March 14, or 3/14 ,celebrates Pi, the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter most often approximated with the decimal 3.14. What better way to celebrate the irrational number (a decimal with no end and no repeating pattern) than by eating pie!
This day in Canada is also P.I.E. Day, a day to be Public, Intentional and Explicit allies of LGBTQ2SIA+ people. There is no end and no repeating pattern to people. Let’s affirm that. Let’s celebrate that by eating pie!
I invite you to scroll down below the picture of the pie and read the words of my cherished friend, Derek Kitchen, a member of the Pride group at my church.
The theme for P.I.E. Day is the year of intention. In the coming year what can I learn? What steps can I take to overcome fear? I intend to find out.
Read more about why we need more P.I.E. please.
Why we need more P.I.E., please
By Derek Kitchen
As an affirming congregation we love our trans brothers, sisters, children, grandchildren, friends, extended and chosen family and friends.
But I would also ask that, in order to affirm trans people, we may need to better understand the challenges posed by those who fear them, and perhaps educate those who act out of fear and misunderstanding.
We are now familiar with the challenges faced by trans refugees who have been beaten, tortured, burned out of their encampments, and faced with abuse even from governments, clergy, police and other refugees.
Trans people are murdered and subjected to violence at a higher rate than other gay and lesbian people. The human rights campaign reported the highest number of murdered trans people ever in 2021 with a reported total of 58 trans people murdered, predominantly members of the Black and LatinX populations. It is further expected that many trans murders go unreported because of stigmatization and homelessness amongst the trans community.
Trans youth are at a high risk for suicide. Lesbian, gay and bisexual teens in Canada are 5 times more likely than other teens to consider suicide and 7 times more likely to consider it. Trans youth are at even greater risk. The national institute of health in the USA reports that 86% of trans youth have seriously considered suicide, and 56% have had at least one suicide attempt.
It is important for us to support all trans people, but especially to support younger trans people who are at much higher risk. We need to provide safe spaces where they can ask questions without being judged, and many cannot do this safely at home, with their doctors, in their schools or faith communities.
Lest we think this is mostly an American problem, I’ll refer you to a CBC story from March 5, exactly one week ago. Some teachers in the York Catholic District School Board, have been displaying “Safe Space Stickers” the size of bumper stickers. These feature the inclusive pride flag, with trans colors included, and they signal acceptance to LGBTQ children and teens. Many of these stickers have been torn, defaced with epithets and profanity, and removed.
Police had to be called when a group of parents stormed the board meeting to protest the use of these stickers in schools. There were comments like, “They are not safe spaces. They should warn that they’re danger zones!” and “They’re preaching confusion and acceptance which is truly disgusting.” One parent said the stickers were not compatible with faith and that LGBT students should not be allowed to attend the school.
Now we know that in Ontario this kind of exclusion is a violation of the Ministry of Education’s Human Rights policies, but this does not make the situation any less complicated for trans kids or their families.
I would suggest that we not be silent when we see this kind of oppression.
As allies to the trans community, we cannot remain neutral because remaining neutral only empowers the oppressor.
There are many ways to be an ally to trans people. There are many online and other resources that can elaborate on simple strategies explaining how you can help. Most importantly, we can try to educate those who may be acting in harmful ways, possibly out of fear.
“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear…whoever fears has not reached perfection in love.”
— 1 John 4:18