Blessed Are the Binary Breakers episode archive

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This page offers information, photos, and transcripts for every episode of Blessed Are the Binary Breakers, in order of most recently to least recently published.

Episodes 2-9 don't have transcripts yet. If you would like to help me out and transcribe one of those episodes, please let me know at queerlychristian36@gmail.com!

[Image description: a trans flag turned vertically with a broadcaster's microphone superimposed over it.] >

Table of Contents:

 

Click on one of the below episodes to be taken to its information lower on this webpage.

  • Episode 24: Hagar and the Caravan - the Abrahamic God sides with the oppressed

  • Episode 23: As if their battle were my own - Solidarity against antiblackness 

  • Episode 22: Mx Chris Paige, author of OtherWise Christian, animistic Humanist

  • Episode 21: How are trans persons like Shiva, Joseph, and Joan of Arc?

  • Episode 20: Sacred Body, Sacred Space - stories of trans spirituality across faiths

  • Episode 19: Dr. SJ Crasnow, Jewish professor

  • Episode 18: Taylor, Christian Witch

  • Episode 17: prabhdeep singh kehal, Sikh educator

  • Episode 16: Enrique Cintrón, Christian podcaster 

  • Episode 15: Dee Garnica, Chilean atheist

  • Episode 14: How are trans persons like Jonah?

  • Episode 13: Rev. Jo Inkpin, Anglican priest in Australia

  • Episode 12: Luca Alexander, Muslim community builder

  • Episode 11: Adi McNally, healing Christian 

  • Episode 10: Alex Batagi, Haitian Vodou Priest

  • Episode 9: When Faith Hurts - sharing stories of transphobic violence 

  • Episode 8: Hanka, Polish Christian

  • Episode 7: Phoenyx, Christian Witch

  • Episode 6: Eli Rosenberg, Jewish autist

  • Episode 5: Adam Richards, lifelong Methodist

  • Episode 4: Derek Guy, Spiritual family man

  • Episode 3: The UMC General Conference: a nonbinary Methodist's hopes and fears

  • Episode 2: Willow Hovingh, Christian "late bloomer"

  • Episode 1: Avery Smith, Catholic-Presbyterian seminarian & podcaster

June 20, 2020

25:00

Episode 24:

Hagar and the Caravan - 
the Abrahamic God sides with the oppressed

Click here for the episode transcript.

Avery brings the story of Hagar - a figure shared by the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim traditions - into conversation with the story of Charlotte and other trans women who were part of a caravan leading up through Latin America into the United States. 

This episode continues the theme of solidarity from June's earlier bonus episode. It highlights the urgency of recognizing how intersections of gender and race impact trans persons of color. It’s a reminder for all who experience some form of marginalization that we must not allow our shared enemies to divide and conquer us -- that we must stop oppressing one another in the hopes of advancing a little bit ourselves. It explores the stories we share, the struggles we share, the goals we share.

News articles drawn from: 

- sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/Two-transgender-women-joined-migrant-caravan-13605687.php


- nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/mexico-caravan-lgbtq-migrants-stick-together-safety-n935591 

 

June 2, 2020

15:47

Episode 23:

As if their battle were my own - 

Solidarity in current protests against antiblackness

Click here for the episode transcript.

This special episode centers around the current protests against police murders of Black persons in the United States. In the fight against antiblackness, I see an urgent need to break down the binary constructed between US and THEM that allows our common enemy to divide and conquer our communities one by one. As trans activist Leslie Feinberg notes, each of us must become "fighters against each other’s oppression...and in doing so...forge an invincible movement against all forms of injustice and inequality." 

Frederick Douglass once said, "When I ran away from slavery, it was for myself; when I advocated emancipation, it was for my people; but when I stood up for the rights of women, self was out of the question, and I found a little nobility in the act." May each of us strive towards that "little nobility" of joining other's battles for liberation as if they were our own. During this Pride month, I call on my fellow white LGBT/queer people in particular to fight against antiblackness, honoring that the first Pride was a riot led by trans women of color. 

Timestamps:

  • (0:00 - 3:00) The US is on fire - is your heart?

  • (3:01 - 4:04) white LGBT persons who are against the protests - do they not know our history? The first Pride was a riot against police brutality

  • (4:05 - 8:09) the binary of US versus THEM and the truth that our freedom is intertwined - Fannie Lou Hamer, MLK Jr., Leslie Feinberg, intersectionality

  • (8:10 - 11:19) passage from Leslie Feinberg - "What would motivate someone who didn't face the same hatred and abuse to join me as an ally?" - Finding Frederick Douglass

  • (11:20 - 13:44) Fighting for and taking risks for oppressed groups to which we don't personally belong; overcoming the fear of backlash

  • (13:45 - end) The Litany of Humility - "From the fear of being despised, from the fear of suffering rebukes...deliver me."

 

May 26, 2020

1:11:51

Episode 22:
Mx Chris Paige is an OtherWise holy hybrid

Click here for the episode transcript.

Chris Paige has been compiling resources for trans persons of faith since the late 1990s, when the word "OtherWise" came to them on a mountaintop to describe those who do not fit into Western binaries constructed around sex and gender.

As they've cultivated community, maintained TransFaith.info, and blogged at OtherWiseChristian.com across the decades, Chris has been on a journey of their own. Their Christian faith has mingled and expanded into Animism and Humanism. They've taken on terms like "misfit" and their friend Louis Mitchell's phrase "holy hybrid" to better describe their identity. They've decided to attend seminary after resisting the academic "ivory tower" for so long. And most excitingly, they've founded OtherWise Engaged Publishing to get their OtherWise Christian series into the world, along with other books by fellow trans, intersex, or OtherWise authors.

