Some things that may be of interest to people:
1) For those following Nikki Araguz’ legal struggle, The Trial of Nikki Araguz, ENDAblog and TransGriot are watching things closely and providing good info to counter the distortions or omissions that are happening with the often slanted coverage from the Chronicle and Faux News.
2) MgS has an excellent response to Stuffed Animal’s “Frankengender,” which he diaried at Pam’s House Blend (incidentally, it was not only not promoted to the front page, it was also turfed for TOS violations). Rather than give SA the traffic, Cracked Crystal Ball II can fill folks in on what the fuss was about.
3) I want to acknowledge a good number of articles that have come out regarding the difficulties of growing up trans or gay and the pressures to conform, as well as some affirming writings that are coming out from faith sources. Stories such as:
- Dr. Jillian T. Weiss’ “When I Was A Little Boy, I Prayed To God”
- Nathan Strang’s Masturbation, Sin and Showers: the fundamental guilt of growing up gay
- Betty Greene Salwak’s An Open Letter to My Fellow Straight Christians About Marriage Equality (and in fact, much of what she writes)
- Josh Olson’s Enough Already About the Gay Marriage Thing in which he as a straight man replies to the arguments of Bishop Harry Jackson.
As Jillian’s and Nathan’s stories convey, there is a lot of pain created as a consequence of being LGBT and in seeming conflict with faith because of the teachings of the more extreme voices. I can relate, and attest to how sometimes it’s hard not to be bitter. I want to give a special acknowledgment to Religion Dispatches for providing a forum for writers like Becky Garrison, who may occasionally miss some of the point (i.e. pronoun problems), but make an honest attempt to affirm and respect trans people as people and acknowledge them as the person they are in spirit, and not necessarily the sex someone pronounced they should be at birth. I don’t know if it’s reflective of RD’s perspective, but they do give voice to people who have this perspective:
When the Rev. Stephanie Spellers, Priest and Lead Organizer for The Crossing in Boston tries to engage the church on this issue, she finds that the liberal churches tend to be silent on transgender issues, while the more conservative churches shout that transgender people are living “a lifestyle choice” that is patently “wrong,” “evil” and “an abomination.” She says the balance needs to shift.
Whenever religious leaders deny people their basic human rights using Christianity as their justification, then we need to stand up and make our presence known that we affirm all people as created and growing into the unique image of God.
While I’m not currently of a faith other than personal spirituality, and therefore not pushing a faith, I recognize that this is a hot-button issue for people, and these developments help.
This is more than “affirming” meaning “we’ll let you worship here but we don’t have to accept you or look at you as anything but a sinner.” This is a sincere desire to build the bridge between faith communities and LGBT people, so that there is a visible and vocal faith alternative for those who feel shut out and hated. There is some courage in making all of these statements, and for that, I thank them.