In a powerful show of solidarity, over 6,000 vowed Catholic Religious and partners in mission from more than 18 states have come forward to celebrate and acknowledge transgender, nonbinary, and gender-expansive individuals on the International Day of Transgender Visibility. The statement, prepared by representatives of several religious communities, including the U.S. Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph, Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana, and Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth JPIC office, states that as members of the body of Christ, they cannot be whole without the full inclusion of transgender, nonbinary, and gender-expansive individuals.

In the United States, transgender people are experiencing harm and erasure due to the introduction and approval of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation across several states, harmful rhetoric from some Christian institutions and their leaders, including the Catholic Church, and daily discrimination and violence. The statement acknowledges that the Gospel call of unifying love compels them to actively interrupt harmful interactions in daily life and dismantle the systems that reinforce this rhetoric and violence in society, particularly for Black, Indigenous, and other folks of color.

The statement goes on to say that the religious communities seek to cultivate a faith community where all, especially transgender, nonbinary, and gender-expansive individuals, experience a deep belonging. They call on all to act to transform their hearts, church, politics, and country to ensure that the dignity of transgender, nonbinary, and gender-expansive individuals is acknowledged, boldly accepted, and celebrated.

The statement includes a call to action for individuals, congregations, and organizations to check if elected officials are attacking LGBTQ+ rights in their state legislation with Trans Legislation Tracker, support organizations such as The Trevor Project, Transgender Law Center, New Ways Ministry, or others supporting transgender individuals, assess their religious community’s capacity to fully welcome trans folks, including internal attitudes, behaviors, policies, and having gender-neutral restrooms, and consider signing on as an individual, congregation or organization to the declaration “Beloved by God.”

This statement is a remarkable show of support from Catholic religious communities for transgender, nonbinary, and gender-expansive individuals, who often face discrimination and violence in their daily lives. It sends a powerful message that everyone, regardless of gender identity, is beloved by God and should be fully included in religious communities. It also highlights the need for religious communities to examine their own attitudes, behaviors, and policies and make changes to create a welcoming and inclusive environment for all.