Find Chris at otherwisechristian.com/. Visit otherwiseengaged4u.wordpress.com/ to purchase the incredible books they've been publishing - books that compile 25 years' worth of trans-affirming biblical scholarship into one accessible volume, and that lift up many voices of OtherWise persons of faith. And be sure to check out transfaith.info/ as well!

 

Talking Points:

  • (0:00 - 5:13) - housekeeping, introducing Chris

  • (5:14 - 11:29) - introducing Chris's work and books, age 48, defining "OtherWise"

  • (11:30 - 17:53) - receiving the word "OtherWise" in 1998 at an LGBT retreat - a space for men, a space for women, and a space for those "otherwise"

  • (17:54 - 23:44) - before "OtherWise" - mingling with Lesbian Christian groups; who feels "entitled" to create resources?

  • (23:45 - 25:10) - starting the TransFaith site in 1999 - "someone has to do it!"

  • (25:11 - 27:45) - meeting other trans folk offline - first time getting asked for pronouns - "power in trans folk being with other trans folk"

  • (27:46 - 34:15) - claiming they pronouns as a theological choice; daughter's use of zey/zem for Chris; following a Zey Jesus through Holy Week

  • (34:16 - 48:23) - more on Chris' books: the need for one concise, accessible resources on trans-affirming biblical scholarship; obstacles to publishing; "We can't wait for y'all to give us permission!"

  • (48:24 - 52:54) - more on the lack of trans resources; Chris's gathering of friend's stories for current and future books

  • (52:55 - 56:03) - OtherWise Christian 4 will compile biblical scholarship by and about intersex persons - "Jesus knew about intersex."

  • (56:04 - 58:10) - heading to seminary in the fall - hopes that institutions have changed, that they can avoid having to do battle over clobber verses

  • (58:11 - 1:03:14) - more on Chris' faith - a holy hybrid of animism, Humanism - "in multi-faith work around trans communities, our purpose is well-being. ...I want you to thrive as a trans Muslim/Jew/witch."

  • (1:03:15 - 1:06:50) - heading towards chaplaincy - planning to create resources so chaplains can minister better to trans persons

  • (1:06:51 - end) - "find our people"; "community can be messy"; wrapping up

 

April 28, 2020

31:51

Episode 21:
How are trans persons like Shiva, Joseph, and Joan of Arc?

Click here for the episode transcript.

Instead of an interview, this episode dives into faith history to present three stories that may resonate with trans and nonbinary people today. I draw from others' research to share accounts of: the divine manifestation Shiva from Hindu scriptures (as well as some of his devotees across time); Judaism's Joseph of Genesis; and the Catholic Saint Joan of Arc.

Each of these figures (or their followers) breaks out of the gender roles assigned to them. They often face condemnation for doing so, and yet they share their gifts in ways that bring healing and transformation to themselves and to others.


Content warning: descriptions of anti-trans ideologies and violence.

 

Talking Points:

  • (0:00 - 3:33) Housekeeping, introducing the episode themes

  • (3:34 - 11:06) Shiva - the ultimate binary breaker

  • (11:07 - 13:46) Hijras - a "third gender" community of India that will not be erased

  • (13:47 - 22:44) Joseph of Genesis - from family violence to the gratitude of whole nations

  • (22:45 - 29:21) Saint Joan of Arc - called by God to wear men's attire, adored by peasants

  • (29:22 - end) Wrapping up

Resources Used:

 

March 24, 2020

1:14:45

 

Episode 20:

Sacred body, sacred space – 
stories of trans spirituality across faiths

Click here for episode transcript.

The spiritual lives of trans persons are as rich and varied as anyone's - and indeed, are often enriched by their transness. In this episode, 14 trans and nonbinary persons from a variety of faiths - heathenism, Judaism, Christianity, Shinto, and more - and from around the world - the USA, Argentina, Australia, England, and more - share what sacredness means to them.

Content warning: discussion of anti-trans religious hurt. Also, 1 use of the f-word in Deacon Phoebe's story.

Talking Points:

  • (3:43-7:07) "Anon" (they): a heathen in their 30s challenges the sacred/mundane binary & explains how shape-shifting gods helped them accept their body as "natural, nothing more, nothing less"

  • (7:08-10:59) Nano (they): a pagan in Argentina whose world is saturated with magic, especially the outdoors & any space that others find sacred. Contact Avery for Nano's email.

  • (11:00-11:59) "Agnostic-Angel" (they): an Anglican Londoner in their 40s for whom the sacred is captured in a hymn. Tumblr: @agnostic-angel

  • (12:00-14:52) Jane De Odessa (e/em): a Jewish, genderqueer, femme lesbian for whom synagogues are full of good energy, & who finds that praying to a feminine G-d helps em come to terms with e's own gender.

  • (14:53-21:14) Jalyn (they or xi/xir): a 23-year-old Midwesterner who left Christian Fundamentalism for Shinto, where kami accept their worship without care for what gender they are. Tumblr: @practicalsolarpunk. jalynreads.wordpress.com

  • (21:15-25:18) "Deacon Phoebe" (they / she): despite church hurt, Deacon Phoebe practices Catholicism alongside Wicca, drawing sustenance from Mother Mary, Way of the Rose feminist rosary circle, Red Tent, & their local witches' circle.

  • (25:19-30:24) Enrique Cintrón (they): Enrique's altars connect them to their ancestors - from St. Sebastian, to deceased family members, to Sylvia Rivera and Sandra Bland. enriquecintron.com. Instagram & Twitter: @enriquecint. Check out their podcast, Fruits of the Spirit.

