Follow-up Message from Rev. Quinn Caldwell

Dear First Church Berkeley beloveds,

Thank you again for the chance to preach with you last month. It was an honor! One among you reached out afterwards to point out a use of language that caused them pain and anger. In the benediction, I said, “…to you, the dancers and the sitters, the trans and the not, the Vashtis and the Esthers, the Stormés, the Sylvias, the Marshas, and everybody in between…” In my mind, I was using “trans” as an adjective, which it is—but out loud, in that list of nouns, it sure did come off like I was saying “the trans” as some sort of jokey plural noun, and this caused real pain. 

So I write to say, first, thank you to that person, who took the time and emotional energy to write, hoping that I could hear their feedback. Thank you for your trust, and for the chance to get better. And second, I really am sorry for the pain and anger I caused in a world that already causes too much pain, sometimes unto death, to our trans siblings. I commit to being clearer and more careful in my use of language, and I relish your prayers as I do so.

God be with you,
Quinn Caldwell