September 26, marked my first 60 days as RMN’s new Transgender Community Organizer. These past 60-odd days have been full—opening relationships, getting to know folks, and entering the work with a team of dedicated, creative, and gifted folks. So, it seems a fitting time to introduce myself to all of you.

It’s always daunting to talk about oneself.

What to tell? What to leave out? What matters most? In this case, sharing some parts of my story that inform my work seems a good beginning. Sharing, perhaps, some of what matters.

When I was a child, in the 1960s, I began expressing a growing sense of being a boy. This troubled my parents because they understood me to be a six-year-old girl. So, as good parents do, they sought help for me and sent me to a psychiatrist. There is always more to the telling than a summary can offer; but, the sum of the details is this: I received some powerful medication, then, was conditioned to accept being a girl. Despite resulting impairments in forming and retaining memories; despite the messaging that I could not trust my own sense of things, that I was inherently flawed; despite learning my safety and survival depended on keeping quiet and going along to get along, something within me, something deep inside my skin, knew there was a more to my selfhood. This thing in me—this persistent Is-ness of selfhood—knew the truth. And, more, this persistent self refused to be fully quiet or compliant. In stages, and over years of growing, developing, losing my way, and making new ways, I managed to discern and manifest a resonate self. One I could live with. I am aware I am not alone on such a journey.

I seek, in my work, to celebrate the grace-filled persistent Is-ness of being, of personhood: to proclaim that to be a human being is to be endowed with identity—more, that this endowed identity is given by a loving, endlessly creating, Holy Parent.

This brings me to another aspect of my story that profoundly informs my work. I was raised mostly in the South and in the Baptist church. There, messages of being flawed became messages of abomination. Assertion of selfhood became willful sin and corruption of spirit. I am aware I am not alone in receiving and being harmed by lessons like these. In stages, and over long years, I discerned a still-speaking Sacredness that resonated beyond the pulpit-pounding perversions of God and scripture I was given. I am aware that, in this, I am also not alone. Even as our personal is-ness of being persists, God’s Persistent Is-ness of Being abounds, abides with us, whispering to us. To all of creation.

I am joyfully aware there are many ways we all hear the Sacred speaking. I am deeply interested in those ways of hearing.

I offer these glimpses into my story to open conversation with you, to invite your stories, wisdom, and experience—as transgender persons, partners, parents, allies. I’m interested in deeper dialogue, together, about these things that matter most. The persistent is-ness of being. And the ways we hear the Holy One speaking into that sense of being.


Liam invites you to share your stories, wisdom, and experience with him directly: Please email him at liam@rmnetwork.org

 

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