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,