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.

Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn | My artwork (stationery, jewelry & more)



Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Election Judgement Day

Today Julia and I were Election Judges for the first time, for the Montgomery County Board of Elections.

I had an very unusually interesting and cushy assignment at Asbury Methodist Village – it’s an unbelievably big and amenitied retirement campus, but only the residents were voting there, and even they had particularly low turnout this election (though still relatively high); too, I was a Line Manager, and there was no line. I had a good and distinctive experience. For example, how often do you get to chat with someone who gave a lecture at their retirement community because they worked on the Nuremburg trials? Also, one of my bosses was a gay person with a trans relative who used to be very active in the Episcopal Church, including the LGBT-inclusion process.

Poor J had a much longer and harder gig at a school, but she did really well and also enjoyed herself.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Solstice, havdalah, and other seasons and separations

Summer solstice, havdalah (separation), and the end of A Season of Service and Celebration in honor of Bishop Shaw.

My bishop, the Rt. Rev. M. Thomas Shaw, SSJE (Society of Saint John the Evangelist), of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, is retiring this year. An openly gay man, he has been a truly powerful ally for transgender social justice, including supporting MA’s passed Trans Equal Rights Law and current Trans Equal Access Bill, and hosting the Boston Trans Day of Remembrance at the Cathedral Church of Saint Paul.

I also pray for Bishop Tom's healing -- he has been undergoing treatment for brain cancer since his diagnosis last May.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Queering Fat Embodiment #QFE

TODAY at 4:00 EST -- the global book launch of Queering Fat Embodiment, edited by Cat PauséJackie Wykes, and Sam Murray; part of Ashgate Publishing's Queer Interventions series.  #QFE

Facebook event text:

"Cat Pausé, Jackie Wykes, and Sam Murray are excited to announce the publication of our edited book, Queering Fat Embodiment, as part of Ashgate’s Queer Interventions series.

-----

A global book launch will be held on Google Hangouts at the following local times:

Friday 20 June, 2014:
Singapore 4 am
Melbourne 6 am
Auckland 8 am

Thursday 19 June, 2014:
San Francisco 1 pm
Dallas 3 pm
Toronto 4 pm
New York 4 pm
London 9 pm

The link for the event is: https://plus.google.com/events/chu9oefslau61mb8id2uanrmtl4

------

Shedding light on the ways in which fat embodiment is lived, experienced, regulated and (re)produced across a range of cultural sites and contexts, Queering Fat Embodiment destabilises established ideas about fat bodies, making explicit the intersectionality of fat identities. It represents a paradigm shift within fat studies, challenging the field of study which has primarily reproduced a white, able-bodied, heteronormative subjectivity in its analyses.

Contributing authors include Katie LeBesco, Robyn Longhurst, Jenny Lee, Margitte Kristjansson, Stefanie Jones, Kimberly Dark, Zoë Meleo-Erwin, James Burford, Sam Orchard, and Scott Beattie. This text is a must have for anyone interested in fat studies, fat politics, queer theory, and embodiment.

-----

The editors will be conducting a social media book tour.
If you would like a guest post, excerpt, interview, live reading, or something else, please let
us know by completing this form: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/6WB3B2S

Please use the tag #QFE when referencing the book on social media.

-----

Queering Fat Embodiment is available in hard cover and e-book formats and can be purchased directly from Ashgate (http://www.ashgate.com/isbn/9781409465430 – online orders automatically receive a 10% discount), as well as Amazon, Book Depository, and other outlets.

Journalists and academics may request a review copy from the publisher via Debbie Fattore (dfattore@ashgatepublishing.com)."

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Thanks for the memories and more, Saint John's

Well, this is bittersweet, to say the least. Saint John the Evangelist of Boston (Bowdoin Street) is merging into St. Paul's Cathedral, Boston and eventually their building will be sold.

This Saint John’s is where BAGLY (Boston Alliance of GLBT Youth) has lived by far the longest, including during my time as a youth member (1993-9) and later as Office Manager (2000ish), and at least two of their leaders became also ours. They hosted at least one Boston Trans Day of Remembrance, and they’ve been the longtime home of Dignity Boston (local chapter of Dignity USA, GLBT Catholics and allies). Saint J’s was a significant part of my eventual realization that I had a home and a calling in The Episcopal Church, and where I first met other openly trans youth and adults. I regret that I didn’t return to St. J’s after BAGLY moved out – I meant to attend services at least once, and bring J. I will send them a note.

