Georgia Trans Church Minister Shakes Up Conservatives in Anti-Trans Bill Defiance

State sessions are coming to an end if they haven’t already. During the time before their recess, legislators attempt to vote on as many bills as possible to avoid them from hanging in limbo.

A New Era

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This political year, several states concluded their session by making modern history by not passing a single anti-LGBTQ+ bill. One state that shocked political observers was the Republican-dominated state of Georgia.

Hate Moves No Further

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While the state did have several proposals against the queer community, specifically trans rights, none of them were successful. While there are a number of factors that can contribute to this shift in mindset, one unlikely individual believes they played a small part.

Trans-formative Church

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Andi Woodworth is minister at Neighborhood Church in Atlanta. Woodworth has been ministering at the Methodist church since 2016 and is known for her open-minded approach when it comes to religion and LGBTQ+ rights. She is also openly trans.

Addressing the House

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Woodworth went down in history as the first open trans member of the clergy to address the Georgia House of Representatives. On March 11 of this year, Woodworth spoke to the House during morning prayer, invited by Rep. Saira Draper.

Humanity Appealed

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Woodworth’s theory about her impact comes from her just simply being present. She commented “My hunch is just being there humanized me and humanized my community,”.

Tacking Onto the Agenda

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Throughout the year, several proposals for anti-trans laws had made there way to the House, commonly attached to other bills covering topics in education and healthcare.

Cutting Out Trans Participation

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The legislation included efforts to ban trans athletes from competing in publicly funded sports events, limit sex education to heteronormative standards, and notify guardians on books their children would check out from libraries.

Blocking Hormone Blockers

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Another bill proposal was one that was set to prohibit the prescription of hormone blockers to trans youth. Other options such as gender-affirming surgery is already illegal in the state, but is currently under questioning in the court.

Guarding the Youth

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With all the potential for things to turn sour for young trans Georgians, Woodworth is proud to be one of the people safeguarding their right to exist freely. “I want to say this had something to do with my presence at the capitol,” she says.

Not Standing Alone

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Woodworth is not alone in her campaign. While she stands firm in her contribution, she also credits that a bulk of the work is done by activists, allies, and pro-LGBTQ+ politicians advocating against these proposals.

Opposites Collide

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During Woodworth’s visit to the capital, she met and spoke with Jon Burns. Burns is a firm Republican and serves as the House Speaker.

Finding Middle Ground

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The two were able to hold a civil discussion and reaffirmed Woodworth’s belief that just by knowing queer people makes someone more inclined to support queer rights. Woodworth says that they “found some commonality.”

Growing in a New Direction

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After her transition in 2020, Woodworth has been a pillar of her community. She works tirelessly to bridge the social gap between religion and queerness, showing that one can identify as both. She reports that her church has made spiritual growth.

A Safe Haven

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 Her church has been working hard to do what they can for LGBTQ+ people. As one of the founders, Woodworth has always believed that a church is a place without judgment. It should offer an escape from racial and gay persecution.

Neighborhood Church

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Woodworth co-founded the congregation with her partner. They had been married to each other before Woodworth’s transition, and are still married today. Her partner has been working in ministry for over a decade, spending the last 4 years at Neighborhood Church.

Not Like Other Churches

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This welcoming approach to LGBTQ+ people is refreshing, as Methodist congregations are in a great debate about the topic. Traditional teachings do not recognize gay marriage but, conveniently for Woodworth, mention nothing about identifying as trans.

A Double Holiday

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Key spiritual players like Woodworth come at a pivotal time in social politics. This year, conservative Christians were outraged with Easter Sunday sharing the same calendar slot as Trans Day of Visibility.

Mad at What?

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The outrage was mainly directed towards current President Joe Biden, who officially recognized the day of visibility. Individuals like Woodworth, however, embraced the conjoined holiday.

Praying for a Better Future

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Woodworth and the rest of her congregation have great hopes for the upcoming election. They are optimistic that voters who are pro-LGBTQ+ will turn out in support of the queer people in their lives that they know and love.

A Divine Calling

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In an era where trans rights hang at a precipice, Woodworth stands firm in her mission of promoting love and acceptance. While she may be just one person, her story has reached her state legislation, and that is a feat that cannot be underestimated.

The post Georgia Trans Church Minister Shakes Up Conservatives in Anti-Trans Bill Defiance first appeared on Pulse of Pride.

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