20 episodes

Join seminary graduate Avery Smith as they interview transgender and nonbinary people about their experiences with faith and gender. Discover the wonderful diversity of gifts and wisdom that trans people offer their faith communities. This is an interfaith podcast.

Find episode transcripts at transchristianity.com/podcast

Blessed Are the Binary Breakers Avery Smith

    • Religion & Spirituality

Join seminary graduate Avery Smith as they interview transgender and nonbinary people about their experiences with faith and gender. Discover the wonderful diversity of gifts and wisdom that trans people offer their faith communities. This is an interfaith podcast.

Find episode transcripts at transchristianity.com/podcast

    Sacred body, sacred space - stories of trans spirituality across faiths

    Sacred body, sacred space - stories of trans spirituality across faiths

    The spiritual lives of trans persons are as rich and varied as anyone's - and indeed, are often enriched by their transness. In this episode, 14 trans and nonbinary persons from a variety of faiths - heathenism, Judaism, Christianity, Shinto, and more - and from around the world - the USA, Argentina, Australia, England, and more - share what sacredness means to them.

    Warning: discussion of anti-trans religious hurt. Also, 1 use of the f-word in Deacon Phoebe's story.

    - (3:43-7:07) "Anon" (they): a heathen in their 30s challenges the sacred/mundane binary & explains how shape-shifting gods helped them accept their body as "natural, nothing more, nothing less"

    - (7:08-10:59) Nano (they): a pagan in Argentina whose world is saturated with magic, especially the outdoors & any space that others find sacred. Contact Avery for Nano's email

    - (11:00-11:59) "Agnostic-Angel" (they): an Anglican Londoner in their 40s for whom the sacred is captured in a hymn. Tumblr: @agnostic-angel

    - (12:00-14:52) Jane De Odessa (e/em): a Jewish, genderqueer, femme lesbian for whom synagogues are full of good energy, & who finds that praying to a feminine G-d helps em come to terms with e's own gender.

    - (14:53-21:14) Jalyn (they or xi/xir): a 23-year-old Midwesterner who left Christian Fundamentalism for Shinto, where kami accept their worship without care for what gender they are. Tumblr: @practicalsolarpunk. jalynreads.wordpress.com

    - (21:15-25:18) "Deacon Phoebe" (they / she): despite church hurt, Deacon Phoebe practices Catholicism alongside Wicca, drawing sustenance from Mother Mary, Way of the Rose feminist rosary circle, Red Tent, & their local witches' circle.

    - (25:19-30:24) Enrique Cintrón (they): Enrique's altars connect them to their ancestors - from St. Sebastian, to deceased family members, to Sylvia Rivera and Sandra Bland. enriquecintron.com. Instagram & Twitter: @enriquecint. Check out their podcast, Fruits of the Spirit.

    - (30:25-31:59) Jude (they): a queer neurodivergent kind of pagan/kind of Christian kid in the US's Bible Belt for whom to be queer is to be holy. Tumblr: @bratwizard

    - (32:00-41:29) Ezra Saville (he / they): a 20-year-old, trans-masc, intersex Jew in the US's Pacific Northwest. They describe their personal prayer space & discuss how their gender gives them unique insight into Hashem. Tumblr: @queermachmir. Check out their project "Shacharit: For the Twilight People" at queermachmir.itch.io/shacharittwilight

    - (41:30-46:34) Jasper (they / he): a 16-year-old violinist whose Evangelical church surrounds him with anti-trans beliefs, yet who finds serenity & connection to the God who loves him in worship.