  • (30:25-31:59) Jude (they): a queer neurodivergent kind of pagan/kind of Christian kid in the US's Bible Belt for whom to be queer is to be holy. Tumblr: @bratwizard

  • (32:00-41:29) Ezra Saville (he / they): a 20-year-old, trans-masc, intersex Jew in the US's Pacific Northwest. They describe their personal prayer space & discuss how their gender gives them unique insight into Hashem. Tumblr: @queermachmir. Check out their project "Shacharit: For the Twilight People"

  • (41:30-46:34) Jasper (they / he): a 16-year-old violinist whose Evangelical church surrounds him with anti-trans beliefs, yet who finds serenity & connection to the God who loves him in worship.

  • (46:35-52:37) Adrian (they): a 22-year-old in Oklahoma who connects to God through playing guitar & bass & singing in worship in ways that provide sensory input. Their transition is also an act of worship. Twitter: @adapted_battery

  • (52:38-55:09) Pina Colada (any pronouns): a 22-year-old pantheist in Toronto for whom every part of the universe is a part of God & whose practices include listening to Italian folk drumming & caring for nature. Tumblr: @pinabutterjam

  • (55:10-60:59) Katelyn (she / they): a 20-year-old in Australia who find sacredness in nature & whose vision of God has expanded bc of their nonbinaryness. Tumblr: @curkiewoods. katelynsthoughtsonfaith.wordpress.com

  • (61:00-72:32) Taylor (they): a Christian witch who shares the sacredness they find in Tarot & oracle decks by conducting readings for others; in this clip, they conduct a Tarot reading for Avery. Twitter: @Gender_Splendor. Reach out to them if you're interested in a reading!


 

 

February 25, 2020

49:57

Episode 19:

Washing off cisheteronormativity: Dr. S.J. Crasnow on centering LGBTQ persons in faith communities

Click here for episode transcript.

 

Dr. S.J. Crasnow is a 35-year-old Jewish Californian who has made a home with their spouse in Kansas City, Missouri, where SJ teaches and researches in the religious studies department of a small university. Join us as SJ talks about growing up in a liberal, Jewish family but becoming wary of religious institutions over time; about only gradually recognizing their own queerness and first coming out at 25; and about their journey into academia. 

Dr. Crasnow studies how queer and trans Jews engage with their faith in powerful and innovative ways that can and do shape Judaism as a whole. According to SJ, the LGBTQ community is already present and active within Judaism and other religions -- even when the institutions have yet to do the work to make room for them. It is time for faith communities to center the ones who have been pushed to the margins, for the enrichment of the entire religion.

Find SJ's work at https://rockhurst.academia.edu/SJCrasnow

Talking Points: 

  • (0:00 - 3:51) Introducing SJ: religious studies professor, Californian, outdoorsy, moving to the Midwest

  • (3:52 - 11:36) SJ's childhood: attending a Jewish school in the 90s, trying to fit in

  • (11:37 - 15:29) "I just don't think institutions within religions are where it's at for me...I want my Jewish community to improve"

  • (15:30 - 23:08) Journey through higher education; coming out to family and friends, built up emotion and fear; realizing how much they gained from being queer and trans

  • (23:09 - 33:05) The importance of trans and queer Jewish friends; studying queer and trans uses of the Mikvah ritual bath

  • (33:06 - 37:40) Claiming the word "trans"; gender is a process of sedimentation

  • (37:41 - 44:54) SJ's teaching life

  • (44:55 - 48:19) "People are what give religion life and meaning;" "queer, trans, and other marginalized people have a central role" in their religions

  • (48:20 - end) Wrapping up


 

 

January 27, 2020

43:38

Episode 18:

Taylor's faith evolution into
a seminary-bound Christian witch

Click here for episode transcript.

 

Taylor's faith is constantly evolving, from Presbyterian to atheist and back again, with their Christian faith expanding to include witchcraft. Learning from their family from a young age that politics and activism are part of following Jesus, Taylor has also discovered how queerness and tarot, symbolism, and astrology enrich their relationship with God. Taylor hopes to find a seminary where they can learn and grow even more, in the company of people who embrace all aspects of their identity as a fat, disabled, leftist, nonbinary, A+/B- asexual, Christian witch.

Content warning: a teenager's death is discussed from 12:06 - 14:58. If you need to, you can skip this section without losing the thread of the conversation too much.

Find Taylor at Gender_Splendor on Twitter.

  • Reach out there if you're interested in a tarot reading; their rates are:
    20 dollars per 15 minutes on video chat or phone (up to an hour per client)
    35 dollars for an 8 card write-up sent to the client's inbox


Talking points:

 

  • (0:00 - 2:57) Introducing Taylor -- New England, chronic pain, fat activism, B+/A- asexual

  • (2:58 - 4:53) Growing up as a child of divorce, mixed class, Presbyterian

  • (4:54 - 12:06) Taylor's faith evolution, Act One: mental illness and isolation, discovering they don't have to be solely responsible for their own well-being; first sense of calling to ministry

  • (12:07 - 16:57) Act Two: grappling with the death of a friend in high school; starting college and feeling disengaged from faith; finding a friend with whom they could talk through faith and figure out how things like tarot and symbolism can mesh with their Christian faith

  • (16:58 - 21:18) Steps toward seminary; "What are other people gonna think about me in this space?"

  • (21:19 - 23:58) Connections between faith, witchcraft, and queerness; "My nonbinary-ness is a reflection of God"

  • (23:59 - 27:43) Another look at childhood -- Taylor's queerness was accepted at their church; family taught them that activism is part of following Jesus

  • (27:44 - 34:40) The challenges with being a Christian witch in leftist spaces, and a leftist in Christian spaces

  • (34:41 - 36:04) Naming oneself versus being labeled by others -- naming as a sacred act

  • (36:05 - 39:36)The desire for others to fully understand oneself

  • (39:37 - end) Wrapping up; "haters gonna hate, but God just loves."


