7 December 2022

Church to remember suffering of transgender community

St John’s Camberwell will observe Transgender Remembrance Day. Picture: iStock.

Jenan Taylor

3 November 2022

Transgender people and their families are set to be commemorated at a Camberwell church as part of its Remembrance season.

St John’s Camberwell will hold a service on Transgender Remembrance Day for people from the global transgender community who have lost their lives because of violence.

Vicar, Father John Baldock said some of his LGBTQIA+ parishioners had asked him if the community could be included in the church’s series of memorial services for those who have died.

Citing the 375 known murders of trans and gender-diverse people worldwide during 2021, Mr Baldock didn’t believe the church should hesitate in recognising that community’s suffering.

He said in the area of transgenderism, it was necessary for the church to remember and reflect.

“Sometimes our wondering about and dealing with complex issues can have very, very dire consequences for those involved,” Mr Baldock said.

He said there were no negative responses from the parish to the planned transgender service, and he didn’t expect any, even if there might be congregants who would not initially welcome it.

Read more: My friend just came out as transgender, how should I respond to this? 

Mr Baldock said that his transgender parishioners were keen to ensure that the service was not just about themselves and wanted it to also be for the wider population who had been affected by the persecution of the trans community.

“It will be an act of care for the families who are also having to deal with the issues that affect their loved ones who are transgender people,” Mr Baldock said.

The service will consist of prayers, candle lighting, readings, silent reflection, singing and music.

St John’s remembrance series which started with All Soul’s Day also includes a service for those who have died of COVID, as well as all deceased who had been a member of the church since it was built.

“We’ll go out to our memorial garden and read out their names, which will take a while, but it will be incredibly moving,” Mr Baldock said. “But it’s a lovely moment to do that around All Soul’s. It’s a way of engaging with this time of the year and focussing people’s hearts and minds on remembrance.”

The transgender commemoration will take place on Sunday 20 November at 4.30pm.

If you or a loved one needs support, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636.

In an emergency, phone triple zero (000) to reach ambulance services or police.

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