First Trans-Identified Bishop in Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Sues Denomination After Being Forced to Retire Citing Racism


The first trans-identified bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ECLA), Megan Rohrer, was recently forced to leave the church by the denomination. The pastor was accused of racism and other issues. As a result, Pastor Rohrer filed a lawsuit and is now requesting monetary charges in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

Removal of First Trans-Identified Bishop, Megan Rohrer, in Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

According to the Christian Post, on Wednesday, Mar. 1, Pastor Megan Rohrer, born female but associated with masculine pronouns, filed a lawsuit demanding monetary penalties against ECLA in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. As mentioned, the complaint states that Rohrer was fired by the ELCA "after suffering harassment and engaging in whistleblowing," contending that church leadership engaged in "animus" and falsely portrayed the former bishop as a racist. Additionally, the complaint asserts that "the Church demonstrated its lack of acceptance of LGBTQIA+ individuals."

The denomination is accused of mistreatment, repetitive and intentional misgendering, as well as mocking gender identity, according to Rohrer. The plaintiff requests "economic and non-economic damages," as well as legal costs, exemplary damages, and the imposition of appropriate fines and penalties for "wrongful conduct." As per U.S. News, after firing the pastor of a predominantly Latino and immigrant congregation in Stanton, California, on the Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, for which the community had planned elaborate festivities, Rohrer, of San Francisco, resigned as bishop of the ELCA's Sierra Pacific Synod in June amid accusations of racism.

In the complaint Rohrer filed on Wednesday, Mar. 1, he accuses the denomination of discriminating against him because he is transgender, intentionally misgendering him, creating a "hostile work environment," and pursuing monetary damages. On Thursday, Mar. 2, Pastor Rohrer stated that she has always felt the support of Lutherans in the aisles but not from the upper ranks of the national church. The pastor now works as a senior communications specialist for a Black, nondenominational church in San Francisco. During a video conference on his first day as bishop, Rohrer also stated that he had been misgendered and ridiculed for featuring drag queens at his ordination. 

Also Read: Former Homosexual Turned Pastor Takes Vimeo To Court For Shutting Down Account Containing Biblical Teachings

About Megan M. Rohrer

Based on an article from the LGBTQ Religious Archives Network, Rev. Dr. Megan M. Rohrer is a pastor, activist, and genuine leader in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and identifies as transgender and homosexual. In May of 2021, Rohrer made history by becoming the first transgender person to be ordained as a bishop in a significant Christian denomination in the United States. Pastor Rohrer's birthday is Apr. 3, and she was born in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, in 1980. Lutheranism was practiced in Pastor Rohrer's household growing up, and their grandmother's house served as the congregation's primary place of worship. The community at St. Paul Lutheran, which Pastor Roherer and her family attended, believed the church's female minister to be a lesbian because she was a woman (although she did not openly identify as lesbian publicly).

Accordingly, the pastor also organized a screening of the documentary "Call to Witness" in 1999, when she was serving as president of the Gay-Straight Alliance at Augustana. The event aimed to educate the ELCA on the challenges and experiences of LGBT members and leaders.

Related Article:Transgender Bishop's Discrimination Lawsuit Sends Shockwaves Through Lutheran Church