A Trans Blessing, part 1

A couple of years ago, I wrote about the women’s blessing I and a few of my ward sisters did for my oldest’s baptism, right after the confirmation. Today I’d like to share about my second child Isaac’s, baptism and blessings from last October. Isaac uses ze/zir pronouns.

It took us a little time to plan Isaac’s baptism. Zir birthday is in the summer and by early September, we still had not planned it. I wasn’t sure how I wanted to engage in the Church, especially with the Church’s decades of anti-LGBTQ statements and policies. But sitting in church one Sunday at the beginning of September I felt impressed that if we were going to do it, we should do it soon. Part of that is weather-related. Here in the Bay Area, our hottest months are September and October and if we were going to do another baptism in the Bay, this would be the time. Early October was perfect timing so we did it the weekend of conference.

Isaac and parents at zir baptism
The big day!

I still wanted to participate in Isaac’s baptism and blessing, so I asked zir, “Do you want a women’s blessing or would you like a parents’ blessing with Mommy and Daddy together?” Ze answered, “Is there such thing as a trans blessing?”

I responded, “Well, I’ve never heard of a trans blessing, but I’m sure we can do one.” I do have connections in the local queer Mormon community so I asked my friend Victoria if she thought we could find some trans Mormons to do a blessing for Isaac. She said she probably could find some people. Her side of this story will be published later today.

With a trans blessing planned for after the confirmation, I did not have a way to participate in Isaac’s baptism. My husband would perform both the baptism and confirmation and I would would sit out both of those and the trans blessing. So we worked it out that my husband would confirm Isaac up until “Receive the Holy Ghost. Amen,” and stop just like in the temple. Everything after “Receive the Holy Ghost” is generally a father’s blessing for most children, so we decided that would be a good time to invite me to do a parents’ blessing.

Isaac and zir parents walking out of the water.

And after the baptism in the chilly water and my participation as the “towel holder,” Isaac was confirmed on the beach and then the men were dismissed and McKay and I gave Isaac a blessing.

Isaac receiving a parent's blessing
Parent’s blessing

After that, it was time for the trans blessing. Kimberly led it. I mostly expected it to be a lot like the mother’s blessing or parent’s blessing, but she decided to use a different format. The people participating in the blessing included Isaac and held hands in the circle.

Isaac's trans blessing
Trans Blessing

Each person, Kimberly, Ethan, and Jack, took turns giving Isaac what blessing they had for zir: that the divine is within zir, that whatever path ze takes will be the right one for zir, and to hold to zir convictions.

It was a very lovely day and I’m so glad that Isaac got to have such a wonderful community to welcome zir into the Church and Mormonism. I’m glad that we were able to make Isaac’s request a reality. I know we live in a unique place in the Church and not every nonbinary child can have the same opportunities, but maybe by sharing stories like this we can change that.

TopHat

TopHat is putting her roots down in the Bay Area with her husband and three children. She loves the earth, yarn, and bicycling.

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15 Responses

  1. Andrew R. says:

    I have not confirmed many people My seven living children, one young man who joined the church in my first year of marriage, when I was the Deacon’s Quorum adviser, a friend of one of my daughters who joined the church and a child in the ward whose father is not a member and whose mother asked me to.

    In every case I did not give “my” blessing. I sought to give the blessing that the Lord wanted to give, and it did it by the power and authority of the priesthood. For my children there was obviously some emotional connection to the blessing too. In the case of the young man, it was my first time, I was 20, and I do not remember it well 33 years later. My daughter’s friend was a lovely experience. But the young women in the part-member family was one of the most extreme spiritual experiences of my life. I felt every word come from Heaven, I knew what that girl meant to Our Heavenly Parents. And I knew that Heaven was blessing her.

    I am happy to except that parents, both, are entitled to revelation for their children. And, that therefore whether hands are laid on a head or not a mother is just as able to give direction in connection with that revelation.

    However, a group of people holding hands is a prayer. You specifically say, “Each person, Kimberly, Ethan, and Jack, took turns giving Isaac what blessing they had for zir”. That’s great, but the last time I checked only God can give blessings. So whilst this was almost certainly a special experience for zir, I am not really sure what, of eternal consequence, and in terms of the covenant path, it for zir.

    • TopHat says:

      It sounds like you want to discuss the semantics of what a “blessing” is in order to discredit the value and experience here. I think we can all agree that the Church itself uses multiple definitions for “blessing.” This was a blessing, even if it does not fit your definition.

