Church vandalism hurts trans community

Fewer than two days after the First Unitarian Universalist Church in Uptown hosted a town hall for the transgender community’s needs and concerns, its property was subject to destructive vandalism. It was a harsh reminder for everyone involved that whenever a step is taken to bring about positive social change, two steps are taken backward to hamper and destroy that progress.

Apart from the deliberate timing of the vandalism, the significance of the beautiful stained-glass window a rock was hurled at made matters much worse. The piece was handmade after Hurricane Katrina. 

“It represents the flood waters rising and the flood and the recovery after,” Reverend Paul Beedle said the morning after the vandalism. “It’s a meaningful window to us, we love it a lot and we will make it whole again.” 

The most disheartening part of this shattered window is the attempt to shatter the sanctuary that this church has become. While involved in various social justice campaigns, the church has worked tirelessly to make voices of marginalized communities heard. Though the Christian aspect of the church might be at odds with the acceptance of some of these communities, the church itself has tried to reconcile these differences. 

Today, the church acts as a safe space for everyone. It has several other ties to LGBTQ+ communities and was conducting the town hall due to the heightened danger surrounding its trans community, especially after the killings of two black trans women in February in New Orleans. The church’s misfortune is the latest in a string of vandalisms against LGBTQ+ safe spaces across the nation. With glass being shattered in Washington D.C., Oklahoma, New Jersey, Florida and now our own home, New Orleans, the determination of these centers to simply establish equality may be close to getting shattered as well.

The First Unitarian Universalist Church believes otherwise.

“It does not affect our commitment to stand by our transgender neighbors, and all our neighbors who are marginalized or targeted by systems of oppression,” the church’s official Facebook post said. Though it might have come to terms with the fact that every step forward is going to be met with steps backward, the church has resolved to keep taking those forward steps and to remain a safe, loving and accepting environment. 

Maybe it is time to revert to Gandhi’s ways and meet even the most severe act of violence with love. While it may not be the safest option for every community, those with enough privilege and love in their hearts can certainly take that step. As for now, “learn to love your neighbors,” was all Beedle had to say to those who tried to shatter the First Unitarian Universalist Church, a sanctuary in the New Orleans community. 

This is an opinion article and does not reflect the views of The Tulane Hullabaloo. Pratiksha is a freshman at Newcomb-Tulane College. She can be reached at [email protected].

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