Crossing the T

Life at the intersection of Church and Trans with Rev. Allyson Robinson

Can I Quote You? Donna Rose on what it takes to be an activist

An activist is simply someone who is moved to act.

Transgender activist Donna Rose, at her blog yesterday.

And a comment from me:  Donna’s thinking raises some questions for me–questions I’d ask my congregation if I were in a pulpit this weekend:

  • What is moving you?  If nothing is moving you, why not?
  • How are you acting in response to what moves you?  If you’re not doing anything, why not?
  • What do these things say about you–your true beliefs, your real values, your deepest self?  Are you who you want to be?


  ShannonB wrote @

Its a good question. I ask myself that alot. It is one of the things that motivates me to take part in things, to act on my beliefs and values. Like yesterday I did this:
When I left my house early, early in the morning to drive to Snoqualmie, I had no idea what I was going to do there, I just felt that God wanted me to participate in standing up for those brave kids who were going to take full-on the brunt of intolerance coming from our religion, and I didn’t want them to have to stand alone. I wanted them to know someone else was outside saying that they were doing the right thing, that they were doing the brave thing. I spent most of the day offering supporting words to local parents and clergy, and letting them know that God was working even in this terrible situation that this sleepy mountain community faced. People thanked me for being there, but I felt much more blessed by the opportunity to talk to them, to help in some way…..specifically because I was DOING something useful, and I had to explain to them that it was I who was thanking them for the opportunity to be there and be a part of how God was changing a community.

And that is always one of the most wonderful things about doing and being involved and being an activist for Christ. You always feel that you get so much more out of it than the effort you put in to be there. For me it meant pleading with my boss to let me have the time to be there, to drive up there early in the pre-dawn so that I could be at the school before the kids arrived, to stand in the cold, to put myself forward and offer support to those participating both in word and deed. Yet I came away seeing parents and children so aware of the intolerance that society meets out upon the marginalized, and watched them become energized step up and be counted. I made many new friends that I would not have met if I hadn’t gone, in a place where I might never have otherwise gotten to know anyone.

Each time you do this, God changes you inside. The more you think you are giving, the more you find yourself receiving spiritually and emotionally. It is one of those wonderful things about God’s way, where the last shall be first, the weak shall be strong, the downtrodden will be uplifted, just the opposite of what the world sees as the logical outcome.

For me it is where I learned to trust again. As a trans person we spend a lot of our lives learning not to trust others when we see our friends and family turn their backs on us as we simply be who we are. For me, God taught me to trust again by learning to trust God and just step out and do where the Holy Spirit leads me. Even if I know I am not good at speaking to others, even if I know I am not good at meeting new people, God makes things happen; wonderful things if we are only willing to be obedient to the call to do something.

  Allyson wrote @

I read this earlier today at Bilerico, Shannon, but I didn’t make the connection with the Shannon who occasionally comments on my blog! How neat!

This is really a great story, and for what it’s worth I’m so proud of you for doing what you did. I wish I could have been there with you.

  Sarah wrote @

Shannon, how amazing it must be to have an open heart and sense of being to be able to respond to God’s call. I envy you. My direct line to hear God has a few loose wires and I get distracted easily. Problems abound in my coming to grips with hearing God’s messages. I had shut my feelings up for so long, trying to keep my being trans a secret from everyone, that it was very difficult to hear Him speaking to me within the chaos that surrounded me.
I commend you for standing with the parents and students, and I wish that by your example we may one day live in an accepting neighborhood, and world.

  arizonaabby wrote @

Love moves me! Every day, in whatever way I can, I do my best to extend and receive love. It may come as a supportive word to a trans friend who is struggling to find a way to love and stay with her wife and children and be herself too. It may be a response to a friend who is facing discrimination in the health care coverage at the city where she works, despite their recent adoption of an ordinance banning gender identity discrimination in city employment. It may be offering my services as an attorney to assist a friend facing a difficult divorce whose attorney knows nothing about trans legal issues. And, thankfully, it comes as loving words between my new girlfriend and I about how much we miss each other. It all comes from the same place and it all increases the love that sustains us all.

Thanks, Allyson, for asking these provocative questions.


  Allyson wrote @

Great answers, Abby! I wish everyone who’s listened to me preach would be as responsive to my provocative questions. 🙂 I have occasionally been known to say, “These aren’t rhetorical questions, people!”

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