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Posts Tagged ‘Trans-Ponder’

Freshly back from Creating Change and AWP, Zack and Peterson are energized to be advocates and writers. This week’s episode focuses on a roundup of news related to the transgender community, including unfunny sketches on Craig Ferguson and SNL, hate crimes, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell/trans people, and a big new study that reveals “Injustice at Every Turn” for the trans community. We also share our experiences from our conferences and, of course, an erotic poem!

The Queer and Queerer Podcast!


Listen to this week’s program

or Download it on iTunes (see link below oh and also rate us if you do that whole iTunes thing)

Here’s some more information about what we talked about this week:

» This week’s erotic poem: “Song for a Lakota Woman” by Chrystos (Listen to Chrystos read it.)

» Chris Geitner’s report on Craig Ferguson and SNL

» Murders of transgender people in Honduras

» Sentencing of Ashley Santiago’s Murderer

» Autumn Sandeen speaks out about Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

» The Task Force and NCTE Study: Injustice at Every Turn

»I Too by Langston Hughes

» Peterson’s Post about the Trans-Inclusive Commercial from Argentina

» Robyn Ochs!

» Peterson’s Schedule

» The Trans-Ponder Podcast!

Subscribe to Queer and Queerer in iTunes!

The feed has the 25 most recent episodes; the rest are archived on this page.

If you use a different podcatcher, the Queer and Queerer raw feed can be found here.The feed has the 25 most recent episodes; the rest are archived on this page.
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Our theme music is “Appalachia” by Machelli. Download his album, “Opus,” on iTunes.

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After watching my YouTube video Transgender Rights? A Christian Speaks Out, a viewer sent me the following message.

hi my name is craig, im a male that feels traped in the wrong body,i watched your video and was comforted and inspired, i just wanted to know having the feelings that i do, would god allow me to get a sex chage? would he still love me? is it wrong?

also once you recieve this and i get your answer i would love for you to help me choose my new name.

also are eunuchs in the bible really transgendered people?

I felt honored to receive this message (I change the name above) but also uncertain of how to answer or if I could answer. I do come from a religious background and I realize that “craig” is looking for understanding of transgender issues from a religious perspective. I know that when I struggled with being gay, it was within a religious context, and I needed help from people who could communicate within that context at least initially. It was important for me to understand God’s will for my life in order to move ahead. Ultimately I found my answers within–that still small voice–but at the time so many voices vied for my attention.

Here’s my response:

HI there. Thanks for writing. I am glad you found my video helpful. It sounds like you have many important questions. I am not transgender myself, but I will answer you as best as I can. A wonderful resource for you may be the Trans-Ponder podcast.  It’s done by two women who transitioned from male. They speak about the transition process. They also interviewed me about my work with gender-variant Bible characters.

In regards to God, we need to remember that according to scripture, humans look on the outside, but God looks on the heart. We are told in Paul’s writings that in Christ there is neither male nor female. Not that our gender doesn’t matter, but God sees our spirits. God sees beyond what others see. God sees us people not fixed genders. I have met MANY people who might agree that their insides didn’t match their outsides. There are all types of males and females and some people who are a little of both or something altogether different. As believers we understand that God desires truth from within to without. There is no reason why God would not want you to be authentic in regards to who you are and your gender. God will not have trouble with if this is someone’s sense of self. Others might, but they are not God. My personal belief is that we can have faith that God trusts us to make these important decisions about ourselves.

It will be important that you continue to spend time thinking about this, getting more information, and perhaps even seeing a trained professional about this topic to answer your questions. It will most likely help for you to connect with transgender people too if you haven’t already. You sound like you have a leading to seek out more information about sex reassignment surgery. But even without surgery, you know who you are on the inside, and you can begin to affirm that for yourself. For some surgery is a necessary step, but not for all.

The eunuchs who appear in the Bible did not have the word “transgender” to apply to themselves. Many were forced to be eunuchs against their will. Some chose to be eunuch. In some cultures they were respected as eunuchs while in others they were not. We do not know much about how they came to be eunuch, but the important lesson is that they became a different sex physically than they were at birth. They became sexual minorities in a very visible way within their cultures. In some places they were considered a “third sex.” God did not simply tolerate people being different, but in the Bible stories with eunuchs, God literally reached out to them and in some cases desperately needed them in order to do the work that needed to be done. The eunuchs in the Bible provide a wonderful example of someone who is surgically altered and gender-different yet smack in the palm of God’s loving hand and purposes. For those of us who are people of faith, this can give us guidance and great comfort.

