July 3, 2016: Transgender Youth

Posted on : Jun 30th, 2016 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

Last Sunday we began our LGBT Pride Series on Transgender people and their life and faith experience. As part of the service I read a poem that was written by Kyler Prescott, a 14 year old transgender boy. Many of you have asked for the poem so, here it is:

My mirror does not define me:

Not the stranger that looks back at me

Not the smooth face that belongs to someone else

Not the eyes that gleam with sadness

When I look for him and can only see her.

My body does not define me:

Not the slim shoulders that will not change

Not the hips that give me away

Not the chest I can’t stand to look at

When I look for him and can only see her.

My clothes do not define me:

Not the shirt and the jeans

That would look so perfect on him

But that I know would never fit me

When I look for him and can only find her.

And I’ve been looking for him for years,

But I seem to grow farther away from him

With each passing day.

He’s trapped inside this body,

Wrapped in society’s chains

That keep him from escaping.

But one day I will break those chains.

One day I will set him free.

And I’ll finally look in the mirror

And see me–

The boy I was always meant to be.

Kyler Prescott, 14

 

I have used this poem in a class I teach at many of our major medical centers for chaplain interns. When presenting this to chaplains, I give them a copy of the poem, but in preparation for Sunday’s service I Googled Kyler’s name, hoping to find a picture of him. I did!

Kyler Prescott

But what I also discovered tore at my heart. This bright, articulate young man who has such a clear understanding of who he is and who he wants to be (reread this poem and remember he was 14 years old when he wrote it!) – this fabulous young man who was loved and fully supported by his mom, dad and sister, took his life on May 18, 2015. The San Diego Gay and Lesbian Times ran a beautiful story honoring Kyler and explaining some of the horrible difficulties Trans Youth experience as they begin puberty.

This Sunday we are going to hear the stories of some Trans Youth from the documentary, “Growing Up Trans.” We’ll hear not only the kids’ stories and struggles, but those of their parents as well.

When we hear the life stories of these youth, the many facets of this complex experience that we call “transgender” begin to make sense. When you hear their stories, you realize how absurd and oppressive the debate is about limiting the use of bathrooms and locker rooms to that of a person’s assigned gender at birth.  When you hear these stories, your head spins and your heart aches for the challenges these youth and their parents experience. But most importantly, I hope that after hearing and seeing these kids’ stories you will be empowered to speak up in support of transgender children and youth as well as transgender adults.

After hearing these kids’ stories, we will celebrate Communion – our Communion with them and the love of our Transgender God, a God who is beyond any one gender, and whose loving spirit is there for each and every one of us.

Blessings,

Dan

 

~ This Sunday’s Scripture ~

God is Transgender.

 Genesis 1: 26-27

Then God said, ‘Let us make humanity in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.’

So God created humanity in God’s image,

in the image of God, God created them; male and female.

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