 

 

December 31, 2019

1:10:38

Episode 17:

"Start from a place of 'I don't know everything'" -

prabhdeep singh kehal
on queerness, colonialism, and interfaith dialogue

Click here for episode transcript.

 

prabhdeep singh kehal's identities as a Sikh and as an educator motivate them to share knowledge wherever they can - in classrooms, online, through resources for LGBTQ Sikhs and their families, and by partaking in interviews like this one! 

Listen as prabhdeep talks with me about their doctoral studies around colonialism in higher education; about entering into interfaith and intercultural conversations with humility and openness; about growing up without feeling any clash between their Sikhi and their queerness until other people made it a problem; and more.

[Note: here is prabhdeep's explanation for keeping their name lowercase: "My name was not given to me in English. It was given to  me in a language that does not use upper/lower case letters."] 

Visit prabhdeep's website for information on their studies and links to other interviews with them: www.pskehal.com
You can also find them on Twitter @prabhbob and on Instagram @prabhdeepsk
prabhdeep recommends https://sikhfamilycenter.org/ for resources around family and faith.

Talking Points:
 

  • Introduction

  • Sikhi and resisting viewing Sikhi from a Christian or Western lens

  • Religions are different from each other, and that's okay

  • Queerness in other cultures; exporting Pride?

  • prabhdeep's childhood: Sikhi and queerness as taboo; other people made their queerness a problem

  • Meeting other queer Sikhs, commitment to creating and sharing resources

  • More on interfaith encounters: seeing the similarities but not stopping there; discussing the fear that keeps us from appreciating religions not our own

  • Entering interfaith conversations without a need to "win," with humility about what we do not know

  • The history between slavery and higher education; discussing white supremacy within universities -- "this moment is not an accident"

  • Discussing colonialism, class, and patriarchy's gender binary: it's about property and control

  • final words of wisdom: trans people are inherently valuable and will not be quashed 


 

 

November 26, 2019

50:46

Episode 16:

Enrique is cultivating the fruits of the Spirit

Click here for episode transcript.

After realizing that they did not have to try to be the cishet man their Catholic church and family expected them to be, and that God is bigger than any one institution, Enrique Cintrón explored a variety of religions before finding a home in the Episcopal Church.

Enrique cultivates community in their hometown of Philadelphia as well as online, particularly in the form of their podcast, Fruits of the Spirit. Their ministry lifts the voices of queer and trans people of color, and calls all of us to embrace the sometimes-uncomfortable but ultimately life-giving conversations about racism, transphobia, and more.

Where you can find Enrique:

  • enriquecintron.com

  • on Twitter and Instagram @enriquecint and also @FOTSpodcast

  • on Facebook at "Fruits of the Spirit Podcast"

 

Talking points:

  • (0:00 - 3:21) Intro

  • (3:22 - 9:45) Rooted in Philadelphia, raised in a Catholic Puerto Rican family; exploring various religions, finding the Episcopal Church

  • (9:46 - 15:23) Considering ordained ministry in a predominantly white denomination -- issues of racism without willingness for dialogue

  • (15:24 - 21:07) Online ministry -- social media is real, a place of community; starting the podcast Fruits of the Spirit for queer and trans people of color

  • (21:08 - 26:17) Christianity from a nonbinary perspective -- finding ourselves hidden in scripture; using They pronouns for God

  • (26:18 - 29:41) Steps to ordination, preparing for the spiritual challenges

  • (29:42 - 40:27) Enrique's time in the Life Together program -- valuable ministry, intentional community, racism unaddressed

  • (40:28 - 45:09) The need to address racism and other sources of pain in order to have authentic relationships

  • (45:10 - 46:47) Wrapping up -- where you can find Enrique; "trust the process"

  • (46:48 - 50:50) Ending notes: call for trans and/or nonbinary people to share their sacred spaces on the show; invitation to enter a raffle to win my book of poetry!


 

 

October 29, 2019

51:01

Episode 15:

"We just want to be heard" -
Dee on race, disability, and trans rights in Chile

Click here for episode transcript

Dee Garnica shares their experience as a 19-year-old nonbinary Chilean, discussing issues of disability, race, and transgender rights in Chile. 

While the country does offer universal healthcare, as well as certain legal rights for trans persons, Dee has found that talk of trans issues is regarded as taboo and that the healthcare system fails many disabled persons. Moreover, despite the racial diversity of the Chilean people, racism rears its ugly head in the treatment of immigrants and in the dominance of white people in positions of power. 

Raised Catholic, Dee has also found Catholic school and Mass to be hostile places for them and thus has left religion. Wherever Dee goes, from academia to the workplace, they speak up for their rights, believing that every human being has a right to be heard and respected for who they are. 

You can find Dee on twitter @DeeGarnicaO and on Instagram @nonbinaryq. 

Talking points:

  • (0:00 - 5:56) Podcast info, current events in Chile, and introducing Dee

  • (5:57 - 13:00) Issues with gendered language in Spanish; roadblocks for trans Chileans

  • (13:01 - 14:46) Family denial, organizational and online support

  • (14:47 - 20:53) Leaving religion after harmful experiences in Catholicism; Christianity should not be rich or whitewashed

  • (20:54 - 24:45) Racism and xenophobia in Chile -- migrants and refugees

  • (24:46 - 37:10) Fighting to have name and pronouns respected in school and at work; fighting to have disability recognized -- wanting better rights for those who come after us

  • (37:11 - 47:15) Dee's plans for the future -- biochemistry, accommodations, starting a YouTube vlog, continuing "out of spite"

  • (47:16 - 49:07) Chile as a "developing country"

  • (49:08 - end) Wrapping up the episode


 

 

August 13, 2019

15:17

Episode 14:

How are trans people like Jonah? -
a Jewish woman's perspective

Click here for episode transcript.

