Many Voices

I am honored and thrilled to be blogging for Many Voices.

Many Voices is an online clearinghouse for Christian clergy and congregations who are trying to become more open and welcoming to people on the full spectrum of sexuality and gender.

As I’ve been learning recently, there is a growing, multi-faith movement to welcome LGBT people into American congregations. Religious organizations of all denominations, ranging from the most progressive to the most conservative, are beginning to shift the way that they approach their gay, lesbian, and gender-nonconforming congregants. And Many Voices, who is reaching tens of thousands of clergy members, is one of the agents of this change.

Many Voices executive director Ann Thompson Cook told me that clergy members often long to extend full welcome to LGBT people, but have concerns about how, or simply may not know where, to begin. These clergy who are “supportive but silent” are one of Many Voices’s target audiences, and at Many Voices they can find a space for resource sharing, discussion, and learning how to open up their congregations to a broader range of people.

Thompson Cook told me their research shows that young peoples’ distress is one way to move supportive-but-silent clergy to become public in their support. If a religious tradition does not welcome (or actively condemns) gay people, they tend to not look too kindly on a boy in a dress. So the fact that I—the Jewish mom of a pink boy—have been called to blog for this group of Christians speaks volumes about the shifts taking place in American religion. My first post is here, and my second here. I will regularly appear on their pages, and I’m eager to see what the response is from their membership.

Please check out their site and let me and Many Voices know what you think!



  1. says

    “Kids in his own California elementary school tell him he’s in the wrong bathroom, ask him if he’s lost or stupid, and, if he stands up for himself and says he really is a boy, tell him to drop his pants and prove it.”

    My son gets these all the time when he’s out in public, kids who insist that he’s wrong and doesn’t know he’s a girl. My son finds it incredibly frustrating and he’s not even a pink boy! For a long time, he used to introduce himself by saying “Hi, I’m Raffi and I’m a boy, I just like long hair”. Even WITH that, people would call him a girl! He was in the local Boys and Girls’ Club last year when some older kids managed to talk him into dropping his pants to prove it. *sigh*

    Fortunately we managed to find a school with plenty of variations on hairstyle, though not as much in clothing. I’d like to believe a pink boy would be as welcome as the staff with multiple piercings, shaved head and extended nursing toddler and boys with long hair.

  2. says

    I’ve been fascinated with this story. As a former “pink boy” and current “butch gay” I remember my internal conflict and shame about being feminine.

    I am also the father of a 22 son.

    Of course, I wouldn’t change who I am now. I do know my “defeminization” was handed over to my older brother who bullied me to the point that it took a suicide attempt and several years of therapy to deal with the PTSD. I don’t know if being bullied in the privacy of home vs. school yard reduced the shame I felt about who I was.

    I was never teased in school about my sexuality. I was often called a “weird kid” but never ostracized. I guess what I’m trying to say is there’s nothing wrong with asking a kid to “butch it up” for his own survival. Bullies will always be around, if not in school, at summer camp, Sunday school, down the street.

    But in all truth, drag queens are tough fighters, and anybody should think twice before messing with one.

    So I guess my advice would be: let him be “prissy” but make sure he knows how to fight.

  3. Laura says

    Hi, Sarah,

    Was just grabbing the link here since I had forgotten their sit URL… Your links here are broken–they have changed the format of their URLs without having old ones use a redirect script. Probably too late now to change, but maybe their webmaster would like to know since it means any other links–reddit etc–will also lead to the not found page.

    Thanks for working with people across all walks. Can’t convert by yelling; honey sticks better than vinegar and all that. I have to be extremely calm in talking to conservatives and even then stick to the ones who aren’t living their last years quietly with their prejudice kept to themselves… I’ll go chat with their kids instead :)

    • shoffman says

      Thanks…I’ll let the Many Voices web person know.

      And yes, I always think it’s better to speak from a place of compassion. When possible.

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