It's been a tense, exciting day in the Boston area as the legislation known as the "Transgender Equal Rights Bill" makes its way out of the Judiciary Committee for the first time in six years. The bill is heading to the legislature with a vote expected tonight or tomorrow as the winter recess approaches.
Yesterday the Boston Globe and Boston Herald reported on the impending vote, and this morning both papers reported on dueling press conferences in which the bill's opponents called the vote a "distraction" from economic issues. When one such representative argued, "The goals of the advocates is to have this litigated in the courts,” he was confronted by Ken and Marcia Garber. The Garbers' transgender son was, as the Globe explained,"bullied and discriminated against before he lost his life to a drug overdoes at the age of 20." When the representative "said he did not have time to answer their question because he was late to a meeting," the Garbers, faithful members of Dignity Boston, "challenged Lombardo’s contention that the transgender bill is a distraction from bills that would protect the state’s economic future, [saying] 'Some of these people will never have a future if they don’t do something' to pass the legislation.".
As the battle over this legislation heats up, I find myself seeking to be present to it as a holy time and space, as an invitation to be, as Bishop Shaw often puts it, opened. It strikes me that this openness is not simply a static state of welcome and inclusion, but an ongoing process of being opened, transformed by God, ushered into new ways of being in the world, into a new time and space that Christians name as the reign or dream of God. That notion of openness is unsettling and challenging indeed, but hopeful and promising beyond our wildest imaginings. May it be—may it become – so.
Posted by the Rev. Dr. Cameron Partridge, is the Episcopal Chaplain at Boston University and a Lecturer at Harvard University, to Walking With Integrity.