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Blessed Are the Binary Breakers episode archive

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


[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 73: Stopping Cop City: Água's Story

  • Episode 72: Stopping Cop City: Shining Oak's Story

  • Episode 71: Stopping Cop City: Tov's Story

  • Episode 70: Stopping Cop City: Coal's Story

  • Episode 69: Stopping Cop City: Siihasin's Story

  • Episode 68: Hoping against Hope: what keeps us going in troubled times

  • Episode 67: Uprooting Bitterness, Planting Trans Joy

  • Episode 66: Our Lady of Disgrace: A queer Christmas story

  • Episode 65: K Kriesel: chaplain & textile artist who blends Catholicism & Wicca

  • Episode 64: Ynza Morgan Star: Genderqueer, pagan, and so much more!

  • Episode 63: Neuroqueer Joseph of Genesis

  • Episode 62: Refuting TERF/Anti-Trans Rhetoric with Leslie Feinberg

  • Episode 61: Leslie Feinberg on Trans Liberation & Solidarity

  • Episode 60: More from Rev. Krissy on transforming the Church

  • Episode 59: Marginalized Bodies as Spectacle & Jesus's disabling wounds

  • Episode 58: Queering the Cross, Tomb, and Resurrection

  • Episode 57: Making Space for Gethsemane — disability & trans theology around pain

  • Episode 56: Avery's name journey: picking a name, legal process

  • Episode 55: Excerpts from RW Walker's Lenten collection O Beautiful Dust

  • Episode 54: Rev. Krissy is a politically queer UCC pastor

  • Episode 53: Naming Faith — Eric Sharp is a Pluralist Agnostic & Systemic Therapist

  • Episode 52: Revisiting Nativity — Was Jesus born in a barn or a house?

  • Episode 51: The Binary Breaking Transness of Jesus — clip

  • Episode 50: Numinous Names: name changes across genders, cultures, & faiths

  • Episode 49: "His Name Is John": magnAUtism & allyship in Luke 1

  • Episode 48: Black Book's tour of syncretism in nineteenth century Russia

  • Episode 47: Brigid: Celtic Goddess, Catholic Saint, Voodoo Lwa

  • Episode 46: Sex Work and Satanism with Azura Rose

  • Episode 45: Manlike babies, cuckolded Joseph, & the sex worker Madonna

  • Episode 44: God's gender in Hosea 11 with Liam Hooper & Peterson Toscano

  • Episode 43: God Gets Vulnerable - Elijah and the "still small voice"

  • Episode 42: A trans traveler and autistic apostle in Acts 8

  • Episode 41: April is a proud Catholic Latina trans woman

  • Episode 40: An intersex, nonbinary first human & a disabled risen Christ

  • Episode 39: Combatting Antisemitism on Good Friday with alternative liturgy

  • Episode 38: Neville studies and creates queer Catholic art

  • Episode 37: No End to Transphobia without Uprooting Ableism

  • Episode 36: Solaris is Christian not out of fear, but out of love

  • Episode 35: Trans Mental Health - affirmation, community, and purpose

  • Episode 34: How Shiva Gave Rudra Their Name - disabled nonbinary Fijian-Canadian

  • Episode 33: Interfaith and Interracial Solidarity in Georgia's Elections

  • Episode 32: A Queer Nativity: God's transition, Mary's transgressive yes, ally Joseph

  • Episode 31: Cultivating your own faith while embracing religious pluralism

  • Episode 30: Readying yourself for respectful interfaith encounters

  • Episode 29: Halloween is a Queer Thing

  • Episode 28: Andy's research into bi and trans exclusion 

  • Episode 27: "Helping each other be whole" - intersectionality and solidarity 

  • Episode 26: "It's an honor to be trans" - Andy is a queer Quaker

  • Episode 25: Gender Diversity Pre-Patriarchy - what Genesis 24 reveals

  • 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

May 12, 2023


Episode 73:
Stopping Cop City —

Água's Story

Click here for the episode transcript.

Água (they/them) shares the story of their lifelong relationship with Weelaunee Forest, whose leaves form the second half of the lungs that begin in Água's own body. After discussing the Stop Cop City movement's past and present, Água guides us through abolishing the cop in our own head; recognizing the interconnectedness and sacredness of all bodies; and breaking down binaries of "us" versus "them."

Talking Points:

  • (0:00) Call to action

  • (2:10) Introducing Água: a queer, Chicanx, trans parent who's spent most of their life in Atlanta on Muscogee territory

  • (7:10) Água's intimate relationship with Weelaunee Forest; burnout from organized activism that has little room for spirituality

  • (14:54) Personal spiritual journey; the principles of healing an individual body can be used to heal communal bodies & cultures; the root of Cop City conflict is a disregard for the sacred of Black & Indigenous bodies and of the ecosystem

  • (22:30) Where does abolition live inside your body? How do you remove the cop in your head?

  • (26:45) Discussing current ongoing with Cop City — forest entry blocked, clear-cutting; history of the Atlanta Way

  • (33:14) How and why to get involved

  • (40:07) How queerness manifests as a liberation practice; nature is really gay; interconnectedness of all life

  • (43:35) How do we break down binaries built from trauma in our activism? Rehabilitating ex-police?

  • (50:44 - end) Água's closing blessing; Água's podcast

May 4, 2023


Episode 72:
Stopping Cop City —

Shining Oak's Story

Click here for the episode transcript.

For Shining Oak (she/her), activism and queerness have been catalysts for reconnecting to her Jewish faith. Learn about Shining Oak's experiences with the movement to Stop Cop City, from organizing a kid-friendly event for a 2021 Week of Action to attending a powerful Shabbat service in Atlanta's Weelaunee Forest.

Talking Points:

  • 0:00) A new nonviolent movement space; introducing Shining Oak — queer Jewish forest defender

  • (3:30) First week of action in spring 2021; organizing a kid-friendly event

  • (9:10) Comparing then and now — larger numbers, more widespread, clearing begun

  • (15:00) The power of a diverse movement — Jewish members, queer members, BIPOC members, and more

  • (19:53) Shabbat in the forest

  • (24:55) Growing up Jewish in a white Christian suburb — pressure to assimilate

  • (30:45) Get involved with the movement in your own small way; honor Tortuguita's memory

  • (36:20 - end) Wrapping up with a Jewish rabbi's story of Purim in the forest

Shining Oak

April 21, 2023


Episode 71:
Stopping Cop City —

Tov's Story

Click here for the episode transcript.

Learn about the Movement to Defend Atlanta's Forest through the stories of forest defenders for whom queerness and faith intertwine with activism. In this episode, Tov shares the dream that drew them to March's Week of Action, discusses Weelaunee's history and the environmental threat Cop City poses, and uplifts the power of humor in the face of police intimidation.

Talking Points:

  • (0:00 - 5:10) Intro: some history Weelaunee forest — millennia of Muscogee stewardship followed by colonialism, enslavement, and Black prison labor

  • (5:11) Getting involved after getting informed; the power of a common cause

  • (9:00) Tov’s spirituality: a baby mystic who finds a lot of meaning in dreams, accountability to ancestral history

  • (11:15) The dream that inspired Tov to attend March’s Week of Action: Mother Earth imprisoned 

  • (15:00) The healing power of community working towards a common goal; the threat of police intimidation

  • (19:10) Tov's advice: get informed, look to movement elders, assess your risks, laugh at our enemies

  • (27:20 - end) Wrapping up

April 13, 2023


Episode 70:
Stopping Cop City —

Coal's Story

Click here for the episode transcript.

Coal (he/they) is organizing a solidarity group in Springfield, Illinois, for the Movement to Defend Atlanta's Forest and Stop Cop City. He understands that what happens in Atlanta will have wide-reaching impacts — from environmental devastation to the way such a huge, hyper-militarized police training facility would set a precedent for similar projects across the nation.

In this second episode in the Stopping Cop City series, Avery deconstructs "outside agitator" rhetoric, while Coal offers their insights on how to support the movement from afar. Together, they also discuss trans intersections and the power behind being able to laugh at our oppressors.

Check out Coal's Springfield Stop Cop City group @217dtaf on Instagram.

Talking Points:

  • (0:00) Avery delves into the rhetoric of "outside agitators," and how it has been used to repress revolution in the US South from the pre-Civil War era, through the Civil Rights Movement, and now with Cop City.

  • (6:35) Coal discusses his Springfield solidarity group and why everyone should care about the movement to Defend Atlanta's Forest

  • (12:40) Finding out about the movement through music

  • (14:33) Coal's visit to Atlanta for March's Week of Action — a concert derailed; protests with passion

  • (18:30) Connections between the forest movement and movements for trans rights

  • (22:24) Maintaining energy for the fight — self-care, camaraderie, the power of memes & humor

  • (29:20 - end) Wrapping up — what's going on right now with forest clearing

Coal's story

April 8, 2023


Episode 69:
Stop Cop City Series —
Siihasin's Story

Click here for the episode transcript.

Learn about the Movement to Stop Cop City and Defend Atlanta's Forest through the stories of forest defenders for whom queerness and faith intertwine with activism. In this first episode, Siihasin describes their experiences as a Diné nádleehi, frontliner, and land defender.

Siihasin was one of around 20 Indigenous two spirit persons invited to the latest Stop Cop City Week of Action to facilitate conversations around Indigenous sovereignty, land rights & protection, and Black liberation & solidarity. How can activist movements work to protect and center their most vulnerable members?

Talking points:

  • (0:00 - 8:50) Avery offers a basic introduction to the Movement to Stop Cop City and Defend Atlanta's Weelaunee Forest.

