Transgendered

In chapter 11 of OtherWise Christian: A Guidebook for Transgender Liberation, I use “transgendered” as an example of the way the meanings of words can change over time.

When I started exploring my gender identity in 1998, we were saying “transgendered” (among other things), but somewhere around 2006 “best practices” evolved and that particular word went out of style.

I reference some reflections by Julia Serano on related topics. She gives meaningful treatments on a number of fronts, which I recommend:

In particular, I reference that first article and the dynamics around “word-sabotage” and “word-elimination” campaigns that Serano brings up.

I agree with Serano that dismissing another person’s word choice out of hand is problematic, even as I respect efforts to develop coherent “best practices.”

My treatment in OtherWise Christian is necessarily abbreviated because these nuances are only relevant insofar as I am wrestling with the nature of language used for gender diversity over time (e.g. eunuchs). Serano’s book Outspoken includes much of this materal and may be worth your time if these topics around modern language intrigue you.

The bottom line is that word meanings change over time. A word that is perfectly acceptable at one point may be anathema at another. This is true even before we get to dynamics like colonization that may demonize certain aspects of a culture as a way of discrediting the opposition.

Understanding these historical shifts are important when we look at contributions from the “transgender spring” and books like Omnigender or Trans-Gendered, which use language that was appropriate at the time, but which might be dismissed out of hand today.

As I was pulling together yesterday’s post and this (unedited) interview footage with Kate Bornstein and Leslie Feinberg from an In the Life episode (1996), which touches on the development of language and the role of the internet in transgender organizing.

Compiled by Mx. Chris Paige on September 25, 2019.

Note: This blog is intended to be an on-going work in progress. Please contact us if you have corrections or are able to contribute further context or reflections.

Finding Our History; Outlaw (1994)

I am just so delighted that this popped up on my Facebook feed. Leslie Feinberg is one of the three OtherWise Prophets who I specifically acknowledge in OtherWise Christian: A Guidebook for Transgender Liberation. However, their impact is mostly tangential to my (first) book and so they only appear in the preface and acknowledgements. Still, this video shows just a glimpse of how Feinberg tilled the soil of history for all of us.

Continue reading “Finding Our History; Outlaw (1994)”

Queer Theology

Queer Theology launched a big giveaway today, which gives me a great excuse to blog about them more generally.

First things first. The giveaway includes a signed copy of OtherWise Christian: A Guidebook for Transgender Liberation (signed by the author), as well as Transforming (signed by the author), Trans-Gendered (signed by the author), Walking Toward Resurrection (digital), as well as 5 other queer Christian books. This mega-pack also includes stickers, t-shirts, and a one-year subscription to the Sanctuary Collective including online courses, their monthly digital magazine Spit & Spirit, and an archive of past webinars.

Yeesh. I need to take a nap now! That’s a lot. Total value $304 (which seems low to me, especially given the priceless autographs, but ok…). They just want your email address so they can send you loving and supportive perspectives on LGBTQ Christianity. Seems like a win-win to me.

The giveaway ends October 10. Now, more about Queer Theology:

Continue reading “Queer Theology”

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.

Continue reading “Transgender Religious History”

Call Me Malcolm, 2005

“Call Me Malcolm” is 90-minute feature-length documentary following a twenty-five year-old seminary student as he explores faith, love, and gender identity. It was developed by the United Church of Christ, Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Concerns and released in 2005.

There are two study guides to accompany the film. At this point the entire film is available on YouTube, making it a super-accessible resource for personal reflection or group study.

Continue reading “Call Me Malcolm, 2005”

Voices of Witness: Out of the Box, 2012

“Voices of Witness: Out of the Box” is a documentary giving voice to the witness of transgender people of faith with a particularly Episcopalian flavor. Available in its full 30 min length on YouTube for free, with study guide materials also available for free download. Continue reading “Voices of Witness: Out of the Box, 2012”

Trans-forming the Church: Blessed Bodies and Gender Justice, 2017

Rev Liam Hooper created the “Trans-forming the Church: Blessed Bodies and Gender Justice,” online video curriculum when he was working with the Reconciling Ministries Network (RMN) as their national transgender organizer.

This free 30 minutes of video content provides an easy way to test the waters about transgender experience in your local congregation. It could even be used to provide a crash course in transgender sensitivity for ushers or other church leaders. Continue reading “Trans-forming the Church: Blessed Bodies and Gender Justice, 2017”

Transgender Christian Oral Histories

When I was creating the list of transgender Christian (auto) biographies, I remembered that we also have some oral histories. It’s actually super wonderful to be able to hear our people’s voices. As always, please let me know if you are aware of transgender Christians who may be lurking in other oral history archives!

In addition, I’ll want to make a list of documentaries, which are a little different. However, The Believers is one that I think should also be on an oral history list.

Thank you to the LGBT Religious Archives Network for hosting several oral histories!

ALSO Transgender Christian (auto)Biographies

ALSO Transgender and the Christian Bible

Compiled by Mx. Chris Paige on on August 16, 2019.

Note: This blog is intended to be an on-going work in progress. Please contact us if you have corrections or are able to contribute further context or reflections.

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.

Continue reading “Transgender and the (Christian) Bible”