Among many other things, I remember our meetings in their plain parish hall -- which looked pleasantly like a indoor swimming pool room when it was redone -- and the lovely little medievally chapel off of it with the names of their departed on the walls, and sometimes in the Victorianish sitting rooms upstairs; looking at the pretty little garden in their courtyard (we weren’t allowed into it, and I don’t blame them); preparing our Erev Thanksgiving dinners in their kitchen; the way the church looked like a little castle just stuck in the middle of a ye olde Beacon Hill brownstoney street, especially when we hung out in the government buildings' courtyard across the street; and of course the Saint John’s community celebrating outside, banner and all, as I marched by on Youth Pride Days. And being aware of it there behind the Statehouse as I lobbied for queer youth and trans equal rights legislation.
At the Cathedral Church of St. Paul a few weeks ago, on the second Sunday of Easter, the procession into church took longer than usual to get where it was going. 

Rather than the altar party following the crucifer down the central aisle from the back of the church, with people in the pews looking on over their hymnals, the entire congregation instead headed outdoors and made the uphill climb along the Park Street side of Boston Common toward the State House, took a right, and then a left, and continued down Bowdoin Street to the Church of St. John the Evangelist, its new temporary church home. 

Roy GoodwinThe Very Rev. Jep Streit and cathedral congregation process to St. John'sROY GOODWINThe Very Rev. Jep Streit and cathedral congregation process to St. John'sThe congregations of the two churches have officially merged into one and will continue worshiping at St. John's until major renovations now underway at the cathedral are finished.  The merged congregation will then return permanently to its renewed home at the cathedral.  The St. John's church building on Bowdoin Street is being put up for sale to help pay for the renovations.

Though the two churches are within walking distance of each other, they are, when it comes to their congregations' worship styles, pretty far apart.  Liturgy at St. John's represents high Anglo-Catholic tradition; much is sung, and a measure of polish and predictability comes with the adoration and incense.  At the cathedral church, where there is a tradition of prophetic preaching, services are typically less practiced and entirely broad in their embrace of variety--a style that one observer recently described as a "both-and-and approach."

So the remarkable thing on that second Sunday of Easter when the two congregations came together was that the service was, in a word, unremarkable.

"It just seemed like a normal thing," said the Very Rev. Jep Streit, the cathedral's dean, "although, I'll confess, it probably felt a little more normal to the people from St. John's than it did to us.  But it felt right, something that we're going to continue to grow into and build on," Streit said.


Roy GoodwinProcessing to St. John'sROY GOODWINProcessing to St. John'sIn a sermon preached early last year, as the congregations were in the process of voting for the merger, the Rev. Steven Bonsey, the cathedral's former canon pastor, said the merger was not unlike a marriage of convenience.

"On our side, we have committed ourselves to a major renovation, but we don't have nearly enough money to accomplish it.  On their side, they have struggled for years with a declining membership and financial base.  We are getting married because we need each other.  We have a stable community and a viable infrastructure; they have a building that might be sold to finance our renovations," Bonsey said.

It was not a bad thing, he said, if there was little romance involved "because what this merger will need, if it goes forward, is not romance, but love:  gritty, deep, determined, selfless, persevering, messy, brave, reconciling, joyous love," the kind of love, he went on to say, that the cathedral's patron saint described to the Corinthians:  Love that bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 

"That is to say, Christian love, love that makes possible the great mystery of two becoming one," Bonsey said.

At least one thing that these two churches have in common is that each started out as something else. 

The Church of St. John the EvangelistThe Church of St. John the EvangelistThe Church of St. John the Evangelist didn't begin as a parish of the diocese and only officially became one in 1985.  For a century prior, it was a mission church of the Society of St. John the Evangelist, founded as such in 1883--just a little over a decade after the society's arrival in America from England.  It served, among others, the poor and unemployed in Boston's West End.  (Before that, the gothic-style stone building on Bowdoin Street, built in 1831 as a Congregational church, was home to the Church of the Advent, now on Brimmer Street.) 

