When I interviewed for this position, I told them that my main slogan is “I don’t care if you go to church, I don’t care if you believe in God. It’s not my job and none of my business. I just want to make sure there is a safe and welcoming church for you if you want it.” This will not change. Even as we start building The Flame, I will never try to convert you. This is just one more part of my life that I can talk about when you ask, “So what’s new?”
I pick up the three stones again and hold them all in my hand. They make little clicking sounds as they bump into each other in my palm. Our lives are complex, and contain many emotions and experiences. Often we have conflicting feelings side by side. Indeed, we can never know the depth of what another person is holding in their hearts. I dream of a world where we listen to one another, and help each other carry the burden of tears, celebrate life’s delights, and dwell in hope.
Fear and prejudice in our country are still real and alive. But so is our pride and our defiance. From the first walk after Stonewall to today, our presence says “NO” to those who would try to silence or demean us. Thank you to the people of faith who join us in that defiance and say “YES!” to love.
How do I explain this so it makes sense? I am the same person, but more fully. I am me, but living into my maleness. She will never know me as Leo. I will never have a picture of us where I am Uncle. It is only one small part of my grief, but it is real.
I stuck my head out of the curtain again, this time, with my binder stuck on my armpits and my arms unable to lower. In a stage whisper, I called for Patrick to come back over to help. Since he couldn’t come in, I turned my back to the opening and had him stick his hand through the curtain to roll down the binder from the back, while I tried to roll it down from the front. My pinned arms flailed as I tried to both block my breasts from view and tug down the front of the binder.
As a person who lived as a straight, cisgender, white woman in the church for 37 years before coming out, I’m sorry that we haven’t done more as a church to speak love over the rancorous voices of bigotry, discrimination, and shame.
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This article was first published in PQ Monthly, Portland, in January, 2016. Coming out as trans, starting with my own self-realization on March 26, 2013 was both terrifying and liberating. Of course I told Daniel first. A friend of many years, he is the one I call when things go bump in the night. We... Continue Reading →
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Let us each put energy towards bridge building, peace-making, and hearing the stories of others. Let us find out what we have in common. Let us be curious about each other, in a way that is caring. Let us be brave enough to share our own stories of struggle and happiness. Let us be gentle with ourselves about our own short-comings, and learn to be graceful with others for theirs.