Report from Angel Collie Regarding HRC Representation in Virginia – October 2010
Angel Collie recently facilitated the Human Rights Campaign’s (HRC) Gender Identity and Our Faith Communities: A Congregational Guide for Transgender Advocacy sponsored by Metropolitan Community Church of Richmond (Virginia) and People of Faith for Equality of Virginia. His report is below.
From the desk of Angel Collie, Co-Lead, MCC Transgender Ministries
Though I have facilitated this curriculum on multiple occasions, this particular study of HRC’s curriculum seemed more important than ever. With so much at stake considering the current state of ENDA, a clearer understanding of transgender experience in our faith communities and our civil lives is timely and necessary. We need real advocacy for transgender people in our communities and congregations. This training was an opportunity to explain the need for advocacy, outline the pressing issues, and foster leaders in this movement.
The class was a wonderful experience with an intimate group of 15 people. Everyone in attendance eagerly accepted the opportunity to learn, ask questions, and engage in the process. Many of those gathered felt they wanted to be inclusive of transgender people, but just didn’t know how to be!
Transformation in attitudes, language, and understanding effected each participant through the course of our time together. As a facilitator and transgender person, I always feel so welcomed and touched by the warm responses, true eagerness to learn, and willingness to participate even when it becomes uncomfortable. It warms my heart to literally see the “Ah-ha” moments as people begin to truly understand the cost of exclusion of transgender voices and gifts in their communities.
Throughout the training many different moments of connection appeared between the participants and the voices and stories of transgender people featured in the training. Questions were answered, understanding happened, and people began to grasp how deeply exclusion in faith communities hurt transgender people and, thus, why change is necessary.
Participants came in curious and left as advocates who will push for change and inclusion.
I also celebrated an opportunity to spend time with Rev. Robin of MCC Richmond and attend the Sunday Services! The congregation was very excited to hear about MCC Transgender Ministries and had lots of exciting questions! It was a blessing to worship and be in fellowship with my MCC family in Richmond!