    - (46:35-52:37) Adrian (they): a 22-year-old in Oklahoma who connects to God through playing guitar & bass & singing in worship in ways that provide sensory input. Their transition is also an act of worship. Twitter: @adapted_battery

    - (52:38-55:09) Pina Colada (any pronouns): a 22-year-old pantheist in Toronto for whom every part of the universe is a part of God & whose practices include listening to Italian folk drumming & caring for nature. Tumblr: @pinabutterjam

    - (55:10-60:59) Katelyn (she / they): a 20-year-old in Australia who find sacredness in nature & whose vision of God has expanded bc of their nonbinaryness. Tumblr: @curkiewoods. katelynsthoughtsonfaith.wordpress.com

    - (61:00-72:32) Taylor (they): a Christian witch who shares the sacredness they find in Tarot & oracle decks by conducting readings for others; in this clip, they conduct a Tarot reading for Avery. Twitter: @Gender_Splendor. Reach out to them if you're interested in a reading!

    • 1 hr 14 min
    Washing off Cisheteronormativity: Dr. S.J. Crasnow on centering LGBTQ persons in faith communities

    Washing off Cisheteronormativity: Dr. S.J. Crasnow on centering LGBTQ persons in faith communities

    Dr. S.J. Crasnow is a 35-year-old Jewish Californian who has made a home with their spouse in Kansas City, Missouri, where SJ teaches and researches in the religious studies department of a small university. Join us as SJ talks about growing up in a liberal, Jewish family but becoming wary of religious institutions over time; about only gradually recognizing their own queerness and first coming out at 25; and about their journey into academia. 

    Dr. Crasnow studies how queer and trans Jews engage with their faith in powerful and innovative ways that can and do shape Judaism as a whole. According to SJ, the LGBTQ community is already present and active within Judaism and other religions -- even when the institutions have yet to do the work to make room for them. It is time for faith communities to center the ones who have been pushed to the margins, for the enrichment of the entire religion.

    Find the episode transcript at transchristianity.com/podcast

    Find SJ's work at https://rockhurst.academia.edu/SJCrasnow

    Talking points: 

    - 0:0 - 3:51 - Introducing SJ: religious studies professor, Californian, outdoorsy, moving to the Midwest
    - 3:52 - 11:36 - SJ's childhood: attending a Jewish school in the 90s, trying to fit in
    - 11:37 - 15:29 - "I just don't think institutions within religions are where it's at for me...I want my Jewish community to improve"
    - 15:30 - 23:08 - Journey through higher education; coming out to family and friends, built up emotion and fear; realizing how much they gained from being queer and trans
    - 23:09 - 33:05 - The importance of trans and queer Jewish friends; studying queer and trans uses of the Mikvah ritual bath
    - 33:06 - 37:40 - Claiming the word "trans"; gender is a process of sedimentation
    - 37:41 - 44:54 - SJ's teaching life
    - 44:55 - 48:19 - "People are what give religion life and meaning;" "queer, trans, and other marginalized people have a central role" in their religions
    - 48:20 - end - Wrapping up

    • 50 min
    Taylor's faith evolution into a seminary-bound Christian witch

    Taylor's faith evolution into a seminary-bound Christian witch

    Taylor's faith is constantly evolving, from Presbyterian to atheist and back again, with their Christian faith expanding to include witchcraft. Learning from their family from a young age that politics and activism are part of following Jesus, Taylor has also discovered how queerness and tarot, symbolism, and astrology enrich their relationship with God. Taylor hopes to find a seminary where they can learn and grow even more, in the company of people who embrace all aspects of their identity as a fat, disabled, leftist, nonbinary, A+/B- asexual, Christian witch.

