04/27/2014 at Noon: Gender Identity and Expression – What makes them authentic?

People are labelled from birth in gender categories. The vast majority of persons have no issue with this, and never give it a second thought. For a few, however, the assigned gender label simply doesn’t work – yet almost no one they interact with will tolerate such an “outrageous” notion. As a result, many transgender persons find that their lives are deeply dissonant, full of profound suffering, sometimes to the point of being unbearable.
This short “workshop” will explore what makes gender identity and expression “authentic”. The workshop leader, Chloe, is an openly transsexual Quaker woman, whose spiritual journey of transformation offers a thoughtful challenge to how each of us must pursue our own quests for authenticity and peace, despite sometimes nearly universal rejection, humiliation, or even violence from friends, family, employers, government – even from faith communities. Yet some truths are worth the struggle, and only in living such truths can  life become meaningful, centered, and woven tightly into the community.
Dr. Chloe Schwenke is an ethicist and was one of the first 3 transgender political appointees in American history. She recently left the Obama Administration to become vice president of America’s oldest human rights organization: Freedom House. In that capacity, she works on a daily basis to promote human dignity for all persons in developing and repressive countries around the world. She is also formally supported by her Adelphi Quaker Meeting in a ministry of outreach through which she will share some of her own story of awakening and transition, and facilitate an engaging and interactive discussion on the meaning of gender, authenticity, and wholeness.
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