41 episodes

Join seminary graduate Avery Smith as they converse with transgender persons of various religions about their experiences with faith and gender. Discover the wonderful diversity of gifts and wisdom that trans people offer their communities.

Find episode transcripts at blessedarethebinarybreakers.com/podcast

Blessed Are the Binary Breakers Avery Smith

    • Religion & Spirituality
    • 5.0 • 10 Ratings

Join seminary graduate Avery Smith as they converse with transgender persons of various religions about their experiences with faith and gender. Discover the wonderful diversity of gifts and wisdom that trans people offer their communities.

Find episode transcripts at blessedarethebinarybreakers.com/podcast

    "God's love should not be tainted by the fear of earthly hatred" - April is a proud Catholic Latina trans woman

    "God's love should not be tainted by the fear of earthly hatred" - April is a proud Catholic Latina trans woman

    April Willow Castillo knows what it is to believe yourself to be the only queer person in all of Peru; to question your sexuality while in Catholic youth group in the US; and to finally grow into yourself at a university supportive of LGBT faculty and students. 

    In this episode, April discusses how the love of God has pulled her from depressive states and religious trauma into deep joy and pride in being herself and bonding with other Hispanic queer folk. She also talks about LGBT community in Peru and the US; the history of Indigenous and Catholic religion in Peru; and how God is often twisted into a political weapon in the US.

    For an episode transcript, visit blessedarethebinarybreakers.com.

    Content warnings: swearing; depression; grandparent's death; homophobia & transphobia from friends, family, & faith leaders; internalized queerphobia; brief mentions of conversion therapy

    _______

    Talking Points:

    (0:00 - 5:35) Introducing April - Latina trans Catholic university student, Peruvian immigrant, aspiring gamer girl
    (5:36 - 8:50) Growing up - Hispanic Catholic communities in US; Peruvian town where Catholic celebrations bring the community together
    (8:51 - 13:57) Youth group - from depression to a spiritual reawakening
    (13:58 - 21:28) Questioning sexuality and realizing how church wields God as political weapon; youth group & church tainted by fear - though some peers are more accepting
    (21:29 - 25:29) "Are you a man?" - questioning gender - "how did anyone ever think i was cis?”
    (25:30 - 26:30) Jesus would be seen as a communist/socialist - but US churches twist him into pro-capitalism
    (26:31 - 30:52) Exploring Peru's indigenous religion - coming to terms with being a proud Catholic while holding the history of it being forced on her ancestors
    (30:53 - 36:18) queerness in Peru - not talked about: "I was pretty sure I was the only queer person in Peru" - more recently, ads using LGBT figures
    (36:19 - 39:17) In college - realizing she had to do something about gender - finding a good therapist and community - finding joy in being trans
    (39:18 - end) wrapping up - more of April's story in future ep

    _______

    Blessed Are the Binary Breakers is part of the Rock Candy Podcast  Network. Find more shows, such as Hot Tea Hot Takes, at  www.rockcandyrecordings.com.

    This show's theme song is "Aetherium" by Leah Horn. This episode also includes "Damage" by EleventySeven.

    • 40 min
    Goodness Embodied: An intersex, nonbinary first human and a disabled risen Christ

    Goodness Embodied: An intersex, nonbinary first human and a disabled risen Christ

    Avery shares their sermon from a recent worship service centered around the goodness of all bodies - particularly those the world labels broken or lesser. When so many of us are made to feel imprisoned by our own flesh, how do we embrace embodiment as something holy? Let's look to ancient interpretations of the first human (ha-adam) as intersex; connect this human's story to gender affirming surgery; and explore Jesus's choice to rise in a physical body with disabling wounds to discover how what the world calls broken, God calls Good.

    For an episode transcript, visit blessedarethebinarybreakers.com.

    Talking Points:

    (0:00 - 7:27) Intro: unlearning Greco-Roman dualism that pits spirit over flesh; learning how autistic stimming connects our minds & bodies
    (7:28 - 12:15) Scripture readings from Genesis 2:7-25, John 20:19-29, & 1 Corinthians 1:18-29
    (12:16 - 14:11) The sermon begins - our bodes become cages in a world that teaches us some bodies are normative and all others are deviant; but Genesis 2 & John 20 teach us differently
    (14:12 - 16:41) The first human, ha-adam - an intersex being with no assigned gender - created good, but in need of a helpful counterpart
    (16:42 - 19:21) God does not deny or dismiss ha-adam's problem of aloneness, but identifies the problem and fixes it - what if we did likewise for the disability and transgender communities?
    (19:22 - 22:02) God the first surgeon, creating two bodies where there was one - affirming the steps we take to be more at home in our bodies & demonstrating our need for community
    (22:03 - 23:42) Jesus's body is also labeled lesser; Jesus is connected to ha-adam by scar tissue - a surgery performed in love vs. a soldier's spear
    (23:43 - 26:14) Jesus keeps his body to connect to Thomas; to show us that we are not spirits in flesh prisons, but inspirited bodies; for the sake of all who are told to hate & punish their bodies
    (26:15 - 29:55) Jesus keeps his disabling wounds to show that disability and wholeness are not incompatible; what does it mean if disability will not be removed, but redeemed?
    (29:56 - 31:17) Both Jesus and ha-adam show us that interdependence is not weakness, but strength
    (31:18 - 34:29) Showing our bodies love even when we struggle to love them
    (34:30 - end) Wrapping up with a prayer

