Transtheology is an emerging area of religious study that is ancient and historied; it relates the human as imago Dei (image of G*d) beyond the polarized dualities of gender and sexuality, inviting human and Divine into liminal cohabitation.  It is queer, postcolonial and sex-positive; we can't talk about G-d(s) without talking about sex or looking at the relationship between gender binarism and sexualized oppressions in economics and politics.  If humanity is imago Dei and humanity is infinitely diverse and plural, then God must be, too.  If humans reflect God and humans are in transition, then God is in transition, too.  While it is fully appropriate for each individual to see themselves in the face of God, it is insufficient and dangerous to declare that one type of reflection alone is the only true reflection of God. is intended to be an open-source project, academic in nature yet accessible to all, with contributions from as many traditions as possible. It is no new thing, the idea of a god(dess) or gods who inhabit multiple locations in gender and role; it would be a new thing in our era if the fact of multi-gendered people as reflections of the imago Dei had a place in culture and theology that honored their gifts.

There is little work in this field as yet; much of what exists is personal and anecdotal.  Through an exploration of Embodiment, Liberation, Feminist and Indecent theologies within an queered hermeneutic, I mean to weave an inclusive expression of Divinity as in manifests in the diversity of human embodiment.  The cost of human life is now and has been too high; religion has a lot to answer for and must reshape itself into something which serves those who are deepest in need and honors people for their differences instead of killing them for being different.

The term 'transtheology' is relatively new, and somewhat (necessarily?) confusing.  Who or what is trans?  Is it trans, or trans*?  Transsexual, transgender, transgressive?  Yes to all.  'Trans' means across; a trans theology is one that crosses rigid, dogmatic lines in search of itself, in search of places and identities that are habitable and supported by the traditions transfolk belong to.  Transtheology may help us reshape a wide array of religiously-based, gender-binaried oppressions.  We'll be using exegesis, queer readings, history and anthropology to show that three have always been trans* people, that they have played major, positive roles (often religious) in society and culture, and that rather than being an abomination, trans people are especially suited to deal with liminality and the issues that come with being both/and or neither/nor.  Gender is a spectrum with female and male at the ends; it isn't a shelf with only two boxes--one pink, one blue.  Our hypothesis is that if humans are a reflection of the Divine as embodied Spirit, then all people are reflections of G-d, the imago Dei.

This is an exciting endeavor on the learning edge of theology; religious work for current times is just beginning.  The presence of the imago Dei as human provides abundant evidence for knowing that God is much more than a binary reinforcement strategy.  Genderqueers and transfolk are; that is proof enough of God as trannifestational: We are living proof that gender is not a two-sided coin as some would claim, but a continuum; that there is a middle ground and to inhabit it is not unhealthy, unwholesome or impossible.  To encapsulate God into any single gender identity or sexual expression limits the possibilities of God’s manifestations in humanity.  God doesn't limit humans to two rigid gender categories; humans limit God to something flat and unloving of diversity—a diversity that, supposedly, Godself brought into being.  Transtheology is a way of approaching and witnessing the sacrality of embodied diversity as it intersects with social justice.

"We need a trans-God alright. . . one that transgresses all our ideas about who and what God is or can be, one that transports us to new possibilities for how God can incarnate in the multiplicity of human embodiments, one that transfigures our mental images from limitations, one that transforms our ideas about our fellow humans and ourselves, one that transcends all we know or think we know about God and about humanity as the imago Dei."    
--BK Hipsher
Sexuality must be included in theological considerations because “Theology is a sexual ideology performed in a sacralizing pattern: it is a sexual divinized orthodoxy (right sexual dogma) and orthopraxy (right sexual behavior); theology is a sexual action.  Theologians, therefore, are nothing else but sexual performers who need to take many ethical and sometimes partisan decisions when reflecting on God and humanity, because theology is never innocuous or sexually innocent or neutral.”

-Marcella Althaus-Reid,
Indecent Theology

Guy Baldwin states that “Sexualities that keep us apart only diminish us as people.”   If human sexualities that keep us apart diminish people, how much more diminishing, then, a divine sexuality that keeps us apart from one another?  How criminal a theology that perpetuates this separation if everything, including God, yearns for being?  The essentialist and absolutist theological views rooted within the heterosexual matrix produce vehemence and violence masquerading as certainty, but it is only by opening the relation between the real and the symbolic that one can envisage the return of the excluded.

--Deborah Addington
full paper here


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