Transgender Religious History

Even our most prominent transgender religious history is often obscured by our culture’s (and the LGBT movement’s) overwhelming emphasis on the politics of sexual orientation. Yet transgender religious folk have been making history for quite some time.

There are so many ways the world organizes to erase us–to pretend that we don’t exist, to forget about us. Remembering our histories is one small, but important way that we can claim our identities and our agency as sacred. We can honor our own elders and ancestors. We can celebrate all of the times that we have come through, somehow, when away was made out of no way.

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Pilgrim Press and the Transgender Spring

Pilgrim Press, affiliated with the United Church of Christ, played a remarkable role in the time period that I call the “transgender spring” (1996-2006). These five books were an unprecedented and unparalleled contribution to the emergent conversation about transgender experience:

Continue reading “Pilgrim Press and the Transgender Spring”

I Know What Heaven Looks Like: A Modern Day Coming of Age Story, 2018

As I write this, The Rev Lawrence Tanner Richardson’s I Know What Heaven Looks Like: A Modern Day Coming of Age Story (2018) is on sale at Amazon for $0.99 through Labor Day (2019).

In his dedication, Richardson writes, “I wrote this book for several reasons and several people, most especially me.” Indeed, trans folk finding our voices is powerful. This book is an origin story for Rev Richardson.

Continue reading “I Know What Heaven Looks Like: A Modern Day Coming of Age Story, 2018”

Walking Towards Resurrection: A Transgender Passion Narrative, 2015

I actually wrote chapter 25 of OtherWise Christian: A Guidebook for Transgender Liberation as a riff off of Walking Towards Resurrection: A Transgender Passion Narrative (2015). Fr Shay’s e-book is probably the first, unapologetic works of transgender theology that I became aware of. That was ground-breaking and important for all of us to experience.

Continue reading “Walking Towards Resurrection: A Transgender Passion Narrative, 2015”

Trans Expressions: The Many Faces of My FTM Journey, 2019

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:

Continue reading “Trans Expressions: The Many Faces of My FTM Journey, 2019”

Transgender Christian (auto)Biographies

I just created a list of books about transgender and the Christian Bible, but we also need stories! This list looks at transgender (auto) biographical books that are explicitly Christian. I probably missed some others, so please contact me with additions!

I plan to review and provide notes on these books, as I am able. Please be in touch if you can provide me with a review copy!

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Trans-Gendered: Theology, Ministry, and Communities of Faith, 2003 and 2018

Trans-Gendered: Theology, Ministry, and Communities of Faith by Justin Tanis is one of the two most influential books in transgender theology (the other being Omnigender). First published by Pilgrim Press in 2003, this book was originally Tanis’s D.Min dissertation. It was out of print for a time and was republished as Trans-Gender: Theology, Ministry, and Communities of Faith in 2018, now by Justin Sabia-Tanis under the umbrella of Wipf and Stock. Continue reading “Trans-Gendered: Theology, Ministry, and Communities of Faith, 2003 and 2018”

Transgender and the (Christian) Bible

There was a post in a group recently from someone who had “heard about” the Ethiopian eunuch and transgender people. While I’ve been highlighting books, I didn’t (yet) have a “list,” so here’s mine (for a more comprehensive list of related resources, see the bibliography of OtherWise Christian)!

Click through on the links for what I’ve written about each one.

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The Bible Tells Me So: Why Defending Scripture Has Made Us Unable to Read It, 2014

In addition to How the Bible Works (2019), Peter Enns previously wrote The Bible Tells Me So: Why Defending Scripture Has Made Us Unable to Read It (2014). I actually cited The Bible Tells Me So in OtherWise Christian: A Guidebook for Transgender Liberation, though only briefly.

In The Bible Tells Me So, Enns similarly tackles the biblical tradition in a thoughtful, irreverent, and self-deprecating manner. He shares about the collapse of his childhood understanding of the Bible and how facing up to the challenge of the Bible and allow it to change how he experiences God and tradition. Continue reading “The Bible Tells Me So: Why Defending Scripture Has Made Us Unable to Read It, 2014”

Transforming: The Bible and the Lives of Transgender Christians, 2018

Another book that I like to recommend is Austen Hartke‘s 2018 Transforming: The Bible and the Lives of Transgender Christians. Whereas OtherWise Christian: A Guidebook for Transgender Liberation is unapologetic and mostly follows a trail of scripture references, Hartke’s book has a softer touch and wonderfully weaves in the personal faith experiences of several transgender Christians.

For allies who want or need to hear more about the struggles and experiences of transgender Christians, Hartke’s book is a great one-stop option that combines stories, with biblical and theological reflection. Continue reading “Transforming: The Bible and the Lives of Transgender Christians, 2018”