Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Mass Walk Out At Mclean Funeral

One of the things we worry about once we leave this world as trans people is being disrespected at our funeral services or having our lives and the way we have lived them totally ignored by our grieving relatives.

When you're an African-American transperson, that concern is magnified because we are still trying to educate our people on our lives, fight through the disinformation on trans issues and reconcile them with our spirituality at the same time.  .

At Lashai Mclean's July 27 funeral at the Purity Baptist Church, those issues all came to a head when the sermon of Agape Missionary Baptist Church pastor Rev. A.W. Montgomery Sr. offended many of the people in attendance and triggered a mass walkout of 100 people.  

According to a Washington Blade article, people were also were offended by the misgendering of Lashai and an insensitive remark allegedly made by a deacon 

The service was held at Purity Baptist Church near Capitol Hill because the funeral home handling the arrangements for Lashai's service asked Rev. Robin Toogood, the pastor of Purity if he would do so.  Montgomery's church sanctuary in Suitland, MD is the one that grieving members of the Mclean family have ties to and was too small to accommodate the numbers of people expected to attend the funeral service for Lashai. 

Rev. Toogood told the Blade that after giving the welcoming remarks, he turned over the service to Montgomery.    He raised the ire of Mcclean's friends by referring to Lashai as 'he', to which people audibly shouted back 'she'.   D.C. activist and comedian Sampson McCormack relayed to the Blade, “And that came after somebody, I think it was a deacon, said when you live a certain lifestyle this is the consequence you have to pay.”  

Okay, as a Christian, I have a major problem with a minister preaching a funeral sermon laced with anti-TBLG remarks at a funeral for a TBLG person.   We had the same thing happen at a funeral for a gay Louisville friend of mine I attended a few years ago and I had to literally bite my tongue and restrain myself from interrupting the service and calling his butt out right then and there.  Fortunately I didn't have to because the GLBT ministers in the audience discreetly pulled the pastor aside and had the 'come to Jesus' meeting with him on behalf of me and 'errbody' else who was offended by his remarks.

Rick Rosendall, the vice president of the Gay and Lesbian Activist Alliance said it best about the jacked up situation on the GLAA website. "We cannot change the world or people’s minds all at once, but we sure can make it clear that we will not silently accept that kind of disrespect at a funeral.”

Lashai, hope you're finally resting in peace and getting acquainted with the Washington transwomen who preceded you in death.

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