  • (8:51) Siihasin is a two spirit nádleehi of the Diné nation; invited to Weelaunee Forest to help facilitate conflict management among defenders

  • (15:00) Navigating connection and tension — diversity of the forest defenders; Muscogee ceremonies surveilled by police

  • (23:00) The Week of Action showcased a wide spectrum of action, from camping & skillsharing to youth marches — all recognizing that all forms of life are under attack from Cop City

  • (25:38) What it’s like to be Native while camping in the forest — targeted by police; remembering Tortuguita

  • (32:30) The myth of “outside agitators”; recognizing Afro-Indigenous solidarity as central to all our liberation

  • (41:32) What it means to be two spirit — an Indigenous umbrella term; targeted by colonizers

  • (48:00) Siihasin’s personal experience as a nádleehi centered on protecting their people — growing up problematized by Western medicine; learning they are not broken from Diné family

  • (57:45) Intra-movement conflict management and respecting intersections is crucial to liberation

hoping against hope

March 31, 2023


Episode 68:
Hoping against Hope —
What keeps us going in troubled times

Click here for the episode transcript.

The world is a scary place right now — particularly for trans people. Our youth are being targeted. Our bodily autonomy is under threat. We are made into scapegoats by extremists who want to eradicate us. In these tumultuous times, where is the hope?

In this special episode, you'll hear from people of various genders and faith experiences about what keeps them going — from Higher Powers to the power of storytelling; and from friendship & solidarity to the natural world.

Talking points:

  • (0:00) Complicating hope — not to be confused with toxic positivity, and not at odds with hopelessness

  • (4:30) Naiomi Gonzalez (she/they): hope in lamentation and bringing fears & pain to God

  • (10:40) Avery (they/ze): hoping against hope that Cop City will never be built

  • (15:29) Amir (he/him): chronic pain & the power of a friend who shares your experience

  • (17:05) K Kriesel: (they/them): When an old support system ceases to support you — K’s journey from white feminism into “the chaos of the physical world”

  • (20:50) Avery: the power of rallies – even when they “fail”

  • (24:40) Eric Sharp (he/him) rewatches The Good Place for encouragement and reminders that there are no easy answers

  • (28:12 - 34:22) Rosie’s (she/her) temple is nature and scripture is poetry; ending with “Good Bones” by Maggie Smith

Planting Trans Joy

February 28, 2023


Episode 67:
Uprooting Bitterness, Planting Trans Joy

Click here for the episode transcript.

In the anti-trans flood, I don't want my anger and hurt to wither into bitterness; I want to channel it into planting a garden of trans joy, queer rest, intersectional justice.

Talking points:

  • (0:00 - 2:07) Garden dreams

  • (2:08) The frustrations of seeking healthcare while trans; finding trans joy where it is

  • (5:43) Despair over Tennessee's anti-drag bill; hope in the defiance of drag performers like Bella DuBalle

  • (12:42 - end) We will resist — but I dream of rest. How do each play our part in cultivating rest and wholeness for all?

December 23, 2022


Episode 66:

"Our Lady of Disgrace" —
A queer Christmas story

Click here for the episode transcript.

In saying yes to bearing God Themself outside of marriage, Mary said yes to disgrace in the eyes of the world — not unlike the rejection LGBTQA+ persons can face when we accept God's call to live into our full, beautiful, queer selves. In this short story from Squirrel House Publishing's 2021 anthology Reconstructing Christmas, the Mother of God emboldens a nonbinary college student to take a courageous step.

Talking points:

  • 0:00 - Exploring the queerness of Mary in Luke 1, as well as in her apparitions to marginalized persons across the ages

  • 9:50 - "Joe and Our Lady of Disgrace" — short story reading

Our Lady Defiant

October 31, 2022


Episode 65:

Embracing "Messy" with K Kriesel —
A chaplain & textile artist who blends
Catholicism, Wicca, & queerness

Click here for the episode transcript.

K Kriesel (they/them or she/her) is not afraid of "messy," with a spiritual life that blends Catholicism and Wicca, and holds space for time adrift. 

K has broken away from a variety of groups that proved too limiting to uplift the most marginalized, including any feminism that prioritizes white, cis women. As they search for a spiritual community built with people like them in mind, K serves as a chaplain and creates the kind of queer Catholic art they want to see in the world. You can contact K and view their work at or @kkrieselart on Instagram or Facebook.

Talking points:

  • 0:00 - Intro material

  • 4:01 - K's youth: moving from an abusive Catholicism to a more open version, with room for Wicca

  • 9:34 - Studying feminist & queer theologies; grappling with the limitations of feminism — too white, cis, upper class

  • 21:42 - K's gender journey — comfort characters as a kid; claiming lesbian as their gender

  • 25:07 - Coming out, and breaking away from spiritual community until they can find one that's been structurally non-gendered from the start

  • 27:51 - Experiences as a nonbinary chaplain — including some advantages to being openly queer

  • 38:34 - Time for Catholic griping! Disillusionment with feminist Catholic organizations for prioritizing white, cis women

  • 48:48 - And yet...the things K still cherishes about Catholicism — not the bureaucracy, but the traditions

  • 58:54 - K's art! Family support; creating the queer Catholic art they want to see in the world

K Kriesel
Ynza Morgan Star

Sept 30, 2022


Episode 64:

"The Good Kind of Weird" —
Ynza Morgan Star: Genderqueer, Pagan, & so much more!

Click here for the episode transcript.

After growing up Southern Baptist and pressured to conform to gender norms, it took time for Ynza Morgan Star (she/her & zey/zeir) to live fully into her genderqueer, agnostic, pagan, game designer self. In this episode, Ynza shares how neurodivergence and the power of story have shaped her journey; how zey crafted zeir own name; how zey joined zeir local Unitarian Universalist fellowship; and so much more!​

Talking points:

  • 0:00 - Intro, including Avery's visit to Ynza's UU fellowship

  • 6:54 - Overview – gaming, pagan-inclined Unitarian, didn’t realize trans till 40s

  • 18:20 - Earliest memories – gender policed by adults; refuge in stories with gender transformation

  • 23:56 - The Oz stories – queer is “the good kind of weird”

  • 27:50 - Cognitive dissonance in Southern Baptist beliefs; witnessing the radicalization of conservative Christians

  • 35:25 - From Republican to Democrat, while wrestling with the two-part system

  • 38:28 - Protected by neurodivergence that rejected the idea of being broken, couldn't accept the cognitive dissonance

  • 46:45 - Coming out to parents as pagan; years later, coming out to them as trans & a lesbian — very mixed reactions

  • 57:40 - Name change! Crafting a new first name; keeping middle name; finding a meaningful last name

  • 1:11:40 - Wrestling with the idea of Christianity being viable for queer folk

  • 1:18:38 - The beautiful broadness of the term transgender; should we bring back the term transsexual too?

  • 1:24:16 - Wrapping up with some recommendations: Whipping Girl by Julia Serrano; Dr. Roger Ray's Progressive Faith sermons; the Best of the Left podcast; and the Making Gay History and One from the Vaults podcasts

August 12, 2022


Episode 63:

Joseph and the Amazing
Original Neuroqueer Pride Flag

Click here for the episode transcript.

This episode is a slightly abridged version of part 1 of the Neuroqueer Joseph series over on The Autistic Liberation Theology podcast. My friend Laura and I explore all the queer + autistic elements of Joseph's story, starting Joseph's brothers selling them into slavery in Genesis 37.

Talking points:

  • (0:00) Introducing the episode

  • (4:24) Introducing Joseph of Genesis, term "neuroqueer"

  • (9:00) Rabbi Ruttenberg's article; Midrash about Joseph & Dinah

  • (12:05) Genesis 37:1-11 & Joseph's neuroqueerness — Joseph's coat; Joseph as "na'ar" or youth; naivety, dreams...

  • (27:31) Genesis 37:12-36 & Why the brothers can't tolerate Joseph — the danger of dreams to toxic masculinity, primogeniture

  • (39:45) Being visibly neurodivergent or queer is dangerous; passing or hiding yourself; Joseph's toe-walking

  • (44:00) "Flavors" of violence in this story — macho escalation; Jacob as fair-weather ally; transgenerational traumas

  • (49:45) Wrapping up; last bonus clip — Joseph was a hottie who wasn't attracted to women


July 17, 2022


Episode 62:

Refuting TERF/ant-trans rhetoric with Leslie Feinberg

Click here for the episode transcript.

Avery reads more passages from Leslie Feinberg's 1996 work Transgender Warriors — this time ones that respond to the same tired arguments people have been making against the trans community for decades now. How do you respond when someone insists that women's spaces shouldn't include trans women, that drag queens make a mockery of femininity, that trans women have male privilege? Feinberg offered concise, helpful answers years ago that can help us continue the good fight today.

You can read Transgender Warriors for free online.

Talking points:

  • (0:00 - 4:30) Call for stories + introducing the topic

  • (4:31 - 10:14) Resisting biological essentialism when defining womanhood – "biology is not destiny"; no universal experience

  • (10:15 - 13:14) Masculinity isn't inherently toxic + drag queens don't make a mockery of womanhood

  • (13:15 - 20:23) Do trans women have male privilege? — Laverne Cox's view + Feinberg's additions

  • (20:24 - 25:14) Making women's spaces safe for all women — there are no high-risk groups, only high-risk behaviors

  • (25:15 - end) How anti-trans rhetoric harms everyone and the need for solidarity

Refuting TERFs

June 30, 2022


Episode 61:

Leslie Feinberg on Trans Liberation & Solidarity


Click here for the episode transcript.

Avery reads excerpts from Leslie Feinberg's Transgender Warriors. Though the book was first published in 1996, the history it relates could not be more pertinent. In the shared passages, Feinberg emphasizes how we must not only demand and win but also defend our human rights. The fight isn’t over until systems that deny us our rights are also overthrown, and every single person is free.

You can read Transgender Warriors for free online.

