Over the weekend, I read the fascinating and ultimately tragic story of Dr. Essay Anne Vanderbilt. It’s one of those pieces that elucidates just how badly our society mishandles and misunderstands transgender issues, even when the intent isn’t malicious. Reading the criticism of the piece (and Grantland’s responses to it) have given me a hell of a lot to think about, in any case.
My friend Stephanie Drury, who runs the popular Stuff Christian Culture Likes website, just announced that a couple of transgender members of her community will be hosting an online Q&A session later this week for anyone who “wants to better understand trans* issues, has questions about the trans* community, or wants to learn ways to better support those in the SCCL community and trans* people in general”:
Nix says: “Most of the incredibly intense transphobia that I have experienced has come directly from people who are incredibly entrenched in the church. But by that same token, some of the people that have loved me the best and have accepted me have been from the church as well. They are just scared to be vocal about it, because they are afraid of the backlash from the rest of the Christian community. And that leaves all of us at such a disadvantage, because we want to love people but only have the vocabulary of hatred that has been taught to us as God’s love. And all that does is alienate people. I know that so many people off SCCL have such a big heart and want to love so many people at the church told them were off limits. They just don’t know how because these people have always been off limits.”
Our hope is that these discussions will make our communities safer, more understanding, and friendlier places for all transgender people.
While the discussion sounds geared toward Christians, atheists are more than welcome to take part in the conversation — and I would encourage everyone to do so. The hangouts will take place Thursday and Friday evening and more details can be found here.