At the funeral of a transgender female named Lashai Mclean, a reverend continuously called her a “he” and said that she was killed so people could be saved.  Lashai was shot to death in Washington, DC.  Her funeral was held on July 27, 2011.  Many people shouted “she” when the reverend said “he”.  The reverend also called Lashai “Myles” in his comments via phone to the Washington Blade.  A significant amount of friends of Lashai attending the funeral walked out as the preacher was preaching.  The reverend defended his remarks and upheld the ideal that “sin is sin is sin”, saying that “Myles” made “a choice”, a common perception of bigotry rampant in Christian extremism and fundamentalism.  The reverend, A. W. Montgomery, Jr., was appointed to preside over the eulogy because some family members had ties or belonged to his church,  Agape Missionary Baptist Church in Suitland, Md.  The Maryland church was too small to hold the more than 300 people showing up, so it was held at a larger church in D.C. called Purity Baptist Church.  The reverend of the church asked Montgomery, Jr. to preside at the service.  The welcoming remarks were delivered by Purity Baptist Church reverend Robin Toogood.  Two transgender activists with Transgender Health Empowerment, Earline Budd and Jeri Hughes, mentioned that the family struggled with Lashai’s being transgender and asked specifically asked Montgomery, Jr. to deliver the eulogy. “I wasn’t particularly offended, even though I didn’t agree with him,” Hughes said of Montgomery. “He was talking about what preachers talk about – sin and all of that. He’s just being a preacher.”

It is especially sad when someone dies in a violent manner, such as being shot.  It is even more sad that that person is a transgender woman.  It is terribly tragic that people, using the eulogy at their relative’s funeral, to preach to people about being transgender and utter bigotry toward them.  It is demeaning, but it’s also arrogant to assert your twisted and obsolete morality dictated by an outdated book on people who are experiencing a deep sense of loss of their friend.  To use a funeral to preach to people is not only disrespectful, but it really “negates” the struggle that people who are experiencing gender identity issues by calling it a choice.   I do have transgender friends and family who have made it through the transgender struggle to become happy in their lives as the gender they needed to be.  I don’t consider them “transgender” people, either.  To me, after and during their struggle to change and the change itself, I consider them men and women.  The state of their birth was wrong and it is made right by their current gender.

I feel we do need to be “particularly offended” by opinions expressed by bigotry in any form, not especially “preachers”.  No bigotry should be tolerated because someone is a spiritual leader doing what he or she thinks should be done.  I don’t differentiate between gay, lesbian, bisexual, and “transgender” bigotry and racial and gender bigotry.  They are equally terrible and intolerable.   The bigotry manufactured by a manipulative church is also intolerable.  Denominations that cannot evolve into the modern times because of their outdated and obsolete ministries’ doctrines argue solely for their own limitations.  These people live in a world where everything is defined by their leaders, or by scripture, or by moralistic values that make no logical sense; sometimes a dose of each.  Scientific fact is ignored for the dogma, creating an insular box against new and real ideas and values that are logical and steeped in common sense.  It’s all dictated by fear of hell and damnation, all the while manipulating their minds to function inside that box they have created.  That insular box is what they want to put us all in, so they can manipulate us too because that is what they have been doing for generations and generations.  They have done that for thousands of years and have even been violent about it in their past as evidenced by the Inquisition right along to the “Witch” Trials in early America.  No matter what proofs come their way that completely destroy their beliefs that it’s a “lifestyle” and “choice”, they fight against it by pointing to a book most of them haven’t thoroughly read.  They continue to struggle for their limitations, unable to use common sense or logical reasoning to come to a real and tangible conclusion.

Then there are the faiths out there that are welcoming to gays, lesbians, bisexuals, “transgenders”, and questioning people who are all shaking their heads at the illogical morality of people who claim to be their counterparts.  Many church denominations, widely Episcopal and Unitarian Universalist church although some are other denominations, have removed the shackles of force-fed morality and embraced their diverse congregations.  Some have gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and questioning people as their spiritual leaders who do a good job of evolving dogma into an acceptable and logical foundation.  These are the people most heartily attacked by extremist, conservatives, and fundamentalists are those of faith who have evolved.  To them, the first amendment only applies to their dogma and no one else’s; creating a kind of elitism that flies in the face of the freedom of religion and the freedom from religion.  The person or people who attack imagined enemies are dangerous because they flail their supposed, obsolete morality upon people who are evolving to find their way among open-minded, evolved religion that is satisfying to them.  There are many religions that do this in many different countries, too.  There is a real struggle going on between people of faith who are extremist, conservative and/or fundamentalist and those that seek the “enlightenment” of the newest century.  One side cheats to win while the other side evolves in leaps and bounds.  It’s all very telling: the mindset that my religion is right and yours is wrong is disappearing from modern church congregations and their leaders.  The conservatives, extremists, and/or fundamentalists are fighting to regain control over everyone that they can.  It’s a “battle” that they are losing because change to them is very frightening, evolution of spiritual dogma is becoming commonplace, and the hold they had on many people is eroding.

My heart goes out to the people who attended Lashai’s funeral and had to endure such intolerance and bigotry.  I am appalled by this reverend’s lack of respect for people who live outside his small-minded morality.  It is sad that they had to endure that after enduring the untimely death of a beloved friend.  One day, the identity of male and female will no longer be oppressed by those arguing for their limitations according to a book, text, or imposed obsolete morality.  I hope that one day it will not matter if you are woman or a man at birth.  I hope one day all people will be equal no matter what their gender is or who they love.  That day is coming, albeit slow, but it is coming.  Our rights will no longer be alienated in the name of a religion.  Celebrating differences will be common, and all people will see that pressing morality upon people doesn’t work and is not supported by the majority.   The right to live in peace and harmony with one another will be more important than anything else.  When that day comes, it will be a celebrated day.