Talking points:

  • (0:00 - 4:48) Introducing Leslie Feinberg and Transgender Warriors

  • (4:49 - 15:42) Resisting divide-and-conquer tactics, fighting to win and keep trans rights and all rights

  • (5:43 - end) Wrapping up — send Avery your thoughts, fears, responses to current events

Feinberg Liberation

May 31, 2022


Episode 60:

"We're in this for the liberation" —
More from Rev. Krissy on transforming the Church

Click here for the episode transcript.

UCC pastor Rev. Krissy imagines a Body of Christ that moves beyond the institutional Church. We are called to confront corruption and power, and to unite in solidarity with all who work towards liberation.

This is a bonus clip from a larger conversation; check out episode 54 — “Coming Back to Life: Rev. Krissy is a Politically Queer UCC Pastor" — for more of Krissy's story and wisdom.


Find Krissy at; or visit their church website:

Talking Points:

  • (0:00 - 3:45) Intro material

  • (3:46 - 7:30) Pushing congregations to reimagine belonging — uncertainty is welcome; all who will work with us for liberation are welcome

  • (7:31 - 12:40) "You want to know why people are leaving the church?" — church as an institution isn't what matters

  • (12:41 - end) Resisting fundamentalism, literalism, and biblical translations that uphold empire

Bonus krissy

May 2, 2022


Episode 59:

Marginalized Bodies as Spectacle
& the Good News in Jesus's Disabling Wounds

Click here for the episode transcript (includes images, source links)

In Jesus, God rose with wounds that would have impaired his mobility and fine motor skills. In John 20, Jesus allows his disciples to gaze at his impaired body, and even lets Thomas touch his wounds. Let's explore how this story connects to the complications of marginalized bodies being put on display for public consumption — of being made into a spectacle.

Is it possible for marginalized persons to have any agency in how our bodies are viewed and interpreted? How does Jesus model possibility for his disciples, similar to what Laverne Cox calls trans possibility models? How have marginalized persons identified with the wounded Christ across the centuries?

Content Warning: brief, undetailed mentions of hate crimes, transphobia, ableism, antiblackness, fatphobia

Talking Points:

  • (0:00 - 3:36) - Introducing the topic: based off a sermon; Jesus's disabling wounds & marginalized bodies as spectacle

  • (3:37 - 6:30) - Affirmation of Faith in God the seamstress, the wounded Christ

  • (6:31 - 9:59) Introducing & reading John 20:19-29

  • (10:00 - 15:59) Identifying our experiences with Christ's — medieval labor pains; Jesus with top surgery scars

  • (16:00 - 21:52) - Possibility models: proving it's possible to be trans and successful & happy; Jesus proving there is life after suffering & death

  • (21:53 - 23:51) - Jesus on the cross was forced to be a spectacle; the resurrected Jesus has regained his agency, chooses to share his wounds

  • (23:52 - 26:10) - "Blessed are those who haven't seen and believe" — parallel with a friend's chronic illness & being believed

  • (26:11 - 29:18) - risking vulnerability — visibility politics in trans & disabled communities

  • (29:19 - 33:48) - The risen wounded Christ proves once and for all that what the world calls shameful & broken is not incompatible with the divine

  • (33:49 - end) - "Imagine the body of God...God has every ability, and every disability in the world"



bodies as spectacle
Queer Theologies of Cross

April 16, 2022


Episode 58:

Queering the Cross, Tomb, & Resurrection

Click here for the episode transcript (works cited at the end).

Now are the days that God is dead — the God who, in dying, expressed ultimate solidarity with all who have been unjustly killed across the ages. Let's explore how various queer theologians between 1993 & 2006 — plus some trans poets more recently — have connected Jesus's Passion, death & burial, and resurrection with LGBTQ experiences.

Content Warning: graphic depictions of hate crimes, including the murders of Matthew Shepard and a fictional account of an Argentinian trans woman; deaths of gay men with AIDS; uses of dated LGBTQ+ language

Talking Points:

  • (0:00 - 4:35) Intro: different theologies of the cross; connecting Jesus’ Passion to contemporary LGBTQ experiences

  • (4:36 - 6:01) A poem on the cross by Slats Toole

  • (6:02 - 10:30) Queering the Beloved Disciple - Robert E. Goss

  • (10:31 - 12:17) Poem by Keaton St. James: “A Portrait of John at the Last Supper”

  • (12:18 - 16:59) Maxwell Lawton’s 1993 painting “Man of Sorrows: Christ with AIDS”

  • (17: 00 - 20:59) Jesus & Matthew Shepard: Redemption comes in what comes after

  • (21:00 - 27:39) The cross as solidarity; Avery’s poem “Your death was nothing special”

  • (27:40 - 37:46) Blamed for their own deaths: Jesus & LGBTQ+ Argentinians - Marcella Althaus-Reid

  • (37:47 - ) Lingering over Holy Saturday; Avery’s poem

  • (42:10 - 48:28) Easter - Jesus comes out; God’s queer surprise – Thomas Bohache & Goss

  • (48:29 - end) “Gay Angels?” Rolling back the stone - Rev. Nancy Wilson & Rev. Daniel Smith

April 12, 2022


Episode 57:

Making Space for Gethsemane:
two disabled & trans theologians discuss
what people in pain actually need

Click here for the episode transcript.

In preparation for Holy Week, Avery joined Laura Sommer on their Autistic Liberation Theology Podcast to discuss two Gospel stories through a disability theology lens — with some trans theology sprinkled in: John 12's account of Mary of Bethany anointing Jesus; and Mark 14's telling of Jesus' Agony in the Garden.

Our world does not teach us how to face discomfort and pain healthily: we avoid, dismiss, or deny it; or we blame the one suffering; or we jump to action even when there are no easy fixes. In Bethany, Mary teaches us the art of simple affirmation and tenderness in the face of another's suffering. In Gethsemane, Jesus shows us the power in taking time to lament, to complain, to rage, to question — to feel whatever emotions come — when we are the ones in pain.


For the unabridged episode, listen on Laura's podcast here, where the episode is titled "The Gethsemane of things."

Talking Points:

  • (0:00 - 4:52) Introducing the topics – making space with Jesus for fear and grief; chronic pain

  • (3:22 - 9:33) First story: John 12:1-8 — reading; discussing Judas – it’s fine to ask questions

  • (9:34 - 13:53) Hierarchy of luxury — judging the spending of poor & disabled persons, activists

  • (13:54 - 15:31) Mary had to use oil on Lazarus’ body not long before; now she can use it on Jesus while he’s still alive to appreciate it — Trans message: “Give us our roses while we’re here”

  • (15:32 - 17:19) Avoiding inspiration porn; diluting people’s message after their death — MLK, Jesus

  • (17:20 - 24:29) Mary affirms Jesus’s identity and mission when no one else does — versus avoiding, blaming, denying, or trying to fix disabled persons’ pain; our culture doesn’t teach us how deal with discomfort

  • (24:30 - 28:20) The oil will follow Jesus through his suffering; comfort to Mary as well; it’s hard to feel helpless as the person suffering or the person watching that suffering

  • (28:21 - 33:49) Second story: Mark 14’s Gethsemane story; comparing the disciples’ sleep to coping with reality by shutting our eyes

  • (33:50 - 40:38) Jesus took the time and space to sit with his grief; disabled people deserve to grieve their own experiences without it “betraying the cause” — allowed to camp a while in the Gethsemane of things

  • (40:39 - 42:40) Community members who affirm your experience make all the difference; it makes sense that it’s the women who “get” Jesus because they know what it’s like to have their pain & reality dismissed

  • (42:41 - end) Wrapping up


March 30, 2022


Episode 56:

What's in a Name Change? —
How I became Avery Arden
& made it through the legal process

Click here for the episode transcript.

Avery brings their wife on to reminisce about Avery's name journey — from picking out Avery several years ago, to choosing new middle and last names in time for the legal name change process. Why is that process so dang complicated and expensive?? Why was "Banana" ever on the table for surname options? How does Avery honor their family & faith roots with their new name? And what do Avery, Cher, & Sasquatch all have in common??

Talking Points:

  • (0:00 - 7:11) Introducing Leah, Avery's new full name; discussing Avery's nicknames growing up

  • (7:12 - 10:20) When a family member chooses a new name; advice for any parents about their kids' names

  • (10:21 - 20:27) Picking the name Avery, process of telling it to Leah, family, church, teachers

  • (20:28 - 24:45) Picking a new last name (Banana??!) 

  • (24:46 - 30:16) Why Raphael for a middle name: archangel, Avery's childhood church

  • (30:17 - 37:16) A little rant about deadnames getting shared on school rosters, doctors' offices — a deadname is like a haunting

  • (37:17 - 45:37) The legal process! Announcing your petition for name change in the paper like it's the Old West; waiting on clerks and judges — who can choose to make it even harder on you if they want to be jerks

  • (45:38 - 49:15) More on the name Arden — from Shakespeare's play As You Like It, where the Forest Arden is a place for gender hijinks and freedom from social norms

  • (49:16 - end) Wrapping up — Leah's incredible sign-off

Avery's ame change
Beautiful Dust

March 18, 2022


Episode 55:

O Beautiful Dust — Lenten Prayers &
the Gospels’ genderqueer water bearer

Click here for the episode transcript.

In O Beautiful Dust, RW Walker explores what difference traditional, queer, and Christ-centred common prayer might make in a chaotic and divided world.

In this episode, Avery shares 6 of the over 40 prayers contained in O Beautiful Dust — and offers some cultural context behind one of those pieces, which explores the story of the gender non-conforming water bearer to whom Jesus sends his disciples shortly before the Last Supper.

Visit for all the links for where to purchase RW Walker's book, as well as for info about the author, narrator, and publisher. (This page is still being updated as more purchasing links go live in the coming days.)

And if you want to watch Peterson Toscano's film Transfigurations: Gender Outlaws in the Bible, click here!

