My trans calling
I am called to ministry, says Alex Clare-Young, and called to be transgender
Scripture opens with God calling and humanity naming. God calls ha-adam, ‘the human’, into being. A marvellous, almost mythical, creature whose name arises out of ha-adamah, ‘the dust’, ‘the dirt’, red, messy earth. God calls the creature to discern its identity through naming. First, the animals. It is almost like a fantastic divine game. I wonder if the human tried to think of the silliest names possible or the most serious, best-fitting ones. The game didn’t work out. Ha-adam was still the odd one out. Nothing quite like the human existed… Yet.
Here comes the first instance of re-creation. The human shows God a gap, something missing, and God fills it. God doesn’t fill it by creating an opposite to the human, though, but by separating something out of it. By operating on it to pull out its anima, its yang, its other half so that the human might recognise itself. Only at this point does the human finally name himself ish, in reaction to his mirror image ishah. I wonder when human naming turned to human labelling…
It might seem odd that I am starting an article about my calling as a transgender person by talking about one of the passages of Scripture that is frequently used to argue against the validity of transgender identities but, in Hebrew, this is a beautiful passage that describes my reality. Being trans isn’t about an individual identity or decision, it is about experiencing creation, meeting and listening to those around us, finding those who mirror us and working out who God calls us to be.
Callings are multiple. I have brown hair, a stripe in the top of my right iris. I was born in Edinburgh. Those are all facts. I can’t escape them. But I have as many callings as facts. I was called to play the harp, to complete a music degree, to meet and marry Jo, to transition gender, to befriend some amazing people, to ‘walk the way’ and follow Christ, to train for ministry of Word and Sacraments… My callings are many – I am sure that yours are too. …
This is an extract from an article that was published in the November 2017 edition of Reform