In regards to your name, that is a great honor to ask me for help, and I would love to hear about the process as you begin to consider new names. It is a very spiritual process for some with many examples in the Bible of people who changed their names to recognize a life change. I have faith that you will find the right name–or it will find you–as you go along in the process.

Many blessings to you!
Peterson

What about you? What would you add? What would you say? What could I have said differently? I realize that not everyone who reads this blog is a person of faith, so maybe all the “God language” is a turn-off or not your style. I can forward your remarks to “craig” for you or provide a link to your comments here.

Now I am off to TransForm New Hampshire, an event in Concord, NH that seeks to unite the LGB with the T and help non-transgender people better understand transgender issues.

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An atheist, a Quaker and a Jew-for-Jesus walk into the studio…

Marvin Bloom

Guest star Marvin Bloom joins Zack and Peterson this week for a conversation about religion. As a gay Jew-for-Jesus from Long Island (who makes Sarah Palin look like a mainline Presbyterian), Marvin has many questions for Zack about his atheism, and you get to listen in to the hilarity that ensues! At one point, someone IMs Zack, which is exactly what you should do if you have your own questions about atheism or ideas for the podcast! This “Atheism 101″ podcast explores intersections between religion and sexuality, but by no means offers definitive answers to any of life’s questions. We invite you to join the conversation by commenting on the posts or engaging in discussion on the Facebook page!

The Queer and Queerer Podcast!

Listen to this week’s episode

// Here’s some more information about what we talked about this week:

» Read Zack’s recent post about coming out as an atheist.

» Learn more about Russell’s Teapot.

» Check out the Transponder podcast, featuring Moments with Marvin.

» Marvin Bloom’s YouTube Channel.

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I have been a fan of podcasts for the past five or so years. Some of my favorite LGBTQ-themed shows have included The Flatus Show, Feast of Fools (now Feast of Fun), Tranny Wreck Radio, and the delicious work of my friend and on-line nemesis, Joe Gee (He recently ended his podcast Bored Beyond Belief because I guess he was while we his listeners and fans are still interested-hint, hint.)

Perhaps my all time FAVORITE podcast is Trans-Ponder. According to show co-hosts, Jayna and Mila, a legally married female couple–how Un-American!–

Transponder is a show for those considering, beginning, or in the process of gender transition, and for those who wish to learn more about us, or lend support to the community. Our show shares experiences and insights on transition with a positive look at the community.

Their show always contains lots of information, insight, and humor around transition and a variety of transgender issues. It also gets serious, snarky and strong when it comes to injustice towards transgender people and transsexuals. I have learned a great deal from listening to this program, and I routinely prescribe their podcast to non-trans people who say they want to know more. Listen to three or four shows you will laugh, you will cry, you will learn and grow. I especially love the breezy banter between Mila and Jayna when they could talk about pop culture, geeky stuff, important topics or nothing in particular.

Perhaps partly inspired by this delicious breezy style, blogger Zack Ford and I recorded our first episode of Queer and Queerer, in which we “discuss” queer pop crooner Rufus Wainwright and his recent allusion to the gayness of rapper 50 Cent, President Obama’s recent memo about hospital visitations for LGBT couples, and a general introduction to who we are. From the Queer and Queerer web page Zack describes our:

new experiment in activism! Peterson Toscano and I have teamed up to regularly discuss issues related to the queer community, religion, and higher education. Queer and Queerer aims to be both silly and serious, so take a listen and tell us what you think! We are new to podcasting and we welcome your feedback!!

Zack Ford and I are well paired for this jaunty endeavor in large part because of what we share in common as well as significant differences. Zack, age 24, is a recent Grad school graduate looking to work on a campus with LGBTQ students and issues. I am 21 years his senior (although you’d swear we looked more like brothers with my youthful glow 😛 ), and also do lots of work on college campuses around LGBTQ issues. We both have an interest in religion, I am a recovering Fundamentalist Christian who now embraces a post-modern flavored Christianity within a Quaker context. Zack is a non-theist, an atheist and I think he would say an anti-theist. (I MUST introduce Zack to Marvin Bloom!) We both live in rural Central Pennsylvania (or Pennsyltucky as Zack says) and get together once a week when we are both in town to talk about the issues that interest us. Zack suggested we continue to do this but with a microphone stuck in our faces.

