Greater NW Pride: Transgender Visibility Day and Other LGBTQ+ Days


Transgender Visibility Day and Other LGBTQ+ Days

Happy Transgender Visibility Day!

After seeing all the rainbow bunting, flags, t-shirts, and stoles on so many United Methodist Church websites, Facebook posting, and Instagram accounts after the vote taken by the UMC General Conference in February 2019, I thought it would be helpful to share with those UMC churches who are supportive of LGBTQ clergy, lay leaders, and lay members other ways of supporting those of us in the LGBTQ+ community. I wrote a blog on the LGBTQQIAAP and gender descriptions, followed by a description of being a helpful ally with members of the LGBTQ+ community.  In this blog, I want to provide other ways faith communities may choose to work with our community throughout the year.  So, let's begin with Transgender Visibility Day, which was celebrated this week.

March 31: Transgender Visibility Day. What is Transgender Visibility Day? The Washington, DC-based Human Rights Campaign website has this information: “Transgender people come from all walks of life. We are your coworkers, family and neighbors. We are 7-year-old children and we are 70-year-old grandparents. We are a diverse community representing all racial and ethnic backgrounds, as well as faith backgrounds.International Transgender Day of Visibility … is a time to celebrate transgender people around the globe and the courage it takes to live openly and authentically, while also raising awareness around the discrimination trans people still face.”(https://www.hrc.org/resources/international-transgender-day-of-visibility)

May 24: Pansexual Visibility Day. This is the day when those in the pansexual community. Again, pansexuals are attracted to people of all genders, and regardless of gender. “Pan,” meaning “all,” means that pansexuals are attracted to a person for who that person is, regardless of gender, sex, or sexual orientation. We are thankful to God for our pansexual pastors, lay leaders, and lay members
June: The entire month of June is LGBTQ Pride month. On June 2, 2000, President Bill Clinton declared June "Gay & Lesbian Pride Month". President Barack Obama declared June Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month on June 1, 2009. Throughout many cities and towns in the Pacific Northwest, there are LGBTQ+ Pride Festivals and Parades.  For Spokane Pride, June 8th; Portland and Boise, LGBTQ Pride Weekend is June 14, 15, and 16; Seattle LGBTQ+ Pride is June 28, 29, and 30; Tacoma Pride is July 14; Salem is Aug. 4; and Eugene LGBTQ+ Pride is Aug. 10. There are also Pride events in other smaller cities and towns as well, like Astoria and Hood River, OR. Churches: feel free to join in a parade or open a booth, sharing information about your welcoming and Reconciling congregation.
September 23: Celebrate Bisexuality Day. This is the day in which we celebrate that God created people to be bisexuals, attracted to both people of the same sex as well as the opposite sex, intellectually, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. We are thankful to God for our bisexual pastors, lay leaders, and lay members.
October 8: International Lesbian Day. This is the day we celebrate being a lesbian, and our friends and family members and associates and pastors, lay leaders, and lay members who are lesbians.
October 11:  National Coming Out Day.  This is a day in which LGBTQ+ people are encouraged to be out, with no need to hide in the shame of an LGBTQ+ closet. Homophobia and heterosexism thrive in a culture in which no one who is a self-identifying LGBTQ+ person is out, but rather isolated, silent, and oppressed, living a secret life. By telling and living our story of life with no shame or guilt for being the people God created us to be, homophobia and heterosexism dies.  Blue Jean Day falls on the same day, in which many students, faculty, and staff in educational settings wear blue jeans to work in solidarity with LGBTQ+ , striving for equal rights in our work places, housing, health care, the law, and in the life of our faith communities.
I hope this schedule will be helpful. And I hope that you will consider these days in the context of your faith community as we all work towards full integration of all people created in the image of God.

Brett Webb-Mitchell
Rev. Dr. Brett Webb-Mitchell is an openly gay Presbyterian pastor in the Portland area serving as the part-time LGBTQ+ advocacy coordinator for The Oregon-Idaho Conference of the UMC. He can be reached at brett@umoi.org. Become a subscriber to the Greater NW Pride blog to get Greater NW Pride in your email box!