Faith, Self Esteem, and Beauty for transgender women


Well put

Originally posted on Bondings 2.0:

University of San Diego students at the drag show.

The decision by the University of San Diego (USD), a Catholic school, to host a drag show was controversial, catching even the Vatican’s eye. However, one professor there says there is much more to this drag show than critics understand and it should be a moment for learning.

“Supreme Drag Superstar III” was the third annual drag show at USD, hosted by the campus’ LGBT group called PRIDE and promoted as a “celebration of gender expression.” According to U-T San Diego, the show features “a brief academic talk on the history cross-dressing and information booths,” in addition to the costumed musical performances.

Two local attorneys, Charles LiMandri and Thomas McKenna, protested the drag show by writing to the Diocese of San Diego and the Congregation for Catholic Education at the Vatican. The Diocese refused to comment and the Congregation turned down their complaint…

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It’s easy nowadays to get information (and argue) on the internet but this post reminds us of just how powerful connecting with others in real life can be.

Originally posted on The Catholic Transgender:

rosary This weekend I went on my school’s LGBT retreat, and it turned out to be one of the best experiences of my life. It also gave me much to think about.

Let me start by saying that I had a lot of reservations going into it. I might not even have gone if I hadn’t signed up to be one of the student speakers. I knew very few people who were going, I didn’t know how welcome I’d be as a trans person, and I was somewhat afraid the whole thing would devolve into trite, politically correct pedagogy.

What happened instead was one of the most authentic, loving, and spiritually open atmospheres I’ve encountered in a very long time. People weren’t just “tolerant” – they were truly accepting and loving. I know I don’t only speak for myself when I say that many spiritual friendships formed this weekend.

There were…

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The Church and the Transgender Community: Can We Listen?

 “Pope Francis wrote in Evangelii Gaudium: “Whenever we encounter another person in love, we learn something new about God” (no. 272). The pope reminds us that “A Church which goes forth is a Church whose doors are open. Going out to others in order to reach the fringes of humanity does not mean rushing out aimlessly into the world. Often it is better simply to slow down, to put aside our eagerness in order to see and listen to others.” (no. 46). What powerful words in this context– What would it mean to have the doors of the church open to the transgender community? What would it mean to walk with students who are questioning their gender identity? I went to the drag show to support my students. It was fun and not itself courageous on my part. But if the drag show helps GLBTQ students and their allies at my school to know that they are loved, supported, and included in this community, then we are doing something good and something special.”


Happy to be speaking at this perhaps first public Roman Catholic dialog on Transgender Issues.

Originally posted on Bondings 2.0:

While we know from poll after poll that Catholic lay people overwhelmingly support lesbian and gay people, I think there is probably not yet as strong support for transgender people among those in the pews.   The reason for the difference is probably because Catholic people have had less familiarity with transgender people, and probably rely more on myths or stereotypes than on factual evidence and personal testimony.

To help Catholics get a better understanding of transgender people and issues from the perspectives of both science and faith, New Ways Ministry is hosting a workshop day entitled “Trans-forming Love,” on Saturday November 23, 2013, 9:00 am – 3:30 pm, at the Mission Helpers of the Sacred Heart, 1001 West Joppa Road, Towson, Maryland, 21204,

The goal of the day is to dispel myths and stereotypes about transgender people by gaining sound information from the scientific community and from the life story of…

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In 2008 Pope Benedict took a subtle swipe at those who might undergo sex-change operations or otherwise attempt to alter their God-given gender. Defend “the nature of man against its manipulation,” Benedict told the priests, bishops and cardinals gathered Monday in the ornate Clementine hall. “The Church speaks of the human being as man and woman, and asks that this order is respected.” The Pope again denounced the contemporary idea that gender is a malleable definition. That path, he said, leads to a “self-emancipation of man from creation and the Creator.”

It may be because god has blessed me with the gender of one sex and the genitalia of another that I read this passage a little differently. I see that the creator made all of us with masculine and feminine qualities. But then I am more of a Jungian Catholic. The noted Psychologist read the Christian bible and other faith traditions stories with an eye to the archetypes contained within and not in a literal rigid way. Reading with each male or female character in the bible as the animus or anima in all of us lets us unlock the loving messages of the bible away from the gender politics of our own time and of 2000 years of patriarchy.
This problem of reading with rigidity is highlighted in our new popes interview in AMERICA Magazine.

‘I ask Pope Francis about the enormous changes occurring in society and the way human beings are reinterpreting themselves. … He reads me a passage from the Commonitorium Primum of St. Vincent of Lerins: “Even the dogma of the Christian religion must follow these laws, consolidating over the years, developing over time, deepening with age.”

