Podcast: Blessed Are the Binary-Breakers

In these strange times and as I come down off of the intensity of 3 book launches this year (In Remembrance of Me, Bearing Witness to Transgender Tragedy, OtherWise Christian 2: Stories of Resistance, and From Christendom to Freedom), I am finally getting my technology organized for listening to podcasts more regularly.

In addition to my long-time favorite Bible Bash, I have started listening to the Blessed are the Binary-Breakers podcast. The first episode features the podcaster, Avery Smith, themself (interviewed by their partner), but then most of the following episodes are lovely interviews with a variety of transgender folk of various spiritual backgrounds.

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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.

Our Bible App: Trans and Non-Binary Chat

I’ve reported previously on my new devotional series and Our Bible App. It has been lovely to connect with trans and non-binary folk in the Our Bible App setting.

With the support of CEO Crystal Cheatham, we’ve launched an intentional space in the OBA chat area where trans and non-binary folk can connect with each other. Like many LGBT spaces, trans and non-binary people are in the minority in the OBA community. So it is great to have the support of management to create this space for us to support one another.

Once you download the OBA app, look for the “Let’s Chat” feature. If you identify as trans and/or non-binary, then just ask to be added to the Trans and Non-binary chat room! We’ll see you there!

In this chat space, we brainstormed about an important group agreement that was missing and offered that feedback to Crystal. Now the group agreement is in place for all of OBA.

In a diverse community, things don’t always go perfectly! It makes a difference when those in positions of authority or decision-making are responsive to requests from transgender and non-binary folk in the community! Thank you, Crystal!

Compiled by Mx. Chris Paige on October 17, 2019.

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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Transfaith (2012)

Louis Mitchell and I started corresponding after Bishop Yvette Flunder assigned us to lead the advocacy committee of TransSaints late in 2009. Louis and I then shared a room at a Fellowship of Affirming Ministries event.

I don’t think it was quite a brother-sibling relationship from the start, but we were certainly kindred spirits, who were somehow in orbit around one another at event after event (both TFAM and other faith-based spaces) that were collecting transgender volunteers.

Let’s just say that, by the end of 2010, Louis and I had already shared many frustrations in these various venues. We began discussing what it might look like to build an organization by and for transgender people–instead of continuing to volunteer for organizations whose interest in transgender leadership seemed… uneven.

I had inheirited the 501c3 structure from the Interfaith Working Group, so we were able to skip over the hassles of incorporating. Louis and I started working to expand the board of directors during 2011 and I was eventually named founding executive director of Transfaith beginning January 1, 2012.

Transfaith had been a website since 1999. Meanwhile, a constellation of transgender leaders had been working together informally under a number of different banners for particular events leading up to our 2012 launch. Transforming Transfaith from an informal group of colleagues to an organization allowed us to set our own priorities, though it came with its own challenges.

While we built an organizational structure and have pursued many projects, our strength has continued to be in the relationships that we have built, prioritizing multi-tradition, multi-racial, multi-gender collaboration. I stepped down as executive director of Transfaith at the end of 2017 and Louis Mitchell became executive director of Transfaith at the beginning of 2018.

Additionally, those relationships have informed pretty much everything about OtherWise Christian, from the content of the book itself to my perspectives on race, Judaism, and especially my self-understanding as a transgender person.

Compiled by Mx Chris Paige on September 14, 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 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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TransTexts, 2008

In 2008, Rabbi Elliot Kukla and Rabbi Reuben Zellman launched TransTexts. Originally hosted by Jewish Mosaic, it later moved to the Keshet website after Jewish Mosaic and Keshet merged.

Our goal for this project is to create a portal to Jewish traditions. It is not our intention to provide a complete or “authoritative” interpretation of these multi-faceted texts. Rather, we want to offer a variety of ways of looking at these remarkable texts — which have been, and still are, largely inaccessible to the general public. Some of the content of this site may be familiar to you; some of it might be very surprising. We invite you to read on and engage with all of it, in the great Jewish tradition of study and discussion.

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Transfaith Online, 1999

TransFaith Online began as a personal project of Mx Chris Paige in 1999.

The launch of TransFaith Online was a critical turn in networking for transgender Christians–an early step in what I am calling the “transgender spring.” Despite many years of neglect, TransFaith Online eventually became the #1 Google search result for “transgender Christian.”

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