Educator Hartke leads compelling conversation about transgender Christians

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 29, 2018

The “Why Christian?” conference gave participants the opportunity to attend breakout sessions.

Options included:

• “Stories of Life, Death, and Resurrection” with Jeff Chu.

• “Becoming Sanctuary” on how the church offers sanctuary to undocumented immigrants, with Jonathan Wilson Hartgrove.

• “The Bible and the Lives of Transgender Christians” with Austen Hartke.

• “The Radical Art of Making Home” with Amy Cantrell.

• “Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness” with Austin Channing Brown.

In his standing-room-only breakout session, Hartke led a compelling conversation on what he termed “Transgender 101.”

Hartke, 29, an educator, is the author of “Transforming: The Bible and the Lives of Transgender Christians.”

“We are giving people language to explain gender identity,” he said. “God is the creator of humans and made creative people. We think of this not in terms of trying to fix a mistake God made. We’re just trying to live healthy lives.”

He said that transgender Christians “have a very distinct sense of what it means to move from death to life. We have new ways of imagining, understanding and relating to God. Trans folks can help us understand that God is beyond gender and encourage others to move toward God’s kingdom and abundant life.

“It’s really hard and it sucked at times, but I don’t think it was a mistake.”

— Susan Shinn Turner