    _______

    Blessed Are the Binary Breakers is part of the Rock Candy Podcast Network. Find more shows, such as Bible Bash, at www.rockcandyrecordings.com.

    This show's theme song is "Aetherium" by Leah Horn. This episode also makes use of Jeremy SH Griffith's pieces "Mod 5," "Sept 15 Jam," "Camilla," and "Mod 2."

    • 38 min
    Combatting Antisemitism on Good Friday: An Alternative to the "Solemn Reproaches of the Cross"

    Combatting Antisemitism on Good Friday: An Alternative to the "Solemn Reproaches of the Cross"

    The scriptures and liturgy that Christian communities read during Holy Week, the week we commemorate Jesus's arrest and crucifixion, have borne violent antisemitic fruit across the centuries. Particularly poisonous is the "Solemn Reproaches of the Cross," or Improperia, which pins the blame for Jesus' death squarely on the Jewish community. In this episode, Avery shares the alternative liturgy they wrote, with the hope that it might be a jumping off point for conversations on this topic. Rather than pretending the "Solemn Reproaches" never existed, Christians must grapple with it, guide our communities in understanding why it is so evil, and thus move towards acknowledging and dealing with our antisemitism, past and present.

    For an episode transcript, visit blessedarethebinarybreakers.com/podcast-archive.

    Find the referenced article by Amy-Jill Levine with its strategies for dealing with problematic New Testament texts here. 

    Avery also published their alternative text at binarybreakingliturgy.com. 

    Blessed Are the Binary Breakers is part of the Rock Candy Podcast Network. Find  more shows at www.rockcandyrecordings.com.

    This show's theme song is "Aetherium" by Leah Horn. "August" & "Knowing" by Jeremy SH Griffith, as well as "Gold Beamer" by Mother Hood, are also used in this episode.

    • 13 min
    Finding the Power in Our Queerness and Rebellion in Our Love: Neville studies and creates queer Catholic art

    Finding the Power in Our Queerness and Rebellion in Our Love: Neville studies and creates queer Catholic art

    Amy Neville (he, she, or they pronouns) is a 21-year-old Australian art historian & artist whose work celebrates being both Catholic & queer. In this episode, Avery and Neville discuss Neville's life and how they've learned to stand up for themself and other queer persons; the way women & queer artists have used textile arts over the years; and Europe’s Renaissance Period, focusing on queer artists who navigated adhering to & rebelling against the Catholic Church's rules for art in that period.

    For an episode transcript and more info about this show, visit blessedarethebinarybreakers.com/podcast.

    Find Neville on instagram @krem.caramel; check out their work at amyneville.art.

    Talking Points:

    (0:00 - 4:51) A reminder to Christians to confront antisemitism in Holy Week - see here for Amy-Jill Levine's article
    (4:52 - 13:43) Discovering queerness while in Catholic high school - finding resources, standing up against a teacher's homophobia
    (13:44 - 18:04) Meeting confident queer persons at university; coming out as genderfluid, going by last name Neville
    (18:05 - 21:37) Creating art about being queer and Catholic; push-back from fellow queer folks for being Catholic
    (21:38 - 29:22) Finding fellow queer persons of faith; the joy of community; Neville's graduate art exegesis "Divine Rebellion"
    (29:23 - 37:08) Some textile arts history: suffragettes & feminists reclaiming it; queer persons expanding it - "the perfect medium" for underrepresented and undervalued groups
    (37:09 - 43:32) Europe's Renaissance Period: the Catholic Church's power over the art scene; Caravaggio's role in rules censoring what could be depicted
    (43:33 - 44:30) Resisting pinning down dead artists' sexualities with labels they didn't have
    (44:31 - 48:24) Da Vinci's revolutionary art; sympathy for Judas
    (48:25 - 55:26) Michelangelo's struggle with religion - not because of queerness, but because of his love of science; rebellion in his Sistine Chapel masterpiece
    (55:27 - end) wrapping up - "find the power in your queerness and the rebellion in your love"; a future ep will continue Neville's tour of Renaissance art

    ____________

    Blessed Are the Binary Breakers is part of the Rock Candy Podcast Network. Find more shows, such as Magnified Pod, at www.rockcandyrecordings.com.