    *Content warning: a teenager's death is discussed from 12:06 - 14:58. If you need to, you can skip this section without losing the thread of the conversation too much.*

    _

    Find Taylor at Gender_Splendor on Twitter!
    Reach out there if you're interested in a tarot reading; their rates are:
    - 20 dollars per 15 minutes on video chat or phone (up to an hour per client)
    - 35 dollars for an 8 card write-up sent to the client's inbox

    _

    Talking points:
    - (0:00 - 2:57) Introducing Taylor -- New England, chronic pain, fat activism, B+/A- asexual
    - (2:58 - 4:53) Growing up as a child of divorce, mixed class, Presbyterian
    - (4:54 - 12:06) Taylor's faith evolution, Act One: mental illness and isolation, discovering they don't have to be solely responsible for their own well-being; first sense of calling to ministry
    - (12:07 - 16:57) Act Two: grappling with the death of a friend in high school; starting college and feeling disengaged from faith; finding a friend with whom they could talk through faith and figure out how things like tarot and symbolism can mesh with their Christian faith
    - (16:58 - 21:18) Steps toward seminary; "What are other people gonna think about me in this space?"
    - (21:19 - 23:58) Connections between faith, witchcraft, and queerness; "My nonbinary-ness is a reflection of God"
    - (23:59 - 27:43) Another look at childhood -- Taylor's queerness was accepted at their church; family taught them that activism is part of following Jesus
    - (27:44 - 34:40) The challenges with being a Christian witch in leftist spaces, and a leftist in Christian spaces
    - (34:41 - 36:04) Naming oneself versus being labeled by others -- naming as a sacred act
    - (36:05 - 39:36)The desire for others to fully understand oneself
    - (39:37 - end) Wrapping up; "haters gonna hate, but God just loves."

    • 43 min
    "Start from a place of 'I don't know everything'": prabhdeep singh kehal on queerness, colonialism, and interfaith dialogue

    "Start from a place of 'I don't know everything'": prabhdeep singh kehal on queerness, colonialism, and interfaith dialogue

    prabhdeep singh kehal's identities as a Sikh and as an educator motivate them to share knowledge wherever they can -- in classrooms, online, through resources for LGBTQ Sikhs and their families, and by partaking in interviews like this one! 

    Listen as prabhdeep talks with me about their doctoral studies around colonialism in higher education; about entering into interfaith and intercultural conversations with humility and openness; about growing up without feeling any clash between their Sikhi and their queerness until other people made it a problem; and more.

    [Note: here is prabhdeep's explanation for keeping their name lowercase: "My name was not given to me in English. It was given to  me in a language that does not use upper/lower case letters."] 

    _

    - Visit prabhdeep's website for information on their studies and links to other interviews with them: www.pskehal.com
    - You can also find them on Twitter @prabhbob and on Instagram @prabhdeepsk
    - prabhdeep recommends https://sikhfamilycenter.org/ for resources around family and faith.

    For a transcript of this episode, visit transchristianity.com/podcast.

    _

    Talking Points:
    -  Introduction
    - Sikhi and resisting viewing Sikhi from a Christian or Western lens
    - Religions are different from each other, and that's okay
    - Queerness in other cultures; exporting Pride?
    - prabhdeep's childhood: Sikhi and queerness as taboo; other people made their queerness a problem
    - Meeting other queer Sikhs, commitment to creating and sharing resources
    - More on interfaith encounters: seeing the similarities but not stopping there; discussing the fear that keeps us from appreciating religions not our own
    - Entering interfaith conversations without a need to "win," with humility about what we do not know
    - The history between slavery and higher education; discussing white supremacy within universities -- "this moment is not an accident"
    - Discussing colonialism, class, and patriarchy's gender binary: it's about property and control
    - final words of wisdom: trans people are inherently valuable and will not be quashed 

    • 1 hr 10 min
    Enrique is cultivating the fruits of the Spirit

    Enrique is cultivating the fruits of the Spirit

    After realizing that they did not have to try to be the cishet man their Catholic church and family expected them to be, and that God is bigger than any one institution, Enrique Cintrón explored a variety of religions before finding a home in the Episcopal Church.

    Enrique cultivates community in their hometown of Philadelphia as well as online, particularly in the form of their podcast, Fruits of the Spirit. Their ministry lifts the voices of queer and trans people of color, and calls all of us to embrace the sometimes-uncomfortable but ultimately life-giving conversations about racism, transphobia, and more.

