Dear Convention Deputy/Bishop,
When we met for General Convention 2012 in Anaheim, it was clearly the mind of the church to support our transgender brothers and sisters, as four resolutions put the Episcopal Church on record in support of transgender-inclusive hate crimes legislation and employment non-discrimination. Yet what we found in the committee hearings and floor discussions was that gender identity and gender expression are issues that can easily be misunderstood and cannot be wrapped up in a neat little box. That experience was the inspiration for “Out of the Box” — a teaching tool created to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about the experience of transgender people and to give voice to their witness.
The result was a short documentary film produced by Integrity USA in partnership with TransEpiscopal as a gift to the Episcopal Church. The film offers the voices of witness of transgender people of faith telling the moving stories of their search for health and wholeness. Courageously inviting the viewer into their journeys, “Out of the Box” is ultimately a celebration of hope and the power of God's love to transcend even seemingly insurmountable obstacles.
The film has been available on YouTube since June 1st and at the time of this mailing has had over 4000* views. DVDs of the film are being mailed to every bishop and deputy in preparation for our work together at the 77th General Convention in Indianapolis and also for education at the diocesan and congregational level. A study guide, written by the Reverend Canon Gary R. Hall, Ph.D, is also being made available online to assist in that work. One viewer summed up the comments of many when she wrote. “Fiercely, beautifully, compelling. Enlightening and comforting to ALL of us who need to courageously live into our true selves, whoever that is and wherever that takes us.” — Sharyn D, Los Angeles CA
We know that there are many demands on your time and energy as you prepare for General Convention 2012, and we write today to urge you to commit 27 minutes of your pre-convention preparation to view this important film and to commend it to your diocesan and congregational leaders. Integrity remains committed to the full inclusion of all the baptized in all the sacraments – and finishing the work of transgender inclusion begun in Anaheim is another important step toward achieving that goal. We hope we can count on your support!
The Rev. Dr. Caroline Hall
President, Integrity USA
PS - If you're an alternate deputy who didn't get a DVD, you can watch the film by clicking here!
As this blog posts, we are up to 4,889 views on YouTube ... soon to pass the 5000 mark. For more infomation about "Out of the Box" ... including details on the Study Guide being prepared ... visit the OOTB page on the Integrity website.