Joy. Resistance. Creativity. Freedom.

By Ezra Fairley-Collins

When given the chance to write about the state of trans lives, my mind immediately said, “How does one even begin to write about trans lives when it feels like new attacks are popping up every day?” Then my mind said, “This is an opportunity to celebrate trans joy. Trans resistance. Trans creativity. Trans freedom” and so that is what we shall do!

Let’s begin with a snapshot of some of the criminal and legislative attacks against trans folx so that we’re able to appreciate the magnitude of trans joy, resistance, creativity and freedom.

  • In the US in 2022, there were 34 deaths of trans folx across 18 states and 27 cities and towns.
    • Since 2013, 85% of trans deaths were trans women; 85% were victims of color; 63% were Black trans women; and 77% were under the age of 351
  • Club Q, a LGBTQ+ nightclub in Colorado Springs, was the scene of a mass shooting killing two transgender and gender non-conforming people.
  • In 2023, there have been 556 anti-trans bills introduced in 49 states in which 80 have already passed.2
    • Underscoring legislation are numerous conservative Christian groups that have invested millions of dollars to lobby and work with lawmakers to introduce bills targeting trans people.3
  • Some recent bills/laws include:
    • Oklahoma,4 Montana,5 and Florida6 banning gender-affirming care for trans folx under 18.
    • Arizona introducing bills that guardians and teachers can override a student’s pronouns, and books can be banned in schools that validate the concept of gender or pronouns2
    • North Carolina House passing a bill banning trans girls from participating in girls sport teams in middle and high school.7 

In this time; in this season; with 372 active anti-trans bills still in debate; How do we not “remain silent at this time” and instead stand firm in our “royal position [in] such a time as this” to ensure “relief and deliverance” for our trans siblings? (Esther 4:14)

We as the Alliance of Baptists can stand firm in our “royal position” by celebrating and uplifting trans joy, resistance, creativity and freedom.

As the Alliance, we celebrate:

  • Trans religious leaders such as Alliance Board Member, Erica Saunders, who was the first trans ordained person in the Alliance.
  • The ongoing life and work of Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, a survivor of the Stonewall Uprising in 1969, who runs the House of GG, the first educational and historical center with the sole purpose of providing programs, services and resources for trans and gender non-conforming people.8
  • The ongoing life and work of Alok Vaid-Menon, a non-binary creative and activist who challenges norms to re-imagine what’s possible for the individual and society.9
  • Senators teaming up with GLSEN introducing the GLSEN Rise Up for LGBTQI+ Youth in Schools Resolution to Protect LGBTQ+ Youth.10

As the Alliance, we celebrate our “royal position” that “all bodies [are] intrinsically good and made in God’s image.” We “stand firm” in affirming “that sexual and gender diversity defy binary categories and are intrinsically a part of the divine beauty and wonder of creation.”11 We experience the privilege of being led by our trans siblings in all facets of life within the Alliance. As such, we resist being a part of Christian community that seeks to exclude rather than include and instead, celebrate trans joy, creativity, and freedom. 

Last, but certainly not least, we as the Alliance have, and must continue, to use our platform to make our collective presence known not only in our local communities but in our states and our country. We must continue to be a loud voice in the room as we have a seat at the table to demand that folx see the humanity of trans people, rejecting anything that says otherwise. We must publicly mourn and denounce violence against the trans community. In particular, the disproportionate violence against the Black and Brown trans community. We must continue to be a loud voice in celebrating trans joy, resistance, creativity, and freedom!

At the end of the day, for trans people, every day is an act of resistance against everything that says we should not exist. Every day is an act of resistance against every lawmaker that believes they can legislate our bodies. Every day is an act of resistance against every system that believes we are not worthy of joy and love. Every day is an act of resistance against every religious institution that believes we’re not holy and a part of God’s holy community. 

My closing question for you, my Alliance of Baptists siblings, is how do you not “remain silent at this time” but instead, stand firm in “your royal position [in] such a time as this?” How will you be an active participant in bringing “relief and deliverance” for trans people? How will you ensure that your church body takes a stand for trans people? How will you celebrate trans joy, resistance, creativity, and freedom? 



Ezra Fairley-Collins, M.Div (he/him) is a Manager in Performance Marketing at New Engen Marketing agency. He is a 2020 graduate of Wake Forest University School of Divinity. Ezra currently serves on The Alliance of Baptists’ Nominating Committee and has previously served on two of The Alliance’s Annual Gathering planning teams. He enjoys all things sports, spending time outside and exploring new restaurants, vineyards and breweries. Ezra resides in Charlotte with his wife, Malu, and their children.

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