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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Saturday, January 25, 2014

First Event 2014

This year’s First Event theme was “Who do you want to be when you grow up?"  When I grow up, I want to be someone who wears stoles and dragon jewelry and presents at conferences – so that’s going well.  
Alas, I forgot to ask about taking a picture of our panel. And we looked especially fabulous, too.
(And yes, that's an extra "s" in my nametag -- for...savings?)

First Event 2014 : Who Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up? started this Wednesday, and ends tomorrow, at the Marriott in Peabody MA (on Boston’s North Shore).

I co-facilitated a workshop today with Bobbi Taylor and Raven Kaldera – “Gender, Self & Spiritual Community: Intertwined Narratives” – “How have our life stories of gender and spirituality been woven together…or come undone?  What does it mean to have a spiritual community that affirms diverse gender identities and presentations?  This will be an opportunity to share questions, experiences, inspiration and support, as well as learn how to connect with local and national trans faith work.”

Bobbi is a transgender activist living and working in the Boston area with formal training in Zen Buddhism, evangelical Christianity, and Paganism. In addition to being a housewife, spouse, and father, Bobbi is also a member of various committees of the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition, including the Interfaith Coalition for Transgender Equality.

Raven is a Northern-Tradition Pagan shaman, herbalist, astrologer, FTM transgendered intersexual activist, homesteader, and founding member of the First Kingdom Church of Asphodel.

We had an hour and twenty minutes, and about a dozen people in attendance, plus a few more who left early.  Bobbi introduced the workshop and presenters, she and Raven and I spoke about our stories for a few minutes each, and then we engaged the attendees in questions and answers and discussion.  As always, it clarified the need for more inter/faith discussion spaces for trans people.  I was particularly impressed by how we were all able to hear some very queer things from each other (in many senses) and yet respond from places of genuine appreciation and reciprocation.

It was also very good to work in this way with Raven – although we go way back together, first meeting at a trans support group at Arlington Street Church (UU, Boston) in the 90s(!), we haven’t really worked together directly before; I’ve been to his annual FTM Camp-Out, we’ve had a bit of email about the faith campaign for MA trans rights legislation, and I’ve been in his audiences several times.

For some reason I didn't tell a very interesting version of my story, especially in context.  Although, in fairness -- this is Raven we’re talking about, right?  He looks and sounds like he just stepped out of Game Of Thrones or something, only far more awesome.  Bobbi’s saga was and is pretty epic as well, and her outfit was quite nice.  And on the third hand -- I should be glad that one really can't tell an uninteresting version of my story, nu?

This year’s First Event also held spiritual offerings that included Rev. David Weekley, Rev. Moonhawk River Stone, Rev. Sarah Carpenter, Vickey Allen, Cyn and Ruby Simonoff (siblings), and more from Raven Kaldera; workshops, services, and vending.  FE’s most faith programming ever, and by far!

And the Mass Trans Political Coalition staff did a secular workshop on Friday – “The State Of Trans Advocacy”.

I would have liked to attend more of the conference -- indeed, all of it -- and maybe I should have, especially as it was my last one for the foreseeable future (as I am moving to Washington DC at the end of the month).

Also?  Don’t forget to fill out FE’s survey about your experience of this year’s con!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

The History Project – my oral history interview


When I came home from my interview with The History Project, I was inspired to take one of those “selfies” all the kids are talking about. 

Founded in 1980, The History Project documents and preserves the history of Boston's LGBT community, and shares that information with the public – by conducting research on lesbians, gay men, bisexual and transgender people in Massachusetts, preserving the documentary record of that community's social and historical contributions, and providing a forum for educating the general public.

THP is perhaps best known for its 1998/9 book “Improper Bostonians : Lesbian and Gay History from the Puritans to Playland”; they published a second book in 2001 and offer other resources.  They’re also on Facebook and Twitter.