For its part, the Cathedral Church of St. Paul wasn't built as a cathedral.  Its founders wanted to establish a wholly American Episcopal parish, the other Boston parishes having originated from the Church of England.  They commissioned a church to be built on Tremont Street in the style of a Greek temple in honor of the democratic ideals of the new nation.  It was consecrated in 1820 as St. Paul's Church.  It was not until 1912 that Bishop William Lawrence, envisioning "a house of prayer for all,"  named it the diocese's cathedral church and put the bishop's seat there. 

The current merger, closure and sale, refurbishment and hoped-for renewal between these two churches is happening on the watch of a monk bishop uniquely connected to both places through his religious community and his episcopate.

"I have to think the Holy Spirit is involved in this," the Rt. Rev. M. Thomas Shaw, SSJE said as he recalled how he wasn't immediately fond of either place upon arrival--neither at St. John's as an SSJE novice back in 1975 nor at the cathedral church when he became bishop of the diocese in 1995.

His appreciation for each has grown over time, he said, just as the potential fruits of the cathedral-St. John's merger will need time to develop.

"We always want it all revealed way too soon, before we've lived it.  This is a mystery.  We don't know what God is looking for in this yet," Shaw said.

The Cathedral Church of St. PaulThe Cathedral Church of St. Paul"One of the real gifts the cathedral has given to me has been faithfulness about bringing all kinds of people together, and that's something that's an important example for all of us.  With St. John's, there has been a kind of witness about the place that worship plays in our lives, how it feeds us for everything else.  I think we should look at what we're being offered through this merger as an opportunity to do things differently.  It's an exciting time to be part of the church," Shaw said.

It's possible to believe that, he said, even though membership decline is a reality for all mainline Christian denominations.

"We know that God is calling us into change.  We know that's true for us in the Episcopal Church and in the Diocese of Massachusetts.  The change we're being called into, it's often pretty hard.  We need to be able to say to each other:  Nothing may be the same as it was before, but everyone is going to be included.  It's openness in our prayer and to one another that helps us move into the larger vision that God is always calling us into," he said.

That, and some practicality, too.

"We have way too many buildings.  That needs to be said over and over again.  Whenever the church gives up a building, even if it's a building built for another situation or time, it's seen by some as giving in.  But what we're giving in to, at least in this case, is new possibility," Shaw said.

"We're all gaining," the Rev. Canon Katharine Black, priest-in charge at St. John's and now canon for liturgies at the cathedral, said of the merger.  "We've not yet dealt with saying goodbye to Bowdoin Street and that will be a sadness, but there is also the positive nature of new life that we had not anticipated.  I think this is a story about extraordinary providence."

Ann Page Stecker, a St. John's vestry member who serves on the joint council for the merger, recalled that back in November 2012, when the merger idea was proposed, "We would have been, in another year or two, handing the keys to the bishop.  We didn't have enough to sustain ourselves.  There was within the vestry an almost immediate and unanimous sigh of relief and an idea that we could look ahead.  It seemed to me this was such an opportunity for our parish to not die on the vine but be able to return, in new company, to our social mission, which we had practically had to abandon."

Even though St. John's was agreeing to give up its building, and its small congregation (about 25 on an average Sunday) would be joining a larger configuration at the cathedral, it still felt from the beginning like a merger and not an acquisition, Stecker said. 

"I've been attracted to the thorough nature of the process and the pastoral way in which our friends at St. Paul's have looked at what we're losing.  We also understand they are losing their worship space for a year, and when we return, it's going to be different.  Beautiful, but different," she said.

Matthew CavanaughThe view from the Cathedral choir loft.MATTHEW CAVANAUGHThe view from the Cathedral choir loft.The Cathedral Church of St. Paul is home to the varied worship life of Sunday English and Chinese-speaking congregations; a young adult community, The Crossing, which worships on Thursdays; and guests of the weekly lunch program, many of whom are homeless, who worship on Mondays, as well as a Muslim congregation numbering several hundred who pray at the cathedral on Fridays. 

"Our building is not as welcoming as the people who gather in it," cathedral dean Jep Streit said of the need for renovations, citing a litany of the building's impediments: "Our front is intimidating; the interior feels dim; there's no flexibility in how we can use the space; our heating system is the most expensive and inefficient, with the largest carbon footprint possible; and our tiny, claustrophobic lift is technically legal but morally bankrupt, in that anyone who has difficulty with stairs is made to feel unwelcome.

"I  believe Episcopalians in the diocese are proud of the ministry and witness the cathedral makes, and I want them to be proud of our building as well," Streit said. 

