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.

Reblogging: She’s a child, not a learning opportunity.

25 07 2014

“I know! I know! She means so well! She’s trying so hard! But she isn’t my priority. And my child isn’t a rare stamp for her diversity collection.”

We aren’t curiosities to be examined. Our children even less so. And just because someone shares a story with you doesn’t mean you automatically have permission to share it yourself.

Never, under any circumstances at all, out anyone for any reason.


Reblogging: Humanity is Not a Virtue

20 07 2014

In this post, the Ace Theist demonstrates a practical application of the injunction to not judge others.

Reblogging: Transfeminism

19 07 2014

My experiences with mainstream feminism have been similar, but not quite the same. Having transitioned from male to female, I felt like an outsider before my transition and I currently feel like my welcome in mainstream feminism varies.

Initiation: Reflection

18 07 2014

On the night of 17 July 2014, I received my second degree coven initiation. This ritual promoted me from “duly consecrated priest and witch” to “high priest and magus.”

While my first degree initiation back in February was an emotional event for me, I didn’t really cry. I came close as I recited the Oath, but didn’t really cry. This time was different. The coven gathered for dinner at the home of two of the third degree priests, and as the meal progressed, I found myself becoming more and more emotional. Not upset, and not happy. Just … emotional. As it got time for me to change for the ritual, I was feeling very strange.

The ritual began with a hand blessing. All members of the coven blessed my hands with consecrated salted water, and it was during this part that I began crying. I really can’t say why. I wasn’t upset, and they weren’t tears of joy per se, though perhaps they were. I think it was more that the honor of this coven believing that I was ready and worthy of this initiation and promotion.

And it is an honor to serve this coven. It was an honor to be considered worthy of the first degree, to be a priest and witch. It felt like I was committing to being a student of this group, as all the others members seem to have so much more knowledge and experience than I do. Now, I’m a high priest and magus. This is not only an honor, but also a responsibility.

But it was the love and welcome, more than anything else, that I think moved me to tears. After identifying as a spiritual nomad for so many years, I’m now a dual citizen with multiple homes.

How could I not cry when faced with these blessings?

Death of a Friend

15 07 2014

Today I learned that a friend from The Forums at Susan’s Transgender Resources died on Sunday. Nero, the Forum Admin.

I first joined Susan’s in March 2008, within days after I finished reading the book Luna by Julie Anne Peters. As that book was instrumental in leading me to explore my own gender identity, the Forums at Susan’s was even more so. At first, I identified as cross-dresser before identifying as androgyne. Though Nero himself was FTM, he seemed draw to those who identified in between the binary points of female and male, man and woman. When I determined that I wasn’t androgyne and was actually MTF, he supported me in my self-discovery.

It was my defense and support of Nero that made me feel somewhat unwelcome among some of the former members of Susan’s. There were those who would regularly mock Nero, belittling him for being overweight, a recovering drug addict, and even going so far as to imply he’d never be a real man. To then see such persons offer condolences and post things like, “RIP Nero,” affected me oddly. It seems some folks had set aside their antipathy for Nero, but why after his death? Why is it that the trans communities will more readily unite when one of our own dies?

Seriously, people, we have enough to deal with without fighting ourselves. There will be cissexist transphobes who will no doubt be celebrating Nero’s death.

There aren’t any details yet, but I fear it might have been suicide. Nero had struggled with depression for years, and even his T injections were somewhat problematic for him, being a recovering addict. He was such a loving person. I can’t believe he’s gone.

Nero, my love, you were my brother. I will never forget you.

Safe Passage, and Blessed Be.

Reblogging: Why I avoid checking the box

12 07 2014

I as a transgender person have fewer rights and less privilege than cisgender persons. In turn, I have greater rights and more privilege than persons with non-binary gender identities, as the following blog posts documents.


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