Shannon Kearns, the first openly transgender man ordained in the old Catholic Church, as well as other religious leaders, have re-centered Bible stories around transgender people.
In a report by NPR, it was stated that churches are tasked with living out the Bible.
The widely known stance regarding transgenders is that God created humans and separated them into only two categories-male and female. However, religions speak with multiple voices.
With this, sacred texts should be used to embrace a broader understanding of gender identities.
Rethinking Gender in the Bible
According to Kearns, the topic of gender in the Bible is much more complex. This is in reference to the numerous biblical figures who have transgressed gender norms.
He mentioned that there are female figures in the Bible who are judges and men who work in the kitchen. He also cited eunuchs, who were considered a kind of third gender.
Moreover, Kearns stated that rediscovering the Bible's message on transgender people partly revolves around rediscovering the stories in the book.
In his published book titled "In the Margins", Kearns narrated his spiritual reflection on well-known biblical narratives, including Jacob's wrestling with the divine, Rahab and the Israelite spies, and the transfiguration of Jesus.
Kearns stated that these stories have helped him make sense of his own identity and have helped him unlock the transformative power of faith.
Among the numerous biblical stories, the passage of Sodom and Gomorrah in the book of Genesis has always been linked to homosexuality.
Oftentimes, the story is interpreted and ingrained as God's condemnation of homosexuality. However, it could be viewed differently.
According to Queer Theology, Sodom and Gomorrah are about injustice and oppression, as stated at the beginning of the passage.
"The cries of injustice from Sodom and Gomorrah are countless..."
When read in the correct context, it pushes Christians to find ways to help the needy, the poor, and the innocent.
According to theologian and ordained Baptist minister, Robyn Henderson-Espinoza, re-centering biblical stories from the point of view of the powerless instead of the powerful is what the work of Christianity is about.
Expanding Conversations, Promoting Inclusivity
Kearns added that the real damage lies in how white, cisgender, heterosexual men read the Bible from their specificity and call it universal.
He addressed that instead of having one particular interpretation, the conversation needs to be expanded to include all voices.
According to NPR, good narratives survive because they do not define meaning. Rather, they allow the audience to enter the story and have their own revelations.
Aside from expanding their understanding of the biblical narratives, some churches are also doing their part in making LGBTQ+ members welcome.
This includes removing the divide between male and female.
According to an Episcopal priest in Portland, Aj Buckley, he has been to many churches where they do not have a bathroom that non-binary people like him can feel that they can use.
With this, churches like Saint David of Wales Episcopal Church have made changes to the signs they use.
Instead of labeling bathrooms for men and women, they have signs that say anyone can use them. They have also changed pronouns on name tags, wherein instead of "brothers and sisters," they now state "siblings in Christ."
Buckley stated that having those things actually tells people, especially LGBTQ+ members, that they are welcome and wanted.