Mycroft Masada is a queer trans faith leader who moved to the Washington DC area of Maryland’s Montgomery County from their lifelong home of Boston in 2014. Mycroft co-chairs the MoCo Pride Center, is a TransFaith National Council member, a TransEpiscopal Steering Committee member and former Congregation Am Tikva board member. Mycroft is particularly called to pursue justice at the intersections of LGBTQI+ and fat communities, and is an advocate, organizer, consultant, educator, trainer, writer and artist. They are partnered with Julia McCrossin, the massculine fatshion blogger, and with her co-parents a dogter. Their central online home is MasadArts.blogspot.com.

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Monday, January 23, 2012

Celebrating Victory, Pursuing Truth


http://blog.transepiscopal.com/2012/01/0-false-18-pt-18-pt-0-0-false-false.html

Speeches in the Senate Reading Room
By the Rev. Dr. Cameron Partridge
cross-posted atWalking with Integrity



On this bright January morning, as the hour of 11am neared, I emerged from Boston’s Park Street T stop, turned left and began walking up the hill toward the State House.  Today (or rather, at this late hour, yesterday) marked the ceremonial signing of the Transgender Equality bill here in Massachusetts.  This legislation, first filed in 2007, passed on November 15th, and officially signed on November 23rd, adds gender identity and expression to the state’s existing hate crimes law and the nondiscrimination statutes in the areas of housing, employment, education and credit. In a fitting twist, the week of its official passage was also Transgender Awareness Week, a time of educational and community events leading up to the eleventh annual observance of Trans Day of Remembrance on November 20th. 

The Senate Reading Room, where today’s signing took place, was packed with observers, a joyful crowd savoring the celebration.  Lawmakers were clearly also buoyed, as their inspiring comments demonstrated.  “You have no idea how beautiful you are as you stand here beaming,” said state Auditor Suzanne Bump.  “Remember that you are powerful,” offered Senator Brian Downing, followed by fellow Senator Sonia Chang Diaz: “it's days like this that remind us why we ran for office... Thank you for reminding us [legislators] of our own power, in addition to showing us your power.”  Representative Byron Rushing, who joined Representative Carl Sciortino in co-sponsoring the bill from its very first days, declared, “this hasn't just been a discussion of gender identity but of the identity of Massachusetts, and hopefully it will become a discussion of our national identity.” 

Representative Rushing, photo from masstpc.org
In his Episcopal Church context, as a longtime member of the Diocese of Massachusetts’ deputation to General Convention–Deputy Rushing inspires us to  pose that question of church identity.  Faith communities can ask, and indeed are asking, what do we stand for as people of our respective traditions?  In the Episcopal Church we might well ask—and have asked at the 2009 General Convention and various diocesan conventions before it– what does it mean to declare in our baptismal covenant that we strive for justice and respect the dignity of every human being? In 2009 the Convention passed resolutions putting The Episcopal Church on record in support of transgender equality in the civic sphere (D012 and C048), and pledging within our ecclesial life to make administrative forms accessible to gender identities beyond male and female and to protect transgender lay employees from discrimination (D090 and D032, respectively).   As our collective conversation continues, we might allow the varied lives of transgender as well as intersex people – communities and individuals whose lives are textured not simply by complex embodiments of gender but also by race, class, sexuality and ability-- to deepen our understanding of the human person.  How do we interpret and live out the mystery of being created in the image and likeness of God?

At the signing this morning, I was reminded of a startling moment in the November 15 debate that I watched on my laptop. Representative Sciortino was speaking movingly in support of the legislation when he began to describe the Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) held at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul the year before.  He made a point of detailing the apology that my bishop, the Right Rev. M. Thomas Shaw, had offered on behalf of Christians who had condemned trans people and in the process had “misrepresented God to” us.  The apology had been stunning enough in its own right, but to hear it reported, in some sense repeated, on the floor of the House of Representatives, was positively astounding.  As I sat there dumbfounded—actually, calling out to my partner to come see this!--  receiving these words afresh in an unimagined context, I was reminded of a strangely parallel moment at General Convention three years earlier.  The Convention had managed to pass D012, the Trans Civil Rights Resolution, on the same day that the Massachusetts Judiciary Committee was holding a hearing on its own Trans Equality legislation—an earlier version of what has now finally passed.  As a team of trans people and allies worked toward the resolution’s passage in Anaheim, a fellow Episcopalian in Massachusetts learned about it (on his laptop, while waiting to testify in the stultifying heat) and shared it in the course of his testimony three thousand miles away.  The Episcopal Church supports this bill, he was proud to be able to say.  It all came full circle.

Also on my mind today were the words (viewable here as blurry video), offered by Bishop Shaw at this year’s TDOR.   Speaking at the end of the program, he welcomed us to the Cathedral and then offered a word of gratitude that felt almost like a meditation: “because of your honesty, because of your integrity, because of the way you so pursue the truth of your identity, you tell me about the nature of God, because that is how I think God is.  And so I thank all of you not only for the way that you enlighten my understanding of God but how much you preach to the rest of the world about courage, and about bravery, and about truth and about perseverance of identity.  We owe all of you a huge debt of gratitude.  Thank you.” 