    Where you can find Enrique:
    - enriquecintron.com
    - on Twitter and Instagram @enriquecint and also @FOTSpodcast
    - on Facebook at "Fruits of the Spirit Podcast"

    For a transcript of this episode, visit transchristianity.com/podcast

    Talking points:

    - (0:00 - 3:21) Intro
    - (3:22 - 9:45) Rooted in Philadelphia, raised in a Catholic Puerto Rican family; exploring various religions, finding the Episcopal Church
    - (9:46 - 15:23) Considering ordained ministry in a predominantly white denomination -- issues of racism without willingness for dialogue
    - (15:24 - 21:07) Online ministry -- social media is real, a place of community; starting the podcast Fruits of the Spirit for queer and trans people of color
    - (21:08 - 26:17) Christianity from a nonbinary perspective -- finding ourselves hidden in scripture; using They pronouns for God
    - (26:18 - 29:41) Steps to ordination, preparing for the spiritual challenges
    - (29:42 - 40:27) Enrique's time in the Life Together program -- valuable ministry, intentional community, racism unaddressed
    - (40:28 - 45:09) The need to address racism and other sources of pain in order to have authentic relationships
    - (45:10 - 46:47) Wrapping up -- where you can find Enrique; "trust the process"
    - (46:48 - 50:50) Ending notes: call for trans and/or nonbinary people to share their sacred spaces on the show; invitation to enter a raffle to win my book of poetry!

    • 50 min
    "We just want to be heard": Dee on Chile, race, disability, and trans rights

    "We just want to be heard": Dee on Chile, race, disability, and trans rights

    Dee Garnica shares their experience as a 19-year-old nonbinary Chilean, discussing issues of disability, race, and transgender rights in Chile. 

    While the country does offer universal healthcare, as well as certain legal rights for trans persons, Dee has found that talk of trans issues is regarded as taboo and that the healthcare system fails many disabled persons. Moreover, despite the racial diversity of the Chilean people, racism rears its ugly head in the treatment of immigrants and in the dominance of white people in positions of power. 

    Raised Catholic, Dee has also found Catholic school and Mass to be hostile places for them and thus has left religion. Wherever Dee goes, from academia to the workplace, they speak up for their rights, believing that every human being has a right to be heard and respected for who they are. 

    Talking points:

    - (0:00 - 5:56) Podcast info, current events in Chile, and introducing Dee
    - (5:57 - 13:00) Issues with gendered language in Spanish; roadblocks for trans Chileans
    - (13:01 - 14:46) Family denial, organizational and online support
    - (14:47 - 20:53) Leaving religion after harmful experiences in Catholicism; Christianity should not be rich or whitewashed
    - (20:54 - 24:45) Racism and xenophobia in Chile -- migrants and refugees
    - (24:46 - 37:10) Fighting to have name and pronouns respected in school and at work; fighting to have disability recognized -- wanting better rights for those who come after us
    - (37:11 - 47:15) Dee's plans for the future -- biochemistry, accommodations, starting a YouTube vlog, continuing "out of spite"
    - (47:16 - 49:07) Chile as a "developing country"
    - (49:08 - end) Wrapping up the episode


    You can find Dee on twitter @DeeGarnicaO and on Instagram @nonbinaryq. 

    Find the episode transcript at transchristianity.com/podcast

    • 51 min

Customer Reviews

cheesecake-factory ,

Insightful & wonderful

This podcast is super interesting and so important. Thanks Avery and to every interviewee for sharing!

NEONGLF ,

Let Avery open your Mind, Heart & Soul

Let Avery Smith open your mind, heart and soul to their world. Enjoyable to hear their stories and look forward to more.

smallscaredkid ,

Keep it up Avery!

I’ve been listening to the episodes on youtube and I’m so happy to see that they’re now on here! The episodes are always thought provoking and sensitive to the experiences that so many people in the trans community have. Can’t wait for the next episode!

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