The architect's rendering of the renovated cathedralThe architect's rendering of the renovated cathedralSoon after services on Easter Day, the furniture and liturgical appointments went into storage, and crews dismantled and sealed off the organ and its pipes.  Workers are removing the box pews, for good, and demolition is underway to make way for a glass elevator so that all levels of the building will be fully handicapped accessible; an energy-efficient heating and ventilation system; a skylight, LED lighting and chandeliers to brighten the sanctuary; new glass doorways and a new glass-enclosed chapel. 

A labyrinth will be incorporated into the cathedral's new floor, as will tiles engraved with the names and founding dates of all the parishes of the diocese since the cathedral's founding (including those that have closed).

There will also be improvements to Sproat Hall in the lower level, including new bathrooms relocated to the front of the building where they will be accessible and easy to find.

The renovations, by Delphi Construction of Waltham, are expected to take 10-12 months and will cost about $9 million, according to Streit.  The project received $4 million from the diocese's Together Now fundraising campaign.  Streit said the intention is to make up the gap through the sale of the St. John's property, being marketed by Jones Lang LaSalle, and, if necessary, some combination of endowment funds or other fundraising.

The project's architect, Brett Donham, a principal of the firm Donham & Sweeney, said one of the biggest challenges has been "to meet as many of the needs and desires of different constituencies as possible--and I think we have done that--without losing a sense of a unified vision for the building."

Roy GoodwinThe renovation process begins.ROY GOODWINThe renovation process begins.A key request from the building committee, he said, was "to make the building function better, particularly in terms of flexibility required by different activities that take place here, from a small service on a Thursday night all the way up to a Diocesan Convention."  Part of the solution was to replace the front-facing box pews with chairs that can be configured around a centrally positioned altar. 

"Episcopalians are a little like mercury.  You put them in a room and they go to the far corners," Donham said.  He and his firm are experienced with church renovation projects and how physical space informs people's worship experience.  

"I believe very strongly in the importance of worshiping in community," he said.  "It is a big space, so the patterning of the seating and the concentration of light in the middle over an altar will enable people to bond around the worship experience in a way that they won't scattered throughout directional pews."

Roy GoodwinThe black madonna from St. John'sROY GOODWINThe black madonna from St. John's(The hardwood moldings from the old box pews will be reused as stair railings, Streit said.  The boxes themselves are not original to the building and not made of high quality wood.  "Still, they're precious to those who have prayed in them for decades, so I've asked the crew to see if there's some respectful way to repurpose the wood in another project," he said.)

Incorporating glass into the Tremont Street-facing front was a way "to make the many ministries that take place here visible to the wider world," Donham said.

The new glass-enclosed chapel will enhance that visibility, and it will extend St. John's presence into the new space.  It will be named the St. John the Evangelist Chapel and will incorporate the black madonna sculpture from Bowdoin Street that Bishop Shaw spent many hours praying with as a novice there.

"People on the outside can look in and see that this is a church and not a bank," the Rev. Canon Katharine Black said.

"And we can look out and see the world that God is calling us into," Streit added.

--Tracy J. Sukraw
While the Cathedral Church of St. Paul is closed for renovations, Sunday services are at 8 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. at the Church of St. John the Evangelist (35 Bowdoin Street) in Boston.  St. John's is also hosting the MANNA/Monday Lunch program.  The Chinese congregation will continue to worship on Sundays at 12:30 p.m. in the Lawrence Room at 138 Tremont Street.  The Crossing will meet on Thursdays at 6 p.m. in the Lawrence Room until its summer house-church break in August, after which it will begin meeting on Bowdoin Street.  The Muslim congregation is praying at the Paulist Center on Park Street during the renovations.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Trinity Sunday & Fathers Day


Trinity Sunday and Fathers Day at Episcopal Church of the Ascension. I’m thinking especially about how the Trinity can help us better understand and share the Good News of sex/gender/sexuality and other diversity, including body size/shape diversity. We heard Genesis 1:1-2:4a, in which I believe the Divine creates a sex/gender/otherwise-diverse humanity (http://www.keshetonline.org/transtexts/queerly-created/).

And I learned a hymn that is helpful as well, in thinking and teaching outside the binaries – Brian Wren’s “How Wonderful The Three-In-One”:

How wonderful the Three-in-One,
Whose energies of dancing light
Are undivided, pure and good,
Communing love in shared delight.

