Transgender individuals are finding support in religion for strength during their transitions.
For ages, people who have struggled with their gender identity did not feel like they had a place to turn, especially not in the religious realm.
But times have changed recently for the LGBT community with the ruling in favor of same-sex marriage and the publicity surrounding the emergence of Caitlyn Jenner as a powerful spokesperson for the Transgendered.
Furthermore, members of the Transgender community are not only finding support in organized religion, but leaning on their faith to give them strength during their transition, the Chicago Tribune reports.
The Church of England made a big gesture in welcoming those who are transgender by offering a service celebrating the name change of their members. Recently, the Evangelical Lutheran Church and the Episcopal Church both approved ordination of transgender clergy.
Many people who have undergone sex reassignment surgery have noted that they felt the grace of God during the transition. Cindi Knox, who recalls as a 12-year old “praying to wake up as a girl or not at all”.
But after having the surgery in 1998, Knox said she felt as though “all of this was part of the story God had intended for [her.]”
Violet Fenn converted to Judaism in 2012 which she said completed her transition. She had already transitioned from male to female in body and mind, but “[her] spiritual soul didn’t match up yet.” Her acceptance at the Chadash of Edgewater and the Hebrew community made her whole.
Recent polling of the LGBT community revealed some shocking statistics, reports Religionlink.com. While only 1.6% of the general population considers suicide, 41% of respondents reported feeling this way. The rate of unemployment is double for respondents compared to the general population as well, with 90% stating that they experienced “harassment and discrimination” on the job.
In addition to the outreach of particular religious congregations, there are also groups fully devoted to supporting the transgender community as well as other people who have normally not found comfort from religion. Some of these include, Affirmation: Gay and Lesbian Mormons, Center for Progressive Christianity, and The National Union of Jewish Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer and Questioning Students.