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Thread: Community Outreach?

  1. #1
    Junior Member WendyH's Avatar
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    Community Outreach?

    Early next month my church is sponsoring a workshop on the experiences of BLGT people; there will be a panel made up of representatives of those groups and a chance for the attendees to ask questions of them. I will be participating as the transgender representative, in Wendy mode. There are several people at church who know about Wendy and have seen pictures, but very few have ever met me en femme. The majority of the congregation is in the dark, so my revelation may come as a big surprise to many.

    My question is, has anyone here had experience with community outreach of this kind, and if so, can you share your experience? Any tips, or common questions I can expect to be asked?

  2. #2
    Girl incognito Staci G's Avatar
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    Wendy

    I belong to a Baptist church and as you know do not agree with the GLBT thing at all, I know I would be ousted if they knew of my dressing at all. What church are you a member of (if I may ask)? Will you continue to dress for church after this outreach? I know I am no help and have only more questions but I am so torn by this subject it hurts. I really like my church and pastor but I don't agree with them all completely, I would love to get another view from a church goer/Christian. I hope you have a great time during the outreach and I hope you enlighten some of the phobes out there. I am sure you will be asked what the Biblical stance is on transgender or crossdressing as well you may be asked out to dinner you are beautiful ya know.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]You unlock this door with the key of imagination. Beyond it is another dimension: a dimension of sound, a dimension of sight, a dimension of mind. You're moving into a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas. You've just crossed over into... the Girly Zone.
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    Gold Member sherri52's Avatar
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    Wendy: You are a brave woman to come out at church. Most churches do not agree with CDs never mind the whole GLBT. A few members of my church have seen me dressed. I got good responses from the older GGs but bad vibes from the 30-50 group. Overall I found it not in my best interest to go any further. The worst question I got can with a very strong facial expression (WHY). Think before you leap. Good luck
    Put a little lipstick on you'll feel better

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    as a lapsed Lutheran, I can't speak for Christians. I applaud your courage in coming out to the congregation, whaterve its demonination, and applaud the congregation for even scheduling such an event. That is highly unusual in this polarized age.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Stephanie Miller's Avatar
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    Hold your head high. Don't show a weakness or they will exploit it. I do not say this to be mean about them, I just say it because any group holds on to what they have accepted as the truth, but in reality may not really be. You will find it very hard to convince a single person in the group to the pro's of GLBT. Even if you were to convince one, they will not show it for fear of being ostracized by the rest of the group. ( You heathen you! )
    I have plenty of experience, as do others on this board, in doing Outreaches of all kinds. You just need to have all your ducks in a row and be able to give facts - religious or/and medical. Do not let get into a debate! It is merely a question and answer element. Not a "Your going to hell so how can you justify it!" type witch on the stake burning. Your going to give YOUR life experiences and facts you know and can back up. A lot of "facts" they give back will be unsubstantiated gossip.
    Have fun girl.

  6. #6
    Junior Member WendyH's Avatar
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    I belong to a Unitarian Universalist congregration, which is very BLGT-positive (we're one of the only denominations that will ordain transgender ministers). So it will not be a hostile audience at all. I have received nothing but support and good vibes from the people I have shared this with so far. I will have a good-sized cheering section that will include my wife. In short, this is about as easy an initial experience as one could ask for!

  7. #7
    Meberette Hope's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WendyH View Post
    Early next month my church is sponsoring a workshop on the experiences of BLGT people; there will be a panel made up of representatives of those groups and a chance for the attendees to ask questions of them. I will be participating as the transgender representative, in Wendy mode. There are several people at church who know about Wendy and have seen pictures, but very few have ever met me en femme. The majority of the congregation is in the dark, so my revelation may come as a big surprise to many.

    My question is, has anyone here had experience with community outreach of this kind, and if so, can you share your experience? Any tips, or common questions I can expect to be asked?
    I have never done any sort of TG outreach - though I would - the option simply haven't presented itself in a way I could. but that is irrelevant here... I have, as clergy, held / moderated a few of these types of community outreach events.

    My advice to you would be to consider your audience.

    Will this be just for church folks, or are outside members of the community welcome too? Has the event been advertised in a way that outside folks would know about it and come? When is it taking place - In the fellowship hall after Sunday worship, or Wednesday night? All of these things (and others) will have an effect on who, and how many show up, and consequently how you would address them. You wouldn't talk to a room full of PhDs the same way you would talk to the alter guild, or the same way you would talk to a group of high school seniors.

    Be prepared for the grumpy curmudgeon. There are folks in your church (no matter how liberal) who think that GLBT issues have no place in the church - he is likely to show up, and he is generally inclined to cause a ruckus. Don't bite. If he brings up a reasonable issue, that you feel competent to address, feel free, otherwise a simple "That is outside the bound of my knowledge / experience" and move on to another question from a different person. Do not engage in a "bible battle," defer scripture / theological issues to the theologian (your pastor). But for the most part, let the moderator handle the curmudgeon.

    If most of the congregation is in the dark, be prepared for a certain amount of surprise from members. That can go both ways - some will be supportive, most will at least be respectful, and there is always the curmudgeon. Be polite to the curmudgeon - even if he doesn't deserve it - ALWAYS be a lady. "Thank you for your input" goes a long way to quieting him down - angry people are often confused by civility and good manners - and you don't have to mean it, just say it - "thank you."

