Siddur Sha’ar Zahav was published by our member organization Sha’ar Zavah and can be found here for anyone looking for an LGBTQ specific prayer book.
On Transgender Day of Remembrance, we hold a service in memory of all those who were killed because of anti-transgender hatred or prejudice. It is observed around the world in secular settings and in faith communities, on the anniversary of the November 20, 1998 murder of Rita Hester, a transgender person. It has been observed on the Shabbat preceding the date each year at Congregation Sha’ar Zahav since 1999.
God, full of mercy, bless the souls of all who are in our hearts on this Transgender Day of Remembrance. We call to mind today young and old, of every race, faith, and gender experience who have died by violence. We remember those who have died because they would not hide, or did not pass, or did pass, or stood too proud. Today we name them: the reluctant activist, the fiery hurler of heals, the warrior for quiet truth, the one whom no one really knew.
As many as we can name, there are thousands more whom we cannot, and for whom no Kaddish may have been said. We mourn their senseless deaths, and give thanks for their lives, for their teaching, and for the brief glow of each holy flame. We pray for the strength to carry on their legacy of vision, bravery, and love.
And as we remember them, we remember with them the thousands more who have taken their own lives. We pray for resolve to root out the injustice, ignorance, and cruelty that grow despair. We pray, God, that those who perpetrate hate and violence will speedily come to understand Your creation has many faces, many genders, and many holy expressions.
Blessed are they who have allowed their divine image to shine in the world. Blessed are You, God, in whom no light is extinguished.
O God, remember today those members of our family who were martyred in years past because of their sexual or gender identity: those murdered by fanatics in the Middle Ages, those who perished in the Holocaust, and those struck down in our own cities, in our own time. Remember also those who took their own lives, driven to despair by a world that hated them. And in mercy remember those who lived lives of loneliness, repressing their true nature and refraining from sharing their love with one another. O God, watch over the souls of these beloved ones: lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and help us bring an end to hate and oppression of every kind.