Your Silence Is Deafening: An Open Letter To the Target Boycotters

This is one worth the space here. She captures my frustration with these arguments – especially since I am in the group of people they are throwing under then bus.

Drifting Through


I hear you.

You’re angry.

I get it, I’m angry too.

I’m not talking to the people who are angry at Target because their Pro Transgender bathroom policy flies in the face of their cherry picked moral compass. I’m not under any obligation  to respect their beliefs. 

I’m talking to you… the people who have no issue with sharing a bathroom with LGBT people. I’m talking to those of you who are speaking out about this bathroom policy, expressing concern over the women and children who you fear will be in danger because of this policy.

You’re reasonable people. You aren’t expressing hate or bigotry. You just worry. You worry about your kids, your wives, your sisters. I worry too.

I probably worry too much. I have always accompanied my younger kids to the bathroom in public places. When my son was too old to go into the women’s room, I…

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butterfly_emerging copy

Sophia Sojourn is going to be experiencing some much needed upgrades in the comings days. There may be some outages. In which case you can’t read this post and it’s a moot point. But if you’re reading this now and you come back later – you may have issues. OR – in an alternate universe the upgrade will go smoothly and without a bug or a hitch and you will never know the difference. Here’s hoping.



Filed under Biographical, Divorcing and Pressing On, Faith Evolving, Frequently (or at least once) Asked Questions, Living Aboard, Loving me so I can love you., Trans Journey


I sat awake last night memorized by the gentle rainfall.


Rain is always a mixed blessing on the boat. On the one hand the drops hitting the tin roof that covers the slips create their own sort of meditative melody. It’s a somewhat natural song that combines with the wind and the tiny splashes of rain drops hitting to lake itself creating a musical effect that shouts both strength and peace in one single verse.

On the other hand, the consistent rain throws my thoughts back to this time last year when the lake level started rising…and rising…and rising. Dwelling on those thoughts last night woke up my “inner geek” and I did a few google searches and calculations. Here is Continue reading

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Answering Michael Brown’s Open Letter to Bruce Springsteen

Here is a reblog from a friend and fellow mama Bear. And my thanks to this Michael Brown fellow for giving her the framework to articulate the issues so clearly. Your ignorance became our gift.

knitting soul


There’s an open letter to Bruce Springsteen making the rounds. In case you missed what prompted it, The Boss canceled a concert in North Carolina following the passage of HB2 which, among other things, demands that trans men and women use the bathrooms that align with their sex at birth, rather than their true gender.

I’ll be honest, I don’t have any strong feelings about boycotting a state. It feels a little too big, a little too hard to nail down. I’m going to guess that gay and transgender people have jobs there that are hurt by large boycotts, and I’m not sure how we help the LGBTQ population by damaging the economy of their state. I understand the desire to bring attention to the problem, I’m just iffy on the logistics of most boycotts.

But back to Michael Brown’s open letter to Springsteen. I feel okay answering this on Springsteen’s…

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With Open Arms

It was the first time my arms were bare.

As I stood up to give a workshop on being Transgender to The Reformation Project’s 2016 Leadership Development Cohort, I was keenly aware that this was the first time I had ever spoken publicly with my arms showing from the shoulders down. It was an intentional move on my part. After staying up until all hours of the morning rewriting pieces of my presentation, I looked at my planned wardrobe and decided to leave off the cumbersome cardigan I had brought to go with the ensemble. This may seem petty thing to be writing about giving the intense depths we reached as a cohort during our studies over the last few months, but I’ll explain Continue reading


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Honor and Shame – (Last week of the 2016 Leadership Cohort)

TRP logoWe are on the final stretch of the Reformation Project’s 2016 Leadership Development Cohort. One week from today we will be gathering in Atlanta for a few days on intense teaching and discussion. I’m also very privileged to be presenting on my transgender experience during our time in Atlanta.

Thanks to those who have already contributed to our Cohort’s financial goals. For those who have intended to but haven’t yet – now is your chance! We are within $3,500 of reaching our overall goal! Please consider making a contribution to this great organization and project. You can do that at this link. Any amount will be appreciated!

In the meantime, here is another one of my contributions to the cohort reflecting on a reading from book by Jim Brownson, “Bible, Gender and Sexuality”. I have been dealing with feelings of guilt this past year as I’ve navigated going back to school, earning a living and support my kids. It has made me aware that the “honor-shame” culture the reading refers to is still alive and well.

“The church will stay on much stronger and clearer footing – and remain more closely linked with its Scripture – if it approaches honor and shame more clearly in the light of deeper and more sustainable scriptural principals.” (Brownson, p. 221)

In chapter 10 of “Bible, Gender and Sexuality” Brownson addresses what anthropologists call the “honor-shame” culture in which the ancient writers of scripture operated. This is basically a code that says some things bring a person recognition and respect (honor) while others will cause a person to fall from favor (shame). This is often seen as a closed system, meaning if one person is honored (a winner) then someone else is shamed (a looser). One of the many things we see in this system over the course of history is that it is fluid: it varies depending on the time and culture.

