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Trans voices in Christianity profiled on Religion News Service

Trans voices in Christianity profiled on Religion News Service

Photo from Mehki’s Youtube video

Eliel Cruz, writer of the Faithfully LGBT column, profiles seven people who are speaking about their experiences living faithful lives while identifying as transgender.

From the article:

Here’s 7 of the many trans Christian voices we need our churches to hear. Each of these individuals have unique stories and experiences but they all have one thing in common — their devotion to their faith.

One of the people profiled, Mekhi, who identifies as a trans man, creates youtube videos on his channel, PursuitOfHappynezz, where he talks about his identity and answers reader questions.

In the following video, Mekhi talks about being trans and Christian.

Mekhi is only one of seven voices that Cruz profiles; do you know of other trans folk who are speaking or writing about their experiences with Christianity? Do you have any other advice or resources to help churches become sanctuaries for trans folk?

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Sarah Lawton

Resources from a Christian and trans perspective: Don't forget Voices of Witness: Out of the Box, which features Episcopalian transgender voices. Made in 2012. Always a good place to start. http://youtu.be/QzCANWGsEdc

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Professor Christopher Seitz

Are we to assume that before people had the vast sums of money necessary; and the technology needed for surgeries, that people were miserable in their 'wrong gender' and spent their lives that way? Or with the funds and the technology and the media interest, are we giving people choices they would never have considered relevant before?

Forgive the Orwell question....

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Jon White

Yes, I think that is exactly right, people suffered or found other ways to express their gender short of surgical transformation. FYI, not all transgender people opt for surgery. So it is false to say that the opportunity created the desire. That makes as much sense as saying people choose to be deaf so they can get cochlear implants.

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Professor Christopher Seitz

Thanks, I'd welcome something like factual research.

Tides seek their own possible levels.

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David O'Rourke

It is also important to realize that the much higher rates of poverty, homelessness, and unemployment that trans people deal with, as well as the fact that many health insurance plans don't cover transition related medical procedures means that fully transitioning is not an option for many.

In response to Christopher's question, I would say the former. As we can see in Caitlyn Jenner's story as she begins to publicly share it, she suffered from gender disphoria throughout her life, and that it was not created by the availability of medical procedures.

What I think has changed is that with the greater awareness of transgender issues and positive presentations in the media of trans women such as Laverne Cox and now Caitlyn Jenner, fewer people who suffer from gender disphoria suffer feel the need to suffer in silence, with the attendant incredibly high rates of suicide and attempted suicide, and see a path towards expressing themselves for who they are and having a path to live that life.

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Paul Powers

I understand how you feel, JC. But mightn't it help the cause of trans acceptance to show that trans (like "cis") people have a variety of political points of view?

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Kelly Hayes

OK that wasn't my question at all but thanks anyway.

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JC Fisher

EVERYONE, including those in polyamorous relationships, is beloved by God.

However, as polyamory really has nothing to do w/ being Transgender, I would prefer that be discussed on a thread devoted to that topic, not this one.

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JC Fisher

But on-topic: welcome OUT, Caitlyn Jenner! 🙂 The Episcopal Church welcomes *you* (though not necessarily your politics---come, be converted. ;-/ ).

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David O'Rourke

Hi Kelly,

I posted my comment before yours showed up, so I didn't see your question, and was responding to the question at the end of the original post.

My understanding is that polyamory is different from transgender, and I don't have enough experience with or knowledge of what polyamory is about to answer your question.

Can you tell us more about your experiences in church as someone in a polyamorous relationship? What challenges have you faced, and how can the church better understand and welcome you?

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David O'Rourke

I recommend reaching out to a local LGBT or Trans advocacy group to learn more about issues facing the trans* community and how to be welcoming. Our parish invited in a speakers panel from a local group and we focused specifically on issues facing the trans community. We learned a lot and it fostered good conversation about how to be more welcoming.

Some specific things a parish can do include making a gender-neutral bathroom available, or making it clear that everyone can use the bathroom that matches the gender they identify with.

Many parishes have groups and ministries that are specifically for men or women, so think about how to welcome someone who is trans into those groups. For example, is a trans woman going to be welcome in the women's group, and what about the person who is gender fluid and does not identify as male or female? Think too about language in the liturgy, including such language as "brothers and sisters", and times that psalms are recited responsively between men and women.

Communicating a message of welcome, and really meaning it, will also create a safe place for your children and teen members when they struggle to understand their own gender identity.

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