On Being an Ally

RIC.gifWatching old news reels and war movies one is struck by the use of the term “Ally.”

“Allied forces moved into France….”

“Our Allies across the sea are standing their ground against oppression…”

“We are Allies in ideology with…”

Being an ally meant aligning yourself with something that may not at first seem to directly affect you “yet” but that you have a sense will require all the resources that can be mustered to ensure the rights or privileges of the other.

There is a movement afoot in the current administration to reclassify the way people who identify as transgender should be treated under the law in terms of civil rights. The movement is to move to “classification” of gender at birth, saying that whatever your external gender appearance” is should determine your gender classification for the rest of your life.

There is a huge problem with this deceptively “simple” approach.

Approximately 1 in 2000 births in the U.S. are of children who are somewhat ambiguous in their gender assignment. They are born “inter-sexed.”

In the past it was somewhat commonplace for parents to simply “decide for the child” and to have surgical procedures done shortly after birth to “assign” the gender.

The difficulty with this practice was that it is very difficult to tell at birth how hormonal changes that will not take place until the teens will ultimately swing one’s identity in the continuing spectrum of identity that is gender. Gender is not just the “bits” but also has to do with brain chemistry, identity bonding, and self-identification.

What is at stake is the entire classification of “transgender,” and with that the ability to people to discover who they have been created and unique individuals made in the image of their creator.

Our transgender siblings already experience difficulties in a number of civil rights areas. In addition to the personal work of sorting out who they are, they experience difficulties in getting passports, identification cards, and health care. They bear a disproportionate burden in discrimination in the workplace, and various “bathroom legislations” have made it difficult to use public facilities, stoking unjustified fears.

As a “Reconciling in Christ” community we affirm that God creates marvelously and with infinite variety and complexity.

We affirm that God’s creation is always “good.”

We stand with those who are discovering who they are in all that complexity and diversity.

We all acknowledge that we are not the person that we once were, and that change in identity is part of human freedom and personal growth and discovery.

It is important, therefore, that you hone your own “ally” skills in regard to your neighbor, that as they have need, you lend your own resources to them in terms of advocacy, welcome, understanding and willingness to love and learn.

We do not know as of yet how this proposal will play out, but we need to be ready to stand with our LGBTQ siblings in the midst of these times when their very existence and self-identity is being questioned.

Be understanding.

Help each other learn and listen.

Be Christ to one another.


Pastor Merle.