Once upon a time marrying the widow of your brother would bring you honor – even if you already had a wife. The very same act would be considered scandalous in contemporary Christian cultures. There was also a time when treating your slaves with respect and dignity would bring honor to your family and estate (and doing so was taught from the pulpits); today even having them would be not only illegal but also disgraceful. Paul experienced the fluidity of the honor culture in his own life experience when, having met Christ, he is transformed from a zealot, hunting and killing followers of Christ, to an Apostle – proclaiming the name and power of Christ.

So what does this mean as we look at the issues of sexuality and gender in scripture? For that matter, what does it mean about anything that is prohibited in scripture? In short it means we need to ask “why”. Why do what have Mosaic laws that imposed the death penalty when the same offenses today might barely receive a scolding? Why is Sampson’s strength zapped when his hair is cut short in the Old Testament only to have Paul declare that long hair is inappropriate for men in the New Testament (and then have most artistic interpretations of Jesus show him with long hair)?

Looking at the Biblical cultures in light of an honor and shame culture casts a bright light on the modern environment that has evolved in and around the Church. Our concepts of sin, salvation, purity and righteousness are all driven by an idea that revolves around what we see as shameful and what we believe will bring honor to ourselves or those in our community.

While we may have rewritten the rules a little to place Christ as the intermediary for our shame and the recipient of our honor (glory), we still nonetheless measure and judge one another with the same scales, balancing out our modern standards. “Tithing”, “devotionals”, “education”, and “service” are all examples of the pools in which we collect the sum on ones honor. To some degree, even the depth from which a person has been saved (the drug dealer weighs more than the drug user) adds more depth to that pool of honor.

Shame also has it’s own shadows. And the honor system that the church creates becomes the artificial light that casts those shadows around us.

The system has changed through the centuries. The one thing that has remained the same, from the Spanish inquisition to the modern fundamentalists, is the passion with which they hold to the system. Their own light is blinding, preventing them from seeing system itself; and more importantly – the way it impacted the writers of the Old and New Testaments.

God calls us to step into His light, which he summed up like this: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and Love your neighbor as yourself.

Brownson addresses the notion that shame can be healthy: specifically that the idea of bringing harm to someone should be shameful and cause us to reevaluate our way of thinking. This type of shame over the harmful patterns in our lives can lead to a healthy “guilt” over our specific actions. When this process happens in a community where they can be replaced with more healthy (honorable, if you will) patterns and actions, such as recovering from addiction in a 12-step community, shame and guilt can work together to motivate change for the better. (It should be noted however that even in these communities, the shame does not come from the community, but rather from the person themselves and manifests itself in a desire to change.)

The honor-shame culture was also the concept behind the now discredited “reparative” or “conversion” therapy programs. These programs targeted LGBT individuals (mostly youth) in an attempt to shame them out of their same-sex attractions or cross-gendered beliefs and into a more culturally conforming hetrosexual, cis-gendered pattern of thought. It is also the result of such approaches from the church to the LGBT community as “love the sin and hate the sinner” or “accepted but not approved”. Our presence is encouraged, but the same is reinforced.

The question we have to ask when addressing issues surrounding gender and sexuality is whether or not the shame is healthy or toxic? Or to put it another way, “is the shame preventing harm or causing it”? Are gay and lesbian followers of Christ failing to fulfill Christ’s summary of the law, or are they simply on the loosing end of a modern iteration of an honor-shame culture?

Is there honor in shaming someone who has done no harm?

Brownson says it like this:

“What is honorable is what contributes to a form of life and dignity that is permeated by the gospel of Christ. What is shameful is any impulse or behavior that diminishes life and dignity, as that life and dignity is portrayed in the gospel of Christ.” (p. 221)

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It’s a New Day #13

new day 13

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March 23, 2016 · 7:25 am


I just finished a 2 month long study with some incredible ladies at The Marcella Project. We were talking about being made in the image of God – ALL of us. Last night we gathered for an extra night of study that The Marcella Project’s founder Jackie Roese calls a “Salon.” (No, we weren’t getting our hair done. It’s a throwback to the days in France when women were not allowed to be formally educated, but would gather in their homes to educate each other. We’ve come a long, long way.)

This particular Salon focused on the importance of relationships between women; specifically the tendency to compare and compete – attributes of relationships strongly driven by fear and envy.

Waking up this morning I decided to take a break from my readings on scripture and sexuality. Instead I was just going to read Paul’s letter to the Philippians. It is a usually a breath of fresh air; like arms reaching out from 2000 years ago and giving me a hug from a loving, caring big brother.

I didn’t make it past the first two words: “Paul and…”


The ruins of the Basilica at Philippi. 

I’ve read them literally a few hundred times, but never paid attention to them. I flipped through the first verses of all Paul’s letters to the various churches that we regard as scripture and noticed that of the 8 such letters, only two were accredited to Paul alone.