Before the flow of dawn and dark,
Creation's Lover dreamed of earth,
And with a caring deep and wise,
All things conceived and brought to birth.

The Lover's own Belov'd, in time,
Between a cradle and a cross,
At home in flesh, gave love and life
To heal our brokenness and loss.

Their Equal Friend all life sustains
With greening pow'r and loving care,
And calls us, born again by grace,
In Love's communing life to share.

How wonderful the Living God:
Divine Beloved, Empow'ring Friend,
Eternal Lover, Three-in-One,
Our hope's beginning, way and end.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

GLAD Community Call: With Medicare Done, How We Can Win the Rest

This coming Monday GLAD (Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders) is hosting a Community Call about trans healthcare post-Medicare-ruling, with National Center for Transgender Equality, Human Rights Campaign and Center for American Progress. And they used my photo at the bottom of this email – I was part of their photo shoot for promo materials in August 2008.

GLAD Transgender Rights Project

Community Call:
With Medicare Done, How We Can Win the Rest 
Monday, June 16 | 3:00 pm
 

  

After years of advocacy, healthcare programs are finally catching up to the medical consensus on transgender healthcare.
 
We will soon be able to cross off medical exclusions from our policy agenda. But while the path forward is clearer than ever, much more work remains.
 
The recent Medicare ruling opens coverage for transition-related care and that victory is part of a national strategy to end prejudice in the U.S. healthcare system.

Join this community call to learn about the next phase in advocating for transgender healthcare rights in public and private insurance plans.
 
Participants will also have an opportunity to learn more about the significance of the Medicare ruling and where it fits in the scheme of achieving inclusive
coverage across the board.
 
Speakers:
Jennifer Levi, GLAD Transgender Rights Project Director
Andrew Cray, Policy Analyst, LGBT Progress, Center for American Progress
Beck Bailey, Deputy Director, Workplace Project, Human Rights Campaign
Mara Keisling, Executive Director, National Center for Transgender Equality 
 

  
Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders  
The Transgender Rights Project focuses GLAD's litigation, legislative, and 
educational assets to establish clear legal protections for the transgender community.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

TransFaith Pre-Event for Philadelphia Trans Health Conference 2014

TransFaith is a national non-profit that is led by transgender people and focused on issues of faith and spirituality where I’m a Community Engagement Adviser, and today was our 6th annual Pre-Event for the Philadelphia Trans Health Conference.  And I was there – I've wanted to make it one of my annual events, but so far have only been able to attend in 2012.

The Philly Trans Health Con starts tomorrow and runs through Sunday.  I didn’t stay for the con this year, and have actually only been to it in 2012 too.  But you can click here for TF’s summary of the spirituality offerings – spiritual workshops and other options, the new Spirituality Room*, and the Shabbat services and dinner; and we'll have a table.  And there’s even more on the con’s website.  *Spirituality Room sched as of press time:



We had a table today, too, with materials about our suicide prevention education, as well as our multi-faith bookmarks.

I had hoped to be joined by my Julia, for her first TF pre-event and/or PTHC, but we are still searching for paid work, so I took the train up and back.  Which was a first and fun -- I’ve only taken trains a bit, and never to Philly; indeed I've only been to Philly the once.

I arrived at the William Way LGBT Community Center* in time for the informal gathering at 2:30, and the more formal event from 3 to 6.  And we did what it said on our tin.  “We will gather and discuss thoughts and considerations in creating meaningful ritual in gatherings of diverse people -- religious, spiritual, non-spiritual. Louis Mitchell and Lynn Young will facilitate a discussion about religious privilege among other types of often unconsidered privileges. We will create ritual together and share a meal.”  Though sadly Lynn couldn’t make it today – but should arrive in time for the con.  Louis is our Director of Community Engagement.

*I love that the WW's site is “waygay.org”.  It's also nice to visit them again as Boston actually doesn't have a queer center, and hasn't since before my time; and I haven't been to DC's center yet.  And WW has the feel of one from the 70s/80s -- as well as many other times including the present -- which I've been particularly thinking about since seeing "The Normal Heart".

