Hunter Schafer’s pastor dad says Jesus inspires his fight for trans rights in powerful essay

Hunter Schafer and her dad

The father of Euphoria’s Hunter Schafer has written a powerful essay explaining why people of faith should be rushing to support trans rights.

Hunter Schafer, the out trans star who plays Jules on the hit HBO show, has long been an outspoken advocate for her community – and now her father’s stepping up to do the same.

The Reverend Dr Mac Schafer serves as a Presbyterian pastor in Raleigh, North Carolina, but that doesn’t stop him fighting transphobia.

He spoke of his support in a searing op-ed for People, beginning with the moment five years ago when his daughter told him she wanted to partner with the ACLU to challenge North Carolina’s infamous anti-trans bathroom bill.

“As a student on a University of North Carolina campus, the law specifically targeted Hunter, and she felt passionately about taking a stand against discrimination,” he recalled.

“[My wife] Katy and I stood by Hunter and were in awe of the bravery and poise she and other transgender people showed in the face of that dehumanising law.

“We saw, for the first time, a conversation unfold about dignity and respect for transgender people on an unprecedented national scale.

“Sadly,” he continued, “many lawmakers seemed to have not learned their lesson.”

Here the reverend touched on the wave of anti-trans legislation sweeping across America, which has seen a devastating transphobic rhetoric follow in its wake.

“As parents, Katy and I are pained at the news of this anti-trans crusade, because we know that most Americans don’t want to harm people for being who they are,” he said.

“Polling consistently shows that Americans support protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination, and a recent study showed that a majority of people oppose specific anti-transgender bills.

“It feels like some lawmakers, however, are trying to pull us back and undo the progress that our country has made on the question of transgender dignity and equality.”

Schafer highlighted the ongoing discrimination LGBT+ Americans experience in key areas of life, including public spaces, services and transit.

He implored readers to lobby lawmakers to pass the Equality Act and explained why, as “devoted people of faith,” he and his wife see absolutely no conflict with “religious freedom”.

“We fully believe that LGBTQ folks are beautifully and wonderfully made by God and are an essential part of the human community,” he said. “Everything we know about the ministry of Jesus tells us to work for the liberation, freedom and the full humanity of all people.

“As people of faith we are always working to come down on the side of compassion, and justice, because that’s what Christ modelled so boldly in his ministry. Each week in my blessing to the congregation I serve, I tell them, ‘They are loved beyond their wildest imagination.’

“The God I worship is not one of fear, but one whose essence is courageous love, especially towards those who are not in power and are unjustly pushed to the margins.”

Let’s hope his words are heard where it matters.