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Religions around the world are contributing to transphobic violence, activists warn

Maggie Baska January 14, 2022
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Lady Dane Figueroa Edidi holds up a sign that reads "trans people are divine". J Mase III holds up a sign that reads "transphobia is haram".

Lady Dane Figueroa Edidi and J Mase III are holding their fourth iteration of their #TransphobiaIsASin Campaign. (Instagram/@jmaseiii)

A group of activists invite social media to join their campaign to ‘disrupt the religious violence trans people experience every day’.

Lady Dane Figueroa Edidi and J Mase III edited the Black Trans Prayer Book to dismantle toxic religious practices that alienate people in the LGBT+ community. The anthology is composed of work by Black trans, non-binary and gender non-conforming people.

In 2019, the pair hosted their first annual event for the #TransphobiaIsASin Campaign. The online campaign highlights religious violence that impacts trans, non-binary and gender non-conforming people worldwide – especially those from Black, Indigenous and other marginalised communities.

Now, on Saturday (15 January), Dane and Mase will launch their fourth iteration of the campaign. In it, they are inviting anyone that is “invested in ending religious (ie: all) violence against Trans, Non-Binary and Gender Expansive Peoples”.

“Anti-trans religious violence does not just look like demonising trans people within worship spaces,” they said. “It is the theology that finds its way to the tongues of politicians who create anti-trans policies.”

They continued: “It manifests as the framework that blooms violence against trans people on the street, in their families, and in community at large.”

In a post on social media, Dane and Mase explained they want to “call attention to, and disrupt the religious violence trans people experience everyday”.

They have invited anyone interested in taking part to take a photo holding up a sign with one of the following lines: “Transphobia is a Sin”, “Transphobia is Haram”, “Trans People are Divine” or “Trans People Exist Because Our Ancestors Existed”.

The photo should be posted to social media on or close to Saturday, and it should use the hashtag “#TransphobiaIsASin”.

Mase told them that the book came into existence as they wanted to do “some intentional work on creating spiritual space” for people within their community.

“That included Black trans people who are part of religious communities as well as Black trans folks who’ve been run out of religious communities,” Mase said.

He added that they knew this wasn’t a job just for him and Dane. So the pair gathered a “crew of people from all over the US and beyond” to offer their insights for the interfaith, multi-dimensional work.

Dane said her main takeaway from the book was: “Wow, Black trans people are just amazing”.

“Black trans people are the leaders this world has been looking for,” she explained. “It’s time some of these cis folks, especially the white ones, get out the way.”

Dane continued: “Get out the way and pour resources into the community.

“The solutions for liberation that the world has been seeking have already been theorised.

“Now it’s time for the world to actually honour the role that Black trans people have always been destined to play: healing the world, prophesying a future and birthing liberation.”

Dane and Mase will also close out the new campaign with a workshop on how to heal from religious trauma which is set to take place on 18 January.

More: Black queer and trans community, transphobia

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