Talking Points:

  • (0:00 - 2:13) Baha'i fast & Christian Lent

  • (2:14 - 7:10) Introducing RW Walker and his book, O Beautiful DustAvery as narrator of the audiobook

  • (7:11 - 12:47) Historical context for the first poem — the gender nonconforming water bearer of the synoptic Gospels

  • (12:48 - 14:00) Poem 1: "Carrying Water"

  • (14:01 - 16:05) Poem 2: "God's Reputation"

  • (16:06 - 17:22) Poem 3: "My Delight Is in You"

  • (17:23 - 19:15) Poem 4: "Help Us to Be Wise"

  • (19:16 - 20:50) Poem 5: "When I Grow Up"

  • (20:51 - 22:32) Poem 6: "Jesus, Be with My People"

  • (22:33 - end) Wrapping up

Rev. Krissy

Februrary 15, 2022


Episode 54:

Coming Back to Life —
Rev. Krissy is a politically queer UCC pastor


Click here for the episode transcript.

Like Lazarus resurrected by Jesus, Rev. Krissy has moved from a stifling tomb — a church where they could not be openly queer & politically active — into the abundant life of authentic self and fighting for the liberation of all.

Krissy is a pastor and chaplain in the United Church of Christ who loves their supportive spouse, children, and church; and who sees a message of good news for all whom the world calls shameful in the parable of the father with two sons (i.e. the parable of the prodigal son).

Talking Points:

  • (0:00 - 4:54) Introducing Krissy — UCC pastor and chaplain in St. Louis

  • (4:55 - 8:36) Krissy's family: a supportive spouse who doesn't get gender in general; supportive adult children

  • (8:37 - 11:08) The United Church of Christ: variety of beliefs; full participation of neurodivergent persons & people with mental illness

  • (11:09 - 14:50) Past work at a conservative suburban church where they couldn't be out; seminary friend who affirmed Krissy's queerness

  • (14:51 - 18:22) Lazarus coming back to life; Krissy coming back to life with a queer-affirming, social justice oriented congregation

  • (18:23 - 21:03) Made for freedom vs. constricting pulpits & gender boxes

  • (21:04 - 29:06) "Queer" as a radical liberationist term; "slurs" are our shields & power sources; passing unnecessary

  • (29-07 - 38:32) More on Krissy's ministry: chaplain for children with trauma; politically active church

  • (38:33 - 43:21) Encouragement in a messy, suffering world

  • (43:22 - 51:16) The parable of the man with two sons (i.e. the prodigal son) — letting go of social cleanliness & honor

  • (51:17 - 54:11) "It's about coming back to life" – the good news in Christianity for oppressed peoples(54:12 - end) Breaking down barriers, drawing the circle wider

January 31, 2022


Episode 53:

Naming Faith —
Eric Sharp is a Pluralist Agnostic
& Systemic Therapist


Click here for the episode transcript.

I sat down with my fellow seminary grad Eric Sharp (degree in Marriage & Family Therapy) for the story of how he came to call himself a Pluralist Agnostic. On the way, we also discussed the power of swearing, queer loneliness & queer love, bringing healing into a broken world, and so much more, with plenty of laughter as we went.


Content Warning: swearing; discussions of mental illness, addiction, and suicide ideation; of abuse and neglect and trauma, including among children; of sex; and mentions of the Holocaust, hell, and religious homophobia

Talking Points:

  • (0:00 - 8:00) Introducing Eric: Systemic therapist; cis, white, with gay as his "teeny-tiny window of oppression"

  • (8:01 - 14:25) Eric's childhood: crushing on his best friend & on Jesus; pressure to choose between gay and God; lonely

  • (14:26 - 18:20) Meeting our spouses; Eric's college experience — befriending atheists who seem to live love better than his Christian friends

  • (18:21 - 21:52) "I love swearing!"; post-college therapy jobs

  • (21:53 - 27:01) Entering seminary as openly gay & agnostic; one problem of agnosticism: "I didn't know how to claim what I knew"

  • (27:02 - 29:14) Basing therapy interventions in processes of love, affirmation, community; suicide prevention must go beyond hotlines

  • (29:15 - 34:36) A class on "Biblical Interpretation after the Holocaust"; believing you have The Truth is dangerous — many truths, many ways

  • (34:36 - 41:10) ACES and counter-ACES — the power of one safe, caring adult, and of playfulness

  • (41:11 - 48:26) The Good Place as a sacred text; "The Story of the Seven Blind Mice" — agnosticism

  • (48:27 - 54:16) Heaven and hell are here on earth — we can reduce the hell and cultivate heaven; breaking down isolation & scarcity

  • (54:17 - 59:20) No broken people; divinely created people dropped in a broken world, injured but capable of bringing healing

  • (59:21 - end) Wrapping up — send me feedback & ideas!

Eric Sharp

December 14, 2021


Episode 52:

Revisiting Nativity —
Was Jesus born in a barn or house, and why does it matter?


Click here for the episode transcript.

Sometimes the stories we think we know by heart are the ones most worth revisiting, and examining from new angles. In this episode, Avery focuses on a version of the Nativity that will likely be new to many of you: one in which the Greek of Luke 2:7 is translated differently to imply that Jesus was not born in a stable because Bethlehem's inn was full up, but rather was born right in the heart of a peasant home.

As they explore the Nativity from different angles, Avery shares several poems that invite the reader into various versions of Jesus's birth, familiar and unfamiliar alike. Their hope is to help us all learn how to embrace the beads of truth within each different telling of the tale, discovering how contradiction need not mean conflict.

Talking Points:

  • (0:00 - 7:46) Introducing versions of the Nativity story — listening for what's actually in Luke 2

  • (7:47 - 11:18) Questioning the Greek word kataluma in Luke 2:7 — an inn, or a guest room?

  • (11:19 - 19:15) Cultural context: Joseph's ties to Bethlehem; hospitality; the layout of an ancient Judean home

  • (19:16 - 21:50) Poem 1: "the in-laws you acquaint yourself with first...are in-law hen and cow..."

  • (21:51 - 26:19) Reading this "new" version through a liberationist lens: emphasizing hospitality; celebrating the generosity of Jesus's fellow poor

  • (26:20 - 28:42) Poem 2: Jesus does not wait for us in his designated corner — he bursts into our bustling, compels us to make room in our mundane mess

  • (29:42 - 31:52) Closing thoughts on why all this matters

  • (31:53 - end) Poem 3: "Nativity Beads" — rosary meditations; 5 versions, all pregnant with a little bead of truth

transness of jesus

December 14, 2021


Episode 51:

The Binary Breaking Transness of Jesus —
Clip from an interview with Joseph Peterson

Click here for the episode transcript.


I was honored to be invited onto Kings and Queens, a podcast hosted by Joseph & Nicole Peterson, to talk about Jesus through a trans lens! The full episode is over on their podcast and includes more of my own personal story as well


For more about the Petersons, visit

Talking Points:

  • (0:00 - 3:30) Intro

  • (3:30 - 11:28) Pastoring people into conversations about trans Jesus — why does the idea shock or offend many people? Normativity conflated with morality

  • (11:29 - 14:18) Ideas of gender in Jesus's time and place; Jesus's gender nonconformity: no wife and kids; Mother Hen

  • (14:19 - 19:35) Jesus closeted, coming out; his deep desire to be known by those he loves

  • (19:36 - 23:40) Eunuch Jesus! — happily accepts association with those his world called sexually deviant; reclaiming slurs like eunuch or queer

  • (23:41 - end) Jesus's transition story: genderless divinity entering finite humanity, assigned male at birth

Further Reading:

November 30, 2021


Episode 50:

Numinous Names —
Stories of name changes across genders, cultures, and faiths

Click here for the episode transcript.


Let's hear some stories from various people — trans and cis, Jewish, Christian, and Sikh — about how gender, faith, and culture played a role in the names they use. How do names isolate us, or connect us; harm us, or heal us? And what does the Divine teach us about honoring one another's chosen names?

Talking Points:

  • (0:00 - 6:40) Introducing the topic; part of Avery's own experience 

  • (6:41 - 9:45) Judaism: biblical name changes, honoring new names

  • (9:46 - 18:03) Eli's story: how the prophet Elijah helped Eli choose their name

  • (18:04 - 22:36) Adrian's story: finding the right name, "dark richness"

  • (22:37 - 26:19) Mychel Vandover's story: renaming ceremony in a supportive church

  • (26:20 - 30:16) Name changes in religious orders: Buddhism & Catholicism

  • (30:17 - 33:40) Sister Jean Ann's story: how a nun got her name

  • (33:41 - 39:14) Khalsa names in Sikhi: names that emancipate from caste, eradicate injustice

  • (39:15 - 48:21) Pauahi's story: a fiery name that binds her to Hawaiian lineage and activism

  • (48:22 - end) Wrapping up: more stories to come!

Name ep

October 31, 2021


Episode 49:

"His Name is John" —
MagnAUtism & allyship in Luke 1

Click here for the episode transcript.


A clip from a full episode of Laura Sommer's Autistic Liberation Theology podcast in which Avery and Laura discuss John the Baptist and his parents, Elizabeth and Zechariah. The two friends connect John's joyful leaping in the womb to Laura's coined term "magnAUtism" — the way autistic persons are drawn to and connect with one another. They also discuss how Mary, Elizabeth, and Zechariah are impacted by the autistic joy & defiance of their children even before and just after birth — especially how Zechariah's insistence "his name is John" makes him a patron saint of the parents of trans children today.

Talking Points:

  • (0:00 - 9:14) Introducing the topic; MagnAUtism, "autistic oxygen"

  • (9:15 - 15:17) Autistic gifts to the whole community: joy, defiance, questioning the status quo

  • (15:18 - 18:04) The wrong and right ways to react to an autistic child — "be your child's first ally, not their first bully"

  • (18:05 - 25:02) "His name is John!" Zechariah as patron saint of parents of trans kids

  • (25:03 - 29:20) Autistic John the Baptist

  • (29:21 - end) Wrapping up

October 15, 2021


Episode 48:

The Blending of Pagan & Christian Belief —
Black Book's tour of nineteenth-century Russia

Click here for the episode transcript.