In this episode, I do not interview anyone but rather discuss Joy Ladin's introduction to her 2019 text The Soul of the Stranger: Reading God and Torah from a Transgender Perspective. In this text, Ladin compares her attempt to flee from her womanhood to Jonah's attempt to flee from his identity as a prophet. Like Jonah, trans people's decision to live into who they are enriches their communities, just as Jonah's eventual acceptance of his call helps Nineveh. 


 

 

July 23, 2019

1:14:44

Episode 13:

Rev. Jo Inkpin is flourishing with a trans-ing God

Click here for episode transcript.

After coming out several years ago, Josephine Inkpin became the first openly transgender priest in the Anglican Church of Australia. Born in England, where she and her wife were part of the fight for women's ordination, Jo moved to Australia in 2000 and now helps fight not just for the inclusion of LGBTQA+ persons, but for their affirmation and celebration. 

In this episode, Jo envisions the Kingdom of God as a banquet where all are not only allowed at the table but can transform it, and where worship is a party where we are opened to ever-new experiences of God. She explores what it means to worship a God who is artist and art, trans-ing and constantly urging the Church "to trans" as well. Jo also discusses the gifts that trans persons offer their faith communities as agents of transformation, and why it's imperative for some of us to stay and speak up even while others find it necessary to step away. 

For some more details on Jo's personal journey, see this article.

Explore more of Jo's incredible work at transspirit.org, or follow her on Twitter @blessedimp. 


 

 

July 7, 2019

50:34

Episode 12:

Luca is making their community stronger

Click here for episode transcript.

Luca Alexander is passionate about raising the voices of marginalized women and LGBTQ+ individuals, doing so through their job at the Boston-based consulting team VISIONS, through their scholarship at Boston University, and through participation in queer and Muslim spaces in Boston.

In this episode, they discuss becoming a Muslim; navigating hijab, islamophobia, and gender dysphoria; researching gender segregation; and more. In their studies, they have asked the question of how Islam defines "man" and "woman," where trans and nonbinary people fit within the framework of Islamic law, and whether gender segregation is necessarily mandated. While Luca has had to deal with queerphobia and islamophobia at school and elsewhere, they have also found meaningful community through Queer Muslims of Boston, energy in creating art, and healing in Dhikr, chanting the 99 Names of God. 

 

You can find Luca @LucaRNAlexander on Twitter.


 

 

June 23, 2019

52:47

Episode 11:

From End Times to a ​new beginning -
Adi is reconstructing their faith

Click here for episode transcript.

Adi McNally's life is looking up. For one thing, they've just gotten top surgery! Adi's also moved from a church that kept them isolated and fearful to a church that welcomes all that they are; from being in a homeschool group with right wing values to being involved in their college's LGBT community; and from seeing God as a wrathful parent coming to judge us at the End Times to rediscovering scripture in the light of love. 

Join Adi (age 19) as they discuss growing up in a toxic and manipulative religious environment; discovering the link between their eating disorder and gender dysphoria; meeting other queer people and realizing that all they'd been told about LGBT people was wrong; and learning that doubt and questions are a healthy part of faith. They also share a beautiful poem they wrote after their baptism. 


Content warning: discussions of an eating disorder and getting it treated; nothing too detailed. 

 

Where you can find Adi:


 

 

June 9, 2019

52:23

Episode 10:

Alex is a Haitian Vodou Priest

Click here for episode transcript.

There are fewer than 5 known transgender priests in the Haitian Vodou religion, and as far as he knows Alex Batagi (initiated under the name Bonkira Bon Oungan, "what is good is rare") is the only currently active one. With the guidance of his spiritual mother, Manbo Maude, his spirits, and his community, Houngan Alex has been able to take up the tools of Vodou -- healing, magic, and devotion to the lwa -- to fully recognize his identity as a trans man and work towards the ultimate goal of Vodou: balance in all areas for all people. 

In this episode, Alex discusses his growth from being a pastor's kid to an agnostic and finally to discovering Haitian Vodou right there in Boston. He has found that the lwa, the spirits, embrace and support his whole self. Alex also talks about what it's like to be a white and non-Haitian practitioner of Vodou, as well as the importance of spirituality and community to trans persons.

Where you can find Alex:


 

 

May 12, 2019

48:59

Episode 9:

When Faith Hurts -
Sharing stories of transphobic violence

 

In this episode, five people share their stories of religious hurt.


Bryce winces when he hears church music.
Neko worries about her family finding out she's LGBT, but dreams of leaving Indonesia to be herself.
Ryka discovers that they are gay and trans because it was part of God's plan.

Spencer is a "drive-by casualty of religious homophobia," and struggles with their relationship with their parents.
Avery struggled in their teenage years simply because no one gave them the language they needed to thrive. 

 

My hope for this episode is that listeners who are going through similar pain will feel encouraged to learn that they are not alone; and that all of us will be motivated to compassion - grieving together and then acting to challenge transphobia and cissexism wherever we find them. 

Content warnings are offered before each individual's story (both in the audio and below). In general, this episode contains a lot of discussions on transphobia and homophobia (internalized and otherwise); fear of divine rejection; and family and church conflict. 

