All God’s Children: An Open Letter to the Church
“I think if you look past those things that people are afraid of … you see that we are just normal people who want to do the best we can in the world.” —Matty Slaydon, FROM The Freedom to Be
“Being willing to change how you view the world based on the evidence you find is a really important skill that is really, really, hard to do.” —Rose Peck, FROM The Freedom to Be
All children deserve not only our collective compassion and unconditional love but also a supportive, high-quality education. As Nobel Peace Prize recipient Archbishop Desmond Tutu has said, “It is our moral obligation to give every child the very best education possible.”
In light of Indianapolis Archdiocese’s new policy indicating that Catholic schools may deny enrollment to students who happen to be transgender or nonbinary, below is my response (sent June 29). May we all continue to speak for love and against harmful bigotry.
Dear Charles C. Thompson,
Good day. I am addressing you by your given name not to be disrespectful of your role as Archbishop of Indianapolis but, rather, to start off this communication person-to-person (human-to-human) rather than by the various “official roles” we may occupy in this life. When we let go of our titles, we remember that we are all equal under the eyes of God.
I am writing to address the policy issued in June (Pride Month) indicating that a student who is transgender or nonbinary may not be allowed in Catholic schools. The God I know does not exclude children from school. The God I know does not exclude anyone.
Enclosed you will find a copy of my book, The Freedom to Be: Stories from Transgender Youth, Adults, and Their Families. These individuals, no less than you or me or anyone else, are children of God. I hope you will read these stories with an open heart and with a prayer for guidance on how we can all learn to love in the way Jesus loved: with a profound example of acceptance.
In this book, you will hear from Andru, who was homeless at age 16 and physically assaulted at school for being transgender; Alex, whose family has stopped communicating with him; and Sa’hara, who feels blessed by God simply to be alive because black transgender women often have a lifespan that ends before age 25.
I am sharing this book with you in the hope that your heart can hear these very real life stories and understand that people are who they say they are, and it is not for us to judge or discriminate or treat people differently. God’s will, as I understand the teachings of Jesus, is very simple: Love one another. God’s love is boundless and unconditional. The heart of Jesus teaches us to love without reserve, especially the children. We put that Love into practice with our actions. Perhaps a book discussion could facilitate greater understanding. I also know transgender individuals who would be happy to lead diversity training for congregants, clergy, or teachers.
May we be humble of heart, and may we be open to greater love for the amazing humans on this earth. May we take the time learn so that we do not repeat the hateful mistakes of the past or continue the harm being done to our friends, neighbors, and families in the LGBTQ community.
Peace & Love,
Diana J. Ensign
For anyone interested in learning more, I am coordinating with a couple of people in The Freedom to Be book to host a Book Club Discussion, August 2, at 2 PM. Check my Facebook page or Event page here closer to the event date for more details.