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Screen-Shot-2016-01-30-at-4_30_20-PMI am haunted by the smiling, confident, beautiful face of Monica Loera. Gunned down on Jan. 22 in Austin, TX, she is the first reported murder of a transgender murder in the United States in 2016. (Unfortunately not the first this year around the world as the DallasVoice headline would suggest, as many of our community have become murder victims already in places like Brazil and Argentina.)

With reported transgender murders around the world occurring in excess of 5 a week, it takes effort not to become numb to it. It takes a story a person can connect to. Monica’s picture and my friendship with the person who forwarded the story to me have turned numbness into an aching heart and a sick feeling inside.

To add insult to injury, members of the media used Monica’s birth first name and misgendered her. That stirred up ire in me to go with the other emotions.

The one bit of good news is that the alleged killer was quickly apprehended, and charged with first degree murder. But this happened nine days ago. Where is the outrage over the number of murders? Where is the outrage over this murder? Where is the outrage over the disrespectful reporting and/or the way information was disseminated by the Austin Police?

If you mirror read Monica’s tee shirt in her photo, it states “PAID IN FULL.” When Jesus hung on the cross, His last words (as recorded in John’s Gospel) were “It is finished.” When John wrote that phrase in Koine Greek, he used the word tetelestai. It was the same word that merchants of that day and place would write to indicate that their customer’s bill was “Paid in Full”.

Perhaps this is why I have been so haunted by Monica’s picture. As what may become her final statement to the world, that phrase asks the church, where are you? Why are so many of you consenting to my death? Why are so many of you persecuting me? Why are so many of you betraying me? Why are so many of you silent on my behalf, out of fear or disinterest? Why have so many of you forsaken me?

But to those in the church who have been faithful in this matter, I hear these words: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. – Matthew 25:35-40

God bless,