The spiritual landscape of nineteenth-century rural Russia blended native traditions and beliefs with Christianity; this is the world in which Black Book, an independent video game produced by Russian studio Morteshka, is set.

In this episode, Avery shares some of what Black Book taught them about this syncretism of belief (without spoiling the game, don't worry!). Then, they bring in Leslie Feinberg's 1996 text Transgender Warriors to discuss similar tensions between indigenous and Christian traditions in medieval Western Europe.


What happened to other gods and spirits after the rise of Christianity? How did sorcerers like Black Book's young woman protagonist navigate this spiritual blend as they either helped or cursed peasants, who both revered and feared them for their knowledge? What's all this got to do with trans folk?

Talking Points:

  • (0:00 - 3:50) Introducing Black Book: playing as Vasilisa, a young sorceress in a world where people believe both in Christian and pagan teachings

  • (3:51 - 10:50) Gods become demons; old rituals take on Christian elements; icons & feast days blend Christian & pagan traditions

  • (10:51 - 13:16) Sorcerers and knowers — both revered and feared; tension between them and Christian priests

  • (13:17 - 21:01) Moving westward and back in time to Feudal Europe: similar tension between Christianity and native religions; transgender expression targeted

  • (21:02 - end) Wrapping up

Black Book

September 30, 2021


Episode 47:
The Transcendent Tale of Brigid of Ireland —
Celtic Goddess, Catholic Saint, and Voodoo Lwa

Click here for the episode transcript and links to sources used.

Brigid's intimate relationship with a fellow nun is not the only queer thing about her — her story also transcends any one religion, period, or place. How did a Celtic deity of forge and hearth transition into a fifth-century Catholic nun? How did devotion to Saint Brigid extend from Irish immigrants to enslaved Africans in Haiti and New Orleans? This mysterious figure revels in interweaving apparent opposites, in justice for outcasts, and in...a heavenly lake of beer??

For devotees of many faiths, Brigid's perpetual flame continues to light the way to wisdom and holy joy.

Talking Points:

  • (0:00 - 6:00) Syncretism: the merging of multiple cultures and beliefs; introducing Brigid

  • (6:01 - 10:25) Brigid the Celtic Goddess — artist, warrior, and healer; three-in-one according to Celtic Imagination

  • (10:25 - 21:25) Brigid the Catholic abbess — a miraculous cloak, a miraculous abortion, and heaven's lake of beer

  • (21:26 - 25:59) Darlughdach, sapphic soul-friend; Brigid's syncretic festival and cross

  • (26:00 - 30:34) The perpetual flame at Kildare and global orders of flamekeepers

  • (30:35 - 34:25) Maman Brigitte, Voodoo Lwa of death

  • (34:26 - 38:05) Wrapping up: drawing close to Brigid the binary breaker



August 28, 2021


Episode 46:
Sex Work and Satanism
with Azura Rose

Click here for the episode transcript.

CONTENT WARNING: This episode contains discussions of child sexual abuse; bullying & religious trauma + threats of hell; mention of grandparent deaths


Despite growing up in a heavily conservative Christian town, Azura Rose (they/she) was raised by parents who encouraged them to ask questions and explore religion on their own. They are now a Satanist in Toronto, as well as a cosplayer & sex worker. In this episode, Azura discusses the beliefs & activism of The Satanic Temple, as well as what it's like to be a queer, goth, disabled sex worker.

Listen to find out what Satan & Jesus have in common; what was up with all the backlash around Lil Nas X's single Montero; how some of Azura's clients have supported them on their gender journey; and much more.

Talking Points:

  • (0:00 - 2:30) Housekeeping

  • (2:31 - 5:11) Introducing Azura

  • (5:12 - 10:10) Growing up — bullied for not being Christian; supportive parents; discovering Wicca and Satanism, Lilith & Lucifer

  • (10:11 - 12:35) Explaining differences between the Church of Satan and The Satanic Temple (TST)

  • (12:36 - 15:19) Who is Satan for Satanists? — An archetype embodying rebellion against unjust authority; Satanists are atheistic

  • (15:20 - 18:28) Why TST has a large number of queer & neurodivergent members; parallels between Christian elements & Satanism

  • (18:29 - 20:59) Backlash Lil Nas X

  • (21:00 - 25:36) The Satanic Panic of the 1980s-90s — originated in Canada; the McMartin Preschool Trial

  • (25:37 - 29:43) TST's political activism — reproductive rights, religious rights — more complex in Canada, where TST isn't an official religion

  • (29:44 - 36:06) How TST's tenets speak to Azura as a sex worker & trans person — "our body is subject to our will alone"

  • (36:07- 48:59) More about TST: meetups; non-binary interpretations of Baphomet, Lilith, and Lucifer

  • (49:00 - 55:51) What it's like to be genderfluid and a sex worker — supportive clients

  • (55:22 - 1:02:48) Closing thoughts: other people's thoughts about your gender or faith don't matter; the need for rights and resources; when seeking to learn about Satanism or sex work, find people who are similar to you and different from you


Find Azura on Twitter @hellcatazura and at

Learn more about The Satanic Temple at


Resources for supporting sex workers:
- Human Rights Watch: "Why Sex Work Should Be Decriminalized"
- The Sex Workers Project


July 27, 2021


Episode 45:
Manlike Babies, Cuckolded Joseph,
& the Sex Worker Madonna —
More from Neville on Morality in Renaissance Art

Click here for the episode transcript.


Neville and Avery talk about the weird Renaissance tendency to depict babies as small men; how stereotypes about cuckolded husbands influenced artists' depictions of Joseph; why the Church was so scandalized by Caravaggio's sex worker Madonnas AND the presence of dirty feet on Saints and pilgrims; and more. As you listen, Avery invites you to ponder: what is considered decent and moral in your own time and place, and why?

For a larger conversation with Neville in which they discuss being an Australian queer Catholic who both studies and creates art, look back to episode 38: "Finding the Power in Our Queerness and Rebellion in Our Love."

Avery invites you to learn how to be an ally to sex workers through resources like this one.

And here is the link to their conversation with a friend on Cain, Abel, and disability that they promote at the start of this ep!

Talking points


  • (0:00 - 5:56) Introducing the episode + promotion of "Abel-ism" ep

  • (5:57 - 8:52) What is a baby, a small man? — cultural context

  • (8:53 - 12:13) Joseph's "glow-up" in art from an older "cuckold" to a good stepdad — how stereotypes influence art

  • (12:14 - 15:27) Depicting Jesus and other biblical figures as white, dressed in contemporary clothes

  • (15:28 - 20:24) Caravaggio's sex worker & child who modeled as Madonna & child — reflecting on purity stigmas

  • (20:25 - 23:08) Queer reflections on the rules against "imperfections" and what counts as a holy body — God created us to experience change

  • (23:09 - end) Linear perspective avoided as "deception" until Da Vinci could show it could be "religious"

Small man babies

June 29, 2021


Episode 44:
"I am God and not a man" -
Exploring God's gender in the Book of Hosea
with Liam Hooper & Peterson Toscano

This episode is a sharing of an episode that first aired on the Bible Bash Podcast on November 30, 2020. Check out more from Bible Bash at


By taking on Hosea 11:9, Avery Smith cracks open a rich discussion with Bible Bash co-hosts Liam Hooper and Peterson Toscano.

Avery writes: “I interpret God’s declaration 'For I am God and not a man' in Hosea 11:9 as, among other things, evidence of Their rejection of being assigned a human gender and the roles implied therein.”

Could God be making a declaration of gender? What is Hosea the prophet trying to do and say to the people? And what about God’s radical swings from tenderness to threats of violence?

In addition to covering these topics and more, Avery highlights best practices for ministers and places of worship when addressing non-binary people by name and pronoun.

The entire conversation is fresh, insightful, and a lot of fun.

Hosea 11

June 15, 2021


Episode 43:
God Gets Vulnerable — A trans & autistic look
at Elijah and the "still small voice"

Click here for the episode transcript.

Avery was delighted to be on their friend Laura's Autistic Liberation Theology podcast; this episode features a clip from a longer conversation on "Toxic Mask-ulinity" that you can listen to at

In this clip, Laura introduces the concept of autistic masking — concealing parts or all of yourself in order to survive in an allistic (non-autistic) world — and relates it to similar trans experiences; then Laura and Avery connect these concepts to the 1 Kings 19 story of God coming to Elijah not in fire or earthquake, but in a "still small voice."


What message do we find in God meeting Elijah's feelings of frailty with vulnerability of Their own? How does God make use of "masks" to accommodate us humans?


  • (0:00 - 4:30) Intro — an update from Adam Richards, the guest from episodes 3 & 5 back in 2019, on their journey in Methodist ministry!

  • (4:31 - 9:29) Laura explains autistic masking — a survival tactic with a major cost — and links it to trans experience

  • (9:30 - 13:39) Joy Ladin's concept of God as the ultimate Other, just as trans persons are often treated in our world

  • (13:40 - 16:21) Reading 1 Kings 19: Elijah is ready to die; God comes to him as a "still small voice"

  • (16:22 - 18:26) The Hebrew behind the "still small voice" — more literally "a voice, a thin whisper"

  • (18:27 - 25:53) Frailness or vulnerability is one face of God, which They use to accommodate our own frailty

  • (25:54 - end) Wrapping up — don't forget to check out Laura's podcast, Autistic Liberation Theology!

Laura Masking ep

May 31, 2021


Episode 42:
When a trans traveler and an autistic apostle cross paths —
Reading Acts 8 in Community

Click here for the episode transcript.

