On July 21, 2019, at 6:15 p.m., an unknown person zip-tied a decorated cross to an entrance of First Congregational Church of Battle Creek. The cross contained a vulgar and transphobic message that included the word “repent” on it. The message was blurred out in the photo above due to obscene and hateful language.

The vandalism was discovered as organizers Battle Creek Pride arrived at the church to start setting for their candlelight vigil honoring transgender individuals who had lost their lives to violence and suicide. The vigil was set as the final gathering for Battle Creek’s LGBTQ+ Pride weekend.

In a news release, Battle Creek Pride had this to say of the incident...

The board members of Battle Creek Pride condemn the transphobic vandalism placed on the door of one of the few places in this city we know to be safe. The timing of the vandalism, while hurtful, proves our cause: educating, honoring, celebrating the lives of our community and resisting those who try to oppress us. We are grateful to FCC for their support, allyship and their position to take an aggressive and definitive stance against this transphobic action.

First Congregational Church remains steadfast and faithful to its commitment of solidarity with the trans community. We believe that transgender and gender non-conforming people are created in God’s image and deserving of love. We believe that they are divine, essential members of our faith community as they live, worship and work for justice alongside us. We also believe that transphobia is an evil that creates a less loving, less just world. We strive to root out transphobic words, attitudes, and actions in our own hearts. We seek to advocate for the needs of trans and gender non-conforming individuals as they struggle with employment, housing, healthcare access and safety in Battle Creek.

The trans community experiences hate, discrimination and violence every day. It only makes us more determined in our fight for justice. We know who we are. We know the love and light that we have to offer the world. Fear and hatred will not deter us from living, loving, worshipping, working, raising our children and fighting for justice in the city of Battle Creek.

This come on the heels of the announcement that four crosswalks would be painted in a rainbow for the Battle Creek Pride Festival. When the contractor arrived to begin painting the crosswalks, they were greeted by protesters carrying signs.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is being asked to call Silent Observer at 269-964-3888.

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