Old South Presents Transgender Rights Group with Open Door Award
On Sunday, June 9, the historic Old South Church in Boston presented their Open Door Award to Freedom for All Massachusetts, the bipartisan coalition committed to defending the Bay State’s existing transgender-inclusive nondiscrimination law at the ballot this November. The organization was honored during Pride Morning Worship, Old South’s annual service celebrating the LGBTQ community.
The presentation comes at a time when certain protections for transgender people in Massachusetts are in question. In November, voters will decide whether or not to repeal the law that protects transgender people from being discriminated against in public spaces. A recent poll found that 52% of voters oppose the repeal, and 38% support taking away the protections. Freedom for All Massachusetts is doing everything they can to ensure that the nondiscrimination law stays in place.
Taj M. Smith, the current Faith Organizing Director for Freedom For All Massachusetts, accepted the award on behalf of the organization. Smith is a transgender preacher and advocate for the rights of queer and transgender people, and is the founder of Biblical Queeries, a queer bible study group in the Boston area.
Old South Church created the Open Door Award in 2014. Carved in stone above the Portico to Old South’s 1875 National Historic Landmark building are these words from the Book of Revelation: BEHOLD, I HAVE SET BEFORE THEE AN OPEN DOOR. They take these words to mean that in God’s name, it is their duty and privilege to pry open doors shut against any persons and to keep oiling the hinges of any doors rusting shut.
Previous recipients of the Open Door award include:
Adrian Walker, Metro Columnist for The Boston Globe
Callie Crossley, Pioneer Broadcast journalist and host of Under the Radar with Callie Crossley on WGBH
Sarah-Ann Shaw, Boston’s first African-American female TV reporter
The Honorable Elizabeth Warren, Senator
His Excellency Deval Patrick, Former Governor
Larry Kessler, Boston Living Center
Dr. Kenneth Mayor, The Fenway Institute
Bishop Tom Shaw, Bishop, Diocese of MA
Rev Frank Schaefer, Methodist Minister defrocked for officiating at his gay son’s wedding
Rev Judy Hanlon, founder of Asylum Seekers Ministry (in Worcester MA for gay people seeking asylum from such countries as Uganda, Kenya, Saudi Arabia)
The Boston Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence (Abbess Sr. Rosetta Stone)
Rev. Nancy Taylor, Senior Minister, 617-571-1459, firstname.lastname@example.org