Here is the first attempt, without theme show music or fancy editing. But in this 25 minute podcast you get a flavor for our presentation style, our banter, and a sample of how we will talk about the issues both silly and serious (or both at the same time.)

To subscribe to the Queer and Queerer podcast in iTunes, click here.

To see the Queer and Queerer page in the iTunes store, click here.

The Queer and Queerer podcast has its own feed separate from the ZFb feed. It’s found here.

Enjoy! and let us know what you think, suggestions for topics, and of course our offering of praise.

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Full Draw Studios has released the following statement regarding the next steps with my play Transfigurations–Transgressing Gender in the Bible. Please share it with people you know someone who might be interested. Thanks!


In a revolutionary genre-bending presentation mixing performance and scholarship, Peterson Toscano’s Transfigurations–Transgressing Gender in the Bible has caught the attention of Bible scholars and gender theorists. Looking at the Hebrew, Christian and Muslim scriptures, Peterson presents characters who transgress and transcend gender in his one person multi-character, multi-gender play. Full Draw Studios is pleased to announce that this groundbreaking material will appear in yet another creative genre–a graphic novel.About this project Peterson writes,

Sample from Transfigurations graphic novel

“I am working with Jayna and Mila Pavlin, two amazing comic artists, podcasters and transgender activists. They are adapting my script for the page bringing it to life in a whole new way.”

In addition the the graphic novel portion of the project, the final book will include the voices of various scholars sharing insights from the existing scholarship and their original research. Both scholars and public intellectuals in the fields of sacred text and in gender studies will contribute in order to make a unique work blending art and academics.

Peterson is currently connecting with scholars who are interested in taking part in the project. You may be an established published professor, just beginning your career, or a public intellectual engaging through speaking or on-line. Peterson will sections of his script with you, share the scholarship he has done on the work and give you a chance to add to it. At this time we cannot offer financial compensation, but for each contributor, we will provide a full biography. And if we get a nice book contract, who knows? 🙂 If you are interested or simply wish to know more, please contact Peterson at p2son@earthlink.net.

Want to know more?

Scene from Transfigurations

Peterson Toscano’s Transfigurations–Transgressing Gender in the Bible has gotten lots of attention from Bible scholars and the media. After presenting some of the material at the 2008 Lambeth Conference, BBC World Service Reporting Religion program interviewed him. He has since been featured in a variety of BBC radio broadcasts, on NPR programs, in newspapers (like the Sunday Times of Malta) and in the on-line journal, Religious Dispatches.

Virginia Ramey Mollenkott, Ph.D., professor Emeritus of English at the William Paterson University of New Jersey author of Omnigender says, “Bible-lovers, gender-transgressors of all sorts, people who love justice! Make haste to see Peterson Toscano’s play Transfigurations as soon as possible! His biblical exegesis is insightful and accurate, and you will glean a whole new perspective painlessly because of his charming performance.”

Michael Willett Newheart, Ph.D., Professor of New Testament Language and Literature, Howard University School of Divinity and author of I am Legion states, “I attended a workshop with Peterson in which he announced that he was doing a show on the transgender people in the Bible. I thought to myself, Hey, I’m a biblical scholar, and I don’t know any transgender folks in the Bible! Now I know! I applaud Peterson for bringing to the fore in this play a new way of looking at the Bible! Bravo! No, bravissimo! I had to look at my own sexual stereotypes and how I bring them to biblical interpretation!”

Discover more at www.petersontoscano.com/transfigurations

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I will be off-line for about three weeks as I soak in the sun in Southern Mexico (Oaxaca) and visit my dear old friend Frida Kahlo. I have a stack of yummy books to read as Glen and I unwind on the beach. We each are bringing six books (we needed to limit ourselves). After much deliberation I offer my selections:

Any comments on these books? I am sure you each have suggestions, but they will have to wait for Spring Break. The great thing about having a professor of Creative Writing as a partner is access to so many tasty books and an instant commentary by the professor himself. I doubt I will get to them all (it’s not a contest) but it’s nice to have options for whatever mood strikes me. I typically can read up to five books at a time so I jump back and forth from book to book–Poly-literate?

