A Conversation with Christians who have transgender or intersex experiences
As societal understandings of gender shift and evolve, ministry leaders and educators can easily find themselves unprepared for some of the questions they are asked and the people they serve. They need a safe place to ask their own questions and a collegial community with whom to wrestle with these challenging issues—matters that may seem academic but for some can mean the difference between Christian community and isolation/loss of faith, sometimes even between life and death.
Regardless of your theological position—or confusion—on these matters, we want to offer you the chance to meet Christians with transgender and intersex experiences in order to deepen your insights into these precious people who you may very well be serving without knowing it.
- What does it mean to have a transgender experience or to be born with an intersex condition?
- How does being an intersex person or a person with a transgender experience impact everyday life in general, and specifically within the faith community?
- How have individuals navigated visibility, disclosure, and advocacy in their faith communities?
- What are some of the challenges and unique experiences integrating experience with theology?
- How can I better understand and serve children of God who are intersex or have a transgender experience, and help those I work with do the same?
Allison is a middle-aged straight woman who grew up in the South within conservative faith traditions. She has one son in his late 20s and is also a widow of 6 years. She has a PhD and is currently a Director of Clinical Research focusing on Neurodegenerative diseases. In her spare time she is either cycling or ballroom dancing. Allison has a transgender experience but does not identify with the label. When she transitioned, Allison lost her church at the time, much of her family and long-term friends, her association with faith-based nonprofit organizations, and was required to withdraw from a seminary master’s program. Today, she is passionate about LGBT youth advocacy and particularly faith advocacy within families and communities. She sponsors program development in these areas and actively mentors LGBT youth. She has taken LGBT and other youth into her home who needed a place to stay. She frequently addresses support groups for kids and parents, seminary classes, and medical school classes on various aspects of education, faith, well-being, health, and advocacy. Socially and professionally, outside of specific advocacy spaces, however, her historical trans experience is unknown.
Lianne Simon is a Christian housewife, an author, and an intersex advocate. Together with Dr. Megan K. DeFranza, she founded Intersex and Faith, a nonprofit whose mission is to help communities of faith minister to those born with a body that’s not entirely male or female.
David Andrew is a licensed professional clinical counseling and former pastor who engages in dialogues about his transgender experience and how to navigate faith through the spectrum of sexuality and gender identity with pastors, church leadership, students, and educators. Prior to entering the mental health field, David worked 10+ years as a senior and associate pastor, church planter, and pastoral trainer. David shares a uniquely divided heart between the convictions of conservative perspectives on LGBTQ+ issues and faith and the reality of the Christian experiences of persons who identify as LGBTQ+. His desire is to see the LGBTQ+ person have full access to the Gospel and come to know Christ, not because they are LGBTQ+, but because all people are in need of a Savior and a community for discipleship. David enjoys the outdoors, drinking coffee with his wife, and hanging out with their Chihuahua.
This 90-minute webinar was recorded on October 10, 2019, featuring three Jesus followers who generously agreed to share their individual stories, respond to questions, and engage in conversation with each other and attendees. To watch, please register ($10 fee) here.
PLEASE NOTE: Confidentiality
The need for confidentiality is addressed by our panelists at the beginning of the webinar, but we need you to understand now that by registering for this webinar, you are promising not to record, download, screen-grab, share your registration/password, or distribute the webinar content without express of permission of CSA/Oriented to Love. For the privacy and protection of our panelists, by your participation, you agree to keep the identity of the panelists and the content of the session in total confidence.
What are we talking about here?
For a baseline understanding of what the terms “transgender” and “intersex” mean, we invite you to review this primer on transgender/intersex terminology, prepared for us by our panelists, before viewing the recording. This will increase your ability to understand the webinar content, which focuses on the panelists’ lived realities and deepening our understanding of those realities, particularly within faith-based settings. We also invite you to look at some of the Q&A that our panelists offered, post-webinar.
Other webinars of interest (click to register to watch the recording):
- Gay Marriage in the Body of Christ: A conversation with two same-sex married couples who love Jesus (FREE)
- Christian, Queer and Celibate: A conversation with three Jesus followers who are living a vocation of celibacy
- Parenting Queer Kids: A conversation with Christian parents about the joys & challenges of raising and relating to their LGBTQ children
- Gender Exploration, Identity, and Expression in the Body of Christ
- Law, Religious Liberty & LGBTQ Lives in America: A conversation about recent federal nondiscrimination policy decisions and their real-world implications (FREE)
- Members of the Same Body: A conversation with theologically diverse LGB Christians