I knew that I wanted a picture of bread and a chalice in the wild for OtherWise Christian: A Guidebook for Transgender Liberation. I actually drove all over New Jersey and into Pennsylvania before I found the final, perfect set up for the cover image.
The word “OtherWise” was actually given to me by the ancestors when we opened up a sacred site at Columcille. You see, they had a men’s sacred site and a women’s sacred site, but there was no place designated for the rest of us! The sacred OtherWise site remains off the map on the boundary at a cross-roads in a place of fire… but that is another story for another day.
The OtherWise Christian motif of yellow and black is intended to evoke thoughts of the Cliff Notes series as well as the “For Dummies” series, since the first book is a survey of 25 years of transgender-affirming scholarship. The layout is also a hat tip to Leslie Feinberg’s Transgender Liberation. I was later pleased to realize that it also put me in alignment with Joy Ladin’s Soul of the Stranger (which was actually published after I did my cover).
When I first started OtherWise Christian 2: Stories of Resistance, I drew a blank on cover inspirations. At first, I was calling it OtherWise Christian 2: Stories from the Front Lines, but that shifted soon enough. Since OtherWise Christian featured bread and a chalice, it eventually occurred to me that I might point toward baptism as the other consensus sacrament in Christian tradition.
I had initially imagined the ripple of water representing our stories having impact beyond us. Then these splash images snuck up on me and it all fell into place in a new way. Having the “2” ajar in the splash was a last minute spark as it all fell into place.
What is the impact of our being claimed in baptism? In this way, God embraces all of us, each and every part, including our bodies and even our discomfort with our bodies. Indeed, we are made of mostly water! What happens when that grace-filled baptismal water hits stone-cold hearts or brick walls? What kind of energy might be released as God’s grace guides us to embrace ourselves nonetheless? It is more than a ripple effect. It is the explosive power of the Good News.
If all goes as planned, OtherWise Christian 3 will focus on the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8. I hope to commission some original art for that cover. I am open to artist suggestions and volunteers, though I do have someone in mind (who does not yet know who they are… unless they are really smart… which they are… so they might figure it out when they read this…).
OtherWise Christian 2: Stories of Resistance will launch on March 31, 2020. Pre-orders are currently available on Amazon (ebook) and through the publisher. During the month of March, you can also get autographed copies of OtherWise Christian, Christian Faith and Gender Identity, and In Remembrance of Me, Bearing Witness to Transgender Tragedy at regular retail prices, with your pre-order of OtherWise Christian 2!
You can join in the excitement about “Stories of Resistance” by “claiming your story!” Use the #SacredOtherWise hash tags on social media: #TransAndSacred, #NonBinaryAndSacred, #IntersexAndSacred, #TwoSpiritAndSacred or your own variation.
We are also using #ClaimYourStory and #ClaimingOurStories to encourage celebration of our stories of faith and resistance.
You are especially encouraged to use these hashtags on #TransgenderDayOfVisibility / #TDOV on March 31, 2020!