    This show's theme song is "Aetherium" by Leah Horn. "August" and "Mod 5" by Jeremy SH Griffith are also used in this episode.

    • 58 min
    No end to transphobia without uprooting ableism: exploring embedded forms of oppression

    No end to transphobia without uprooting ableism: exploring embedded forms of oppression

    In this first episode focusing on the interconnections between trans & disability communities & theologies, Avery draws from Mel Baggs' theory of embedded forms of oppression to describe how ableism is at the heart of many manifestations of transphobia, including pathologization and coerced treatments. 

    When transness is perceived as a disability, and disability is perceived as brokenness, the logical result is to try to "fix" or "cure" the trans individual - as evinced in the non-affirming "disability framework" through which some Christians view transness as a symptom of a Fallen world. How can trans persons and disabled persons join together to fight their similar battles, within faith communities and beyond?

    For an episode transcript (with citations) and more info about this show, visit blessedarethebinarybreakers.com/podcast.

    Talking Points:

    (0:00 - 5:13) Introducing the topic: why we must be anti-ableist in order to be anti-transphobic
    (5:12 - 6:48) At least 39% of trans people have one or more disabilities
    (6:49 - 7:46) Mel Baggs' theory: “There is ableism somewhere at the heart of your oppression, no matter what your oppression may be"
    (7:47 - 13:23) Example of sexism embedded in homophobia, and ableism embedded in both - drawing from "clobber verse" 1 Cor 6:9
    (13:24 - 17:29) Examples of ableism embedded in transphobia - eugenics, pathologization; Christian psychologist Mark Yarhouse's "disability framework" for understanding transness
    (17:30 - 21:39) This embeddedness requires that we confront ableism in order to combat transphobia - how?
    (21:40 - end) Wrapping up - 1 Cor 12's interdependent members of one body

    ________

    Blessed Are the Binary Breakers is part of the Rock Candy Podcast  Network. Find more shows, such as Bible Bash, at  www.rockcandyrecordings.com.

    This show's theme song is "Aetherium" by Leah Horn. "Gold Beamer" and "Can't Find" by MotherHood are also used in this episode.

    • 24 min
    Solaris Baldwin is Christian not out of fear, but out of love for a co-suffering God

    Solaris Baldwin is Christian not out of fear, but out of love for a co-suffering God

    Solaris Baldwin is a 21-year-old Black, genderfluid Methodist who first learned about Jesus as a watchful judge ready to throw people into hell. However, as they explored their identity and sought out community, they uncovered the God who does not will suffering but who suffers alongside us; who does not demand unquestioning obedience but desires our joyful efforts to emulate God's own love. Join Solaris and Avery in a conversation about finding our people, wrestling with scripture, and letting go of fear in order to embrace growth and love.


    Find Solaris @seraphic_sapphics on Instagram.

    For an episode transcript and more info about this show, visit blessedarethebinarybreakers.com/podcast.

    Timestamps:

    (0:00 - 6:17) Lent as a time for openness and self-nourishment; introducing Solaris
    (6:18 - 12:34) Solaris' childhood - white-majority Christian schools, learning that God is a watchful judge
    (12:35 - 17:53) First school with Black classmates - don't recognize Solaris as one of them; first Methodist church - learns that faith doesn't have to be fearful
    (17:54 - 26:39) Exploring identity - asexuality invalidated; trying out Islam, Catholicism, and....Juggaloism! - Searching for find a community & culture of their own
    (26:40 - 32:15) University - connecting to queer and Christian community at last; coming to understand God as co-sufferer & Outsider
    (32:16 - 43:05) Why fear-based religion doesn't work - the Clobber Passages, asking why, and hateful acts fueled by fear
    (43:06 - 54:37) Solaris' favorite Bible passages; accepting growth and changing our minds as part of faith; taking on witchcraft and accepting that none of us have everything right about God
    (54:38 - end) Wrapping up - visit Avery's instagram, Twitter, or tumblr for daily book quotes & reflection questions this Lent

    ________

    Blessed Are the Binary Breakers is part of the Rock Candy Podcast  Network. Find more shows, such as Common Creatives, at  www.rockcandyrecordings.com.

    The theme song is "Aetherium" by Leah Horn. "Can't Find" by MotherHood is also used in this episode.

    • 56 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
10 Ratings

10 Ratings

Ziel Starfallen ,

Phenomenal Hope for trans people of faith

This podcast is a Godsend. Faith can be such a mixed bag for queer people, especially trans people. Even if we are blessed enough to be accepted, very rarely are we the focus of the messages and theology. This podcast is full of bold and beautiful queer people with wonderful insight on their religions and faith journeys. I would highly recommend it to any queer person of faith.

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.

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