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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THE MOCO PRIDE CENTER'S LAUNCH PARTY IS OCTOBER 25TH! Facebook Event | EventBrite Site


Friday, June 26, 2015

I Do...And I Don't

(...Or, I Do(n't); "if you want to do it the academic way", as J says.)

Julia McCrossin and I at the end of our first in-person visit – September 15th, 2009; our 6th anniversary is July 5th.

Long story short, for now….

Not a fan of legal marriage, or much of the “marriage equality” movement, and their roles in oppression, in this country and the rest of the world. But that’s the thing – legal marriage is a necessary evil for many, including us -- especially as we live and are the primary caregivers with my mother-in-sin -- and probably will be for years, and I’m glad that we can now legally marry in all the States instead of just our home ones (MA and MD).

Big fan of faith-based and other non-legal / other-legal marriage/partnership rituals, including those involving more than two consenting adults.

I’ve always wanted to have an engagement, wedding and marriage, and Julia is my Bashert in that way as well. We don't fully qualify for marriage in either of my faiths -- Judaism or the Episcopal Church – and that may not change in time, but we plan to have some sort of Trewscopalian and otherwise interfaith wedding anyway. And then again, queer/trans/fatphobic discrimination in employment needs to change enough for us to afford even the thriftiest wedding.

Thanks to the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts’s “E-News for June 2015”, I saw and found very helpful this interview with Rev. Cameron Partridge about his membership in The Episcopal Church’s Task Force on the Study of Marriage -- "Why the church cares so much about marriage: A General Convention interview with Cameron Partridge".

Cameron is also a fellow member of TransEpiscopal, and part of TE's team at the Episcopal Church's 78th General Convention. And he’s one of the faith leaders we want to be part of our wedding ceremony.

My favorite answer:

“I would love for more people to think about marriage as a vocation, one among several--not the only relational vocation there is, by any stretch, but one to be discerned carefully, and when discerned as your vocation, to be lived into joyfully.

As I’ve interacted with some of the provincial meetings, I’ve had some questions bubble up around the role of procreation and marriage. There are lots of really interesting angles on that. I really emphasize the rubric of adoption. That is the mechanism of our baptismal incorporation into Christ’s body. It’s adoption--choosing God and being chosen by God and choosing one another--through which we create family as Christians. When you look at family, and you look at marriage, and you look at having children through that lens, it’s all adoptive. And if it happens to be biological as well, wonderful, fabulous—and it’s adoptive. We have to choose one another again and again and again over the course of our lifetime. I notice that has come out in some of the questions where people have wondered if somehow marriage equality would undermine a place for procreation in our understanding of marriage, and my answer is, not at all. In fact, it really underscores the adoptive mechanism through which we choose one another, whether we discern a call to have children or not.”

And thanks to TransEpiscopal, I also saw and deeply appreciated Iain Stanford’s “A Crack in Our Current Practice: A ‪‎Trans‬ Angle on ‪‎Marriage Equality‬ in The ‪Episcopal‬ Church."

Iain too is a fellow member and leader of TE and part of our team at #GC78‬.

My favorite part:

“The shift here is not a theological one. It is not about Augustine’s theology of the goods of marriage or even Elizabeth Stuarts’ theology of gay and lesbian relationships as “just friends.” The shift is my physical body. My negotiation of gender has shifted from the outward and visible sign of a woman to that of a man, more specifically a trans man. My own sense of gender exceeds binary definition. I own my full gender history. My story, while common in trans communities, is not as well known outside of those circles. I am proud of the ways I participated in breaking down barriers for women in the 1980s, even if only in small ways. I was one of the few women who studied engineering in those years, and the first to be elected president of my university’s engineering honorary. Today, I live and move mostly as just another short white guy. To know me is to understand that I am the sum of all my years.”

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Ample awesome news from Adipositivity!

The Adipositivity Project: Anniversary Print Sale! &emdash; Look at all this awesome 8th-anniversary (?!) news from Adipositivity! And Julia's and my photo is this gallery, just saying: "The #1 most often viewed gallery at Zenfolio (the photography web host I use) is the Adipositivity Valentine gallery, with over a million visitors in the last year."

"The Adipositivity Project turns eight years old this week! If you’d like a long-ass update on the past year and the pending, read on.

THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE HALF PRICE

We passed the 10 million visitors mark this past year.

The #1 most often viewed gallery at Zenfolio (the photography web host I use) is the Adipositivity Valentine gallery, with over a million visitors in the last year. Several other Adipositivity galleries are in the top 20.

The Body Image video channel I curate for Waywire.com is now their most viewed.

The project has gotten a lot more international press this year than it ever has before. (“You’re famous in Brazil!”) And some awfully lovely coverage in the US, as well.

I’ve had some very gratifying experiences speaking at colleges this past year. I dig you! Hope you dig me back.

The project has come closer than ever to paying for itself. Gonna continue to work on that in year nine. If we can surpass that goal, there’ll be more stability, more shoots, and better locations. Biggerbetterfastermore everything!

