Recognizing Trans Day of Remembrance
Rev Amanda Zuke recently took part in the Trans Day of Remembrance in their community of Sault Ste Marie, ON. The transgender flag was raised at city hall for the first time ever on Nov 20 in respect for the trans community and those who have suffered and died from transphobic violence.
Rev Amanda was also recognized by International Day of Pink with a certificate of action, which is presented to people to recognize 2SLGBTQIA+ advocacy, education, representation, and celebration. “Supporting the 2SLGBTQIA+ community constitutes the most important part of my work alongside conducting weddings,” says Zuke.
Here is a copy of Rev Amanda’s remarks from the ceremony:
My name is Amanda; my pronouns are she/they. I’m a chaplain, and I identify as Genderqueer. People have asked what that means, but I can only answer for myself: it started for me as a profound sense of failure at femininity, passed through accepting myself as at once a gendered and an un-gendered person, and has wound up with the perhaps slightly confrontational motto, “respect my existence or expect my resistance“. That said, I don’t honestly feel I can fully understand or express a trans experience, much less the multitudes of trans experiences, each as unique as a person. And because of that, I come here today chiefly as a friend and ally to the trans community, in my role as chaplain-at-large.
I’m very conscious, every day, of my responsibility as a spiritual care provider and leader in my own faith community to affirm and encourage those who come to me for support. We have a Trans Day of Remembrance, sadly, because leaders the world over have promoted the idea that trans people are somehow broken, sinful, or less-than. What I know for sure is that if a trans man or trans woman is broken, *we* have broken them. Our ignorance, our hate, our violence in both words and actions. Community leaders everywhere have inspired and enabled horrific acts against the trans community. Community leaders everywhere must, then, act to remedy the pain we have collectively caused. Even, and perhaps especially, those of us who have already been doing the work necessary to better understand experiences that may be foreign to us. Therefore, let me be clear: no one deserves to face discrimination or violence based on who they are.
My friend Oz has often shared the wisdom they received from elder Willard Pine: “creator don’t make no junk.” Many of the world’s spiritual traditions encourage us to take what our creators, however we may understand them, have given us and continue to refine it and make it better, essentially becoming co-creators of ourselves and our world. Many of us recognize that trans people are doing exactly that, participating in creation. I believe some call this sort of thing “doing God’s work.” To my trans friends: you are sacred. Your transition, be it medical, social, or just the internal recognition of your authentic self, is sacred. And to put it somewhat more secularly: You are good. You are worthy. You are loved. And you deserve all the kindness and peace you’ve been denied. May we all work together to build that peace.