When we delve into any holy text together, we all come away the richer for it -- just as Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch enriched one another during their odd desert encounter, each sharing what they found in the prophet Isaiah. 

In this episode, Avery shares a sermon they wrote on Acts 8:26-40 that draws not only from many transgender theologians but also from a conversation with a handful of people who all brought their unique insights to the story. Philip can be read as autistic, the eunuch as trans -- and so much more! What unique experiences do we need YOU to share to expand our understanding of this story even further?


  • (0:00 - 4:53) Introducing Acts 8 and sermon background

  • (4:54 - 9:00) Sermon starts - how eunuchs of old connect to trans persons today; conversing in community

  • (9:01 - 17:30) Part 1 of the Acts 8 text -- on the wilderness road, Philip's autistic enthusiasm breaks down barriers

  • (17:31 - 26:30) Part 2 of the Acts 8 text -- the eunuch's connection to Isaiah's suffering servant using theology of survival

  • (26:31 - 31:20) Part 3 of the Acts 8 text -- the eunuch is baptized as they are, bringing all their differences into their relationship with God; our diversity is a gift we bring to our faith communities

  • (31:21 - end) Wrapping up with resource suggestions

Acts 8

April 14, 2021


Episode 41:
"God's love should not be tainted
by fear of earthly hatred" - 
April is a proud Catholic Latina trans woman

Click here for the episode transcript.

April Willow Castillo knows what it is to believe yourself to be the only queer person in all of Peru; to question your sexuality while in Catholic youth group in the US; and to finally grow into yourself at a university supportive of LGBT faculty and students. 

In this episode, April discusses how the love of God has pulled her from depressive states and religious trauma into deep joy and pride in being herself and bonding with other Hispanic queer folk. She also talks about LGBT community in Peru and the US; the history of Indigenous and Catholic religion in Peru; and how God is often twisted into a political weapon in the US.

Content warnings: swearing; depression; grandparent's death; homophobia & transphobia from friends, family, & faith leaders; internalized queerphobia; brief mentions of conversion therapy




  • (0:00 - 5:35) Introducing April - Latina trans Catholic university student, Peruvian immigrant, aspiring gamer girl

  • (5:36 - 8:50) Growing up - Hispanic Catholic communities in US; Peruvian town where Catholic celebrations bring the community together

  • (8:51 - 13:57) Youth group - from depression to a spiritual reawakening

  • (13:58 - 21:28) Questioning sexuality and realizing how church wields God as political weapon; youth group & church tainted by fear - though some peers are more accepting

  • (21:29 - 25:29) "Are you a man?" - questioning gender - "how did anyone ever think i was cis?”

  • (25:30 - 26:30) Jesus would be seen as a communist/socialist - but US churches twist him into pro-capitalism

  • (26:31 - 30:52) Exploring Peru's indigenous religion - coming to terms with being a proud Catholic while holding the history of it being forced on her ancestors

  • (30:53 - 36:18) queerness in Peru - not talked about: "I was pretty sure I was the only queer person in Peru" - more recently, ads using LGBT figures

  • (36:19 - 39:17) In college - realizing she had to do something about gender - finding a good therapist and community - finding joy in being trans

  • (39:18 - end) wrapping up - more of April's story in future ep


April 14, 2021


Episode 40:
Goodness Embodied -
An intersex, nonbinary first human
and a disabled risen Christ​

Click here for the episode transcript.

Avery shares their sermon from a recent worship service centered around the goodness of all bodies - particularly those the world labels broken or lesser. When so many of us are made to feel imprisoned by our own flesh, how do we embrace embodiment as something holy? Let's look to ancient interpretations of the first human (ha-adam) as intersex; connect this human's story to gender affirming surgery; and explore Jesus's choice to rise in a physical body with disabling wounds to discover how what the world calls broken, God calls Good.


  • (0:00 - 7:27) Intro: unlearning Greco-Roman dualism that pits spirit over flesh; learning how autistic stimming connects our minds & bodies

  • (7:28 - 12:15) Scripture readings from Genesis 2:7-25, John 20:19-29, & 1 Corinthians 1:18-29

  • (12:16 - 14:11) The sermon begins - our bodes become cages in a world that teaches us some bodies are normative and all others are deviant; but Genesis 2 & John 20 teach us differently

  • (14:12 - 16:41) The first human, ha-adam - an intersex being with no assigned gender - created good, but in need of a helpful counterpart

  • (16:42 - 19:21) God does not deny or dismiss ha-adam's problem of aloneness, but identifies the problem and fixes it - what if we did likewise for the disability and transgender communities?

  • (19:22 - 22:02) God the first surgeon, creating two bodies where there was one - affirming the steps we take to be more at home in our bodies & demonstrating our need for community

  • (22:03 - 23:42) Jesus's body is also labeled lesser; Jesus is connected to ha-adam by scar tissue - a surgery performed in love vs. a soldier's spear

  • (23:43 - 26:14) Jesus keeps his body to connect to Thomas; to show us that we are not spirits in flesh prisons, but inspirited bodies; for the sake of all who are told to hate & punish their bodies

  • (26:15 - 29:55) Jesus keeps his disabling wounds to show that disability and wholeness are not incompatible; what does it mean if disability will not be removed, but redeemed?

  • (29:56 - 31:17) Both Jesus and ha-adam show us that interdependence is not weakness, but strength

  • (31:18 - 34:29) Showing our bodies love even when we struggle to love them

  • (34:30 - end) Wrapping up with a prayer

ha-adam & Jesus

April 1, 2021


Episode 39:
Combatting Antisemitism on Good Friday -
Rejecting & Replacing “The Solemn Reproaches of the Cross”​

Click here for the episode transcript.

The scriptures and liturgy that Christian communities read during Holy Week, the week we commemorate Jesus's arrest and crucifixion, have borne violent antisemitic fruit across the centuries. Particularly poisonous is the "Solemn Reproaches of the Cross," or Improperia, which pins the blame for Jesus' death squarely on the Jewish community. In this episode, Avery shares the alternative liturgy they wrote, with the hope that it might be a jumping off point for conversations on this topic. Rather than pretending the "Solemn Reproaches" never existed, Christians must grapple with it, guide our communities in understanding why it is so evil, and thus move towards acknowledging and dealing with our antisemitism, past and present.

Find the referenced article by Amy-Jill Levine with its strategies for dealing with problematic New Testament texts here

Avery also published their alternative text at

Good Friday

March 30, 2021


Episode 38:
Finding the Power in Our Queerness
and the Rebellion in our Love - 
Neville studies and creates queer Catholic art

Click here for the episode transcript.

Amy Neville (he, she, or they pronouns) is a 21-year-old Australian art historian & artist whose work celebrates being both Catholic & queer. In this episode, Avery and Neville discuss Neville's life and how they've learned to stand up for themself and other queer persons; the way women & queer artists have used textile arts over the years; and Europe’s Renaissance Period, focusing on queer artists who navigated adhering to & rebelling against the Catholic Church's rules for art in that period.


  • (0:00 - 4:51) A reminder to Christians to confront antisemitism in Holy Week - see here for Amy-Jill Levine's article

  • (4:52 - 13:43) Discovering queerness while in Catholic high school - finding resources, standing up against a teacher's homophobia

  • (13:44 - 18:04) Meeting confident queer persons at university; coming out as genderfluid, going by last name Neville

  • (18:05 - 21:37) Creating art about being queer and Catholic; push-back from fellow queer folks for being Catholic

  • (21:38 - 29:22) Finding fellow queer persons of faith; the joy of community; Neville's graduate art exegesis "Divine Rebellion"

  • (29:23 - 37:08) Some textile arts history: suffragettes & feminists reclaiming it; queer persons expanding it - "the perfect medium" for underrepresented and undervalued groups

  • (37:09 - 43:32) Europe's Renaissance Period: the Catholic Church's power over the art scene; Caravaggio's role in rules censoring what could be depicted

  • (43:33 - 44:30) Resisting pinning down dead artists' sexualities with labels they didn't have

  • (44:31 - 48:24) Da Vinci's revolutionary art; sympathy for Judas

  • (48:25 - 55:26) Michelangelo's struggle with religion - not because of queerness, but because of his love of science; rebellion in his Sistine Chapel masterpiece

  • (55:27 - end) wrapping up - "find the power in your queerness and the rebellion in your love"; a future ep will continue Neville's tour of Renaissance art

Find Neville on instagram @krem.caramel; check out their work at


March 15, 2021


Episode 37:
No End to Transphobia without Uprooting Ableism -
exploring embedded forms of oppression

Click here for the episode transcript - with a works cited.

In this first episode focusing on the interconnections between trans & disability communities & theologies, Avery draws from Mel Baggs' theory of embedded forms of oppression to describe how ableism is at the heart of many manifestations of transphobia, including pathologization and coerced treatments. 


When transness is perceived as a disability, and disability is perceived as brokenness, the logical result is to try to "fix" or "cure" the trans individual - as evinced in the non-affirming "disability framework" through which some Christians view transness as a symptom of a Fallen world. How can trans persons and disabled persons join together to fight their similar battles, within faith communities and beyond?


  • (0:00 - 5:13) Introducing the topic: why we must be anti-ableist in order to be anti-transphobic

  • (5:12 - 6:48) At least 39% of trans people have one or more disabilities

  • (6:49 - 7:46) Mel Baggs' theory: “There is ableism somewhere at the heart of your oppression, no matter what your oppression may be"

  • (7:47 - 13:23) Example of sexism embedded in homophobia, and ableism embedded in both - drawing from "clobber verse" 1 Cor 6:9

  • (13:24 - 17:29) Examples of ableism embedded in transphobia - eugenics, pathologization; Christian psychologist Mark Yarhouse's "disability framework" for understanding transness

  • (17:30 - 21:39) This embeddedness requires that we confront ableism in order to combat transphobia - how?