THP conducted an oral history interview with me because I’m moving to Washington DC at the end of the month (to live with my long-distance partner of 4 ½ years, Julia McCrossin, a lifelong metro DC resident and Fat Studies scholar), and have been in leadership in Boston’s queer community since I came out as a high school freshperson in 1990 (too, I was born in Boston and have always lived here, and was never really "in").  I was the first out trans student at Newton North High School, a co-founder of their Gay/Straight Alliance and organizer of their first GLBT awareness day, part of their work for MA’s Gay & Lesbian Student Rights Law, part of the first trans / queer couple at their prom (I think there had been at least one gay couple some years before, and Newton South was first with some firsts as well)…and the rest is history – ha!

The interview was conducted by Marvin Kabakoff (also the primary service leader at our shul Congregation Am Tikva) and Andrew Elder, THP archivists and board members, at THP’s offices; Marvin questioned and Andrew filmed (speaking of history, it’s interesting how hard it is to describe the creation of “film” when the whole process is digital, as this was – i.e. there is no film, tape, etc.).  The interview was about an hour and a half long, but could have gone on indefinitely – it’s amazing how much has happened in the last twenty-odd years, even/especially locally, and I don't even know all of it.

It wasn’t my best work -- I was getting over a cold, and had been distracted from preparing for the interview by preparing to move.  But hopefully it was close enough, and will intersect well with past and future interviews.  I did forget some things I shouldn’t have.  But I remembered some things that I hadn’t in too long.  And even some that THP didn’t know about, or hadn’t heard much about, yet.  For instance, did you know that there was a trans organization here in MA before MTPC (MA Trans Political Coaltion)?  It’s Time Massachusetts (ITMA), founded and directed by the late Penni Ashe Matz, may her memory be a blessing.      

I tried not to be too “back in my day, we had to walk uphill to the Statehouse – both ways!  Both ways, I tell you.  Even in the snow.  And we didn’t have none of your fancy testosterone to keep us warm, neither.  No, we did not.  And another thing…”.  I think I at least managed not to tell anyone to get off my lawn.  I think.

Well, I will be receiving a copy of the video.  Eeek.  

In any case, thanks THP!  And thanks to all who helped me make history, not to mention made it themselves.  And really -- everyone has, every day, from their first to last days.  Privilege and good fortune – and their intersection with oppression and bad fortune -- have enabled me to be part of history in a particular and public way, but we are all and each a vital part of history’s creation, preservation, interpretation and dissemination.  And those of us who are part of communities whose history is least known or appreciated have a special role.  Those of us in the know, and the appreciate, must raise up fat history, and its intersection with the history of other communities, including queer ones.  We must learn and share our history, and we must hold open the door for those whose histories are even less visible due to racism, classism, ableism and other oppressions.    

For instance, did you know about Phil Baoine, part of Massachusetts fat and queer history (yes, the caption leaves a lot to be desired)?  I just learned about him last month, when THP used a photo of him in the publicity for their year-end fundraising event.  He even reminds me of my Julia!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Temple Sinai & Congregation Am Tikva's Healing Service - my farewell

Our table at our 13th anniversary last May -- last night's flowers were yellow gerbera daisies; flowers are always artificial and candles unscented.  

Last night was my last time at Temple Sinai and Congregation Am Tikva’s Healing Service (CAT is my shul, and we live at TS).

It’s been held about every other month and on Yom Kippur for close to 14 years -- yes, we’ve been celebrating our b’nai mitzvah -- and I’ve been attending for the last several.  They dedicated the service to me –- as well as to two Temple Sinai members who passed away this week, one of whom was also a Healing Service member, may their memories be a blessing –- and were otherwise really lovely.  I actually have a cold this week, but am so glad I could and did go.  Special thanks to service leaders Marvin Kabakoff (also the primary service leader at CAT), Deena Blau and Dayse Waissman, as well as Dayse’s husband Roberto and others who have led us in the past.

Here are Deena, Dayse and Marvin at the 13th anniversary service.

