Out of the Box with Two Spirits

I caught a screening of the documentary Two Spirits while covering the 2012 Philadelphia TransHealth Conference. While the film focuses on the all too common story of yet another teen killed due to gender identity, this story also highlights that time when Native Americans held places of honor for people of integrated genders. According to ancient Navajo culture, Fred Martinez was a nádleehí, a male-bodied person with a feminine nature who made the brave choice to live an authentic life.

The theme of authenticity also pervades the documentary Voices of Witness: Out of the Box. Even though I had conversed with a few of the religious leaders profiled in this documentary, individual stories reminded me yet again of the gift that transgender people bring to the church by demonstrating how individuals and communities can become transformed by living out the baptismal covenant to “welcome all.”

Becky Garrison is a satirist/storyteller whose most recent book is Roger Williams’s Little Book of Virtues (Wipf & Stock, March 2020). Also, she edited Love, Always: Partners of Trans People on Intimacy, Challenge and Resilience (Transgress Press, 2015). Her six books include 2006’s Red and Blue God, Black and Blue Church (PW, starred review).