Spoiler alert: after some of the points below emerged from worship-sharing and discussion of the NPYM minute on welcoming people of all genders, Meeting for Business pretty much yawned and approved the minute as worded. Then RantWoman went home and still could not quiet herself on themes exercising her. There WILL Be another opportunity to have a crack at wordsmithing during Annual Session. How strongly will RantWoman be led to invest time?
RantWoman has been digesting the results of recent worship-sharing during Meeting for Business in connection with NPYM's process of seasoning a minute about including and welcoming people of all genders.
The short version: despite important education, RantWoman is grappling with a sense of ERASURE.
ERASURE? Look, it's REALLY important that new people get to learn and grapple with concepts. Yeah, and RantWoman thinks there is history and struggle and the whole reason we have a whole lot more and different vocabulary than previous decades to talk about concepts is exactly because of STRUGGLE.
Erasure of history: RantWoman is a little surprised that so far, RantWoman has not received any documents that look at history of work on transgender issues within NPYM. RantWoman knows there IS history and that it is important. RantWoman has ZERO leading to look up for instance in the 1993 edition of our Faith and Practice and reiterate herself but does admit that she would find it really nice both to be able to find assorted documents cited in this process either on her own Meeting's website or easily located on the Yearly meeting website. Will RantWoman dig out of her email archives and insist...for the benefit of the whole community having one place to go? Stay tuned.
Erasure of other Quaker connections. RantWoman can absolutely see why a big city like Portland (or Seattle) might have as many or more resources close at hand as a Quaker organization like FLGBTQC, but RantWoman finds it a little unsettling that so far no version of a minute on welcoming people of all genders mentions using resources both in one's area and in the wider Quaker world.
Erasure of Quaker diversity. RantWoman thinks monthly meetings and worship groups are not automatically going to be able to make real a desire to welcome people of all genders. In fact, RantWoman thinks NPYM might be well-served simply by calling on Monthly Meetings and Worship groups to support one another in ongoing discernment and in helping to support discernment by individual members or attenders regardless of whether their Monthly Meeting or Worship Group has been able to unite with this minute.
Consider documents available on the NPYM website. Multiple communications from RantWoman's Meeting say things like "go look up the materials on the npym.org website.
RantWoman thinks there are more materials. RantWoman thinks it would be really nice if the materials could be grouped together and found easily with a search engine.
Then there is the matter of how to reflect discussion.
For example, the passage here required considerable exercise:
"We extend our loving care to people of all genders, including, but not limited to,
transgender, genderqueer, cisgender, gender fluid, agender, gender non-conforming and
intersex persons, their families and friends. We will continue to educate ourselves and
our communities and take appropriate action to bring about a more equal world."
Some Friends thought it would be fine simply to say "...people of all genders."
Other Friends know people who claim every single label listed, who get threatened, harassed, and killed because of those labels, and could feel erased if every word is not included.
RantWoman's offerings in subsequent conversations:
Look, there is nothing like an hour and a half car ride with Conflict is a Gift of God friend in walking Dictionary mode to make clear that the words listed above are a snapshot in time. RantWoman does not remember all the details of the car ride conversation, but the gist: in previous decades there were all sorts of other labels. Not recognizing those labels among one's elders CAN BE a form of erasure or missed opportunity to peer back into old struggles.
RantWoman in language nerd mode is happy to understand and try to track what exactly every single term, old and new, means.
Unfortunately, RantWoman also sometimes operates in Data mode. In data mode, a database table allowing people to choose Male, Female, and Other may be as much as can be managed in a given situation. Of COURSE this is not adequate and data collection to reflect full diversity has to happen. But it also reflects realities in the lives of trans people RantWoman knows, some of whom are mentioned in this blog. Feel free to ask RantWoman for details because postings are not well tagged.
Examples with the additional comment that the last 3 peple also involve disabilities of some kind:
Someone RantWoman knows because of his work. He transitioned over the time RantWoman has known him. Some of the time he is happy to talk about transgender issues. Some of the time he just wants to get his job done and it falls to rantWoman to discourage others from misgendering him or to comment in the right tone about a new voice or other changes.
One of the brave and gutsy women in a long-ago post called Community Teas about Rape and Violence. This woman is unlikely ever to have her insurance approve desired surgery and having identity documents muddled actually sometimes seems to be helpful for navigating rules related to housing and other services. She also has language access issues.
Another Friend in RantWoman's quarterly meeting who has expressed questions about gender identity but whose monthly Meeting, RantWoman would never mind being wrong, would probably be overwhelmed on top of other family issues.
A gutsy blind woman RantWoman sometimes collaborates with about transportation matters. Another blind Quaker was her family's Services for the Blind ase manager, and not always with happy effect. Blind Transpo Collaborator cannot even really have centered conversations about transgender issues because the conversation gets short-circuited by her experience being sexually assaulted in a restroom, almost certainly be a non-trans person.
RantWoman tried to have an email exchange with a young trans person RantWoman is very glad to have in our community. The conversation got a little short-circuited because RantWoman said, well, honestly, SOMETIMES clumping LOTS of different gender identity issues into one category, name yet to be determined seems TO RANTWOMAN a little like dumping all the range of people's visual experiences associated with blindness into the label "blind." Sometimes Blind is the labe that fits best and RantWoman has too much else to do to fuss in endless detail.
But that is RantWoman and now RantWoman's meanderings are available for the hole world, not just one on one conversations.
In the Light.