And here is the door sign I made as a parting gift.
Services are 7:30 p.m. in TS' Weintraub Auditorium at 50 Sewall Avenue in Brookline's Coolidge Corner. They end at 8:30, followed by an optional oneg.  Gather in a circle with a minyan or more for music, meditation, prayer, and sharing. No particular healing needs or sharing thereof are needed -- we know that healing is a personal, lifelong and constant need for all.  There is also a time to share blessings.

Monday, January 13, 2014

My moving-to-DC open house

My gift from Jennifer Rose, a fellow member and leader at Congregation Am Tikva – a handpainted ceramic kiddush cup depicting Jerusalem.  Particularly bashert as I actually don’t have a kiddush cup anymore – I had silver ones from my family and friends, but an abusive ex has them.  

I don’t have photos of the event yet, but I should soon.    

My moving-to-DC open house yesterday went quite well!  Thank you all!!!

I’m moving to DC at the end of the month, and this was my official public farewell event.

It’s so bittersweet for me to leave Boston, where I was born and have always lived (37 years) and which I’ve always loved, but this is the best way to finally start living with my long-distance partner of 4 ½ years, Julia McCrossin (a lifelong metro DC resident), and our dog of 1 ½ years Ursula, and help my mother-in-sin. And DC does have its advantages for us. And we will visit, and have our wedding here, and hopefully live here someday.

We had a couple of dozen guests all told, and it was busy the entire time, from two to five.  Family, friends of family, friends from junior high school, fellow members of Congregation Am Tikva, trans and queer colleagues, housemates; and many people were in more than one category (and yes, in many senses!).  I invited a couple of hundred people, but even with the unseasonably nice weather it was rather an ask, what with the challenging location, busy schedules, and so on.

Alas, my Julia couldn’t be with us in person, and many of my local people have not met her yet.  But she sent a cheese pizza as a surprise present, awww!  And we made it into hors d’oeuvres.  It was even a white pizza (white sauce instead of red, i.e. more dairy instead of tomato), because she knows I prefer those.  It’s part of a running joke with us – she loves pizza, and teases me that I should send her one long-distance.

I wish our Ursula could have been there too – even though she would have stolen the show, not to mention cuted people into feeding her ALL the things.  

Our house manager Forreste Brooks managed the event for me, which is one of the several things he does professionally.  He’s also been renovating and redecorating the house and yards; it’s one of the ye olde Arnold Arboretum buildings (indeed, the one where Wilson lived with his wife and daughter).  There were also some seasonal decorations and candles.  The menu included homemade pasta salad (tricolor tortellini, broccoli, grape tomatoes, red onion, creamy herb sauce) with optional chicken, two kinds of cheese and crackers; three kinds of cookies, Walkers shortbread*; iced or hot homemade punch (Fresca, apple and orange juices), L. A. Burdick’s cocoa*, Harney & Son’s Holiday Tea*, coffee, water.  *Gifts from my mentor, as I was her last Christmas Tea guest of the season.  

I’d said that refreshments would be provided (and posted a draft menu), but that people were welcome to bring anything except alcohol.  Guests brought homemade slow-roast beef, home-assembled crudité (red and green bell peppers, baby carrots, celery, sugar snap peas, broccoli) with homemade yogurt dip, cherries (in hopes that my life in DC will be like a bowl of, awww); homemade pear pie, homemade mint chocolate cupcakes, homemade popcorn (with grated cheese, butter, salt, pepper), Cheryl-Ann’s Bakery's chocolate babka; sparkling apple-cranberry juice.  And one guest got but forgot to bring Valentine’s cookies, to symbolize my love with Julia, my community’s love for me, etc., awww.  (Though I know, how scary is it that even perishable Valentine’s stuff is being sold already?!)

I also asked that people donate to Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (where I chair the Interfaith Coalition for Trans Equality) in lieu of gifts – but I was open to receiving gifts, and was pleased to be given some, as well as some cards (and really the cards were gifts also).