HRC Blog

Speaking Up About Transgender Hate Crimes

The following post comes from Joanna Blotner, HRC Religion & Faith Program Coordinator:

Reverend Amanda Poppei, an ally in the faith community, recently attended a DC city council hearing regarding the escalating level of violence against members of the transgender community in Washington DC. Poppei provided testimony to emphasize the supportive religious voices and growing concerns about the violence.

Below is the testimony Poppei provided at the hearing:

Thank you for your time this afternoon--and for taking up this important matter. I am the Reverend Amanda Poppei, the senior clergy leader of the Washington Ethical Society in Ward 4. I also serve as co-chair of DC Clergy United, an interfaith group of clergy from all wards in the city, over 200 strong.

I am here to speak on behalf of many of my fellow faith leaders in solidarity with the DC transgendered community. We have been anguisehd as we have seen the rise in violence against this community--these are folks in our congregations, our churches, our families. I recognize this hearing speaks to hate crimes more generally--and I want to acknowledge the reality that hate crimes are indeed linked, that violence directed toward any one group leads to violence and fear within the broader community, particularly for those within vulnerable groups.

From a religious and ethical perspective, we are called as a community to care for every person, to affirm the worth, dignity, safety, and freedom of mvoement of every person. Those of us with power and privilege must ensure that the most vulnerable are protected. This is a tenet of really every religious faith, as well as ethical and philosophical frameworks. I urge you, therefore, to take all steps possible to provide adequate police presence and significant police training for protection of the transgendered community.

This is not really about caring for one group of people--it is about how we as a city care for all our people, how we create a culture of respect and safety. This is about who we want to be. I hope we want to be a city known not for our violence but for our love.

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