Review: Stories of Intersex and Faith (film)

I’m honored that the producers invited me to screen Stories of Intersex and Faith, but I’ve been struggling to put appropriate words to what I feel about this important film. The contrast that I am struggling with is that it is both accessible and deep, simple and insightful. So, I am going to break my review down into two parts in order to try to do justice to both aspects without trivializing the other.

Continue reading “Review: Stories of Intersex and Faith (film)”

Gender as a Spectrum… or a Koosh Ball?

There is an article going around talking about how people are increasingly understanding gender as a spectrum. Of course, that’s an improvement from thinking of gender as two and only two mutually exclusive options.

Still, it’s like popular thought moving from one-dimensional thinking to two-dimensional thinking when there are other people busy exploring the time-space continuum and quantum physics (at least four-dimensions!). In other words as a culture, we are finally buying into “Newtonian” gender when “Quantum” gender is already in our midst.

Gender is not just one spectrum. It is not an orchestrated migration from one end of congruent “more masculine” traits towards “androgyny” and on to “more feminine” traits. Such a framework is still going to lead to mis-gendering and pathlogizing people. A proper framework for gender would eliminate “gender non-conforming” as a category altogether–by affirming that none of us are expected to comply with the way someone else constructs gender in their mind.

I prefer to think of gender as a Koosh Ball because there are so many aspects to gender.

Continue reading “Gender as a Spectrum… or a Koosh Ball?”

Stories of Intersex and Faith (Film)

Stories of Intersex and Faith (2019) is a feature-length film from the Intersex and Faith project:

Stories of Intersex and Faith tells the extraordinary stories of five intersex people, allowing viewers to experience what it feels like to be invisible in our culture and subject to abuse and shame simply for being born different. These stories illuminate unique perspectives which are particularly timely for a culture conflicted by questions about sex, gender and religious faith.

from the Intersex and Faith website

If you are unfamiliar with intersex experience, the two-minute trailer itself may provide significant new insight.

Caught in the crossfire at the intersection of medicine, politics and religion, perfectly healthy intersex bodies are mutilated by American surgeons. Consider the stories of five intersex people who found healing and hope in faith. Walk with them. Hear their plea: It’s society that needs to be fixed, not us.

Vimeo trailer description

The film has been showing at film festivals and is currently available for institutional screenings or by special arrangement through those connected to the film. It is not yet available to purchase outright. Visit the film website for news about upcoming screenings.

“[People’s] fears and prejudices could be instantaneously relieved if their faith community could normalize and bring familiarity to the healthy variant that intersex represents. How much suffering could be averted if the leader of the local faith community came to the parents of newborn intersex kids and told them: ‘God knows your healthy intersex child, and they are not sick, and they don’t need surgery.'”

Dr Tiger Devore
on the Stories of Intersex and Faith website

That quote reflects my opinion, too! Faith communities have a great opportunity to educate parents at a time when they are not under so much pressure as they will be when they first learn of an intersex diagnosis. Watch for my review of the film coming soon!

Compiled by Mx Chris Paige on January 18, 2020.

Note: This blog is intended to be an on-going work in progress. Please contact us if you have additions, corrections, or concerns.

Intersex and Faith (Project)

The Intersex and Faith project has a film, a curriculum, and is working to develop support services for parents of intersex children. This project was born from a partnership between Lianne Simon and Megan DeFranza.

Dr. Megan DeFranza is the scholar behind the book Sex Difference in Christian Theology: Male, Female, and Intersex in the Image of God, which I have written about because of its significance in OtherWise Christian: A Guidebook for Transgender Liberation.

Lianne Simon is a Christian intersex woman and advocate, who is also a contributor to OtherWise Christian 2: Stories of Resistance! Another OtherWise Christian 2 contributor, Dr Donovan Ackley III, serves on the advisory board of the Intersex and Faith project.

Most so-called LGBT faith-based organizations have limited transgender-competence–and even less intersex-competence. So, this project is a critical opportunity to provide better information for people of faith. The Intersex and Faith project mission is:

Intersex and Faith’s mission is to help communities of faith minister to those born with bodies that aren’t entirely male or female. We hope to do that via advocacy, education, and support.

Provided by Lianne Simon

Like Dr DeFranza’s book, the Intersex and Faith project does not begin in the culture wars about same-gender-loving or transgender experience. Rather, starting with the experiences of intersex people and their families, the project aims to meet the needs of more theologically conservative communities. While the project emerged from a Christian collaboration, their goal is to be of support in a more widely.

lntersex and Faith was incorporated as a nonprofit in Tennessee in 2017, but Lianne and Megan have been working together giving presentations, writing blog posts, giving interviews, and writing books for years. They met while Dr DeFranza was working on her PhD thesis.

Compiled by Mx Chris Paige on January 18, 2020.

Note: This blog is intended to be an on-going work in progress. Please contact us if you have additions, corrections, or concerns.

I Is for Intersex, Not for Invisible

I have been concerned about the oppression of people with intersex variations ever since I started trying to understand about gender (roughly 1998). Building an intersex section on the new Transfaith website in 2007 was one way that I pursued that commitment. Curtis Hinkle was kind enough to help me sort out some questions about how intersex organizing had been evolving up to that point.
Continue reading “I Is for Intersex, Not for Invisible”