    Don't feel like you have to answer questions you don't know anything about. You are there sharing your own experience (I assume) not as a trained professional in the field of TG issues. If someone asks you about something you have never dealt with - feel free to say so. "I don't know" is WAY better than 3 minutes of fumbling looking for some answer that sounds right, but may not be. That being said - you know a LOT.

    In the end - be prepared. I have found that the only times I stand in front of people and get nervous are the times I have not fully prepared.
    "I don't mind living in a man's world, as long as I can be a woman in it." — Marilyn Monroe

  8. #8
    Aspiring Member Melanie R's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kimdl93 View Post
    as a lapsed Lutheran, I can't speak for Christians. I applaud your courage in coming out to the congregation, whaterve its demonination, and applaud the congregation for even scheduling such an event. That is highly unusual in this polarized age.
    I was a Lutheran (Mo Synod) for 35 years including 3 years in the seminary. After my former church found out I was transgendered I was told I was no longer welcome unless I came to Jesus. An ELC church in Houston is now serving as a full supporter of the community in Houston with the open invitation for all TG's to attend and participate. Change is coming slowly. I doubt if I will ever see acceptance of TG's from SBC churches in my lifetime.
    I love being "gender gifted"! www.pmpub.com

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    Aspiring Member msniki48's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WendyH View Post
    I belong to a Unitarian Universalist congregration, which is very BLGT-positive (we're one of the only denominations that will ordain transgender ministers). So it will not be a hostile audience at all. I have received nothing but support and good vibes from the people I have shared this with so far. I will have a good-sized cheering section that will include my wife. In short, this is about as easy an initial experience as one could ask for!
    Wendy, I agree with you, as our support group meetings are held at a unitarian churc here in nj. as was said before Keep your head up high...smile... and make sure to wear your sunday best!...girl , represent!

    good luck

  10. #10
    Fab Karen Fab Karen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Melanie R View Post
    After my former church found out I was transgendered I was told I was no longer welcome unless I came to Jesus.
    I would've said on the way out the door that "Jesus never taught people to hate."
    [SIZE="3"]Gender is a state of mind[/SIZE]
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  11. #11
    Junior Member WendyH's Avatar
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    Update

    Just a quick update for those interested: the workshop was last night, and it went very well! I got a lot of compliments on my appearance (several people didn't know who I was at first), there were many thoughtful questions, and everyone was super-supportive. Many people thanked all of us panelists for having the courage to open up and share with them. And I have never gotten so many hugs in my life! What a wonderful experience.

  12. #12
    Member bobi jean's Avatar
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    Church

    So when did the church take over forgiveness? I always thought that was up to God. Whether God be a man or a woman, when did the church decide it was up to them and not God to forgive?
    I was raised a methodist, never been overly religious but I thought there was only ONE GOD, and that God was the forgiver. I think Jesus said it best when he said, " Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone ".
    OK, I know that this is likely to cause a lot of controversy, but I don't think this is the place for it. If you have a problem with any of the numberous religions, take it up with them.
    Maybe the MODERATORS need to start a new section on here just for religous reasons.
    and by the way WindyH, I think what you have done should be admired by everyone. Not just those on this site, but by everyone....
    No these are not womens clothes!! THEY ARE MINE, EVEN THE HEELS. (update 4/01/10) THEY ARE NOW ! ! !

  13. #13
    Fashionista VeronicaMoonlit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Staci G View Post
    I really like my church and pastor but I don't agree with them all completely,
    Why agonize over the matter, when there's GLBT friendly denominations and churches. Dump them, get another church. Ones faith is a choice, being TG isn't. Why contribute to the offering plate of your own opression?

    Veronica Rogers
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    Have I also not said that "This Thing of Ours" makes some of us a bit "Barefoot in the Head"? Well, it does.

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    Be true to you...

    >>Why agonize over the matter, when there's GLBT friendly denominations and churches. Dump them, get another church. Ones faith is a choice, being TG isn't. Why contribute to the offering plate of your own oppression?


    I have always agreed with this.

    I have never understood people fighting the uphill fight when they could just sidestep the problem and move onto a better solution.

    If you have to fight, fine. But, if you don't have to, don't.

    Having said that, I do understand the human needs and attachments that go with belonging and community. Those are real feelings.

    But, what's also real is if you like the people but disagree with much of what they are doing, you are not really with and of those people.

    Make a change for the better.

    Curiously, many churches only "change their tune" when they realize people are no longer buying what they are selling.

    By voting with your feet, you change their numbers and their thinking....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Melanie R View Post
    I was a Lutheran (Mo Synod) for 35 years including 3 years in the seminary. After my former church found out I was transgendered I was told I was no longer welcome unless I came to Jesus. An ELC church in Houston is now serving as a full supporter of the community in Houston with the open invitation for all TG's to attend and participate. Change is coming slowly. I doubt if I will ever see acceptance of TG's from SBC churches in my lifetime.
    it was encouraging to hear that there was an open minded ELC church in Houston. I understand that ELC is or has recently accepted ordination of gay/lesbian pastors.

    I hear you on the Mo Synod. the MS bishop wouldn't even allow our ELC pastor and the MS pastor to co-officiate at a mixed (ELC/MS) wedding. Can you imagine? It's a fairly recent phenomenon.

  16. #16
    I dress to feel pretty Tina P Hose's Avatar
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    That was a pretty big thing to do, Wendy, you ROCK !
    From Madrid to Montreal that underneath it all that Tina prefers pantyhose

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