We were a pretty diverse circle of 15, including a child (a relative of one of the other participants).  We introduced ourselves, talked about what ritual means to us, got into pairs to brainstorm a list of the privileges we have, and came back together to share some of that.  Then we broke into two groups to actually create a ritual, using some basic dollar- / craft-store items – glass pebbles, tea lights, pipe cleaners, Mardi Gras necklaces, colored cloths, river rocks, etc. -- as props, that we then shared with the others by demoing it and then inviting their participation.  We paid particular attention to creating a ritual that was as accessible as possible, keeping in mind our previous work about privilege.  It was amazing to see how well it all turned out – not only the demos but the more-real tests with the other groupies – as well as to see how much we had to learn.  In the other group’s ritual, each person was invited to share what they brought to and took from our gathering.  In mine, each could share the journey they were beginning, and ask the rest to give them what they needed for it.  I kept a black river rock as a souvenir, which was an option; it will live on the windowsill in my home office.    

We had a good spread of snacks the whole time, and at the end a great Middle-Eastern-themed dinner of falafel balls, hummus, pita breads, Brussels sprouts and more.

Dessert was quite the surprise.  Long story short so as not to ruin said surprise – the Experience is being offered at the con and elsewhere – one of our number had had an experience while using their Barbie cake mold in which Barbie revealed that she was actually an intergalactic trans-gender warrior who has been trapped by our world’s oppressive role for her and wants to be freed.  We took a chocolate cake baked in this very mold, food-colored our own bits of all-natural vanilla frosting, and applied them to the cake to symbolize the powers we were inspired to restore to the Warrior.  Check out the Inter-Galactic TransGender Warrior Cake Decorating Experience on Facebook, part of the Mind Body Spirit Travelling Arts & Craft Circus.

Here is my collage of our cake – while taking the initial pics, I noticed that my phone’s cam had a magic wand button, which brought up the Black-and-white and Sepia options, and of course I had to try those; alas, I missed the Negative option.

I wish I/we had taken more photos of more things, but the fact that we didn’t is largely a testament to what a good time we were having.  And not taking photos of participants is also an issue of safety and more.  But I do need to remember to step up and offer my shutterbugging as service, as appropriate.

Then it was cleanup, some time with some of my closer colleagues, and back to the station to find a Philly pen for my casually pen-collecting partner.

I’m really glad that this event happened again and that I made it!  It was especially good to see my Massachusetts and other colleagues in person, which didn’t happen very often even before I moved to DC in January.  I met some new people today, too – including some I hadn’t even know about.

Monday, June 9, 2014

TransFaith @ Philadelphia Trans Health Conference


Transfaith™ is a national non-profit that is led by transgender people
and focused on issues of faith and spirituality.

See you at PTHC!

This week is the 13th Annual Philadelphia Trans-Health Conference -- the largest transgender-specific conference in the world. Visit our table. We hope to see you there!
 

Wednesday Pre-Event

Transfaith's annual pre-event at PTHC will be Wednesday, June 11, 2014, beginning at 3pm Eastern. Feel free to begin gathering at 2:30pm at the William Way Community Center 1315 Spruce St, Philadelphia, PA 19107.
Creating Meaningful Ritual for Diverse Groups
We will gather and discuss thoughts and considerations in creating meaningful ritual in gatherings of diverse people - religious, spiritual, non-spiritual. Louis Mitchell and Lynn Young will facilitate a discussion about religious privilege among other types of often unconsidered privileges. We will create ritual together and share a meal.
The main gathering will run until 6pm and you are welcome to stay after for a vegetarian meal. Please RSVP for dinner so we can order enough food!

New Spirituality Room

The PTHCSpirituality Working Group is thrilled to announce that this year, for the first time, there will be a spirituality-designated room at the conference. Every year there are a number of special events such as worship, meditation, yoga, and more; this year all such events can be housed in the same room and we'll have much more flexibility in terms of timing.
We need your help! We are still seeking and scheduling events in this room. Do you have something to offer? Ideas for events:
  • Sacred rituals
  • Sharing/teaching spiritual practices
  • Worship services or circles
  • Prayer and/or meditation
  • Opportunities for pastoral care
  • Ceremonies
  • Other creative ideas
Consider sharing your gifts and your spiritual practices with the Philly Trans Health community. If you know others who might have something to offer, please forward this invitation to them. We are looking to create a diverse and varied slate of spiritual opportunities. Please email Alex at alexleekapitan (at) gmail (dot) com to express your interest and share your proposals!