Fear not, I will not leave you bereft (ah, the depths of my self-importance.) In my absence from blogging and tweeting and farting on US soil, I have scheduled Jesus Loves You tweets through a site called Twaitter. They will appear on this blog on the right, on Facebook (where you can comment if you are one of my 1750 closest friends) and of course on Twitter which you can follow here. What first started as text messages to a handful of friends has grown into a daily ritual for several hundred folks around the world. Adam, a friend in VA, wrote, I’m addicted to your “Jesus Loves You” comments. Adam, and be sure to know they are addicted to you too.

I also want to lead you to some wonderful resources to fill in the void I leave you.

Gwendolyn Glover blogs over at Open Salon. Here is a sample from her piece Thank God for Gay Boys and Girls.

I began wondering if God had something against girls. There were so many differences that seemed inherently unfair. Girls had this embarrassing and painful thing called menstruation. Girls were doomed to go through agonizing childbirth. I felt like it was nothing beautiful or magical because Mom never talked about it. She seemed utterly humiliated by the experience. Dad would only tell us birthing stories that had morals about how doctors were evil and women should have their babies at home..

Also at Open Salon check out Charles Bivona’s modest proposal: The Homo No Mo House: a Business Plan

Always entertaining and informative (with little Moments with Marvin Bloom and Elizabeth Jeremiah, two of the identies I carry with me) the Trans-Ponder Podcast with Jayna & Mila deserves your attention. Also check out their artwork: Jayna’s and Mila’s.

I’ve just starting reading Zack Ford Blogs and appreciate Zack’s insight, humor and abilities as a writer taking on issues of faith, atheism and queer stuff. In his post Why Is It “Disrespectful” and “Offensive” to Challenge Religious Beliefs? Zach writes:

So let’s consider a hypothetical example. One I face often is, “I believe homosexuality is wrong/immoral/whatever.” This belief still wields quite a bit of power and popularity in our society. I would argue this belief is totally invalid, because homosexuality cannot be immoral. Sexual orientations are innate dimensions of identity and a same-sex orientation is no more a choice than an opposite-sex one. Calling homosexuality “immoral” sounds as absurd as calling brown eyes “wrong” or calling the sun “immoral” just for existing. I work really hard to debunk this belief, because it has absolutely no intellectual merit and it is incredibly hurtful to many people.

Although Ze is taking a little break from blogging too, check out the short blog entries on gender and more that nome posts over at That’s What Ze Says.

Cracker Lilo’s Front Porch In addition to serving up personal reflections about faith, sexuality and family, this NYC-based blogger provides posts jammed with yummy links (and gorgeous vegan recipes, oh and PANDAS!)

Need a Quaker fix? Check out Quaker Quaker which offers links to scores of Quaker blogs and resources. If you want to sample the Quakers further, why not visit a Quaker meeting house? Discover the closest meetings to you over at Quaker Finder.

What are some of your favorite blogs, podcasts and cyber-distractions. Feel free to share in the comments section.

Bueno, me voy pronto. Felicidades.

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Grinch pre-informed

For the past three weeks some gay men have publicly offended, marginalized, and misrepresented transgender issues and individuals. I have written about some of that mess here: Remembering Jorge while Forgetting what Binds Us. People have been at work publicly and behind the scenes to speak directly to the gay men responsible for words and actions that serve to break down community rather than build it.

The Bilerico Project, a blog that attempts daily experiments with LGBTQ issues, offered a truly failed experiment in the form of a post by Ron Gold, a new contributor to the site.  Ron comes with an impressive CV in queer activism.  According to one site,

Ron Gold was one of the five original founders of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force in the USA, and he was the driving force behind the movement that got the American Psychiatric Association to remove homosexuality from its list of “mental illnesses” in 1973.

That’s great stuff, and as a gay man, based on that information alone, Ron would stand out as a hero to me.  But in his first post at Bilerico Project,  No, to the Notion of Transgender, he instead takes the role of an uninformed and insensitive critic of transgender issues and individuals. He uses language that demeans the transgender experience and is outright offensive. Now perhaps Ron attempted to offer a post-modern philosophical musing about the nature of identity and that our idea of gender arises in part from a social construct, (something that Rikki Wilchens does expertly in the book Queer Theory, Gender Theory: An Instant Primer.) In his blog post, Ron failed miserably.