  • (21:40 - end) Wrapping up - 1 Cor 12's interdependent members of one body

Embedded oppressions

February 23, 2021


Episode 36:
Solaris Baldwin is Christian not out of fear,
but out of love for a co-suffering God

Click here for the episode transcript.

Solaris Baldwin is a 21-year-old Black, genderfluid Methodist who first learned about Jesus as a watchful judge ready to throw people into hell. However, as they explored their identity and sought out community, they uncovered the God who does not will suffering but who suffers alongside us; who does not demand unquestioning obedience but desires our joyful efforts to emulate God's own love. Join Solaris and Avery in a conversation about finding our people, wrestling with scripture, and letting go of fear in order to embrace growth and love.


  • (0:00 - 6:17) Lent as a time for openness and self-nourishment; introducing Solaris

  • (6:18 - 12:34) Solaris' childhood - white-majority Christian schools, learning that God is a watchful judge

  • (12:35 - 17:53) First school with Black classmates - don't recognize Solaris as one of them; first Methodist church - learns that faith doesn't have to be fearful

  • (17:54 - 26:39) Exploring identity - asexuality invalidated; trying out Islam, Catholicism, and....Juggaloism! - Searching for find a community & culture of their own

  • (26:40 - 32:15) University - connecting to queer and Christian community at last; coming to understand God as co-sufferer & Outsider

  • (32:16 - 43:05) Why fear-based religion doesn't work - the Clobber Passages, asking why, and hateful acts fueled by fear

  • (43:06 - 54:37) Solaris' favorite Bible passages; accepting growth and changing our minds as part of faith; taking on witchcraft and accepting that none of us have everything right about God

  • (54:38 - end) Wrapping up - visit Avery's instagram, Twitter, or tumblr for daily book quotes & reflection questions this Lent

Find Solaris on Instagram @seraphic_sapphics. 


February 15, 2021


Episode 35:
Transgender Mental Health -

With Affirmation, Community, and Purpose, We Thrive

Click here for the episode transcript.

Trans persons experience drastically higher rates of mental illness and suicide attempts - when they are denied support and safety. In this episode, five trans and/or nonbinary persons of faith share their own mental health journeys, that move them from harmful theology to discovering God's deep love for them; and from isolation or hostility into relationships where they are embraced for all that they are. 

CONTENT WARNING for discussions of suicide ideation & suicide attempts and brief mentions of self harm; as well as mentions of non-LGBT affirming ideologies.


  • (0:00 - 9:00) Statistics & studies surrounding transgender mental health; Avery discusses how mental illness is higher in trans populations because of lack of support, not because of sin or brokenness.

  • (9:01 - 15:34) Solaris Baldwin discusses how their suicide ideation stemmed from lack of options, and tells the story of how God sent two strangers to save their life.

  • (15:35 - 23:18) Avery and Solaris discuss how prevalence of illness is not because of sin, how community helps; they then discuss how these experiences can help us develop greater compassion for others and God's presence in the midst of suffering.

  • (23:19 - 25:43) Raphael shares their experiences with schizoaffective disorder, suicidality, and God's protection in the midst of it all.

  • (25:44 - 33:53) Alex Burchnell tells of his journey from anxiety and uncertainty into a life of love and purpose as the president of Queer Christian Family Values.

  • (33:54 - 39:52) Lavii has always been queer, Christian, AND proud, even while struggling with family homophobia and isolation at school; with the help of God and loving relationships, her journey is looking up.  


January 26, 2021


Episode 34:
How Shiva Gave Rudra Their Name - 
the life of a disabled nonbinary Fijian-Canadian

Click here for the episode transcript.

Rudra Maharaj navigates feeling disconnected from many of the communities around them due to racism, ableism, homophobia, and cultural differences, even while embracing the gods whose stories show them that queerness is compatible with Hinduism.


In this episode, Rudra discusses their family's unique ways of practicing Hinduism as descendants of the indentured Indian diaspora living in Canada by way of Fiji; how Shiva gave them their name; and how being disabled intersects with their faith and family life.

Find Rudra on Twitter @RY_Maharaj

Talking Points:

  • (0:00 - 3:00) Intro - explaining that the interview was held over text message; Avery's sister helps read the transcript

  • (3:01 - 5:49) Rudra's time at university - disconnect within a largely white and abled department; studying history because of their family's history in the indentured Indian diaspora

  • (5:50 - 8:20) Rudra's Hinduism - about the world, connecting to family and tradition, as much as about the gods

  • (8:21 - 15:07) Rudra's name, queer stories of the gods, and discussing differences between Hinduism and Christianity

  • (15:08 - 18:36) Disability - for a lot of Hindus, it's the consequence of actions in a past life; Rudra disagrees

  • (18:37 - 21:21) Wrapping up 


January 14, 2021


Episode 33:
Interfaith and Interracial Solidarity in Georgia's Elections

Click here for the episode transcript.

Avery shares their plans for this podcast for 2021! But first, they discuss the hard work that won white Jewish man Jon Ossoff & Black Christian Rev. Raphael Warnock the seats that flipped the US Senate blue, using an interfaith and interracial lens to do so.

Talking points:

  • (0:00 - 4:21) Episode intro, summary of presidential election & GA's runoff election

  • (4:22 - 10:05) Exploring Ossoff and Warnock - how their respective faiths fuel their civil work; comparing them to Congress's white Christian majority

  • (10:06 - 13:23) Shifting the narrative about faith in politics

  • (13:24 - 18:09) Stacey Abrams and others' hard work

  • (18:10 - 23:51) This podcast's future: expanding the binaries we "break"; 2 episodes per month

  • (23:52 - 27:02) Call for submissions on mental illness and health among trans persons - due Feb 15; wrapping up

GA Elections

December 22, 2020


Episode 32:
A Queer Nativity:
God's transition; Mary's trans-gressive yes;
and Joseph's trans-formation into an ally

Click here for the episode transcript.

Avery reflects on the queerness of Advent + Christmas, including 3 original poems. They show how the Nativity story (as presented in Luke & Matthew) is bursting with binaries broken, assumptions flipped on their head, and God's uplifting of persons the world calls unworthy. They explore Divinity's transition into a physical, finite form assigned male at birth; Mary's "yes" that put her at risk of social condemnation - not unlike what trans persons risk when coming out; and Joseph's initial confusion and rejection transformed into solidarity due to his openness to God's word.

Talking Points:

  • (0:00 - 4:00) Mary's Magnificat and God's revolution

  • (4:01 - 4:56) Poem: "God's Revolution"

  • (4:57 - 8:30) God's transition + Poem: "Snowball"

  • (8:31 - 15:16) Mary's betrothal, and her "yes" to social condemnation

  • (15:17 - 19:06) Poem: "Mary, Mother of Your Transgender Children"

  • (19:07 - end) Joseph: transformed by God's angel into an ally


December 17, 2020


Episode 31:
"It's good to have wings, but you have to have roots too":
Cultivating your faith while embracing religious pluralism

Click here for the episode transcript.

This is the second of two episodes featuring excerpts from authors who speak on religious pluralism and interfaith relationships. In this episode, Avery reiterates how opening oneself to glimpses of the spiritual outside of one's own perspective can enrich one's connection to divinity and to humanity - rather than being a threat to one's own tradition. 

The passages Avery shares in this episode come from Rabbi Jonathan Sacks' Making Space for Difference, Philip Vinod Peackock's "Some Insights on Imago Dei," Rev. Jonathan Thunderword's From Christendom to Freedom, and Eboo Patel's Acts of Faith.

Talking Points:

  • (0:00 - 3:30) Announcement - this podcast is now part of the Rock Candy Podcast Network!

  • (3:31 - 9:01) Peering out from our own boxes to avoid stagnation - seeking knowledge is an act of faith, not fear

  • (9:02 - 11:31) Rabbi Sacks and Philip Vinod Peacock on no one person or group fully representing the Image of God 

  • (11:32 - 16:02) Introducing Rev. Jonathan Thunderword - a Black, trans, omni-faith, multi-spiritual practitioner and author of From Christendom to Freedom: Journeymaking with a Black Transgender Elder

  • (16:03 - 21:03) Engaging in multiple religions in his search for faith that nourishes rather than harms; being shaped by all of them

  • (21:04 - 22:50) Introducing Eboo Patel, founder and president of Interfaith Youth Core and author of Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation

  • (22:51 - 28:25) Choosing between religious totalitarianism and religious pluralism - active commitment

  • (28:26 - 36:52) It's okay to personally prefer and maintain your own tradition as your "home" - but leave the windows open "so that the winds of other traditions can blow through and bring their unique oxygen." ​

Acts of Faith

November 26, 2020


Episode 30:
"No one owns God" -
Readying yourself for respectful interfaith encounters

Click here for the episode transcript.

This is the first of two episodes featuring excerpts from authors who speak on religious pluralism, interfaith relationships, and how diverse identities and cultures enrich religion. In this first episode, Avery focuses in on the extra complexities faced by Christians in approaching interfaith relationships respectfully, as members of a religion with a history and present tangled up in colonization and assimilation.

The passages Avery shares in this episode come from Barbara Brown Taylor's 2018 book Holy Envy: Finding God in the Faith of Others and Kaitlin B. Curtice's 2020 book Native: Identity, Belonging, and Rediscovering God. The next episode will feature authors from religions other than Christianity.

Talking Points:

  • (0:00 - 5:35) Why trans persons of all (and no) faiths need to include religious identity in our solidarity and activism 

  • (5:36 - 10:35) Excerpts Barbara Brown Taylor's Holy Envy begin - "Could my faith be improved by the faiths of others?"

