My Stint as a Transgender Bell-Ringer in Salvation Army
Jennifer Finney Boylan faces dilemma between group's work and values
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Dec 17, 2013 12:00 PM CST
Updated Dec 17, 2013 12:25 PM CST
Transgender novelist and Colby College English professor Jennifer Finney Boylan poses Monday, March 3, 2008 at her home in Belgrade Lakes, Maine.   (AP Photo/Joel Page)

(Newser) – The Salvation Army has, in recent years, made waves for anti-LGBT views, not least one rep's comment that gays "deserve death." Would the group tolerate a transgender woman taking up bell-ringing? Jennifer Finney Boylan tells her story in the New York Times. She opted to volunteer before the group's opinions on sexuality had emerged, though she had her concerns: "I could picture the scene—the head of the Red Kettle corps taking one look at me, knocking the Santa hat off my head, contemptuously snapping all my candy canes in half."

But when Boylan arrived for duty, the woman holding the post gratefully handed over the bell. Donors were grateful, too. Eventually, a friend questioned Boylan: "Don’t you know how awful they are to gay men and lesbians?" When she learned more, a "moral quandary" emerged, pitting the group's values against its millions of dollars of aid. "When a hand reaches out to help us in our hour of desperation, should we stop to question the beliefs of the person to whom that hand belongs?" Ultimately, Boylan decided to stop volunteering—but not to stop giving. Meanwhile, she works for other charities, including gay-rights group GLAAD. Click for her full column.

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Dec 17, 2013 4:08 PM CST
Why do you have to be transgendered to ring a bell, can't a quadraplegic schizophrenic do just as good a job? Btw, I want my Krugerand back.
Dec 17, 2013 3:16 PM CST
I refuse to support the Sally Army because of their opposition to civil rights. I try find charities that are open-minded as well as open-hearted.
Dec 17, 2013 3:09 PM CST
Judging someone because of their religious beliefs is no better...if not worse than hating someone who is gay. In other words most of these posters are saying, "If you don't believe the way I do then I hate you." How about if you live your life and let others live theirs. Hypocrites!!!!