More Events at PTHC

Native Smudge & Drum Circle - Thurs & Sat 11:50am-12:35pm :: on Arch St (weather permitting)
Native/ First Nations/ Aboriginal Gathering Space - Throughout the conference at the end of the main hallway
Yoga - Daily 10am-Noon in Room 108A
Shabbat Dinner and Shabbat Service - Dinner at 5:45pm and Service at 7pm at Arch St United Methodist Church, 55 S. Broad St (2 blocks from the convention center)
Quakerism 101: A Wor(k)ship - Saturday at 2:20pm
 
You can find us at
888-7878-494
chris@transfaithonline.org
www.transfaithonline.org
Transfaith affirms, empowers, and engages transgender and gender non-conforming people and their communities.
Through education and collaboration, we equip and cultivate diverse expressions of gender-affirming spiritual vitality.
Please invite others to join us!
Sign up for our email mailing list to get updates regularly.
Like us on Facebook, too!
Make a financial gift to support our work.

Rev. Cameron Partridge will be first trans priest to preach at Washington National Cathedral

My Massachusetts colleague Rev. Cameron Partridge is preaching at Washington National Cathedral on the 22nd!  The first openly trans priest to do so!  Rt. Rev. Gene Robinson -- first openly gay priest to become a bishop -- will preside. And Julia and I will be there! And there will be a live webcast.  Here is the Cathedral's post on their website; they had a similar flyer displayed at their Capital Pride festival booth yesterday.

Quite the purple-letter day for the Episcopal Church, Integrity USA, TransEpiscopal (Cameron co-chairs and I’m a member), my fellow alumni of Saint Luke’s & Margaret’s (SLAM; Cameron’s church in Allston/Brighton which closed), Interfaith Coalition for Transgender Equality (Cameron’s a founder and former co-chair) and others.

Here’s the Huffington Post piece, which includes TransFaith, Saint Paul's Cathedral Boston, and more.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Adelphi Friends Meeting’s Strawberry Festival

AFM's Strawberry Fest Facebook event image.  Probably from last year.  The tent that sold boxes and cases of strawberries looked much like this today, including the cute flag; staffed by different people, though.

We considered the Capital Pride parade today, but had some issues, and got a tip about the Adelphi Friends Meeting’s Strawberry Festival. And we had a great time, including seeing the fellow TransFaith family that invited us, and a friend from the fat community and their friend.

And we found a shirt like Cam's on "Modern Family" for Julia! Which I’ve been wanting to get her since I first saw him; his are custom, this is a Brooklyn Xpress (3X). And a sterling silver vase brooch like David Suchet's Hercule Poirot (Agatha Christie) for me, which I’ve wanted since I saw him; can also be a mezuzah and more. We also found a silk necktie in black-and-white houndstooth for J, and a great purple-and-gray sweater and white-and-black short-sleeve blouse for me.

And we had a 'The Works' – strawberries, pound cake, ice cream, whipped cream, chocolate. And we took home a box of strawberries.

And ALL OF THE ABOVE for $18 -- yes, chai, “alive / living”!


Friday, June 6, 2014

Keshet's 'Your Jewish Guide For Celebration LGBT Pride'

Shabbat shalom!!

Keshet has 'Your Jewish Guide For Celebrating LGBT Pride', with events (US and Canada), graphics and other resources -- http://www.keshetonline.org/pride/. You can still add events, too.

Attached is one of my fave graphics, Keshet’s Jewish Bear flag, which was displayed at their Boston Pride booth last year.  I want to see even more intersectional art, like “Zaftig & Queer”, “I  {heart}* Zaftig Queers”, “Fatphobia is an abomination”, etc. And what about Jewish disability pride? And Jews of color, and...the possibilities are endless!  (*I just learned that using a less-than symbol and a 3 here to make a heart causes HTML drama.) 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Happy Shavuot!!


























Happy Erev Shavuot from our Fatshion Bugg and the rest of us!

We are going to do errands – pretty fun ones, though – and then stay home. But you know it’s like Shavuot most every night at our house. And if we were in Boston we’d probably be teaching at the Brookline Area Community Tikkun Leil Shavuot 5774. And here in the DMV there’s Bet Mishpachah's dairy potluck and special service “What does revelation mean? Mysticism, Feminism, Poetry and Beyond”, and the DC JCC's GLOE - GLBT Outreach & Engagement, and maybe more.

We are planning on attending the National Erev Pride Shabbat this Friday.

