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Spirituality and Transgender Health

by Chris Paige


  

Spirituality as a powerful resource for transgender health -- that's the foundation of our work with Transfaith.

While we may sometimes say we do "transgender religious organizing," our goal is not to increase religiosity or piety. We are not about making "perfect" people or handing out "right" answers. We aren't even trying to make people more "optimistic."

The way we phrase it in our formal mission statement is about equipping and cultivating diverse expressions of gender-affirming spiritual vitality.  "Vitality" because we are ultimately most concerned with the health and well-being of people of transgender and/or gender non-conforming experiences. 

Cultivating spiritual vitality is about helping us all to be more alive, more resilient, more authentic, more engaged, more creative.  It's about genuine humility (not the self-hatred that sometimes passes for virtue) that makes space for all of our different stories and perspectives. It's about finding enough serenity (to change what we can and accept what we can't) to live well in our own skin even while the world remains a less than perfect place. Spiritual vitality is about bringing our whole selves (body, mind, heart, spirit) to the journey, not about achieving some specific end point.

We know that because of religious bigotry and wide-spread ignorance, many of us seek spiritual meaning and nurture outside the halls of religious institutions.  With Transfaith, we seek to work on both sides of that divide: to better equip religious institutions to be supportive of transgender health, while also actively engaging transgender communities more broadly.

We say "diverse," because there are so many ways that transgender people approach spirituality -- including the choice not to work with spirituality at all. Do you speak of a Higher Power? Or meditate without reference to a deity? Do you identify as a polytheist? Or maybe an atheist? Are you working for change in religious institutions?  Or finding creative ways to sustain one another beyond those confines? 

Transfaith is about all of that and more!  We are eager to listen to and share the ways that transgender lives are being impacted through spiritual engagement in all the many ways it manifests. What works for one of us may not work for another, but we are sure to be encouraged as we listen to one another and deepen our understanding.

Chris Paige

  

 
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