Paul was in community, writing to communities. As I’ve studied several of the issues that Paul addresses in the letters, the theme of unity in the church has emerged as a major concern of his ministry: more to the point the unity between the Jewish and Gentile believers. The things he focuses on (diet and circumcision, for example) were major differences between the two cultures. The things he addresses but does not urge any changes (such as gender roles) were issues on which the two cultures were already very much aligned.

If Paul where in America today what would he be writing to my church about? What about your church? What is damaging unity in the body of Christ? Who are you in community with that will show the unity that God desires for us; that Christ specifically prayed for (see John 17)?

And more importantly, if you were writing a letter who would your “and…” be? It might be a spouse, but maybe not. Who has your back and whose back to you have, like Timothy and Paul had each other’s? I know that many of us have recently walked away from support networks as a result of our stand for ourselves or for people we love. Some of those networks were a lifetime in the making.

Let’s not let fear or discouragement keep us from the joy of being in community. Rebuild that inner circle. Find your “and…” and be the “…and” to someone.

I have an idea it will be life-saving for us and perhaps many others.

(Please take a moment to visit the “My Book” tab on the blog. Help me get the book published with your financial gift and/or pre-ordering a copy of “Shattering Masks”!) 

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New B.O.A.T. Talks! (Finally)

So life has carried me away a little and I fell a little (like a month) behind on my B.O.A.T. Talks. The good news is no one is going to dock my pay for the delay! Please check out Episode 2 Parts 2 AND 3 on the B.O.A.T. Talks Tab.

Thanks for stopping by and happy spring!

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“Shattering Masks” Preview – Opening Chapter 6

We are halfway through our weekend fundraising effort and we still have a ways to go before we reach the goal. I was asked to share an excerpt from the book and I am more than happy to oblige! This is one of my favorite moments in the story where my perspective on growing and healing took a turn for the better. I hope you enjoy it!

Chapter 6

“It’s a new day and I’m learning that if my mind is to truly find its voice, my heart must also find its song.”

The “Feeling” Void

For about a year after my brush with suicidal plans, I began the process of unmasking myself and finding some sense of true identity. As I worked to unwind and redirect various thought patterns, I was under the assumption that I was “unable to connect with my emotions.” I had actually been told that by a care-provider while I was in the hospital. I will give her the benefit of the doubt and say her intent was good; the fact is I wasn’t connecting with my emotions. Whenever the need to process an event or concept arose, I went straight for the analytical kill. I had answers. I had thoughts. Good ones. They had carried me this far and they were good enough to keep carrying me further.

Then again, I was in the hospital after an episode of suicidal ideation that progressed to making a plan. I was in a marriage that was rapidly deteriorating and I was incredibly confused about my own identity. How effective were my thoughts, really? How reliable were the concepts that constantly required me to find just the right personality disguise for any given moment? Perhaps it was time to give this whole feeling thing a chance.


I began to work on my emotional vocabulary. I had graphs and charts and wheels. I assigned them colors with varying intensity. If there was a logical way to process emotions, I was going to find it and make it work, every time, all the time. I don’t know if it was finally getting hormones to balance out in my body or if I was just getting in better touch with reality, but that approach to experiencing feelings quickly failed. If I was going to get a grip on this whole emotional side of me, I was just going to have to let go and start to “feel”.

I had been working for a while on meditation techniques as a way to mitigate the impact of stress and anxiety on my mind and body. It was during these meditation moments that I started to take pictures of sunrises and the first “It’s a new day” posts emerged on the blog. It was also during one of these morning meditations, sitting on the deck of Sophia Sojourn (my houseboat), that I began to grab hold of some memories. In particular, these were emotional memories that held joy and love and passion as well as sorrow and hurt and confusion.

The lake was on fire with the days emerging light. The herons and ducks were stretching their wings and venturing out of their nesting spots. I don’t know if it was the warmth of the sun or the gentle breeze and the rocking boat, but I was taken back to a more innocent time when I felt emotions with more freedom, with more abandon and fewer walls around my heart and soul. I was back on the beaches of Puerto Rico, specifically the cliffs that separated our neighborhood from the blue water crashing into the shore beneath them.

I remembered sitting there and composing poems and songs, deep from the heart – at least as deep as a twelve-year-old heart can reach – and free of concerns like logic, practicality and responsibility. I remembered specific verses even though the papers that held them have long since been lost:

The sun is setting on the deep blue sea;

As I sail in its reflection, this is the song it sings:

‘Home is where you are going;

Home from the sea;

Home is where you are going;

Where you ought to be.’

There were dozens of them and they reflected what I was feeling as clearly as the water reflected the sunrise. As I was flooded with these memories, thoughts of hope and courage came over me. Somewhere in my soul, a desire for adventure was reborn. The contrast of those innocent memories with my emotionally stifled present reality brought my mind back to that comment in the hospital when I had been confronted with my inability to emote. It wasn’t that I was incapable of taping into my emotions; I had come to fear them.

Please take a moment to do two things:

  1. jump over to the gofundme page and make a donation. You’ll be reserving your copy of the book and helping get the story out to those who may need to hear it.
  2. Share – on your social media, via email, on your blog, with your neighbor. However you spread the word in your circles, please share this opportunity to be a part of this project!

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