Philly Trans Health Conference - Spirituality Room

There will be a Spirituality Room at the Philadelphia Trans-Health Conference next week, and proposals are still being sought!

"Spiritual events sought for PTHC


Dear friend,

I hope you are getting excited for this year's Philly Trans Health Conference!

The Spirituality Working Group is thrilled to announce that this year, for the first time, there will be a spirituality-designated room at the conference. Every year there are a number of special events such as worship, meditation, yoga, and more; this year all such events can be housed in the same room and we'll have much more flexibility in terms of timing.

We need your help! We are still seeking and scheduling events in this room. Do you have something to offer?

Ideas for events:
  • Sacred rituals 
  • Sharing/teaching spiritual practices 
  • Worship services or circles
  • Prayer and/or meditation 
  • Opportunities for pastoral care 
  • Ceremonies 
  • Other creative ideas 
Consider sharing your gifts and your spiritual practices with the Philly Trans Health community. If you know others who might have something to offer, please forward this invitation to them. We are looking to create a diverse and varied slate of spiritual opportunities.

Please email me at alexleekapitan@gmail.com to express your interest and share your proposals!

Warmly,
Alex Kapitan
PTHC Spirituality Working Group Co-Convener"

Monday, June 2, 2014

Happy Pride Month!!!

Happy Pride Month!!!

Here is the piece I helped write for Episcopal Church of the Ascension’s monthly newsletter The Ascendant -- click here for the June issue:

June is LGBT Pride Month!

Among its many other meanings, June is LGBT Pride Month; locally, nationally and internationally. In June of 1969, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people at the Stonewall Inn in New York City fought back against a police raid – a watershed moment in the struggle for LGBTQ equality. Every June since, there have been more Pride observances in more secular and faith communities -- marches, festivals, worship services and much more -- including here in the ‘DMV’ (DC/MD/VA). Over the years, the LGBTQ community’s annual calendar has also grown to include other special days, such as the international Transgender Day of Remembrance each November, where we remember those who have lost their lives to transphobia.

The Episcopal Church has been a leader in the journey towards LGBTQ social justice since at least the 1970s, within the Church and the larger faith community as well as in the secular world. We in the EC are blessed with our own LGBT organization, Integrity USA, and its transgender-focused partner TransEpiscopal. Part of Integrity’s ministry is inviting Episcopal communities to become Believe Out Loud congregations, who publicly welcome and affirm LGBT people and have completed a six-step process. Ascension is proud to be a BOL church -- see http://www.ascensionmd.org/about-us/believe-out-loud/.

One of the ways we believe out loud is our ongoing Connection Hour conversation series Experiencing Diversity At Ascension, which includes LGBTQ issues along with race, class, gender, ability, health, age and more. We encourage you to join us for the next part, on Sunday June 8th at 10:15 a.m. in Room 1; please see the full ED@A update in this issue and/or our other communications.

For more information about LGBT people in the Church, we invite you to visit http://www.episcopalchurch.org/page/lgbt-church."

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Ascension Sunday

“Let us with gladness present the offerings and oblations of our life and labor to the Lord.
Presentemos al Señor con alegría las ofrendas y oblaciones de nuestra vida y de nuestro trabajo.”

Today is Ascension Sunday; as for the last few years, Episcopal Church of the Ascension combined the 11:00 Spanish and 11:15 English services into a bilingual service at 11 in a pavilion in Bohrer Park (we still had most or all of our other usual services etc.), followed by the annual parish picnic at 12:30.

Julia made pasta salad (pesto tortellini, mozzarella balls, strawberries, candied walnuts, basil from our garden; olive oil, balsamic vinegar, dijon mustard, garlic, salt -- click here for the recipe), I made fauxitos (mojitos from Newman's Own limeade, Giant Food seltzer water, and mint from our garden; fun fact, Giant has merged with Stop & Shop, which began as a Jewish family's grocery store in my native Boston, and among other connections was one of my father's freelance photography clients).


Fairness For All Marylanders Act - UPDATE again


Opponents failed to gather enough signatures to file a petition by midnight last night -- 
the Fairness For All Marylanders Act will not be overturned! 
#FAMA14 updates MD’s anti-discrimination law to include trans people, 
was signed by the governor on May 15th and will now go into effect October 1st!
Thanks so much to everyone who worked so hard to defend the Act! 

#FAMA14  #StandforFairness