Instead he reinforced the long experienced expectation that non-transgender gay men do not get it and instead go out of their way to denigrate and bully transgender people. As more than one commenter to Ron’s blog post stated, with allies like that who needs enemies.

A new friend, Abby from Arizona, an intelligent lawyer with a delicious wit, first brought  Ron’s Bilerico piece to my attention through a tweet she made to the site.

@bilerico I’m so angry about this, I counldn’t read it all. | New on TBP: “No” to the notion of transgender http://bit.ly/6JNyeM #lgbt

As I waited in the lobby of the Hartford Health Collective for my regular check up, I read on my phone the many comments that people posted in a very short time. I appreciated the directness and the clarity of many of the comments as well as the willingness of some people to share their experiences, perhaps in hopes that narrative will help some people like Ron to “get it.” I have found many transgender people like Abby express themselves brilliantly and advocate for themselves expertly. Mercedes Allen, a bisexual transsexual in a lesbian relationship  who contributes to Bilerico Project wrote a post in response Thank You For Flying Bilerio Airlines and provides links to other responses.  Even so, everyone benefits from allies. I was glad to see some non-trans (cisgender) folks also comment to denounce the post and announce their support of transgender people.

When I got home last night, I posted the following comment,

Yikes! This is an outrageously offensive & misinformed post.

Like you I am a non-transgender gay guy, and I strongly disagree with the content of your blog post. You messed up big time. Perhaps these many comments will serve as a wake-up call. Hopefully you will not react defensively. Rather I hope you reflect, read, listen. Some. The work of being an ally means we will get it wrong. We will get corrected. We will need to educate ourselves, listen deeply and educate ourselves some more. Think of the clumsy ill-informed gay allies you may have met in your early gay days. Clueless and uneducated allies can make a mess.

But then maybe you don’t even wish to be an ally to transgender people. Perhaps you want to correct people with experiences different from your own, to sort them out like the reparative therapists tried to sort us gay guys out. Perhaps you learned that trick from our oppressors. It’s time to learn some new tricks. Start by listening deeply, then listen some more.

Ron’s blog post at Bilerico Project hurts a lot of people, and not just their feelings, although that pain should not be minimized. His words can injure community and the often tentative ties between trangenger people and non-transgender people who stand in clumps under the broad and often leaky LGBTQ umbrella. But it doesn’t have to end with hurt and further breakdown of community.

Over on a Facebook note, Michael Eric Brown of TransMentors International offers support to transgender people who have been negatively affected by the Bilerico post. He writes,

Mr. Gold’s posting has brought out a myriad of emotions in all of us, and has affected not only the trans-identified community, but also those who are our true allies (some who are gay, lesbian, bi or hetero-identified).

Some are angry (livid even), some have begun the descent into depression. Some are losing faith in the activism and advocacy work they’ve been involved in, thinking “What’s the use? It’s a lost cause.”

What’s the use? It’s a lost cause. I have felt that myself around the inclusion of lesbians and gays in the church. I have felt it in regards to activism to counter the lies and damage perpetuated by the Ex-Gay Movement.

I have grown weary and discouraged when someone who I thought was an ally took a potshot or totally misrepresented the work some of us carefully built over time. At those times straight friends like Auntie Doris and members of my Quaker meeting and colleagues like Fran, Jen, Steve and Christina from the Watkinson School  and my sister Maria and my US Marine Bronx-raised Dad and others encouraged me, told me that it is not in vain, reminded me that I am not alone. They let me know they stand with me–allies.

Grinch-post-informed

And I know that in the past year I have met MANY non-transgender lesbian, gay and bisexual queer folks who stand with their transgender friends and the transgender community. I think of Brian in New York and Jane in Washington State and Sharon in London and Suzy in Maryland and Christine in Colorado and Doug in Oregon and Doris in Vancouver and Tim in Tennessee and many many more.

I ask fellow allies to take a moment to write a comment of support for your transgender friends and the transgender community. What have you learned from knowing transgender folks? How has your life been enriched? Log in your support.

Thank you.

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