the hate and why the religious community do not have a stronger voice reacting to the terrible things that are and will happen. I cannot understand how some people in the government who say they are deeply Christian can accept the inhumane attack on minority groups.

The parallels to 1930’s Europe are frightening. Many of the German churches stood with their government and looked away to the atrocities. Ask yourself if this is where we are heading now? And how do I deal with this as a religious believer? Is this really the society we are made up of? And is this the beginning of a very hateful period in our time where we are tested for our beliefs in humanity? Are we really heading into a darker time in our history where we are pitted against each other and oppression is sanctioned by our government? Or can we as defenders of the weak and oppressed effectively change the future for the better?

I encourage our leaders, clergy and parishioners to stand up with civility and with a human rights focus to the institutional bullying. Speak the truth of what being a believer in a better world really means. Exercise “Love they neighbor as thy self” to the fullest.

Why are human rights civil rights? To me they are the same!

I know all of this is a very hot political potato. It should not be. We need to stand for loving one another, civil rights and human rights for all, nothing else matter. Why otherwise are we on this planet?

If we are to act and live out our lives as civilized people and that we believe in loving everyone, we now need to actively get involved and work for the good of all. We cannot stand by idly and let someone else do the work for us. One positive outcome of the political climate, is that I see young and old getting more actively involved with expressing our loving values in our churches, town hall meetings, marches, writings and affecting change.

I walked in one of the Women’s marches along with 100,000 other people that day who want all their issues to be heard. It was a life event for me and I hope there will be more unity for positive change. We just need more of it right now to counter the negative agenda.

Thank you for listening to a frustrated citizen of the universe!

 

Andrea Ramberg

Andrea is a 40-plus year member of the United Methodist Church and a transgender activist.
Married to her wonderful wife for 40 years, she transitioned later in life after coming to the understanding of a life-long strife with gender dysphoria.

She feels blessed and very fortunate to still have her family by her side which many transgender people do not have. It has been a complicated transition and acceptance for them too and it affects everyone close.

Her wish is for the United Methodist Church is to open the doors with acceptance of all human beings without judgment or fear, to be able to serve in all clergy roles and to love unconditionally no matter their gender differences. Equal rights are human rights.

"We are all God's creatures, born innoscent with unconditional love. We have to remind ourselves to love every human as ourselves and put away fear and hate"
- Andrea Ramberg

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