The Church of Sweden, the largest Lutheran denomination in Europe, has announced that “the church could be described as trans” as there are trans individuals who attend and serve in the congregation.
In an open letter, titled “Personal Letter to You Who are Trans”, the church condemned the “trans-excluding feminism” that some “right-wing groups” and “right-wing populists” use to diminish the rights of those who identify as transgender.
“We are sorry for how the media has treated you and we mourn the part of feminism that has fought for its rights and now wants to limit yours. With this letter we want to show that you are not alone and that we are many who stand by your side. For a long time we have seen and heard so many voices talking about you, and wanting to limit your life. Now we can no longer be silent,” the letter reads.
They use story of Hagar in the Bible, a girl who was abandoned in the desert with her child but for whom God provided water, and compare her story to that of trans-identifying people, in what they describe as their ongoing fight for respect.
“We are often dependent on the people in power. They decide whether we should get the care we need and whether our rights should be exercised... But in the story, God shows Hagar that even if we are displaced by those in power, it does not affect our value.
“No one can take away our value as human beings. Like Hagar, we all, Christians or not, transgender or cispers, have our own relationship with God. We have our own story that exists and is true, regardless of whether someone else wants it to exist or not,” the letter continues.
According to The Guardian, this is not the first time the Church of Sweden has promoted LGBT+ ideology within the denomination. In 2017, it was reported that clergy were encouraged to use gender-neutral language when referring to “the supreme deity" and avoid the use of “He” and “Lord” and instead use “God”.
Written by four leading priests and signed by almost a thousand people - ranging from other priests, deacons, church staff and churchgoers - the letter wants to see the normalisation of trans rights in church settings.
“We believe in a church and a God who welcomes people beyond power, national boundaries, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender and gender identity. A humanity in all the colours of the rainbow, absolutely fantastic and infinite in its diversity.”
The letter concludes wishing God´s blessing.
You can read the full letter here.