So good today to meet with a lovely trans man (and fellow Uniting Church person) and then to be able to record this invitation - from Pitt Street Uniting Church in the heart of Sydney (so often a religious - and currently a dodgy political - anti-trans zone) to share with gender diverse people, in the Transgender Day of Visibility (TDoV) on or around Wednesday 31 March
- sharing 3 'Ds' of Visibility:
Displaying (the light and gifts of gender diverse people);
Dispelling (the shame, suffering and nonsense which has been inflicted upon gender diverse people);
& Dispersing (the love and beauty of our kaleidoscopic humanity in all its glorious difference)
Trans Day of Visibility prayer and other resources also available elsewhere on this website
This was SUCH a joy! A little bit of history too, as, in being inducted as the Minister-in-Placement at the Pitt Street Uniting Church in Sydney, I became the first transgender person to be called and inducted into ministry in a Christian Church in Australia.
I have been quite moved this week - with all kinds of trans pride, past trauma and hope rising up - as the reality sinks into my body and consciousness that the Uniting Church makes a vital little bit of history this Sunday. For we hold the first ever Induction in a mainstream Australian Church of an openly transgender ordained person (as distinct from allowing someone to continue in an existing role after coming out) - and without all the cruel insistence on justifying trans existence so often present around us. Trans people do not need churchy validation, but, my God, as I know from others, it makes such a difference for so many journeys of affirmation and empowerment when pathways are opened. It is a huge tribute to those who have made the way - to trans and other queer people ourselves, and not least to those in the Pitt Street story who've created the ground for this and other things (not least my distinguished predecessors). Of course, this placement is about much, much more, but it is one significant aspect. There's a long way to go, but I'm so proud of the Uniting Church in this, and pray that it may be a contribution to the much needed changes in law, health, and education required to support gender diverse people who are currently under such attack (not least in New South Wales right now. I'm also thrilled to have so many different people attending, and messages of encouragement, from right across the Christian and community spectrum, and I know that what we share on Sunday is part of the broader changes coming into being also. May all people and their/our gifts flourish!
So gorgeous to share in Uniting’s Mardi Gras party today - online this year (this picture is from earlier at Pitt Street Uniting Church) but still full of wonderful life and diverse contributions, and offering a great example of encouragement to other faith-related organisations :-)
Wonderful to have Sorèl Coward, my dear friend and fellow Anglican priest, sharing some of her story as a keynote contribution to this year’s Sydney Mardi Gras - another beautiful expression of the rich diversity, generosity and developing life of our fabulous Australian queer community.
It was a delight to share together with MCC Brisbane on our last Sunday evening in Brisbane - with special thanks to Pastor Alex Pittaway for leading a special blessing of Penny and I as we head south, to my dear friend Kevin Green for his sermon, and everyone involved. I am deeply grateful to MCC Brisbane for the love, encouragement, fun and divine glitter we’ve shared over the last five years. A truly, fully, affirming church is such a profound joy and gift to the world - may more and more flourish!
For (too) many years, with others, I've coaxed and cajoled. Sadly though, at this transition point, I’m going to have to say it clearly once more - many ‘affirming’ church leaders truly frustrate me and are major problematic parts of the continuing ‘issues’ that churches and wider society have with sexuality & gender Individually some church leaders can be quite kindly in disposition, as well as otherwise gifted, but as a body they are a key element of the (straight) problem we have, alongside the bigots they refuse to face down publicly. It also sometimes feels like they are stuck in a time warp. For two things stand out...
I am humbled and honoured to be included in the Outstanding 50 LGBTI+ Leaders 2020 Report by Deloittes, particularly because of the extraordinary leaders who have been included from so many fields and the encouragement this provides for others. It is just wonderful to see the range of amazing people and their work. I am not least thankful for this recognition of both the transgender community locally and nationally and also affirming people of faith, not least Equal Voices, whom my inclusion signifies and celebrates. It is amazing that there are indeed two Anglican priests included, with myself and my friend Fr Stuart Soley from St Mark's Fitzroy in Melbourne - a hopeful sign of some progress and positive future in our sadly contested faith spaces.
For more information and the full #out50 list click here.
What is an 'indecent' body to you? Marcella Althaus-Reid, one of the most stimulating of modern theologians, posed this question vibrantly. Her best known book, entitled Indecent Theology, challenged us to reconsider how we see and talk about bodies - especially female, sexually and gender diverse, poor and colonised bodies - all which have been treated as ‘indecent’. This, for me, is certainly at the heart of a healthy understanding of gender identity, and, crucially, affirms the gifts which gender diverse people have for the whole body of Christ and the whole body of society and our planet. It also takes us to the heart of 1 Corinthians chapter 12, where St Paul specifically commends us to honour the ‘weaker’, ‘less honourable’, ‘less respectable’ members of the Body of Christ. For, as Paul affirms, these ‘indecent’ members are ‘indispensable’, requiring ‘greater’ honour and respect...
The Revd Dr Jo Inkpin: