The Sisters of Mercy of the Americas have encouraged their community to participate in the Transgender Day of Remembrance and Resilience today.
The Mercy statement notes that 2021 is the deadliest year on record for transgender people with at least 46 killings in the U.S. so far, affecting Black and Latinx people in particular. In response to this terrible fact, the statement reads, in part:
“As members of the Mercy community, we stand resolutely against discrimination and violence, emboldened by our Critical Concerns, particularly those of racism, nonviolence and women. As we continue to respond to our Chapter 2017 Recommitment to “hear the cry of our suffering world,” our continued education on gender identity and sexual orientation compels us to move to the margins in solidarity with our LGBTQ+ siblings. . .
“Becoming allies with the trans and larger LGBTQ+ community might require us to stretch our comfort zones, but on Trans Day of Remembrance and beyond, it is truly a concrete way to witness to mercy in the dignity of every person and to pursue integrity of our words and our deeds.”
The page on which the statement appears includes suggestions for how members can pray, listen, and act in support of transgender people and the wider LGBTQ community. These include having a reading of “a litany of names of all those killed this year,” examining “our own inherent biases and homophobic ideas,” and taking time “to read and hear the stories of transgender people in their anguish and their joy, listening deeply with compassion and integrity.”
The Sisters of Mercy have been leaders in advancing LGBTQ inclusion in the church. Earlier this year, the Institute Leadership Team and 18 individual sisters signed onto New Ways Ministry’s statement on LGBTQ non-discrimination, “A Home for All.” In March, the leadership both expressed its “disappointment” with the Vatican ban on same-gender blessings and signed onto New Ways Ministry’s pledge to bless such couples. The sisters signed onto the Tyler Clementi Foundation’s statement against the bullying of LGBTQ youth. Several Mercy sisters have been outspoken about being lesbian, advancing equality for LGBTQ religious. It was a Mercy sister, Mary Scullion, who founded Pennsylvania’s first LGBTQ-friendly shelter for unhoused youth. And, in 2016, the Sisters of Mercy in San Francisco stood by a transgender teacher as they transitioned.
Now, the Mercies are leading the church once again by accompanying the transgender community. New Ways Ministry joins them, and invites every Catholic to do likewise, in remembering the loss of these transgender victims and recognizing the trans community’s immense resilience in the face of such violence.
Eternal rest grant unto the following transgender people killed this year and all those victims who go unnamed, O God. And let perpetual light shine upon them: Tyianna Alexander, Samuel Edmund Damián Valentín, Bianca “Muffin” Bankz, Dominique Jackson, Fifty Bandz, Alexus Braxton, Chyna Carrillo, Siblings Jeffrey “JJ” Bright, Jasmine Cannady, Jenna Franks, Diamond Kyree Sanders, Rayanna Pardo, Jaida Peterson, Dominique Lucious, Remy Fennell, Tiara Banks, Natalia Smut, Iris Santos, Tiffany Thomas, Keri Washington, Jahaira DeAlto, Whispering Wind Bear Spirit, Sophie Vásquez, Danika “Danny” Henson, Serenity Hollis, Oliver “Ollie” Taylor, Thomas Hardin, Poe Black, EJ Boykin, Aidelen Evans, Taya Ashton, Shai Vanderpump, Tierramarie Lewis, Miss CoCo, Pooh Johnson, Disaya Monaee, Briana Hamilton Kiér Laprí Kartier, Mel Groves, Royal Poetical Starz, Zoella “Zoey” Rose Martinez, Jo Acker, Jessi Hart, Rikkey Outumuro, Marquiisha Lawrence, Jenny De Leon, Angel Naira.
—Robert Shine, New Ways Ministry, November 20, 2021