An article featured in Pink News highlights some new survey research and studies about trans-inclusion in various churches– primarily the Protestant faiths. It seems attitudes are changing and there is some real momentum among at least the Presbyterian and Episcopal churches in the U.S. There are other indicati0ns of major shifts in attitude towards inclusion among other churches not just in the United States but around the world as well. These are promising signs!
Now I wonder how much of these new attitudes have to do with overall declines in church attendance by younger generations. At least in the United States, church affiliation seems less a priority for folks under 35, at least according to Pew Research polls. When church attendance and church membership drops dramatically, do we then expect the churches to re-evaluate their positions on social issues and become more open to change?
I wonder if the shift in attitudes is a sincere, heart-felt change or a ploy to jump on some kind of band wagon to appear open and affirming just to attract more church members with deep pockets for the collection plates. I suppose anyone already suspicious of churches may feel somewhat jaded and cynical. Churches that have historically excluded LGBT persons of faith are hard to trust. You never know what their agenda may be.
I have been fortunate to have found a very welcoming church in the First Baptist Church in Willimantic, CT. Their agenda is very straight forward: Love thy neighbors, care for those in need, and do as Jesus would have done Himself.
Still, this is all good news. As more people get to know us as people– and people of faith– it will reduce the fear people have of us and will make significant strides in conquering transphobic hysteria and bad myths and stereotypes.