Talking points:

  • (0:00-3:23) Introduction: sharing the stories of several people's experiences with transphobic violence in faith communities 

  • (3:24-6:45) Limitations of this episode 

  • Bryce Corcoran's story (he/him) (read by Avery) (CW: homophobia, trans phobia, family rejection, fear of divine rejection, brief mentions of death)

  • (6:46-10:14) church and family members who do not approve, will not meet his wife

  • (10:15-11:08) struggling to engage with God because of the damage done in God's name

  • Neko's story (she/her) (CW: homophobia and transphobia from family, students, and religious groups; internalized homophobia; fear of family rejection / fear of being outed; government censorship)

  • (11:09-18:54) Living in Indonesia, parents who are church workers; "If they knew, my life would go to ruin" 

  • (18:55-20:21) Hope: finding other LGBT Christians; "I'm getting out of this country someday." 

  • Ryka's story (he/him or they/them) (read by Avery) (CW: transphobia and homophobia, including internalized, including the word "homosexual" used as a slur; fear of divine rejection; mentions of the military)

  • (20:22-23:01) lacking the language to understand himself

  • (23:02-24:35) "If God really hates me, why should I love him?"

  • (24:36-26:05) "I am gay and transgender because it is in God's plans for me."

  • Spencer's story (they/them) (CW: one use of the F word; homophobia and transphobia; mentions of religious sexism; conflict with parents)

  • (26:06-29:34) Trying to fix injustice and getting shut down; "I've never been able to forgive them for not listening"

  • (29:35-31:46) "I didn't have anyone that I trusted to help me sort out my feelings about faith and religion."

  • (31:47-32:59) Years later - counseling with parents; “no way to tell a church that’s trying to ‘save’ you that what they’re doing is literally the opposite of salvation”

  • Avery's story (they/them) (CW: suicide ideation and one brief mention of self harm; queerphobia, especially internalized; puberty discussed)

  • (33:00-35:58) Learning that gay is a dirty word, that men and women are inherently different

  • (35:59-39:09) The violence of silence, of being unable to believe we have a happy future ahead 

  • (39:10-44:22) Poem: what I would tell my ten year old self

  • (44:23-48:56) Wrapping up: I have a Patreon now! 

 

Ryka can be found on twitter @RSween1.

If you are interested in reaching out to Neko, contact Avery.

 

April 28, 2019

57:08

Episode 8:

Hanka is a Polish cryptid

Transcript forthcoming.

 

Hanka (he/him or she/her) is a 19-year-old bigender lesbian who was born in Warsaw, has lived in places like Belgium and Israel, and is back in Warsaw again. In this interview, Hanka talks about what it's like to be LGBT in Poland, a very Catholic country where the LGBT community is only just entering the public consciousness; how theatre helped her figure out her gender identity; and how he's moved from thinking something's "wrong" with him to recognizing that experiencing anxiety doesn't mean God has left you.

Find Hanka on instagram at spagetticathimself, and on tumblr as hanqa-a or dyke-community.

Talking points:

 

  • Intro, Catholicism in Poland (0:00 - 7:30)

  • First crush on a girl, questioning sexuality (7:31 - 9:04)

  • In Poland, LGBT people are "cryptids" -- but awareness is slowly growing (9:05 - 15:47)

  • Figuring out sexuality and gender, getting into theatre (15:48 - 23:03)

  • Currently in school for costuming (23:04 - 27:03)

  • Guilt and doubt, compensating by being "the best Christian" (27:04 - 33:00)

  • Realizing that anxiety is the problem, not something wrong with him (33:01 - 36:23)

  • More on trying out different labels; "the gender binary is one big lie" (36:24 - 40:15)

  • Internalized misogyny while repressing attraction to girls; "I love being 70% a girl!" (40:16 - 41:54)

  • "Crushes" on guys; "Are you lesbians?" (41:55 - 45:09)

  • Teaching children English, homophobia against teachers (45:10 - 48:44)

  • More on LGBT politics in Poland -- "the timeline is so messed up" (48:45 - 52:50)

  • Struggling to decide whether to come out with friends, others (52:51 - 55:08)

  • Wrapping up: "Test everything and hold to what's true" (55:09 - 57:08)


 

 

April 14, 2019

45:02

Episode 7:

"God's not gonna leave you" - 
Christian Witchcraft with Phoenyx

Transcript forthcoming.

 

Phoenyx (they or she pronouns) is 30 years old, bisexual, working towards becoming a national certified counselor, and has been exploring different religions for the past few years. Raised Catholic and discovering Christian witchcraft around age 13, Phoenyx has also looked into Judaism, Tibetan Buddhism, Unitarian Universalism, Episcopal Christianity, Irish paganism, and more. At the same time they are also questioning their gender, with some terms they currently use including genderflux and nonbinary.

Some of the things we discuss in this interview include: the need for LGBT+ therapists; challenges with associating with Christianity when a bigoted form of the faith is in the spotlight; the anxiety but also the richness that comes from living in a state of uncertainty regarding faith; the truth to be found in any religion; and what it means to be a valid trans person and how society tries to make each person "pick" between being gay or straight and to "pick" one gender, one faith.

You can find Phoenyx at christ-haunted.tumblr.com or phoenyxoftheashes.tumblr.com. The post that they mention in the interview that explores what the Bible says about witchcraft can be read here.


 

 

March 31, 2019

48:16

Episode 6:

Eli and the prophet Elijah

Transcript forthcoming.

 

Eli Rosenberg used to think that being trans was incompatible with faith.  But with help from their rabbi, transtorah.org, and the prophet Elijah, they discovered that Judaism has room for all sorts of people and welcomes questions without answers.  

