Sunday, February 7, 2010

Creating Change: Day 3 TransACTION

Yesterday morning Barbara Satin from IWR conducted a workshop around “Transaction,” the Institute for Welcoming Resources curriculum for a trans education for parishes. The document is available online here. Scroll down the page and you will see links to the various curricula list on the left.

Barbara is a wonderful leader who’s graceful, grace-filled presence is a blessing.
She has been a blessing to people of faith in the queer world as trans woman for 15 years.

The curriculum stands on its own, but a chance to hear it gone through with an audience of trans men and women, was an enriching experience.

The curriculum focuses on 3 areas, Understanding, Acceptance and Welcoming, and is intended for a 3 session presentation.

We modeled an opening exercise from the curriculum around understanding. On one piece of paper we were asked to list adjectives that are associated with girl/woman. On a second, adjectives associated with boy/man were listed. We were then asked to individually write along a line from 0 to 10 where we thought these words applied to us, first the feminine, then the masculine.

My personal reaction was that the masculine descriptors seemed much more negative than the feminine adjectives. Man: aggressive, cold, non-emotional. Woman: nurturing, emotional, soft. A lesbian pastor pointed out that though I may see emotional as positive, it is often used as negative… Duh!

A few points that were raised, some familiar, others brand new to me:

"When trans people in the door, we are generally recognizable. But often not recognized even if we want to be. People don't know what to do with us..."

"Most LGBT Groups and progressive churhes, want to be welcoming, but are caught in, 'how do we do that?'"

"It can be frustrating to do all this work on welcoming and then no one shows up."

"Many of have not though about our funeral. If there is an open casket, how would you be dressed. A good reminder that prearranging for a funeral is a good thing for everyone."

"Besides a gender identity we all have a sexual orientation."

The end result of the conversation is that there it is a deeply complicated issue. Until we start having the conversation, we won't even begin to understand.

The work of Peterson Toscano was highly recommended. He is a performance artist and has produced the DVDs "Homo No Mo" and a new one, "Trans-figuration."

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