Timing eh? If I were a comedian I’d be sacked! Sadly, I’m not able to be physically present, although this premiere is so much on my heart tonight. Unfortunately, this clashes with leave that Penny and I had planned over a year ago, with some special family commitments. However, this film is truly timely, speaking something of the 'word' that is transgender people of faith's gift to church and world...
addressing transgender needs
For we have seen some encouraging progress, but in recent years transgender people have come under unprecedented scrutiny, especially in the church but also in our wider society. In parts of Australia we still do not have the basic human right of accurate birth certification; whilst our health and other support needs have hardly begun to be adequately addressed. Meanwhile, some parts of some churches are essentially inventing an ideology to batter us. This is even before we come to current proposed religious discrimination legislation. So, this film is very timely, and I particularly rejoice that its premiere is in Sydney, where the seeds of Australian religious cruelty are most bitter.
I should therefore like to express my immense thanks to all involved in the film, particularly to Rachel Lane and John Wallace. It was truly a joy to be part of the making of this, and to meet so many loving and talented people, not least my co-'star' Rhett and his adoptive family, and all the film crew.
sharing all God's words
Great Christian mystics say that ‘every living creature is a word of God.’ Some ‘words’ however are silenced or horribly distorted. In an age of liars in power and false news, so many words are twisted for others’ benefit. I rejoice therefore that part of the word of God that I am has been so beautifully enabled by this film. It is hardly a complete word. There are so many other transgender ‘words’ to be supported and brought to life. However, I pray deeply that this may make an enlivening contribution to the sharing of all our words of good news. For this film can genuinely save lives if it is shared widely. Indeed, as often happens, someone contacted me this week for support for a transgender youth in their congregation. They said that this youngster was surviving as a person of faith essentially just because they had learned that I existed!
Faithfully Me and Us
I love the title, ’Faithfully Me’ as it goes to the heart of our human and religious invitation to becoming most fully alive. This film however might also be called, ‘Faithfully Us’, for I rejoice in what it shares about relationships, community, and the rich gifts – sadly so slowly received - that transgender people of faith offer to church and world. We live in a world which treats too many people as ‘Unfaithfully Them”. Disastrous ideas of ‘God versus the Gays and the Trans’ are perpetuated. However, authentic story-telling like this film still has the power to dispel such ignorance and deceit.
I hope that Faithfully Me, and all our stories of love, may therefore contribute to the better world for which so many of us long. Thank you for the timely encouragement you will bring this evening and beyond.
(Faithfully Me has been made by Rachel Lane of Broken Hill Films, and produced by Dr John Wallace, with the support of Equal Voices. It is a transgender stories follow-up to the film Here I Am, which shares Australian gay Christian experiences, and it will be shared more widely in the coming year)
Jo Inkpin is an Anglican priest serving as Minister of Pitt St Uniting Church in Sydney, a trans woman, theologian & justice activist. These are some of my reflections on life, spirit, and the search for peace, justice & sustainable creation.