      • Andrew R. says:

        TopHat, I think you are simply trying to discredit my post. I haven’t said anything to “discredit the value and experience” at all. i am saying that I don’t understand the value and experience, and that is hardly surprising – I am quite open that I don’t really understand non-binary gender.

        I guess that for me what was missing was the how this was a value experience for Isaac. I think I understand why it is for yourself, and why it was when you blessed your daughter. I also understand that part of that initial motivation was for you to be involved, though I confess I do not fully understand that either.

        But definitions of blessing apart, a confirmation is a specific instance where a blessing is given, that is I believe well defined. I am saddened that your said your husband was going to confirm him, tell him to received the Holy Ghost and end. Giving a blessing is a part of this ordinance – a vital part of the ordinance. You do not say if this is what actually happened.

        What you chose to do afterwards is up to you. And I certainly don’t believe, as Jeff seems to, that it requires church discipline. But I do not really understand, and am genuinely seeking to find out how the parent blessing and trans-blessing adds to it for Isaac. If you had not mentioned it would ze have been content?

      • TopHat says:

        Isaac specifically asked for a trans blessing without me suggesting it was a possibility or a thing, so I assume that it had value to zir on whatever level is needed for it to be requested.

        As far as what a confirmation is, the blessing part of it is certainly not a requirement for it to be valid. Think of all the confirmations in the temple that are done without the blessing. As long as it has the beginning as needed, it can be recorded as being done.

      • Andrew R. says:

        I chose my word carefully, vital – not essential, or a requirement. But we have been taught, albeit by fallible, uninspired, Apostles, that leaving out the blessing part of an essential ordinance is not something that should be done. Validity of the ordinance aside.

        Obviously we do not add a blessing in vicarious confirmations and ordinations, the person receiving the ordinance is beyond mortal blessings. But vicarious ordinances do not set the pattern for living ones, rather it is the other way around.

        I have not said, and will not say, that there was no efficacy in the “Mother’s Blessing” you gave your daughter, or the “Parents’ Blessing” you gave Isaac, or indeed the “Trans Blessing” ze received. Anything that helped zir feel the love of those around zir, and the concerns they have for zir will always be beneficial.

        But I will say that I believe, and it is only my belief, ze missed out on something if no blessing was given, by virtue of the priesthood, in zir confirmation.

        NB if my use of the ze, zir pronouns has not been perfect, please forgive me, this is a new experience for me, and I am learning.

      • TopHat says:

        I didn’t fully explain the parent’s blessing in the post because that was not the focus, but my husband and I took turns giving the blessing. He opened the blessing and I closed it. So unless the Spirit decided that a 30 second shuffle of people meant that my husband couldn’t receive inspiration, I don’t believe Isaac missed out. Ze still received a blessing from zir father, but virtue of the priesthood.

  2. Chiaroscuro says:

    what a beautiful experience, thank you for sharing how you made the Mormon tradition your own for your child

  3. Caroline says:

    How lovely, TopHat! This story gives me hope for the church. I just love that you had such an inclusive ceremony.

  4. violadiva says:

    Inspired and creative and problem solving mama! I love how you made this ordinance for Isaac.

  5. Catherine Ockey says:

    What a beautiful day. I have followed you and your family from afar and love the connections you have with each other and the devine. Thank you for writing this story and for sharing yourself and your family with the world. Love to all of you.

  6. EmilyCC says:

    TopHat, you and your family are such visionaries. I love that Isaac thought of a trans blessing; I love that you did the parents’ blessing. I really just love how you found a way to make it all work. <3

  7. Cardigan says:

    This is so wonderful. Thank you for your family’s holy creativity. It is inspiring and comforting and very beautiful.

  8. Jeff says:

    This is sickening, child abuse and a mockery of the Gospel and the priesthood.

    I pray for you to repent and forsake this foolishness.

    If not, you’ll end up excommunicated and forfeit your eternal salvation.

  9. It sounds like a beautiful experience, I”m so glad Isaac was able to ask for what would be most meaningful to zir, and that you were able to find ways to support that.

    Today in church we talked about Paul, and through the whole lesson I kept thinking about the Good Samaritan, or more particularly, the Levite who passed on the other side. The Levite passed because dead bodies were unclean, and interacting with the injured man could have jeopardized his ability to be in the temple. The thing we’re supposed (in my mind) to learn from that parable is that we shouldn’t hold so tightly to rules that we fail to love others. I’m sorry some here have gotten so hung up on rules that they missed that your child was able to have a beautiful experience with the gospel.

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