I’ve listed Trans Expressions: The Many Faces of My FTM Journey (2019) by the Rev Mykal Shannon as an (auto) biography, but that may be a bit misleading.
This small book (74 pages, double spaced) is part poetic reflection and part invitation to think differently. It is more of an experiential moment with someone than a story in the way that we usually think of biographical writing.
That said, it gives you a feeling, a sense of what Mykal Shannon is about, including his vulnerability and commitments. It is all heart. Here is an excerpt:
I know some of your secrets, I tell some of your lies/ I say it’s all good when I’m ticked off inside/ I worry about the bills left on the table that day/ only to come home and find everything the exact same way
Excerpt from “Dear Dad,” page 35
In the first 56 pages, we get this kind of poetic, deeply personal insight.
In that remaining 20 pages (labeled “P.S. Nuggets for You”), Shannon changes his voice entirely to offer encouragement, theology, and teaching. He reminds us that this section is interactive. This is prose, but it is also another collage of encounter:
To all in the LGBTQ and gender variant community and our gender-non-conforming from folks who feel a call to ministry whether in the pulpit or in a particular sector or vocation; go for it.
Excerpt from “Go For It,” page 58
If you grab this volume for a heady, detached, intellectual discourse on the nature of Black trans masculine clergy life, you may be disappointed–or perhaps just surprised. This book is something different–not your average books of essays, your average biography, nor even your average book of poetry. Something altogether different.
However, this little gem is heartfelt and evocative. It offers a different kind of insight–a glimpse of the heart of a man such as this. This book is a sacred gift.
Pastor Mykal Shannon is a retired law enforcement sergeant who now resides in Asheboro, NC. He has been an activist and voice for marginalized communities and social injustices in the south for more than 20 years. Pastor Shannon started his own church, Dynamic Faith Ministries, that focuses on providing a safe space for those who have felt ostracized by other religious entities.
Compiled by Mx. Chris Paige on August 17, 2019.
Note: This blog is intended to be an on-going work in progress. Please contact us if you have corrections or are able to contribute further context or reflections.