ALL OF THE ABOVE IS THANKS TO YOU. Thus the curtsy. And as always, thank you to the Adiposers who’ve dropped trou for my camera. I’m not sure which of us is the wind and which is/are the wings, but you’re the bee’s knees. Of that, I am certain.

Next week there’ll be a nude public bodypainting Adipositivity group shoot with artist Andy Golub at the New York Public Library. It’s the Adipositivity Project’s first collaboration with NYC Bodypainting Day, and I’m pretty damn stoked about it. Come by on your lunch break and watch fat art happen while you eat your tunafish sandwich. (Between the lions, Friday 6/26 11-4, rain date Saturday.) Wanna get naked and painted right between your Patience and Fortitude? Hit me up for the deets. There’s one Adiposer slot left.
I’ve been shooting fat folks (mostly clothed this time) for a grrrrreat new tumblr which you’ll see in the next month(ish), to which y’all’re invited to contribute. Long as you’re fat and at least occasionally angry. Stay tuned.

I’m jolly well committed to getting the Adipositivity photo book out by the end of the year. Yes, I know I’ve said that before. But this time I mean it. Serious. Why are you laughing?

Watch for “Adipositivity Across America” (though I hope to come up with a better name) sometime in 2016 or ‘17. I’m taking this bitch on the road, hoping to get my camera on as many of you as possible. It’s the reason I’ve never done a Kickstarter campaign. Savin’ it for a trip that’ll allow me to photograph some of the folks who write to me wanting to be Adiposers, but aren’t able to get to NYC. If this works, there will be subsequent trips to other parts of this big ol’ goofy world.

On a more sad trombone note, the Anti-Adipositivity League has infiltrated the “I wanna be an Adiposer” process, succeeding in wasting a lot of my time and money, and increasing the risk level of what I do (meeting up with strangers in private places). So watch for a tighter application process in the future. Participation will remain open for everyone who’s fat and can get to me in NYC, but you’ll now be required to provide proof of identity, and if you stand me up or send me to a false address, there won’t be a second chance. Sorry, but this is the only way to make the project manageable and safe(ish) for me.
So there ya have it. The state of the project address. I’d hug you, at this point, if I were there in person. Just g’head and consider yourself hugged.

Wanna help The Adipositivity Project stay alive? There’s a carefully hidden donate link at adipositivity.com. So satisfying to successfully hunt it down! Or buy prints, why don’t ya? Here’s an anniversary half-off code, so’s ya can snag twice as many. And Santa makes a note of those who share it. Santa don’t play.
PRINTS: http://theadipositivityproject.zenfolio.com/prints"

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Philadelphia Transgender Health Conference 2015

This week-end -- this Thursday through today, Saturday -- I went to the Philadelphia Trans Health Conference, which I mean to do every year, but had only done in 2012.  I actually arrived on Wednesday so that I could attend and facilitate at TransFaith’s 6th annual Pre-Event for PTHC – I’m a Community Engagement Adviser at TransFaith, and this year’s Event was particularly amazing because it included our first public conversation about fatphobia.

There were some workshops that I wanted to go to, but not as many as I would expect.  And what with everything, I actually ended up going to only one.  “Gender, Self & Spiritual Community: How Personal and Religious Narratives Can Intersect” had been through some miscommunication, and potential co-facilitator Teo Drake couldn’t be at PTHC at all – but dozens of people showed up in the Spirituality Room ready for it, so it’s good that the other facilitator Bobbi Taylor was available.  I think I could and possibly should have co-facilitated with her, but she was more than capable of doing it alone, and did so well – and she invited me to do a little shpiel about TransFaith etc. at the end.

The workshop was described thus:  “How does our gender and/or sexuality impact our experience of spirituality and spiritual community? How does a spiritual community that is truly inclusive of us express itself? This workshop will be a facilitated conversation led by people from a wide diversity of spiritual beliefs and religious traditions. Participants will get to hear how gender/sexuality impact faith, and vice versa, for all kinds of people. Break-out groups by particular traditions may be utilized, plus cross-tradition/path conversations. Explore in a multi-faith space the meaning in our different experiences of spirituality, faith, and religion as trans people and larger trans community.”

And Bobbi's bio was “Bobbi Taylor is genderqueer and has formal training in Zen Buddhism, evangelical Christianity, and British Traditional Wicca. The intersection of gender diversity and interfaith work is a subject near and dear to Bobbi's heart. Bobbi serves as Vice Chair of the Steering Committee of the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition and is an LGBT representative on the MA State Commission for Homeless Youth, among other roles and responsibilities. Part of Bobbi's work has been to help LGBT individuals reconnect with their spirituality and to make religious groups more inclusive and affirming.”

Friday night I went to the Shabbat dinner and service.  I helped organize it in 2012, as part of co-chairing the Con’s Jewish committee that year, which was the first time dinner was added to the event, and it’s good to see it continuing to go from strength to strength.

