In the Washington, DC area, where New Ways Ministry has its office, transgender issues have been prominent in the news this past year–unfortunately, for very tragic reasons. A recent posting on ColorLines.com begins:
“This year was a bloody one for transgender women of color in Washington, D.C. In late July, Lashai Maclean was shot to death 10 blocks away from the office of Transgender Health Empowerment in Northeast D.C. Just 11 days later—and one block away from the scene of McLean’s slaying—Tonya Harrell was shot at but escaped. And in April, Chloe Alexander Moore was physically assaulted by an off-duty police office.”
Add to these the very high-profile attack of Chrissy Lee Polis near Baltimore, and the defeat of a transgender equality bill in the Maryland legislature, and 2011 will not go down as a happy year for those who support justice for the “T” members of the LGBT community.
The ColorLines.com posting caught my eye because it contains a very moving first personaccount of Danielle King, development manager of the National Center for Transgender Equality, who grew up in a Catholic family. It is a story that promotes awareness and inspires courage.
Bryan Cones, the managing editor of U.S. Catholic magazine has emerged as a leading voice–if not the leading voice– supportive of LGBT issues in Catholic journalism. To know the reason why, you need to look no further than his latest article which appears in the January 2012 edition of the publication, and is already available on the website.
Though written before Secretary Hilary Clinton’s Human Rights Day speech yesterday, the article is a good complement to her talk because both deal with the inherent dignity of LGBT persons. Since our inception in 1977, New Ways Ministry has been promoting this message that comes straight out of Catholic social teaching. Cones highlights a conflict in church teaching with sexual ethics that we have often said must be remedied:
“To put it bluntly, to describe any human being as “objectively disordered” does not reflect the more fundamental truth that all human beings are equally made in God’s image and likeness. While church teaching restricts physical sexual expression to marriage between a man and a woman, church leaders must also find a way to affirm the created value of sexuality that does not fit the heterosexual model.”
As many theologians have pointed out, this conflict is the “heart of the matter” when it comes to Catholic discussions of lesbian/gay people. Sooner or later, it will need to be resolved. Let’s hope and pray it is resolved in the way that Cones suggests above.