1st openly transgender bishop of major Christian denomination installed in San Francisco
SAN FRANCISCO - A San Francisco pastor is now the first openly transgender bishop of a major Christian denomination.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America installed the new bishop on Saturday. The Rev. Megan Rohrer is getting used to the new title of bishop and called it humbling.
"It’s fancy new embroidery but still first part of doing a new job, you want to do well since so many people around the world are paying attention," Rohrer said. "Becoming a bishop is one more field that trans people can be fully equal," said Rohrer.
Rohrer will lead the Sierra Pacific Synod comprised of about 200 Lutheran congregations in Northern and Central California.
State Sen. Scott Wiener, an advocate for the LGBTQ community, called it a groundbreaking step. Historically, organized religion has not been as welcoming.
"In terms of leadership, there is still not enough representation and having a trans bishop is a big deal and it sends a powerful message specifically to trans kids," said Wiener.
Rohrer served as pastor of Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church in San Francisco’s Outer Sunset and was San Francisco police’s first transgender chaplain.
The road to bishop has not been easy. Rohrer had been barred from the Lutheran Church because of its rules against people who are gay and transgender.
The church recognized Rohrer as a clergy member in 2010. Rohrer said it’s come full circle.
"As I’m thinking about other people who are going to be future pastors, I’m going to do the best I can to remove the hurdles in front of them just like hundreds of thousands of peoples moved hurdles out of my way," said Rohrer.
Above all, Rohrer, married with two children, hopes to inspire.
"There are a number of trans people who don't know if this world is safe enough to decide to live through the end of the day," said Rohrer. "I want to be the person to inspire."
Rohrer will serve a six-year term.
Azenith Smith is a reporter for KTVU. Email Azenith at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter and Instagram @AzenithKTVU or Facebook or ktvu.com.