Archives for March 2011

thoughts on being interviewed

tonight i did an interview for a podcast: http://www.somethingbeautifulpodcast.com/ and it made me realize once again how complicated my journey is. both my identity as a queer person, but also (and maybe even more so) my spiritual identity. how do i sum up my journey in just a couple of minutes? it's impossible. i am afraid that on this podcast i sound inarticulate. it won't go up for a week or so, but when you all get the chance to listen, please be gentle!

i tried to make clear that i only speak for myself; that my journey isn't the same as every one else; i think that came across. what i'm not sure came across clearly was my own sense of identity. it's complicated because i had to come out twice; once as gay and once as trans. and in between those two coming out moments i did a ton of soul searching, research, and growing in regard to my theology. when i came out as a lesbian i really believed that i needed to be celibate for my whole life. but as i grew and learned i realized that was not the case. by the time i came out as trans i had reconciled my spirituality and my queerness. i hope that comes through in what i said.

i also realize that i do much better when i have time to prepare comments instead of just responding to questions. i am seriously introverted and it takes me a while to formulate a response. when one is being interviewed for a podcast one doesn't have that kind of time.

anyway, hopefully it will make sense and will get people talking about trans issues. i provided a bunch of resources that will hopefully give some folks some education about trans issues.

what i really long for is the day when we can have a conversation about queer theology that doesn't involve apologetics. i want to have a conversation about the richness of queer theology. i want to talk about how my theology keeps me queer. i want to talk about the radical message of jesus and move past conversations where trans folks have to defend their right to exist. (travis (my interviewer) did not make me defend myself, he was great! but it's still the larger purpose of doing trans education especially in churches).

i realize and understand how important trans 101 is for folks. but what is also important is for folks to do their own work and to realize that we don't always have to reinvent the wheel. churches have been grappling with these issues for years and trans people of faith have been sharing their stories for years. we need to tap in to some of that collective wisdom. again, this isn't a critique of this podcast, just a general reflection.

i wrestle, sometimes, with how and if to answer people's questions. earlier this week i once again explained to an old friend that i had transitioned. and once again i got asked "so are you male now, like with all of the parts?" and i understand where this person was coming from. i understand people are curious/ignorant and don't know what's appropriate. but i wonder sometimes if i am enabling people's ignorance when i answer these types of questions. i answer them because i would rather they ask me then have them ask someone else who might be triggered by that question, or who would be really hurt or offended. i answer questions because i want people to have information, because i believe that acceptance comes when people know someone who is trans, etc. but at the same time, when i agree to answer these questions do i keep people from doing their own necessary work?

at the same time i want to speak for myself and for my own experience. i don't want cisgender folks to speak for me (not even gay and lesbian cisgender folks). i am capable of sharing my own experience. and when there are people in the world like andrew marin (who i refuse to link to) who puts himself out there as an authority on speaking about gay and lesbian issues (even though he's straight) and the church (even though privately he still thinks being gay is a sin, while refusing to answer the question publicly) then i know that i need to be able to speak for myself and to speak for myself as a person of faith.

if you really want to be an ally; do your homework. if you really want to include trans voices in the emergent (or any) conversation; do your homework. and then allow trans people to speak for themselves. allow trans people to speak about their experiences while not also having to do gender 101 for you. allow trans people to speak about things other than being trans! because, believe it or not, our lives are more than just our gender identities (just like yours).

let's educate ourselves and move the conversation forward.

i am really glad that i had the opportunity to be interviewed tonight, even as i worry about sounding inarticulate. even as i know that i didn't say enough and that i am only one voice. even as i know that in a lot of ways my being interviewed is problematic because i am yet another white dude speaking. but i hope that it opens doors; that it does more good than harm, that it adds to a larger conversation in some way.

camp osiris

a friend and i have been working on a plan to start a camp for a couple of years. he has years of experience with camping, team building, community exercises, etc. we wanted to start a retreat opportunity for queer identified young adults (our age range is 18-25) to come and talk about their sexuality and their spirituality. we wanted to form a place of community that also equips young people to live with integrity in a hostile world. and we want to train allies that come to camp how to be better allies; how to support their queer friends and how to stand up for themselves. so we talked and plotted and planned. and this summer it's finally happening.

Camp Osiris will take place on the weekend of July 31-August 1 in Alexandria, MN. The cost for camp is only $50 for the weekend and includes food and lodging as well as transportation from the airport (or the twin cities) to the camp and back again. It is open to anyone who is queer identified (using the broadest sense of the umbrella) or an ally and who is 18-25. You can find us on facebook (just search for Camp Osiris) or on twitter @camposiris. If you want a registration packet or more information you can email osiriscamp@gmail.com. Registration packets will be mailed out on the 15th of April.

We are really excited about this new camp. We want you to come and join us. It's going to be a really exciting and meaningful weekend. We have a really awesome weekend planned and are so excited to be able to journey together.

And tonight I got some good news from one of the boards of the church i work for that will allow us to reach more youth. If you are interested in being a supporter of the camp, please send an email. We need people who are willing to sponsor campers who can't afford to come to camp, we need folks who can write grants, we need folks who have experience with web design, and folks who have experience with non-profit budgeting. If any of those things apply to you, please let us know.

transphobia?

someone posted the following video on their blog with a statement saying it was "incredible":

and i must admit that i am uneasy about the video. i posted the following as a comment on the blog:

"there is something about this that makes me cringe. i can’t quite put my finger on it, but since the “man in a dress” thing gets trotted out frequently to debase trans women i wonder about the effectiveness of this video to include all women as equals. there was no mention in this video of the fact that every two *days* a trans person gets murdered somewhere in the world. and that it’s generally a trans woman of color being murdered. i just fear that by once again putting a cisgender man in a dress that we trivialize the lives of trans women, erasing them. it seems the same message could have been made without daniel craig in a dress."

am i wrong in this? i realize that i am not a trans woman and so maybe i am totally off base to cringe at the video. i would love some other opinions and feedback.