29 08 2014

A friend told me today that she was so glad I’m pro-ally. This friend is also under the rainbow, but is cisgender.

To me, this says something very negative about the trans communities. My cis allies, queer and straight alike, were there for me when I was close, closer than I’ve ever been, to suicide. It was my cis allies, not my trans peers, who were there for me.

Why is there so much hate for those who love us?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:

I love my allies. GOD bless allies.

New podcast episode: Tom Boy Trans Girl

29 08 2014


Kids often have things to teach their parents.

Originally posted on gendermom:

Xena battles a Sculpey Monster.

Xena battles Sculpey monster.

Hi friends.  I’ve posted Episode 4 of my podcast, “How to Be a Girl.”

The episode, “Tom Boy Trans Girl,” explores what it means to be a transgender girl who isn’t completely “girlie.”  It grew out of my reaction to M. starting to express less interest in princesses and pink, and more interest in “boy” stuff like ninjas and Pokémon.

Check it out if you want to hear M. pretending to be Xena, Warrior Princess.  You will also be introduced to her own super-hero alter-ego: Acrobat Girl! 

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Shifting Sense of Identity

22 08 2014

As I start seminary, I’ll be spending most of my “home” time in a dorm room on campus. My official home is still in San Mateo, but I’m moving out little by little.

At the campus, I was originally supposed to have a room in a 3-bedroom suite. I’d share a living room and bathroom with two other women. Or rather, I’d be sharing those with two women. Housing in Arch is grouped by gender. As I’m legally female I’d be in a suite for women. But when I learned that a single room would be available in Benton, I opted for that. Yeah, it would mean sharing a communal bathroom down the hall with the others on my floor, but that seemed easier to deal with for me.

And I wondered at that. Was it my introversion exerting itself? Only partially. The main reason was gender, and I think I’ve made an important discovery about myself.

I am not a woman. I am a trans woman.

I found that I wasn’t comfortable with the idea of sharing a 3-bedroom suite with women, even though that would’ve been vastly preferable to sharing such lodgings with men. The closest to gender neutral housing at PSR are the single dorm rooms in Benton Hall. I’m not gender neutral. I’m gaining a better understanding for what it might mean to be non-binary. I exist within the binary of male-to-female, but even if I’m able to transition I still won’t be able or inclined to deny my history. I am, and will remain, trans.

Even as I mulled these thoughts over, I saw the following blog post by Gender Mom in which she discusses the difference between her daughter, M, and other girls. People like M and I are different, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Not all trans persons I’ve encountered are comfortable with publicly embracing this difference. I know MTFs who identify solely as women and FTMs who identify as solely as men. But for my part, I’m finding that I can’t really claim the identity as woman. Not now, at least. I seem to go in cycles about this in that regard.

Yeah, it hurts when people use pronouns like he, him, his, and himself to refer to me. Usually it’s accidental, and I understand that. It’s still possible to hurt people by accident though. And while I’m fully comfortable with pronouns like she, her, hers and herself I still feel like it’s necessary for my peace of mind to identify as a trans woman rather than as a woman.

That is my choice, and that’s how I’ll identify.

For now.

August/September 2014 Bulletin: Blessings of the Harvest

20 08 2014

Between the Worlds Church meets on the third Saturday of the month at City of Refuge in Oakland. Join us!

Reblogging: 5 ways to support your gender diverse friends

11 08 2014

“This post is about 5 things YOU can do to help a friend that comes out to you as questioning their gender, genderqueer or ready to transition…”

Speaking Truth to Power: Exclusion

1 08 2014

It’s been a very long time since I had watched the move The Last Unicorn. And since I saw it in a theater, we know this happened in 1982. So my memories might be a bit foggy on this, but I remember how small the Last Unicorn looked as she faced the Red Bull on the shore of the sea. She looked so delicate before that fiery monster, and yet she stood her ground.

A phrase that one of my coven leaders uses often to describe a particular form of activism is, “Speaking truth to power.” I recently got a better insight to what this phrase means. Speaking truth to power is to challenge the status quo, to challenge those in power.

Speaking my truth makes me feel the way the Last Unicorn looked as she faced the Red Bull at the sea. That’s not to say that I feel I have the hidden reserves of power that she did, power that allowed her to defeat the Red Bull. No. I have no pretensions to such abilities. But there are times when speaking my truth feels like an insurmountable task.

One such recent incident revolves around a Meetup group that I had been a part of for about two years.

