Celebrating Gender Diversity: A Toolkit on Gender Identity and Trans Experiences for Communities of Faith

2019, 87 pp
As The United Church of Canada seeks to fully celebrate God’s diversity, understanding gender identity plays an integral role. Trans people are offering valuable ministry within the church, both as lay people and as clergy. United Church communities of faith are sponsoring trans refugees for resettlement. This resource has been created to help individual members and communities of faith to deepen their understanding of gender identity, help them create welcoming and affirming communities, and integrate trans people’s gifts and capacities for ministry into the life of the church, including liturgy and expressions of worship.

As you learn more about trans people and gender identity, you may find yourself rethinking our cultural approach to gender—a benefit to all, because trans people are not the only ones hurt by the ways society polices gender. Our ideas of what “normal” is limits our ability to celebrate the fullness of God’s diversity. Learning new language and ways of building community can have an incredible impact on the safety and spiritual wellbeing of trans people.

Language has power and is constantly changing. The terms used in this resource and listed in the glossary are designed to empower you with language to help you deepen your understanding of gender and sexuality. For the most part, terms are based in Western understandings of gender and sexuality—they do not speak to all people’s cultural experiences. Remember not to apply labels to individuals. Understand that identities are fluid and contextual, and that just because someone shares part of their identity with you doesn’t mean they’re comfortable with you sharing it with others.

We hope that this resource will support all ministries of the church—whether you are part of a local worship or social justice committee, an Affirming Ministry, an outdoor ministry (camp), or simply an individual seeking resources to support your own personal advocacy and relationships with trans people.

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