Quaker Queries about Transgender Inclusion in GLb(t) Orgs

Cotswold stone wall

One of t the things I like about moving with the Quakers is the quality of questions we ask each other.  We have a long history of asking questions that cause of to reflect inwardly and outwardly.

For three decades (more?) queer Quakers have been meeting in North America under a variety of names that have changed as the group has changed and grown. Currently the Friends for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Concerns (FLGBTQC or as I like to say, Flibbity Gibbitz) meets each winter and summer for gatherings. (Next one is in February in New York State).

Last month I got involved with a lot of activism around transgender issues and particularly the inappropriate and offensive actions of some queer organizations and gay men. You can read about it at my post: Remembering Jorge while Forgetting what Binds Us to learn more.

Oliver Danni, a deliciously queer vegan transgender Quaker (and so much more) wrote a list of queries for the FLGBTQC to consider in regards to transgender inclusion in LGBT organizations. With Oliver Danni’s permission, I reprint the e-mail message here. Perhaps some of the reflections questions can contribute to the on-going discourse. Please feel free to copy any question and answer it in the comment section (or blog about it elsewhere!) There are some references to Quaker organizations and Quaker terms. You can learn about some of these terms here, but knowing them is not essential to appreciating Oliver Danni’s questions.

Peterson raised an interesting question on Facebook, and I thought it would be a good discussion for us to have here, too. His question,”What shall we do with all these GLb(t) organizations?”, lifts up the concern that amongst organizations which describe themselves as “GLBT”, it is common that only gay and lesbian people will be fully included, while bisexuals will be “kind of” included, and transgender people will not really be at all.

The discussion left me inspired to articulate some queries with which I have long since been dancing in this community, and once again I wish to invite you all to dance with me and my F/friendly queries. 🙂

  • What is your vision of a fully transgender-inclusive organization? What would that organization be doing? How would we evaluate that this organization had reached the same level of inclusiveness for transgender people as it had for gay, lesbian, and bisexual people?
  • In what ways do you feel that FLGBTQC has been successful in becoming a more fully transgender-inclusive organization?
  • In what ways do you feel that we could be more inclusive of transgender people in the FLGBTQC community?
  • What impact do you see FLGBTQC having currently on the inclusion of transgender people in the Quaker world (Meetings or churches, FGC, FUM, Quaker service organizations)? What is your vision of how we could have an even greater impact?
  • How has the ministry of FLGBTQC with regard to transgender people influenced you personally? How has your personal ministry influenced the FLGBTQC community’s inclusion of transgender people? (Yes, this question is flip-floppable!)

Please, respond to any of these queries which speaks to you, or to another to which you find yourself led. This is not a “survey” or assignment where you need to answer all the questions in essay form –just an invitation to some electronic worship sharing. 🙂

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This post has 8 Comments

  1. Jane on December 9, 2009 at 2:37 pm Reply

    I want to borrow these questions and pose them to the Pacific Northwest Reconciling Ministries. Our bow to the T last year was not enough. One page of the quarterly newsletter is not enough. I’m still really pondering and growing in my own life with regards to the T; I want to grow some others with me.

    • Oliver Danni on December 9, 2009 at 11:16 pm Reply

      Jane, I welcome you (and anyone!) to use these queries in any way that you feel led, and would love to hear about any responses you receive or reactions that you have.

  2. Oliver Danni on December 9, 2009 at 11:20 pm Reply

    I encourage folks to substitute the name of any organization or community which is meaningful in your life for “FLGBTQC” which is the one most meaningful in mine. For additional translation assistance, try “work”, “mission”, or “action(s)” where you see “ministry” if that’s more appropriate for your group.

    I also encourage everyone to capitalize … See Moreall letters of our acronyms (or none, if you don’t like to capitalize) unless specifically referring to an organization or situation where a group is being excluded or poorly represented. We can address inequality better if we begin with a vision of equality.

    Much love and many blessings to all! Thank you for posting this, Peterson. 🙂

  3. Diana on December 14, 2009 at 10:15 am Reply

    I have been thinking about one of the questions that was asked, “How would we evaluate that this organization had reached the same level of inclusiveness for transgender people as it had for gay, lesbian, and bisexual people?”

    And I think I have a simple answer… when you stop asking that question. You will know because you will be able sense the point where it is no longer an issue. You will know when you are sitting around a table and the trans-people at the table you are not thinking of them any more as trans-people, but as friends.

    • Oliver Danni on December 14, 2009 at 6:50 pm Reply

      Diana, I like that answer! It makes me think of a little kid in the back seat of the car going “Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?” Once we get there, the kid doesn’t need to ask anymore. 🙂

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