United Methodist Transgender Timeline

I’ve created a United Church of Christ Transgender Timeline, but I would love to develop parallel resources for other denominations and movements. I have some lived experience around the United Methodist Church, so I thought maybe I would start there…

That said, I need your help to expand this list! This is a decent first draft, but I am sure there are more details to be added. In particular, the polity of the UMC, with Bishops appointing clergy to churches, means that many situations are quietly handled behind the scenes. I assume that there were earlier cases that were handled in this manner and I would be delighted to include them.

Please be in touch, if you have details to add to this timeline (corrections are also welcome)–or if you would like to help me create timelines for other denominations or movements.

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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.

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Transfigurations: Transgressing Gender in the Bible (DVD), 2007, 2017 (CORRECTED)

Peterson Toscano’s one-man theatrical production has been extremely impactful in terms of raising awareness of gender variant characters in the Christian Bible. Peterson performed Transfigurations: Transgressing Gender in the Bible for live audiences beginning in 2007. He retired the production in 2016 and then released a DVD version in 2017–which I highly recommend as a study resource, both for individuals and for groups. The movie can be streamed on Amazon and there is also a study guide.

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Omnigender: A Trans-religious Approach, 2001 and 2007

Virginia Mollenkott’s Omnigender: A Trans-religious Approach was the first book on transgender spirituality/theology by a mainstream press. Pilgrim Press (associated with the United Church of Christ) published Omnigender in May 2001.

The Other Side‘s May/June 2001 cluster of articles on transgender concerns was published almost simultaneously. Vanessa Sheridan’s Crossing Over was published a few months later in October 2001 by Pilgrim Press.

Previous relevant books included two self-published books by Vanessa Sheridan (The Cross and the Crossdresser and Cross Purposes) and the Fall 1996 issue of Open Hands. However, none of the earlier publications was widely available to the general public.

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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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Classical Jewish Gender, 2006

In OtherWise Christian: A Guidebook for Transgender Liberation, I mention Jewish traditions around gender, highlighting 6 different genders. The topic of gender in Jewish tradition deserves a book of its own and is beyond my personal expertise.

However, Rabbi Elliot Kukla is widely credited for bringing these traditions to light and related resources can be found on the TransTorah website:

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Crossing Paths: Where Transgender and Religion Meet, 2003

Crossing Paths: Where Transgender and Religion Meet was published in 2003 as a 114 page PDF by the Unitarian Universalist Association’s Office of Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian and Transgender Concerns.

While this UUA resource is not exclusively Christian, Crossing Paths was one of the first readily available PDF format anthology in the “transgender spring.” The PDF was originally available on the UUA’s website. However, the copy we link to is a copy retained on the Transfaith website.

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