In this interview, Eli talks about conflict and interpretation. They wrestle with various supposed dualisms, from faith vs. science to being disabled vs. being made in the image of God -- and find that these concepts are not so dichotomous after all. 

They also discuss the challenges of finding trans-friendly therapists, the pain of dysphoria and the wonders of hrt,  support from loved ones, and autism and EDS. 

Eli can be found on twitter at @chronautist

Talking Points:

 

  •  Introducing Eli -- nonbinary, disabled, autistic, Jewish (3:24 - 4:13)

  • Psychology and therapist problems (4:14 - 6:05)

  • Interpretation and conflict -- Judaism allows for wrestling with God (6:06 - 7:55)

  • A new rabbi and transtorah.org (7:56 - 10:25)

  • How Eli got their name: dysphoria and Elijah the prophet (10:26 - 16:30)

  • "You can't be trans, you're autistic" (16:31 - 18:47)

  • Testosterone and gender presentation (18:48 - 23:40)

  • Eli's fiancée, sister, family (23:41 - 30:29)

  • Love for math and science: "Numbers are the closest we get to the handwriting of God" (30:30 - 33:07)

  • "This can't be accidental" -- intelligent design and human advancements (33:08 - 36:34)

  • We are made in God's image -- made to be creative -- tattoos and piercings (36:35 - 42:20)

  • The medical model vs. the social model of disability (42:21 - 45:36)

  • Wrapping up (45:37 - 48:16)


 

 

March 17, 2019

47:11

Episode 5:

Adam is a lifelong Methodist

Transcript forthcoming.

 

In a previous episode, Adam Richards talked to us about the United Methodist Church's general conference, but we didn't get to hear much about their own life! Adam has a deep love for Wesleyan theology's focus on good fruits and for their university's campus ministry and activist groups. Adam also talks about the support they find from their partner and some family members, the challenges of finding clothing when nonbinary and autistic, and finding the Spirit of Love in secular spaces.

Talking points:

  • Updates on the UMC general conference (0:00 - 2:19)  

  • Introducing Adam: studies, church involvement (2:20-4:57)  

  • Growing up; high school youth group while figuring out sexuality (4:58-7:20)

  • College: LGBT+ group, activist group (7:21-8:49)

  • Frank Schaefer: hurt by the UMC, finding hope in campus ministry (8:50-14:40)

  • The "clobber" passages: trans people and the Bible (14:41-18:35)

  • Partner - atheist, but not "unequally yoked" (18:36-20:48)

  • Family and working through queerphobia (20:49-24:10)

  • Still not out to their dad as trans; figuring out when to come out; figuring out they're trans (24:11-26:57)

  • Trans and autistic - sensory issues vs. dysphoria (26:58-27:44)

  • The challenges of clothes shopping (27:45-29:57)

  • The Spirit of Love in secular spaces - God is where the marginalized are (29:58-31:59)

  • More on queerness and the Bible (32:00-34:42)

  • "Ever since coming out, my faith has gotten stronger" (34:43-36:15)

  • Wesleyan theology -- experiences and fruits (36:17-42:06)

  • More on clothes: Deuteronomy, even harder when you're nonbinary (42:07-43:42

  • Wrapping up (43:43-46:59)

 

March 3, 2019

1:09:23

Episode 4:

Derek loves his family 

Transcript forthcoming.

 

Derek Guy has a lot of love to give: for his family, for the youth he's worked with, and for communities where he can fully be himself as a Black trans man. 

In this episode, Derek describes how he's been able to transform his traumatic experiences with church hurt and attending a conversion therapy camp into strength he uses to serve youth and adults as a social worker. He talks about identifying more as spiritual than Christian, believing in a higher power and, with his wife, doing what he can to give his son a solid foundation in spirituality. 

Derek also talks about the life-giving power of finding communities where he feels supported and welcomed, and the pain and frustration when communities fail to be that -- with concrete advice to communities that want to learn to be more inclusive! 


Derek wants listeners to know he can be found on most social media sites if you search DerekJGuy - check him out! 


Talking points:

  • Introducing Derek: from Atlanta to Louisville  (0:00 - 3:35)

  • Church: goes to Bible studies, not worship services; work to do regarding trans inclusion (3:36 - 5:17)

  • Identifies as spiritual; thoughts on the Bible; raised Christian (5:18 - 8:08)

  • Conversion camp - "voluntarily" went so he could be a youth mentor -- church hurt and love, trauma and strength (8:09 - 12:59)

  • The church that sent him to conversion camp is affirming now -- the consequences of ignorance (13:00 - 15:25)

  • Coming out - to his dad 4 times, to his mom, to his family (15:26 - 21:45)

  • The power of community: the Black Trans Conference of America; advocating for trans kids at work (21:46 - 24:49)

  • Giving his son the resources to make his own choices -- gender and religion (24:50 - 32:25)

  • Thoughts on theology - hard to find accessible queer theology; politics of church structure (32:26 - 36:59)

  • Slow-going trans inclusion - the bathroom issue (37:00 - 40:20)

  • Derek's specific advice for churches on bathroom signs, inclusive language, gendered groups, etc. (40:21 - 47:17)

  • Why trans inclusion NEEDS to be a priority: we are an "endangered" group (47:18 - 52:20)

  • LGBT groups have this issue too -- LGB needs to remember the T (and POC); Derek had to step down as Mr. KPF (52:21 - 55:40)

  • "people only care about trans people when we're dying, not when we're trying to live;" we are forceful because this is an urgent situation (55:41 - 59:45)

  • Pain around baptism; "It made me feel rejected .... That's when I did stop going to church" (59:46 - 1:04:20)

  • Still he stays - still has found community in this church, and so has his son (1:04:21 - 1:07:05)"Find your people" (1:07:06 - end)

 

February 21, 2019

39:05

Episode 3:

The UMC General Conference -
a nonbinary Methodist's hopes and fears

Transcript forthcoming.

