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Books

There are books exploring the intersection of faith and transgenderism. Also see TransFaithOnline's page for a fuller listing.

Trans Affirming

Omnigender: A trans-religious Approach

By Virginia Ramey Mollenkott.  This is easily my favorite book on transgenderism. Mollenkott was assigned female and has always identified as female and a woman and did not identify as transgender for most of her life and may not still. She wrote this book because she realized as a feminist that she did not fit into the Gender Binary and that the Binary  hurt her personally and those around her, especially transgender and intersex people. Thus, she proposed an alternative paradigm for understanding gender she calls "omnigender." The omnigender approach recognizes that a diversity of gender and sex exist and should not be ignored and over-simplified. Because there is no denying the plethora of queer gender, it is impossible to condemn it.

Mollenkott uses a multifaceted approach toward supporting her thesis. She articulates the Gender Binary and how to contradicts the very people who support it. She takes a historical approach of showing the past harm the Binary has inflicted on us and gender variant people the Church has supported. Her greatest contribution is the the solid exegesis of Scripture. She not only disproves the notion that Scripture condemns transgenderism but shows it demands Christians to revoke the Binary.

Transgendering Faith: Identity, Sexuality, & Spirituality

This is a collection of essays and stories from 1 to 10 pages written by a diverse set of gender identities and denominations, edited by Leanne McCall Tigert and Maren C. Tirassi. The first section is written by cisgender allies explaining basic transgender issues. The second section features the stories of individual trans people. These range from coming out to transitioning to dealing with other Christians. The last section gives worship and Bible resources for transgender individuals and affirming parishes.

The first section is nothing special, nothing beyond resources online or what any transgender Christian could tell you unless having it in published form is appealing. The bulk of the book is the personal stories and that's the value of the book. I admire the diversity of perspectives, over two dozen, but none were genderqueer or intersex that I noticed. Some of the Christians are conservative, some progressive, some anguished in their decision to transition, some embraced it, some still struggle, some have found a good parish and family, and some have not. Some see their gender as the expression of God, some focused on personal relationships, and some are just trying to be normal. This is an an exegetical book, but I was delighted to discover a few healthy pieces.

God's Word to Crossing Over: Liberating the Transgendered Christian and

Trans-Gendered: Theology, Ministry, and Communities of Faith

By Vanessa Sheridan and Justin Tanis, respectively.  I'm always reading multiple books at the same time as I unwisely did with these two. They're similar enough that now I can't separate between the two at all so I have only one opinion. As a disclaimer, it may not really be accurate of either. Unfortunately I can't say much good about them. They're certainly good to begin with. A Christian friend of mine without any gender literacy read Sheridan's book and was pretty shocked. I guess I was jaded. They don't have anything you won't find somewhere else, but these make the ideas organized in one (or two) places. They describe the the Church's injustice to trans people and begins to educate about who transgender people are, that they need acceptance without condemnation or forced change into their "true birth" genders, and various other suggestions for a congregation with trans members. A criticism of Tanis in particular is the lack of patience and outright hostility he has toward the unaccepting side of the Church, though it's hard to blame him.

The one chapter I really loved, I believe in Tanis' book, was on the transgender personality of Jesus. He lists more or less every feminine quality and masculine quality and matches them with words and actions from Jesus in the Gospels. I doubt many Christians consider Jesus a manly man, but Tanis' structure analyzes Jesus so far as to reveal an equal balance between the feminine and masculine.

Transgender Good News

By Pat Conover. Some chapters are freely available at his website.

By the Grace of God

This booklet is a collection of various authors edited by Julie Johnson. It can be accessed freely online. As much as I hate to criticize my community, I did not think this book was good at all. Unlike gender defending material, it didn't contain any lies or misinformation; the content was simply weak. At the end of the book, I thought to myself, "What did I just read?" I can't even give it a good review. It had no information or interesting narratives. I respect this book because it was the first modern work on Christianity and transgenderism so it has historical value. And if you need someone to say, "I encourage you!" over and over, you may benefit from it. But I have nothing else to say for it.

Made in God's Image

A short booklet published by a United Methodist parish to introduce cisgender people to transgenderism. Visit the website, godloveseachone.org/madeinimage.

Cross Paths: Where Transgender and Religion Meet

Collection of articles including testimonies and experiences of trans people, and advice from pastors and allies. Available freely online.

Transcendent Christ Transgender Christians

Written by myself. Exploring the relationship between Christianity and transgenderism. A draft is available online.

Still Standing: Musings of a Christian Transsexual

By Cindy Martin. Available here

transACTION A Transgender Curriculum for Churches and Religious Institutions

A workbook for making helping churches understand transpeople and making transpeople feel welcome. The complete text is available online.

Pro-Binary

Transsexuality: Report by the Evangelical Alliance Policy Commission

An anonymous booklet that says transexuals sin by transitioning and shouldn't do it. See my notes so far.

Michelle Danielle Is Dead

By Marie S Rice. A biography of ex-trans Michelle Danielle and her transitions from man to woman to man. After this book, Michelle would transition back to woman like many others.

Flight toward Woman

Flight toward Woman is an introductory manual by Jerry Leach. In brief, he believes transgenderism is caused by wounded relationships with parents and can become comfortable in their assigned gender through healing that relationship (reparative therapy). He does not offer any science to back his claims, only his experience as a counselor with trans clients. I wrote a full analysis of this book and similar writings of Jerry.

Trading My Sorrows

Autobiography of Walt Heyer.

My Daddy's Secret

Denise Shick writes about how knowing her parent's gender identity and eventual transition traumatized her.

Other

Mephistopheles and the Androgyne

By Mircea Eliade.

I betray my nerdiness by revealing the first book I read on transgenderism was by a dead professor of Philosophy or Religion famous only among other profs and writers. My kind of guy. Translated from French, Eliade writes in the middle chapter of this short book describing the important role of the mythic androgyne. God can only be expressed fully as a paradoxical coincidence of opposites. If God were expressed wholly as a human, that human would be both entirely female and entirely male simultaneously. Thus Jesus, at least post-resurrection, must have been an androgyne (not merely intersex) as was the pre-Woman Adam. He traces a number of Biblical and non-canonical early Christian sources with variations on this theme, showing this idea is already built by God into our brains. I don't know that Eliade ever remarked about modern transgenderism - he liked history too much - but I am sure he would have loved genderqueer and intergender. Personally, this has become the foundation of my thinking on Transgenderism.

Changing Channels? A Christian Response to the Transvestite and Transsexual

By David Horton

A short book, 28 pages, giving an overview of transgenderism and how Christians should deal with it. Horton does not condemn transgenderism; he finds no Scripture against it. affirms passages that admit trans people into God's Kingdom, and acknowledges that attempting to change one's gender identity is ineffective, if not dangerous. Horton is not positive, however. He makes negative assumptions (e.g., bigender people come out to their spouse for selfish reasons), that trans people are unfit for raising children, and hints the embracing transgenderism is not good, but the only available choice.The text is available online for free.

See Also

Related Books

Trans in Christian Media