Oct262014
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News Archive (2014)

Trans Information

1%: Approximately one-percent of persons experience themselves as gender-diverse, that is, as not conforming to traditional categories of exclusively masculine or feminine. This may be so small a percent as to be irrelevant: “what has this to do with me?” But if I myself or my child or my spouse or a sibling is included in this percentage, this is no small matter. Because of widespread cultural sensitivity concerning gender, these persons are often seen as marginal—misfits or outcasts.

Forsaking the Normal: Biblical Tales of Transformation

We go to the Christian Scriptures for guidance in our moral lives. What are the norms we should follow? In search of the normal, we instead find the Bible telling endless stories about paradox, reversals of fortune, and transformation. Yet, convinced that diversity represents defect or signals deviance, we cling to the belief that the normal will keep us on the straight and narrow. The church conspires in this longing, interpreting biblical passages (“male and female God created them”) to insist on a normal that admits no variance.

Graceful Bodies and the Play of Gender

It is you who formed my inmost parts. You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139)

Catholics of an earlier generation were taught that as infants we begin life already marked by original sin. This wound, we learned, stains the soul and is registered in the body, particularly in the lustful urges that may lead to sins of the flesh. We begin life as damaged goods.

Transgender Lives and Catholic Hospitality

Transgender lives remain invisible to most Americans. Throughout history, different social groupings have been assigned to the boundaries of society where they remain largely out of sight. In the novel Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison uses this metaphor to capture the cultural status of African-Americans in mid-century America. Gays and lesbians remained for many decades in concealment, in darkened closets or segregated colonies, until the events at Stonewall in 1969 propelled them into full view. Erin Swenson, a transgender Presbyterian minister, remarks that “the transgendered in our congregations are invisible and will remain invisible until it is clear that they are accepted.” Recent dramatic changes in American society have begun to usher the transgender community into the healing light.

Publications Committee Chair’s Note

By Leo N. Egashira,
DignityUSA Publications Committee Chair

DignityUSA thanks the Whiteheads for writing these thought-provoking, hopeful essays on Transgender Spirituality, a topic that challenges the boundaries of traditional Catholic thinking and one that speaks to the very core of DignityUSA’s mission. Special thanks are due to DignityUSA Secretary, Mary Kaye Radtke, for her professional photos. Three of the essays are compiled herein; three more will be featured in the next issue of QV.

DignityUSA Protests Role of Msgr. Tony Anatrella in Extraordinary Synod on Family, Calls for His Removal

Boston, MA. September 10, 2014. DignityUSA, the nation’s leading organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Catholics and allies, is outraged that Msgr. Tony Anatrella has been appointed as one of the “Collaborators of the Special Secretary” at the upcoming Extraordinary Synod on the Family, a worldwide meeting of Catholic Church officials that will set the agenda for the full Synod on the Family that will take place in 2015.

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Work in the Vineyard

In the northeast, fall brings on colder weather. In other areas of the country, the weather may be kinder. It is time to get back to work, to focus on what we said can wait until fall. If someone asked us in June whether we could help out on a project, many of us may have said, "Could you get back to us in the fall?"

Now is the time. DignityUSA depends on all its volunteers, from its Board of Directors, committee members, and other volunteers who commit themselves to one project, which can consist of a small project or phone call, because they are an expert in their field. 

Becoming Church and Eucharist Together

By Sam Albano, DUSA Young Adult Caucus Secretary

In recent weeks, two stories from the gospels have captivated me. In the “Feeding of the Multitude,” Jesus’ disciples were confronted with hungry crowds, but had only two fish and five loaves of bread to offer them. ...  At the Last Supper, Jesus knelt down to wash the disciples’ feet and instructed them that they were now to do likewise. ... Reflecting on our recent young adult retreat, these two stories offer some insight into the meaning of this wonderful weekend.

Bullsh*t

Now that we’ve got your attention, a bit of context. This was the word used by a former Dignity member in the comment section of a DignityUSA Facebook post featuring statistics with regard to  same-sex adoptive parents. The “BS” responder was very upset with the direction he sees Dignity moving. Why all this attention to issues of equality and justice? Why not return to the good old days of our “gay community”?

Challenges and Opportunities

By Lourdes Rodriguez- Nogues, President, DignityUSA

During the weekend of July18 -20, the Board had its second face-to-face meeting of the year, this time in Madison, Wisconsin. The folks from the Integrity/Dignity Madison community were very gracious hosts and we enjoyed joining them at their liturgy on Saturday night, followed by a gourmet pizza party. Thank you, Madison, for sharing your gifts with us, and for your warm, welcoming spirit. Thank you also, for your loyal support of DignityUSA and your generous contribution of talent and treasure through the years.

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