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Transgender-Affirming Pastoral Care

OtherWise Christian is very much focused on making resources related to transgender-affirming religion (and Christianity specifically) more accessible at the grassroots. Meanwhile,  I am also moving into academia! The complexity of this dance will likely show up here in some subtle ways, though I expect my focus here will remain oriented toward the grassroots.

That said, a prominent research topic now that I have some access to academic databases, journal articles, and a theological library is transgender pastoral or spiritual care. For a research class, I was able to spend some time digging. Unfortunately, there was very little transgender-specific content out there. There is much work to be done!

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MCC TRANSformative Church Ministry Program, 2013

While I will be listing this resource with other transgender and religious curriculum, it is actually much more than that. This guide from the MCC Transgender Ministries team (led by Angel Collie) provides a recommended process for developing a comprehensive ministry with “transgender, gender non-conforming, and intersex people including educational, worship, and programmatic resources.” The suggested timeline is two to three years and includes goals around activism, education, and worship. In the context of Metropolitan Community Churches, a congregation or organization can be “certified” as having completed program goals. The main landing page for the program is found on the MCC website.

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HRC Gender Identity and Our Faith Communities curriculum, 2008

The history of Gender Identity and Our Faith Communities is complicated, but it’s a useful effort that centers many transgender voices (including Jewish and Muslim contributions even though it’s mostly Christian), literally, with the inclusion of audio files by the contributors to accompany the written materials.

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Transgender and Religious Curriculum Guide

I’m looking over past blog entries and realizing that I didn’t yet have a landing page for curriculum options. I’ve already posted about several options, but there are more that I’ll be adding as this isn’t yet a complete list! Most (but not all) of these are oriented toward Christian audiences. I would love to learn about additional resources to support conversation in other traditions!

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Transformative Inclusion, 2017 and 2019

The Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies (CLGS) at Pacific School of Religion has been working on transgender concerns since the early Transgender Religious Leaders Summits (circa 2006). The Latinx Roundtable, Jewish Roundtable, African-American Roundtable, Asian and Pacific Islander Roundtable, and Transgender Roundtable have provided leadership for a variety of events and resources. Justin Tanis and Jakob Hero have provided some of the most prominent transgender leadership, including around these resources.

They have produced two booklets titled Transformative Inclusionone with Christian perspectives (2017) and one with Jewish perspectives (2019). Each guide is 24 pages long, uses mostly the same pictures, and follows the same outline.  They each provide an accessible introduction to issues to be aware of in developing transgender inclusion at the congregational level, though I was surprised to see the word “transgenderism” used prominently.

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Transfigured: A 40-day Journey through Scripture for Gender-queer and Transgender people

Suzanne DeWitt Hall has self-published several books talking about sex, sexuality, gender, and Christianity. As a cisgender, queer author, she admits that she is a observer to the transgender experience. Her concise introduction to gender and the Bible in Transfigured: A 40-day Journey through Scripture for Gender-queer and Transgender People (2018) is useful. However, I would recommend it “for” cisgender allies more than “for” gender-queer and transgender people.

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They/Them-singular for the Grammar Police

But they/them is plural!” This is an argument (or question) that feels real and pervasive. Unfortunately, it is not a grounded in a thorough understanding of English grammar at all! If you need more formal sources (dictionary, style guide, etc), there are more references here–or you can watch some or all of these videos (total 23 minutes of content).

Often, we find that the question (under the question) isn’t really about grammar at all. If what you really want to hear more about is non-binary or they/them gender experiences, then I recommend this other “What Does They/Them Singular Really Mean?” blog entry.

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They/Them or Non-Binary Gender–What does it mean?

Ok. So you understand how to use pronouns and why they matter. Often, people still have more questions specifically about they/them-singular pronouns. Some of these questions are strictly grammatical questions and others are really getting at questions about what non-binary experience is more generally.

The resources that I have collected for this post focus on what they/them singular means as a personal pronoun. If you run through all of the videos, you’ll have about 68 minutes of content, but you can also jump around to pick which personalities resonate most with you.

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Gender and Social Pronouns!

Diversity is fabulous! AND jumping right into a truly diverse classroom without any preparation for what we might find is kind of a set-up for (unintentional) conflict and harm.

While we cannot prepare for everything that might come up, it’s definitely useful to have some context for working around gender diversity. With this blog entry, I’ve gathered a few basic resources that I recommend for thinking about gender and pronouns in social settings (like a classroom or a workplace). The 4 videos will take up a total of 12 minutes of your time (and will let you hear the voices lots of different transgender people talking about our lives).

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Introductory Pedagogy Behind They/Them Singular

Entering theological education as a non-binary person is… awkward. In my context at a progressive seminary, it’s not that people are necessarily mean. It’s that many of them have very limited experience with someone like me.

New Student Orientation Needs

In my opinion a general purpose introduction to they/them pronouns in progressive/liberal education needs to do three basic things.

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