I spent most of the rest of my time at the TransFaith table, and at the house I stayed at with some of the TransFaith leadership -- an AirBnB home they’ve used for some years, which was a good home and family experience for we renters as well.  And one night we went out to dinner, and another we hosted an unofficial and informal party, based around gumbo and primarily attended by people of color.  In some ways I wish I had spent more / different time at the Con, or perhaps even elsewhere – but mostly I think it was for the best.  I also toured the other tables, and made it out to the Reading Terminal Market once – I wanted to spend more time there, but it is overwhelming and overcrowded, and since moving to Montgomery County MD (from Boston MA last January) I have Amish markets near me.  And I took the local public transit for the first time, and the whole time.  I didn’t see much else of Philly, and I never have, but I would like to one day.

I am sorry I’ve missed so much of PTHC, and glad I returned, and hopeful that I can return again next year and beyond.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

TransFaith Pre-Event at Philadelphia Trans Health Conference

Today was TransFaith’s 6th annual Pre-Event at Philadelphia Trans Health Conference.  As usual, we gathered the day before the con began, and at the William Way LGBT Community Center (also as usual, it's hard to not to enjoy their website is WayGay.org).

I’m a Community Engagement Adviser at TransFaith, and was especially happy – and anxious -- about this year’s Event because it included our first public conversation about fatphobia.  As a trans faith leader called to fat justice, I’ve been very unpleasantly surprised, to put it very mildly, by my attempts to have this conversation with trans, faith and social justice communities – and very pleasantly surprised with the conversation at TransFaith.  Talking and taking action towards fat justice is vital and long overdue, and it is so good to have a trans faith home, centered in social justice, that is on this road.  And we are talking about how to continue this public conversation this year, so stay tuned.
 
This year’s Pre-Event theme was “Growing Beyond”.  As our PR put it:  “We will gather and discuss how we might grow our intentionality in support of aspects of marginalization that are less frequently discussed within our community. Holiday Simmons will facilitate overall, with several small group leaders focusing conversation in specific topic areas. We will explore each of our relationships with issues related of age, nationality / immigration and fat-phobia/body image.”

We gathered informally for a short time, and then Holiday led us in an opening exercise, and we went around and did introductions – the opening question was to share a place we feel safe.  We also wrote about who we wish could be with, and shared some of that with the group.  Then we had attendees count themselves off into three groups, go to separate spaces, and rotate once an hour – so that each group experienced each topic.  Facilitators included Ovid Amorson, Janis Stacy, Gee Imaan Semmalar and his sisters; I co-facilitated the fatphobia conversation with TF’s Director of Community Engagement Louis Mitchell.

Our workshops and the rest of the day were definitely both a learning experience and a success – and that was especially surprising and relieving considering the logistical issues; everything from immigration issues with our immigration facilitators to snack snafus.  Longish story short, more of us were believers in Mercury retrograde by the end of the day.  But we improvised well, and most things were sorted out by dinner – which was from Maoz Vegetarian, sponsored by Lambda Legal.

We had about thirty people, with some coming and going all throughout the event.  Our biggest group by far was from Equality Pennsylvania – here is their photo at the event, taken by Equality PA’s Faith Organizer Ammon Ripple.



I also attended the rest of PTHC, which I hadn’t done since 2012 – more about that in my next post.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Trewscopalian Pride ; > ))

Happy Pride!!

If you're looking to see and/or submit Jewish LGBTQ Pride Month stuff, visit Keshet's page at http://www.keshetonline.org/pride/. Here's a collage I made of my favorite images (yes, that's a Jewish Bear flag, squee!).

Boston Pride is the top story in the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts "E-News for May 2015" of May 20th, and the story's on their site here (EDOM was my diocese from birth until January 2014 when I moved to MD).  But we of TEC need to work on making "I think we're ready for a big fat celebration" a much...bigger double entendre.  #fatjustice

There’s also a Pride month piece in the June issue of Episcopal Church of the Ascension’s newsletter The Ascendant -- which I might have had something to do with (Ascension is our home church).

"June is LGBT Pride Month!

Among its many other meanings, June is LGBT Pride Month; locally, nationally and internationally. Though lesbian / gay / bisexual / transgender / queer et al (LGBTQ) history is as long as human history, in June of 1969, LGBTQ people at New York City’s Stonewall Inn fought back against a police raid. 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.

And the LGBTQ community calendar has grown to include other special days, such as the international Transgender Day of Remembrance each November, where we remember all those who have lost their lives to transphobia – especially trans women of color. And for the first time, Montgomery County is presenting a trans-focused event this month too – more about that soon!

The Episcopal Church has long been a leader in the journey towards LGBT social justice, especially since the 1970s, within the larger Church and faith community as well as in the secular world. And we of TEC are blessed with our own LGBT and allied organizations, including Integrity USA and its transgender-focused partner TransEpiscopal, The Consultation and the Chicago Consultation. And all of these will be continuing their good work at the Church's 78th General Convention, this month and next in Salt Lake City.

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 way we believe out loud is our conversation series Experiencing Diversity At Ascension, which includes LGBTQ issues along with race, class, gender, ability, health, age and more. Stay tuned to this and our other communications for the next part of this process.

For more information about LGBT issues in the Church, we invite you to visit http://www.episcopalchurch.org/page/lgbt-church. Happy Pride!!”