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Letter to the Diocese from Bishop Andrew

Dear Friends in Christ,

Today, we are called to remember those who have died. Around the world, Nov. 20 is set aside as Transgender Day of Remembrance. It began following the violent murder of Rita Hester, a Black trans woman in Massachusetts in 1998. Her death led to an outpouring of grief and anger in Boston and other cities. Since then, Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDoR) has been an opportunity to commemorate those who have lost their lives to violence and injustice because of their gender identity or gender expression. In Ontario in 2017, all three major political parties voted to enshrine in law the Transgender Day of Remembrance on this day every year.

Today, we are called to remember the living. The baptismal covenant lies at the heart of our Christian faith. Among the promises embedded in this covenant is that the baptized will strive for justice and peace among all people and respect the dignity of every human being. Among the many ways we do this is by honouring the wonderful diversity of God’s creation.

Too often, our transgender siblings have not experienced respect or dignity within our Church. Indeed, they are often misunderstood, marginalized and discriminated against.  On this Transgender Day of Remembrance, let us commit:

  • to honour and mourn all trans people who have been victims of violence and murder;
  • to honour the lives of those who might otherwise have been forgotten;
  • to become more aware of the most vulnerable in our communities;
  • to educate ourselves in becoming allies for our trans siblings;
  • to recommit ourselves to taking action to transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind, and to pursue peace and reconciliation.

Let us all work and pray for healing and justice in the face of violence and oppression.

Yours in Christ,
The Rt. Rev. Andrew Asbil
Bishop of Toronto