  • (10:36 - 16:41) How fear of hell and a need to be most right, most favored poisons Christians' ability to open themselves to learn from other faiths

  • (16:42 - 20:17) Moving Christianity from the center and putting God (or absolute truth) there - Christianity becomes one of many "planets" (religions and other ideologies) orbiting around that center

  • (20:18 - 24:25) Excerpts from Kaitlin B. Curtice's Native begin - the violence of Christian colonization and white assimilation against Curtice and her Potawatomi ancestors

  • (24:26 - 31:38) How Curtice's Potawatomi identity enriches her faith

  • (31:39 - end) Reckoning with one's personal history of oppression that comes with being Christian and/or holding white ancestry 

Holy Envy

October 30, 2020


Episode 29:
Halloween is a Queer Thing -
from Celtic peasants to LGBT communities in the US

Click here for the episode transcript + works cited for the resources referenced.

Avery draws from multiple sources to discuss Halloween as a holiday that has elevated gender diversity since its origins deep in the ancient Celt observance of Samhain. As a holiday that has undergone various transitions, traveling across time and space and religious experiences while maintaining its binary-breaking core, Halloween is the perfect time for those of us who don't fit into gender norms to live into our holy truths. Indeed, its rise in popularity in the United States may well have relied on LGBT communities! 

Talking Points: 

  • (2:50 - 5:19) Leslie Feinberg - "...The old butches told me there was one night of the year that the cops never arrested us – Halloween."

  • (5:20 - 8:10) Judy Grahn - "The qualities of impersonation and the dangerous business of crossing over from one world to another help explain why Halloween is the most significant Gay holiday."

  • (8:11 - 16:10) Samhain's survival in spite of Church suppression; history of matrilineal peasants vs. patriarchal landlords and priests

  • (16:11 - 19:35) Feinberg - "Transgender [expression] has been outlawed by the ruling classes of both our systems -- feudal nobility and modern industrialists alike."

  • (19:36 - 23:40) Halloween comes to the USA; "cross dressing" policed until ~1914 when the police give up and no longer arrest "cross dressers" on Halloween night

  • (23:41 - 25:54) David Frum - "the Halloween craze started in gay culture," 1970s San Francisco

  • (25:55 - end) Grahn - "On Halloween 1980, my lover and long-time partner Wendy Caden and I...go to San Francisco and look at the Fairies and Queens..."


October 16, 2020


Episode 28:
"Marginalized people should know not to marginalize people" -
Andy's research into bi and trans exclusion

Click here for the episode transcript.

Andy Thornton shares their research into the exclusion experienced by bi and trans persons not only in Christian spaces, but also in LGBT/queer spaces. They found that many persons are made to feel like they are "not enough" - not Christian enough, not queer enough, not trans enough - and feel compelled to alter or suppress aspects of themselves to fit in better. How do we learn to stop hurting one another in the same ways that the normative world hurts us? 

Talking Points:

  • ​(0:00 - 4:12) Intro: relating Andy's research to the tv show Pose

  • (4:13 - 6:47) "The gays don't want me and the Christians don't want me" - The cliquey elements of both Christian spaces and queer spaces

  • (6:48 - 8:35) Methods of exclusion: ignoring, making exceptions, virtue signalling, conformity

  • (8:36 - 9:50) "You cannot be religious and queer"

  • (9:51 - 15:00) Internalizing, self blame when excluded or misgendered

  • (15:01 - 16:55) What the story of David and Saul teaches us - "don't fall into internalizing and repeating the patriarchal norms"

  • (16:56 - 21:38) The perils of gatekeeping and relief of finding we are not alone

  • (21:39 - 24:41) Wrapping up - Pose again; new website

Andy's research

September 27, 2020


Episode 27:

"Helping each other be whole" -
trans insights into intersectionality and solidarity

Click here for the episode transcript.

In this special episode, 8 trans and/or nonbinary persons share their insights on solidarity and allyship, intersectionality and wholeness.


How do we resist assimilation and recognize our interdependence? How does religion uplift or fail trans persons? What can all of us, cis and trans alike, do to recognize our privilege and show up for other marginalized communities? Let's keep the conversation rolling.

Talking Points:

  • (1:50 - 5:38) Hadassah (she/they) is a Black Jew who wants those who would be their ally, accomplice, or co-conspirator to understand that they must support every part of her. Every human and community must be taken holistically, for we are all journeying towards wholeness.

  • (5:39 - 9:23) Andy Thornton (they/he) discusses how trans persons must show up for other marginalized groups, both members who are also trans and those that are cis. They bring up the issue of assimilation within the trans community and the need to fight the tendency to "other" others.

  • (9:24 - 11:14) William (they/he) is a white 14-year-old in Missouri who is learning young what it means to show up for racial justice. They also talk about the support they find at their church.

  • (11:15 - 12:58) Chris Paige (they/zey) recounts how their friend stands up for his nonbinary siblings by calling out cissexist language even in the middle of worship. A good ally or co-conspirator is willing to disrupt and take risks so that members of an oppressed group don't have to.

  • (12:59 - 17:45) Elliott (he/him) is thankful to have found a Catholic community that listens to and uplifts trans voices, recognizing trans persons as fellow children of God.

  • (17:46 - 20:35) Anonymous (she/her) is an Afro-Caribbean trans woman who emphasizes that transphobia is not inherent to every culture and often stems from white supremacy and colonization. Her mother is teaching her the practices of their people as an empowering alternative to white-dominated expressions of spirituality.

  • (20:36 - 27:16) Dr. SJ Crasnow (they/them) teaches at a small Missouri university and studies how queer and trans Jews engage in and shape Judaism; in this episode they discuss how the US government attempts to violently regulate our bodies and identities; and then about privilege and what responsibility we have to bring our whole selves into our activism.

Solidarity ep

August 27, 2020


Episode 26:

"It's an honor to be trans" - Andy is a queer Quaker

Click here for the episode transcript.

Andy Thornton (they / he, age 23, England) is an autistic artist and scholar, excitingly gendered, and passionate about expanding our inclusion within faith spaces and queer spaces ever wider. They became a Christian at 16 before realizing they were bi and trans, and despite queerphobic messages from church leaders, Andy received only messages of affirmation from God. Thus their love for a sassy, queer Jesus grew, and they eventually found a home in Quakerism, with its radical equality of all ages and genders and emphasis on activism.

Find Andy and his art and writing online:

Talking points:

  • 00:00 - 06:07 Avery rambles & introduces Andy

  • 06:08 - 10:01 Andy talks about their art, how it interacts with their gender and emphasizes representation

  • 10:02 - 17:10 How Andy came to Quakerism - interfaith, emphasis on activism, long support of gay rights, working on trans affirmation

  • 17:11 - 25:40 Andy's family; "God is definitely queer"; "my non-binary gender is really holy"; Andy's journey from anti-queer churches to God's affirmation

  • 25:41 - 32:25 Quaker's communalism, civil disobedience, vs. church hurt from "Hillsong churches" & "Instagram Christianity"

  • 32:26 - 39:06 Bonding over being autistic, intersections with autism, transness, and activism + a queer and autistic, sassy Jesus

  • 39:07 - 44:55 being excluded from others Jesus lovers because of being trans & relief of finding people like us; more on the journey to reconciling faith and gender, being a Stonewall person of faith

  • 45:56 - 50:16 more on Quakers being interfaith, 3 pillars of Quakerism

  • 50:17 - 55:00 wrapping up: you are enough, and God made you perfect


June 20, 2020


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: 



Hagar and caravan

July 29, 2020


Episode 25:

Gender Diversity Pre-Patriarchy - 
what Genesis 24 reveals

Click here for the episode transcript.

Avery brings the story of Rebekah and her mother's household told in Genesis 24 into conversation with social anthropologists' understandings of the communal, cooperative societies that preceded the birth of patriarchal, patrilineal societies across the globe. Ze draws from Leslie Feinberg's text Transgender Warriors to explore how the rise of patriarchy and class impacted ancient persons whom we might identify as trans or otherwise gender diverse -- including the biblical character Rebekah, whom the original Hebrew text identifies as a na'ar, a "young man." 

Other texts from which this episode draws are Mx. Chris Paige's OtherWise Christian and Joy Ladin's The Soul of the Stranger: Reading God and Torah from a Transgender Perspective, as well as An Introduction to the Hebrew Bible by Gravett, Bohmbach, Greifenhagen, and Polaski.


June 2, 2020


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. 

Talking points:

  • (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."

Battle my own

May 26, 2020


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, and blogged at 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 Visit 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 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

Chris P

April 28, 2020


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:

Ep 21

March 24, 2020



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.

  • (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. 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.

  • (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!


Ep 20

February 25, 2020


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

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


Ep 19

January 27, 2020


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


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:
You can also find them on Twitter @prabhbob and on Instagram @prabhdeepsk
prabhdeep recommends 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


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:


  • 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!


Ep 16

October 29, 2019


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


Ep 15

August 13, 2019


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


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, or follow her on Twitter @blessedimp. 


Ep 13

July 7, 2019


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.


Ep 12

June 23, 2019


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:


Ep 11

June 9, 2019


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:


Ep 10

May 12, 2019


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.

Ep 9

April 28, 2019


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)


Ep 8

April 14, 2019


Episode 7:

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

Click here for an episode transcript.


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 or The post that they mention in the interview that explores what the Bible says about witchcraft can be read here.


Ep 7

March 31, 2019


Episode 6:

Eli and the prophet Elijah

Click here for the episode transcript.


Eli Rosenberg used to think that being trans was incompatible with faith.  But with help from their rabbi,, 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 (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


Episode 5:

Adam is a lifelong Methodist

Click here for the episode transcript.


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)

Ep 5

March 3, 2019


Episode 4:

Derek loves his family 

Click here for an episode transcript.

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)

Ep 4

February 21, 2019


Episode 3:

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

Click here for an episode transcript.

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)

Ep 3

February 17, 2019


Episode 2:

Willow errs on the side of grace

Click here for an episode transcript.

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


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)

Ep 1
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