Sarah, Drew, and Tomila (UMC transgender history)

It turns out that the Rev. Sarah Flynn, who was the first known transgender clergy on my UMC timeline was friends with the Rev. Tomila Louise (of blessed memory, d. 2005) who transitioned “a year or two” earlier than Sarah. I hope to share more of Tomila’s story in the near future, but for now here is Sarah’s letter to the UMC Judicial Council in support of Drew Phoenix, citing Tomila’s story (and her own).

From: Sarah Flynn
Sent: Friday, September 14, 2007, 9:00 AM
Subject: RE: Rev. Drew Phoenx

To the members of the United Methodist Judicial Council

RE: In support of the appointment of Rev. Drew Phoenix

September 13, 2007

I write to you in support of the appointment of the Rev. Drew Phoenix, clergy member of the Baltimore Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.

Continue reading “Sarah, Drew, and Tomila (UMC transgender history)”

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!

Continue reading “Transgender-Affirming Pastoral Care”

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.

Continue reading “MCC TRANSformative Church Ministry Program, 2013”

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.

Continue reading “HRC Gender Identity and Our Faith Communities curriculum, 2008”

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!

Continue reading “Transgender and Religious Curriculum Guide”

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.

Continue reading “Transformative Inclusion, 2017 and 2019”

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.

Continue reading “Transfigured: A 40-day Journey through Scripture for Gender-queer and Transgender people”

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.

Continue reading “They/Them-singular for the Grammar Police”

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.

Continue reading “They/Them or Non-Binary Gender–What does it mean?”