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Quasar pride flag. Flag and image by Danieal Quasar shared under a Creative Commons By Attribution 4.0 license. Courtesy quasar.digitl
Trans in the Eyes of God: Part 1
June 11, 2021
In our special series, we hear the personal stories of transgender people of faith and where they are finding spiritual homes among America's religious traditions.
Toni Newman. Image courtesy Toni Newman
Toni Newman-'I'm accountable only to God' June 11, 2021
Toni Newman grew up in a strict, southern Christian household. But when Toni came out as a gay man in college, family and church relationships were strained. And then, Toni came to realize she was really a transgender woman, not gay. She says she lost her friends in the gay community and felt the whole world turn away: "Not only did I lose my natural family, my church family, I lost my gay family."

Trans gender flag and symbol. Image created by Kevin McCarthy, derived from photograph by flickr user torbakhopper. Original photo and this illiustration shared under CCBY
America's rapidly shifting views on gender, identity, and LGBT rights. June 11, 2021
In the past decade, public opinion on LGBT issues, like same-sex marriage, has changed drastically. But the growing acceptance of the L, the G, and the B has not necessarily extended to the T -- transgender people. That may be because being transgender is not a sexual orientation, but a gender identity; it isn't about who you love, it's about who you are. We talk to two journalists and two researchers on how Americans and their religious communities are still working through the complexities of gender identity.

Emma Green, staff writer for The Atlantic
Robert P. Jones, founder of the Public Religion Research Institute
Kevin Eckstrom, former editor in chief of Religion News Service and current chief of communications at the Washington National Cathedral 
Rob Griffin, associate director of research of the Public Religion Research Institute
All genders restroom sign. CCBY image by Ellen Hudson
Religious groups wrestle with myriad, competing views on transgender identity June 11, 2021
In a preview for the rest of our series, we asked some scholars from a variety of different faith traditions: Is it okay to be trans in the eyes of God? But as we'll learn, the answer is far from simple. We'll hear from just a few voices, informed, but not entirely representative of their faiths, about what they interpret the answer to be. 

Scott Kugle, professor of South Asia and Islamic studies at Emory University
Denny Burk, professor of biblical studies at Boyce College
Ruth Vanita, director of the department of Global Humanities & Religions at the Univerisity of Montana 
Rabbi Elliot Kukla, a transgender rabbi at the Bay Area Jewish Healing Center 
Carol Anderson, professor of Religion at Kalamazoo College

You can go to our archives to find parts two and three of this special series.