Bishop Rinehart's response to Texas Governor's statement on trans kids and trans people.
To parents and to the trans community at large: The world does not understand what you are going through. We have much work to do in education.
To faith leaders: There is no need for anyone to report the existence of trans kids in Lutheran schools. There is no legal obligation attached to the OAG “opinion” or the follow-up letter from the governor, which comes conspicuously at a time when both are seeking re-election. The governor does not have the power to change the laws related to what constitutes child abuse or neglect. It is already well-established in Texas that gender-affirming care is medically necessary, and this week’s statements from our State Leadership do not change that.
As people of God we believe that all people are created in the image of God whose boundless love invites us to live full, abundant lives, as our authentic selves. Trans people are no different. Trans people are beloved bearers of the image of God. We hold in prayer all who have been impacted by these most recent statements and acts of transphobia and know that we are called to speak the truth of God’s love for all in our own words and actions.”
What faith leaders can do to support trans people and their families:
1. Clearly communicate our support for trans children, their families, and all trans people. Let those families know this opinion isn’t enforceable, and it amounts to harassment and harm. It is well establish in Texas that gender-affirming care is medically necessary. Make it clear that we (our facilities, leaders, and schools) do not have to and should not be participating in this cruelty.
2. Vote for leaders who are kind to trans people and their families.
3. Connect with and support organizations that serve transgender youth – MGP, Hatch, Gender Infinity, Trans Education Network of Texas (TENT) and so on.
4. Help families of trans gold create safety folders with letters from doctors, teachers, pastors saying that they know the trans person to be healthy and cared for. Encourage them to keep a binder like this for their kids when they travel.
5. Learn about what abuse is and what it means to be a mandated reporter. Those who don’t understand the Governor’s letter may think they may be mandated reporters who turn in trans kids. In Texas, anyone with knowledge of suspected child abuse or neglect must report. This is not limited to teachers, pastors, or health care professionals. Medical care for trans kids is not abuse according to the American Medical Association and Texas law.
6. Be aware that violence and political threats like this are a form of gender-based violence. Res d the ELCA’s social message on Gender Based Violence.
10. Listen to and share this two-part podcast in which Bishop Jim Hazelwood interview the parent of a trans child. This will help listeners appreciate the realities and complexities trans families encounter, so that we can support them wisely. Here is Part 1 of the podcast. Here is Part 2.
Many thanks to Bishop Megan Rohrer and Dr. Stephanie Dykes for providing some of the information above.