IWD Series 2018: Trans Women of Mormonism
This International Women’s Day, I would like to introduce you all to a few Mormon and former Mormon trans women and non-binary people and their contributions. Too often in our Church we fail to recognize the trans and non-binary children of God in the pews with us.
Allison Bianchi is the ultra-rare only-child in an old Utah Mormon family. She was raised in Orem, Utah and served in the Philippines Bacolod mission from 2001-2003. In 2004 she was married in the Manti temple. She and her ex-wife have three children together.
Allison came out as trans in 2015 and began navigating gender transition and re-evaluating Mormonism after an extended faith crisis. She is currently an “emeritus Mormon” and enjoys exploring (non-literal) spiritual beliefs and practices from many sources in an effort to keep the baby while draining the bathwater.
Allison develops animation software at Pixar Animation Studios and lives near Oakland, California. She is active in local anti-racist and queer activism and loves camping, cooking, and reading books about history and mysticism.
Linda S. Gifford
Linda is number five of nine children born to Oscar and Opal Gifford. At an early age she recognized the importance of an education and was the first to obtain a college degree. She has a degree in Civil Engineering with a minor in Spanish and an MBA. She has been married for the last 45 years to Yolanda Gifford who is from Argentina. A divorce is currently pending. Together they have 3 children – Oscar, Erica and Jose. Linda’s career took her to the Air Force where she served for 38 years as both an enlisted, officer and lastly as a civilian. She spent twenty years overseas first in Argentina as a missionary and later in South Korea, Italy and Panama with the Air Force. Although it was an issue for her entire life, Linda didn’t come out as a transwoman until September of 2017, just prior to her 69th birthday. Although her wife was aware of her condition the entire marriage, coming out full time resulted in Yolanda asking for a divorce. Two of her three children are not currently speaking to her. Most of her family is opposed as well. But Linda is a strong woman and is comfortable and happier as a woman. Her goal for later life is to be a support for the LGBT community in helping others dealing with this difficult part of their lives. She is very involved in Affirmation (a worldwide organization supporting LDS LGBTQIA) as well as SAGA (Southern Arizona Gender Alliance). Linda has always been and continues to be an active member of the LDS (Mormon) church. Linda is learning to play the piano, likes chess and other strategy and logic games, enjoys traveling and loves to be around people. Linda is fluent in Spanish and is conversational in Italian.
Laurie Lee Hall
Laurie Lee Hall was raised in New England and was trained in architecture at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in upstate New York. A practicing architect for over thirty years in New York and Utah, her career has included managing worldwide design and construction programs and many of the largest projects of the LDS Church. Today she is in private practice in Salt Lake City, UT.
Ms. Hall also served the LDS Church in several prominent leadership capacities ecclesiastically, but in 2017 was excommunicated from the church.
She is a member of the Board of Directors ofAffirmation LGBT Mormons, Families & Friends, an administrator of the TransActiveLDS Facebook Support Group, and founder of the Families and Gender Variance Project
As a transgender woman, she has powerful life experience with family communication, stages of grieving and mindfulness. She has worked within her own family and with many other transgender youth and adults to navigate the challenges and triumphs of living authentically. This passion has developed into the BECOMING program at Encircle House in Provo, UT, for gender variant youth and their families.
Laurie’s focus is to help families remain viable and successful, to foster dialog, listening, and respect. She has blogged and written extensively on the subjects of gender variance and marriage and the intersection of gender and faith traditions.
She is the parent of five children and 12 grandchildren.
Stephen lives in Provo, UT. She produces records with cool musician friends at her studio Studio Studio Dada (http://studiostudiodada.com) and creates her own records under the moniker Officer Jenny (http://officerjenny.com) She teaches amazing kids about music at Walden School, She grew up in Murrieta, CA with great parents and five really awesome siblings. She loves teaching people about music and audio and wants to help people with marginalized identities to have opportunities to learn and grow and have their music heard. She’s into playing video games, watching horror movies, and drinking beer with Harold and Maude, the two beautiful cats over whom she has guardianship.