An event was added to the Gay Girlfriends Meetup regarding the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival (MWMF). There was a note in the announcement of this event to not turn the event thread into a political discussion. In my RSVP to the event, I mentioned I would not be attending for various reasons, the primary one being that the MWMF is not open to trans women and persons with non-binary gender identities. I was expecting to be reprimanded as my comment could have been construed as being “political.”

It’s no secret to anyone in this Meetup that I am transgender. Furthermore, this group’s description includes that it’s an LGBT Meetup. Well, I’m the B (P actually: I’m pansexual not bisexual) and the T. I always check such things before applying to join a Meetup group: to verify that the group is open to persons such as myself. Since I’ve received nothing but welcome from the women I’d met through this group, I figured I could make this comment about being excluded because I’m trans and I’d be safe. But as I said, I was expecting a reprimand. I wasn’t reprimanded, though.

Instead, my comment was summarily deleted.

There doesn’t seem to be a way in which any discussion of the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival could be anything but political. According to Susan Stryker’s book Transgender History it was in 1991 when the MWMF became openly cissexist and transphobic.1 I am not the only trans woman in the Gay Girlfriends Meetup. Or, I wasn’t the only one until I left this group. But even if I was, there are a great many trans allies among the cisgender queer women in this group. This event announcement could only be divisive. By deleting my comment, I was being silenced.

I’m sure it could be argued that since there had been instructions to not make any political comments that I brought the deletion upon myself. But this is speaking truth to power. I could not simply sit there at my computer and not make any comments.

Do I expect to free other unicorns from the sea of cissexism and transphobia that is perpetuated by the Red Bull of the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival and those who would defend it against voices such as mine? No. But I will stand anyway. If I’m swept aside and into the sea, so be it. But if I can free even one of my fellow unicorns, I will have done great good.

The MWMF is a private event that is free to exclude whomever they want. I don’t challenge this. What I challenge instead is the reasoning behind the exclusion. It is my right to do so.

Amen, and Blessed Be.

1Susan Stryker, Transgender History (Berkeley, CA: Seal Press, 2008) 140.
[Goodreads link]

What’s in a name? (Baptismal Edition)

27 07 2014

Gender transition. The phrase seems to speak of a very specific type of change: a transition from one gender to another. Yet that transition was, and for me still is, not so narrowly focused.

For me, there have been different types of transition:

  1. Identity: involved me coming to better understand my gender identity and began sometime between March 2008 and March 2010. This was completed in January 2011 when I chose the name Constance Anne.
  2. Social: began shortly after my Identity Transition ended and was complete by 16 September 2011, when I went “full time,” presenting as the real me all day every day.
  3. Medical: began when I started hormone replacement therapy (HRT) on 5 June 2011 and is still in progress.
  4. Legal: began November 2012 when I filed the paperwork and was completed when my legal name and gender change was granted in January 2013, leading to me updating my driver’s license, SSA account, and birth certificate.

The list above makes it seem as if the identity transition was completed by January 2011. In a way, Yes. But in other ways, No.

On Sunday 24 November 2013, four days after the Transgender Day of Remembrance, I was rebaptized. The minister who I’d originally asked to perform this sacrament politely declined on the grounds that it was unnecessary. I’d already been baptized as an infant and, therefore, to do so again was theologically incorrect. But as an infant, I had been baptized with the name my parents had given me and in a faith tradition of my parents’ choosing. It was important to me to have this sacrament happen when I would be aware of it. I wasn’t really able to articulate why at that time, but something that Rev. Dr. Laura Barnes said at the Congregational Church of San Mateo a short while back really explains why rebaptisms are appropriate:

Baptism is an outward sign of what is already true.

And that’s why a rebaptism is so important, especially for those of us who were never confirmed. These outward signs can have powerful effects.

After Rev. Dr. Penny Nixon asked me the baptismal promises she then asked, “What is your chosen name?”

To reply, “My name is Constance Anne McEntee,” was a powerful thing for me. I, with the help of Rev. Dr. Nixon, was making my chosen name become my Christian name in a faith tradition of my choosing.

I didn’t need to be baptized, as an infant or as an adult. These sacraments are for us, not GOD. This is something that I need to bear in mind as I begin my seminary process. Turning someone away for a sacrament? Why would we do this, especially in the UCC where we say all are welcome and we deny Communion to no one. Why would baptism be held to a different standard?

GOD, grant that should I be deemed a worth candidate for ordination, that I never turn someone away from a sacrament when they truly desire the connection that is granted with it.

Amen, and Blessed Be.


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