I got the sense people were both honored and stunned by his words, working to digest and contemplate them— I know I was.   His comments about perseverance in pursuit of the truth of identity—language I had not heard him use before— reminded me of words from the Gospel of John that I first really took in at a middle school summer Bible camp: “you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free” (Jn 8:32). 

From this chair, at the end of this day, looking out at the striking vista of falling snow, it strikes me how the process of knowing the truth and being freed by it is both lifelong and communal—by turns grueling and wondrous, and inextricably relational, even as it is distinctive to each person. 
Governor Deval Patrick signs the bill, photo from masstpc.org

An important truth about the MA trans equality law is that it is far from perfect: it does not include protections in public accommodations—access to public gender segregated spaces.  Everyone was resolved to come back and get that done.  And as I think about how far we have come, how much more free we are than we were just a few short months ago, I know that what we need more than anything else is the will, the support, the conviction to keep pursuing the truth.

CP

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

MLK / Trans Service at All Souls UU church (Greenfield MA) THIS SUNDAY

All Souls, the Unitarian Universalist church of Greenfield, MA (http://www.uugreenfield.org/) is having their annual MLK Day service this Sunday, January 15th, and it is transgender themed -- focused on celebrating the passage of the Transgender Equal Rights Bill in November.


I'm giving the sermon, and lay leader Trystan Dean is Worship Host.  

Here's Trystan's Facebook event -- "Celebrating the New Trans Civil Rights Law on MLK Day in Greenfield!"  -- http://www.facebook.com/events/342704142425061/

And here is All Souls' publicity blurb:

"The Martin Luther King Day service at All Souls UU Church of Greenfield on Sunday, January 15, 2012 at 10:00 am will be led by Mycroft Masada Holmes, who will deliver the sermon,   “In The Image Of God – Transgender Equality in Massachusetts”  Mycroft will be speaking about the state of transgender equality in Massachusetts, particularly the Transgender Equal Rights Bill passed in November, 2011 and the faith community’s vital role in its campaign.

Our worship host will be Trystan Dean.  Music will be performed and led by Tina Waldron.

Mycroft Masada Holmes is an interfaith transgender leader based in hir native Boston, Massachusetts. Mycroft is Chair of the Interfaith Coalition for Transgender Equality (ICTE), a Steering Committee member and Faith Liaison at the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC), the Emeritus Founding Chair of Keshet’s Transgender Working Group (TWiG) and a board member of Congregation Am Tikva.  Mycroft is also a thin ally in the fat / size acceptance and social justice movement, and a writer and artist."

I'll add the order of service / worship next week.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

MA Trans Equal Rights Bill public signing next Thursday January 19th!

The graphic version is misbehaving (as is a lot of other technology this week), so here is MTPC's website blog version (http://www.masstpc.org/thurs-jan-19th-gov-deval-patrick-to-hold-a-ceremonial-signing-of-the-transgender-equal-rights-bill/).

Also, the Facebook event is "Ceremonial Signing & Community CelebrationTransgender Equal Rights Bill" -- http://www.facebook.com/events/166557140116776/

Thurs. Jan 19th, Gov. Deval Patrick to hold a Ceremonial Signing of the Transgender Equal Rights Bill

January 6th, 2012
Thursday, January 19th – Signing with Gov. Deval Patrick in the Morning & Celebration in the Evening for the Transgender Equal Rights Bill
11:00 am – Join MTPC and the Transgender Equal Right Coalition for the Ceremonial Signing at the State House with Governor Deval Patrick.
Gov. Deval Patrick will hold a ceremonial signing and celebration of the passage of the Transgender Equal Rights Bill at 11am. Gov. Patrick will offer remarks about the bill as well as the work still left to be done to ensure that transgender residents of the Commonwealth are fully protected under our laws in the area of public accommodations.
This event is free and all members of our community, allies, family, and friends are encouraged to attend. Please arrive by 10:45 am at the State House which is located on Beacon St. in Boston near Park St. and Downtown Crossing T stations. Parking can be found at the garage under the Boston Commons. Exact location of the event in State House is still being determined, check MTPC website for latest information.
Also Thursday, January 19th
7:00 pm – Join MTPC for our Community Celebration & Thank You Event at Club Cafe.
Meet members of MTPC steering committee and the Transgender Equal Rights Coalition. There will be music, food, a short program, and ample time for socializing.
This event is free and all members of our community, allies, family, and friends are encouraged to attend. Doors open at 6:30 pm event ends at 9 pm. Club Cafe is located at 209 Columbus Ave, Boston.
Not ready to stop celebrating?
10:00 pm – Join MTPC at the First Event Conference for the Fabulous First Event Dance Party with DJ Greg at the Boston Marriott Peabody
There is a suggested $10 donation for the dance, but no one turned away for lack of funds. Boston Peabody Marriott is located at 8A Centennial Drive, Peabody, MA
We are excited to celebrate this milestone with our community and we hope to see you at any and all of these events on Thursday, January 19, 2012. Thank you for your support, energy, and dedication to transgender equality. Please RSVP to info@masstpc.org so we know how many people to expect.
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