A Christian group is trying to atone for discrimination against transgender people in their community by raising money and praying for transgender people undergoing surgery.
According to the campaign website, a group called Faithfully LGBTQ has started the #TitheTrans Campaign. The group, which exists to draw attention to the stories of LGBTQ people of faith, explained it’s raising money to help transgender people with surgeries related to their gender identity. They are doing that by calling on church members to donate, which explains the campaign’s name. Tithe is when churchgoers donate 10% of their earnings to the church.
“For those who do need surgeries in order to be at peace in their own bodies it can be a hard to gain access to,” the Tithe Campaign’s statement reads. “The trans community is disproportionately in poverty and gender affirming surgeries can range anywhere from 10k-90k.”
The money, according to the fundraiser page, will go to the Jim Collins Foundation, an organization that provides grants to transgender people for gender affirmation surgery. Along with the financial boost, the campaign also offers up prayers for those people undergoing surgery.
“Christians have disparaged the bodies of trans people which has contributed to a culture of violence against them,” the campaign’s website says. “From promoting anti-trans bathroom legislation to theology that has lead to suicides and homelessness. For those Christians who have seen this violence and have been horrified by it, it’s time to put your tithe money where your beliefs are.”
The campaign is right that negative attitudes toward transgender people contribute to mental health issues and suicidal ideation among transgender people, as well as violence against them. We know that 41% of transgender adult have attempted suicide. And we know that acceptance and support of transgender young people decreases their risk of mental health issues and suicidal ideation.
This campaign, organizer Eliel Cruz- Lopez told Teen Vogue, is an opportunity for Christians to show they are allies to transgender people.
“My hope is that Christians begin to understand the various disparities that the trans community face. From poverty, to violence, to lack of access to basic healthcare needs,” Eliel said. “I also hope Christians, who may be affirming of LGBT people, understand that being affirming is not enough. If important for allies to give back in tangible ways. I hope #TitheTrans to be a way for Christians to show up and be allies by giving their tithe money to gender affirming surgeries.”
And many people of various religions want to show up, Eliel said.
“There’s been signs of a religious left in media in recent years,” he said. “Clergy who show up to protest white supremacists in Charlottesville is a good recent example. I hope this shows non Christians the small but growing number of Christians who hold theological views that are life giving and affirming of LGBT people.”