Across Generations: OtherWise Binary Breakers

So, I had a delightful time talking with Avery Smith of Blessed Are the Binary Breakers. They couldn’t quite get me to stop talking, so the outtakes will actually comprise a second episode another month out! But meanwhile, I am featured on Episode 22, which you can download wherever you listen to podcasts.

  • I was dismayed listening to find that I have not yet eliminated the word “crazy” from my casual conversation. So trigger warning and apologies for some ableist language on my part.
  • Avery has also provided a transcript of the conversation.
  • If you’re still adapting to the whole podcast thing (like me), then Google Podcast is accessible in any old web browser.

Meanwhile, I started crying just reading the opening of the transcript. Avery and I talked some about generational change and what I have seen over the last 25 years. It was powerful for me to experience Avery saying out loud that I’ve been in this LGBT Christian scene for as long as they have been alive. It’s really hard for trans folk to experience ourselves generationally.

“I got my MDiv at 48,” said one long-time colleague trying to be supportive as I was sorting through graduate school options just before the pandemic hit.

But, at 48, I haven’t started graduate studies, yet. I am a parent of a teenager. My body is changing. I’ve left a couple of careers behind and made LGBT history several times over. Yet, some people still treat me like a 20- or 30- something who just hasn’t yet embraced my call.

All this to say that it was incredibly refreshing to talk with the next generation. Not that I’m done yet, not that I don’t know some younger folk. But Avery talked about looking for trans religious history, looking for trans Christian resources, and hitting roadblocks. Avery talked about being told over and over again that they are the first non-binary person in X situation. There’s a powerful way they articulated why all of this matters–both to me and to them.

Avery and the BBB podcast remind me of me and Transfaith Online circa 1999. So much the same, only totally different.

Like when Vicky Kolakowski wrote that my work with OtherWise Christian is picking up where she left off circa 2000.

Like being able to sit down with Virginia Mollenkott and talk across generations.

Like being able to honor Mother Major.

It matters to know that we are not the first and that we are not the last.

So, Avery asking me to talk about how I got to this place means everything to me right now. Despite all of my trans religious history-making, I think this might be the first time I’ve really told my own story in a coherent way that connects the dots for people like me.

I got to honor the Lenape and talk about coming out of white Christian Reformed/Presbyterian traditions. I got to talk about Kirkridge GLC retreats and Columcille standing stones and gay elders and sacred way making on the mountain as a young adult. I talked about the power of sitting in a circle with powerful women at Christian Lesbians Out Together (CLOUT) gatherings and how they launched me on this journey in so many ways. I got to mention The Other Side magazine and Re-Imagining. This is the old country for me.

I also got to talk about trans friends and colleagues who have invited me into myself. I got to talk about their wisdom. I got to talk about the books. I got to talk about Mother Major and Jesus. I got to talk about Animism and Humanism and Multi-faith community and Black Church traditions. I got to talk not only about my sense of quirky call and misfit wisdom, but also about my vision for changing the face of pastoral care and practical theology to better support trans and intersex and OtherWise people through libraries and seminaries and leaving a legacy.

I can be a difficult person to understand–at least for many people who have not had a similar journey.

Avery was really able to meet me–was able to draw all of that out, appreciating this full range of who I have been and who I am becoming without needing to change me into something that I am not. So, I am grateful. I hope you like it, too.

Compiled by Mx Chris Paige on May 26, 2020. This blog is a work in progress. Please be in touch with corrections or concerns.

P.S. Also, as an editor, I appreciate the audio editing who surely made me sound more coherent than I was in raw footage!

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