 

From February 23-26, 2019, the United Methodist Church is holding a special general conference specifically for the discussion of "human sexuality." The outcome will impact all members of the UMC, but particularly those within it who are LGBTQ+.  

In this special episode, nonbinary Methodist Adam Richards was good enough to walk me through the various possible outcomes of this conference. While doing so, they shared their own story -- their love for Methodism and why they stay despite pain and frustation, their plans to pursue a calling to ordination, and the differences they've noticed between LGB issues and trans issues in Methodist churches. 

Talking points:

 

  • Introducing Adam and LGBT+ discussions in the UMC (0:00 - 5:14)

  • M Barclay and LGBT+ resilience (5:15 - 6:34)

  • Constant conflict at previous General Conferences (6:35 - 8:42)

  • This February's special General Conference: 3 main plans (8:43 - 10:56)

  • Possible consequences for congregations and for LGBT+ individuals (10:57 - 12:51)

  • Why Adam stays (12:51 - 15:04)

  • Congregations don't know; lack of knowledge and resources about trans people (15:05 - 19:46)

  • The discussion is focused on the wrong thing -- property instead of actual people; allies lack resources (19:47 - 22:39)

  • The consequences land on LGBTQ+ people; "live in my shoes" (22:40 - 23:50)

  • Groups who want to do LGBTQ+ actual harm; what this is really about: "You hate us" (23:51 - 26:51)

  • Schism will be a sad thing even if necessary (26:52 - 30:10)

  • Adam's journey to ordained ministry -- "no matter what, I will be ordained"; Spirit and spite (30:11 - 38:12)

 

February 17, 2019

52:08

Episode 2:

Willow errs on the side of grace

Transcript forthcoming.

 

Join me and Willow Hovingh as she shares her experiences as a trans woman transitioning in her fifties. Coming out has brought Willow an abundance of blessings in her personal well-being, her work life and church life, and in her relationships with friends and family, including her trans son.

 

Talking points:

  • a "late bloomer" who came out at 52 (0:00 - 3:20)Willow introduces herself -

  • Growing up unchurched (3:21 - 4:10)

  • Joining a church, "searching for something" (4:11 - 4:59)

  • The "lowest difficulty settings" in the game of life, but still different, "the weird kid" (5:00 - 9:30)

  • Enrolling at Louisville Seminary, first inklings of being trans put on the shelf for 20 years (9:31 - 16:15)

  • Willow's "sandpaper suit;" everything uncomfortable (16:16 - 17:20)

  • "God bless estrogen" -- starting her transition and discovering gender euphoria! (17:21 - 18:49)

  • Supported by her long-time church, rich in LGBT ministers (18:50 - 23:17)

  • The power of a recognition of name-change rite (23:18 - 25:27)

  • Erring on the side of grace (25:28 - 26:44)

  • Gender and calling: what are the things that you can't not do? (26:45 - 28:45)

  • Ready to come out: "I don't give a hoot"; medical experiences; coming out at work (28:46 - 32:36)

  • "If you had told me then" - a happy woman (32:37 - 35:55)

  • Justin Tanis' book and the idea of gender as calling; "I can't go back" (35:56 - 37:26)

  • Coming out to her kid and her parents; enriched relationships (37:27 - 40:57)

  • Willow's message for pastors: "Are you ready?" (40:58 - 42:31)

  • Resistance through being visible (42:32 - 43:41)

  • Parenting a trans person (43:42 - 44:37)

  • It's okay to make mistakes (44:38 - 45:55)

  • Focusing on blessings and gratitude (45:56 - 47:27)

  • Willow and her son support each other (47:28 - 49:42)

  • Free from that sandpaper suit (49:43 - 50:42)

  • A message for the muggles (cis straight folks) (50:43 - 52:08)

 

January 21, 2019

30:59

Episode 1:

Avery's genderqueer calling

Click here for episode transcript.

 

In this first episode, Avery discusses what made them start up this podcast. They then explore how genderqueerness is part of the vocation they have been discerning since their childhood days of preaching homilies to stuffed animals, all the way through their present studies at Louisville Seminary.

Where else you can find Avery:

 

Talking points:

  • The goal is to be a podcast for trans and nonbinary persons of all faiths and experiences (0:00 - 3:05)

  • Introducing the interviewer, Leah, and digging into Avery's childhood (3:06-6:15)

  • Avery's faith practices growing up - scripture and sermonizing (6:16-11:00)

  • Avery's journey to recognizing their genderqueerness (11:01-16:09)

  • Internalized misogyny? Avery's nonbinary femininity and Leah's "tomboyness" (16:10-20:00)

  • Educating churches on trans issues (20:01-22:03)

  • Avery's three-branched vocation: pastorhood, genderqueerness, and marriage (22:04-24:03)

  • Breaking binaries between Catholicism and Protestantism -- Avery holds both traditions in their heart (24:04-27:14)

  • Avery and Leah share their final words of wisdom (27:15-end)

 

This website is created and run by Avery Smith, a nonbinary Catholic-Presbyterian graduate of Louisville Seminary who runs queerlychristian.tumblr.com. 

If you want to help keep this website online and growing, support me on Patreon at Queerly Christian!

Reach out to me with corrections to any information on this website, suggestions for more information to include, or questions and comments via this online askbox or at queerlychristian36@gmail.com. 

Please let me know in particular if there is anything I can do to improve accessibility for this site.