Priest, poet and feminist theologian, Rachel Mann is a trans-woman. From an early age she had a profound sense that her body didn’t reflect her gender. After a long, frustrating and painful journey she emerged into the woman she is today. We ask Rachel to look back over this transition and reflect on what it means to be human, what place gender has in our identity, and what she’s learnt from seeing the word through male and female eyes.
Interview begins at 9m 58s
Image provided by Rachel Mann. Used with permission.
“Our humanity is not to be simply reduced to essentialist categories and I do think an invitation to us all, whether we are trans or not trans, is to see that gendered categories are not the measure of us all. And for me as I have said earlier, in transitioning, this wasn’t about me somehow wanting to go against nature, wanting to go against God, it was in order to be in a place where I could begin to live life in the kind of way that I hope we all live life, so that you are in a position to actually encounter transcendence, encounter God, encounter good news. And curiously it wasn’t until I transitioned that I was in a position where I could encounter the good news.”
“He has often been the God who is there in solidarity with us. I’ve often used the phrase ‘The God who operates in the shade’, in the places of darkness, who reveals that the places of darkness aren’t to be treated simply as negative places, but places of becoming… It is the God of becoming who is fundamental to me, but also the God who is unafraid of woundedness, of damage, of vulnerability… One of the iconic representations of that is the cross, of course, but it is also actually to be found in resurrection. The Christ who comes to us, who is the resurrected God, also bears the marks of the wounds.”