The view of the church’s teaching as a monolith to defend without nuance or different understandings is wrong.The pope comments: “St. Vincent of Lerins makes a comparison between the biological development of man and the transmission from one era to another of the deposit of faith, which grows and is strengthened with time. Here, human self-understanding changes with time and so also human consciousness deepens. Let us think of when slavery was accepted or the death penalty was allowed without any problem. So we grow in the understanding of the truth. Exegetes and theologians help the church to mature in her own judgment. Even the other sciences and their development help the church in its growth in understanding. There are ecclesiastical rules and precepts that were once effective, but now they have lost value or meaning. The view of the church’s teaching as a monolith to defend without nuance or different understandings is wrong.’

Could our new pope be speaking to transgender people (among others)? He sites slavery and the death penalty that were once supported by the church to show that the church can be wrong and can change. It’s a reading that looks for the loving embrace of god to deepen with the maturity that comes with science and social development. Not the retreat from science and social development that is fundamentalism. The mistreatment of transgender people by the church comes from out of date science and the most fundamental interpretation of church dogma, not even theology. This can end now, with this Pope’s leadership and given the overwhelming support of socially conscience American Catholics.

My god is the Creator.I believe our highest calling is to create. Our humble attempts at art, engineering, commerce, and social inventions honor our creator. I think the narrow reading of the bible has caused our church to over focus on procreation as opposed to the more general creation and caused an obsession with controlling sex. All of the issues that spring from so called natural law have twisted many religious concepts of contraception, homosexuality and gender identity. Understanding creation as opposed to procreation as a central theme of faith helps us to appreciate the spectacular diversity of nature and humans and gender expression.
I was not thrilled with gods choice to gift me with gender of one sex and genitalia of another. I would have rather been blessed with sports ability and homecoming queen beauty if god wanted to mix my gender stuff. But I realize that this gift from god has been an invitation to participate in the creation of me as I work to integrate my special gifts with our societies expectations.

Check these out too

Queering Our Reading of the Bible by Dwight Welch

Queer Creation in art: Who says God didn’t create Adam and Steve? by Kittrdge Cherry

Of The Creation of Identity (Also the Creation of Religion) by Colin & Terri

God, the Garden, & Gays: Homosexuality in Genesis by Brian G. Murphy, for Queer Theology

Created Queerly–Living My Truth by Casey O’Leary

Creating Theology by Fr. Shannon Kearns

Initiation by Blessed Harlot

B’reishit: The Divine Act of Self-Creation by Emily Aviva Kapor

Queer Creation: Queering the Image of God by Alan Hooker

Queer Creation by Ric Stott

Eunuch-Inclusive Esther–Queer Theology 101 by Peterson Toscano

Valley of Dry Bones by Jane Brazelle

Queer Creation: Queer Angel by Tony Street

The Great Welcoming by Anna Spencer

Queer Creation by Billy Flood

The Mystery of an Outlandishly Queer Creation by Susan Cottrell

We’ve Been Here All Along by Brian Gerald Murphy

God Hirself: A Theology by T. Thorn Coyle

The Objectification of God by Marg Herder

Coming Out As Embodiments of God Herself by Virginia Ramey Mollenkott

An Interview by Katy

On Creation and Belonging by Andrew Watson

Creation by Liam Haakon Smith

Practically Creating Practical Queer Theology by Talia Johnson

Inspired Possibility: Opening the Gift of the Queer Soul by Keisha McKenzie

I’m Really Angry by John Smid

Focus on the (Chosen) Family by Brian Cubbage

The Goddex by Thorin Sorensen

Coming Out As She Was Created by Liz Dyer

In this article for Conscience Magazine a publication of Catholics for Choice
I proposed that the Catholic Church didn’t understand the transgender experience. The church has no official teaching on the subject and that the mistreatment of transgender people is due to existing cultural ‘norms’. It has inspired others in our faith to more research and authorship.
I now have a unauthorized translation of the original Latin document that the sub secretum letter to the bishops was based on. It is clear from this document from 1997 was based on the most conservative thought by the medical community of the time. It’s only purpose was to protect the all male hierarchy in a time of doubt about gender. It specifically makes no judgement about the morality of gender change. Much has changed about how we understand gender identity in the past 16 years in society and in the medical community.

There may come a day when the church has a position on gender identity and until then I will simply appreciate the great support that many of us feel from local parishes and hope that god guides future church leaders to a better understanding of the spiritual journey that is the transgender experience.

Minnesota Catholics Make Beautiful Music Together–for Marriage Equality.

This man has a gift for extremely emotional music. I got to sing this with david once an I don’t think there was a dry eye in the chapel.


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