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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If your organization is new to Transgender Day of Remembrance…

As I enter higher education again, I’m aware of how Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) is still a new thing in some communities. It’s a difficult “holiday” to observe appropriately. In fact, I went so far as to write an article on why you might NOT want to host a Transgender Day of Remembrance event (Transfaith, previously Believe Out Loud).

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Making the Connections: MLK and the Five Threats

Today is the day that we remember Martin Luther King, Jr in the United States. It is a complicated day, marked by a complicated legacy. In real life, MLK was decried by liberals in the last years of his life for being impatient and not “staying in his lane” as a civil rights leader, but his words are now frequently taken out of context to advocate for a color-blind, comfortable kind of post-racial “success” even while we life in a world that is ripe with racism.

Dr King spoke about three evils: racism, militarism, and economic exploitation. This frustrated many who thought he should have limited his message to the issues of racism, specifically. However, King knew that the oppression of Black people was based not only on racism and white supremacy and the degradation of Jim Crow laws, but also on the way the economy was constructed to maintain an impoverished class, and the way the military-industrial complex used Black and Brown bodies.

In OtherWise Christian: A Guidebook for Transgender Liberation, I also named a triple threat: white supremacy, Christian supremacy, and gender oppression. These three are not separate from King’s triple threat. King was not known for being outspoken about Christian supremacy and gender oppression. However, he worked closely with Bayard Rustin who was a known “homosexual” as well as Jewish and Muslim and other colleagues of faith who were not Christian. Women’s, LGBT, and Interfaith organizing have expanded exponentially since King’s death. We now have language and leaders that King was never exposed to.

Meanwhile, we live in a world where the U.S. war-making machine is alive and well–and being upheld by toxic masculinity. The gap between “rich” and “poor” has only grown since King’s death. Black and Brown people, transgender and same-gender-loving people are exponentially more likely to live in poverty. The intersection of race and gender means that transgender people of color are particularly at risk.

I am with King in saying that white supremacy, militarism, and economic exploitation are problematic. I like to think that, if he had lived, Dr King would have grown more vocal about Christian supremacy and gender oppression. Indeed, transgender liberation is not possible until we deal with all of these dynamics. We need a comprehensive analysis that makes the connections between gender oppression, white supremacy, militarism, Christian supremacy, and economic exploitation.

The treatment of King’s legacy is very similar to that of Jesus in that both legacies are often domesticated and presented as campaigns for submission and compliance, paired with respectability politics. Both Jesus and Dr King were impactful religious radicals who shook things up, each in their own times, each in their own ways. Too many of us have been bamboozled into believing they were less radical than they were. This is more white bullshit (a technical term).

On this day, may we remember that each of us can follow them in claiming a deep analysis of the principalities and powers of this world, while doing our part to be a part of the resistance. Join us in reclaiming a more radical message!

Some additional resources:

Compiled by Mx Chris Paige on January 20, 2020.

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

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:

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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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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

ALSO Transgender and Religious Curriculum Guide

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 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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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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