Last week, the second-annual Trans 100 was released, honoring Trans individuals from across the United States who are currently alive and active in the work of making the lives of Trans people better. Alongside Jen Richards, Minister Asher Kolieboi, co-founder of Legalize Trans* and current Chaplain Intern at the Davidson County Sheriff’s Department, served as the Co-Director of the 2014 Trans 100.
This year’s list includes nine Christian faith leaders (pictured clockwise) who are building inclusion in a diverse array of denominations and communities.
1. Charlene Jacqueline Arcila
Charlene Jacqueline Arcila is the visionary behind the Philadelphia Trans-Health Conference, recognized as the largest trans conference in the United States. She is currently working on creating a community development project—H.O.P.E. (Helping Others Pursue Excellence)—to address the needs of trans-identified individuals being released from correctional facilities along with substance abuse programs. Charlene is an ordained minister at Unity Fellowship of Christ Church Philadelphia, and currently educates liturgical staffs on making their churches and congregations more welcoming and affirming to trans-identified individuals.
2. Angel Celeste Collie
Angel is a transmasculine person from Bunn, NC. He leads the Transgender Ministries of the Metropolitan Community Churches, serves on the Network Advisory Committee of the LGBT-Religious Archives, The Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies’ Transgender Roundtable, the Freedom Center for Social Justice board, and was on the 2006 and 2007 Soulforce Equality Rides. In addition, Angel was elected by his peers to serve on the Diversity Committee and the Graduate and Professional Student Senate at Yale Divinity School. Angel’s hope is to advocate on behalf of transgender, gender-non-conforming, and gender variant people in communities of faith.
3. Lourdes Ashley Hunter
As the Co-Founder and Organizational Development and Operations Director of The Trans Women of Color Collective of Greater New York, Lourdes is galvanizing a transformative movement that empowers trans women of color to live unapologetically in their truths. Ms. Hunter is a member of The Leadership Team, and is the Director of The Healing and Restoration Ministry at Rivers at Rehoboth in New York City. She is also affiliated with TransSaints and The Fellowship of The Affirming Ministries. Lourdes had earned a B.A. in Social Theory, Structure and Change with Concentrations in Race, Class and Gender Studies at SUNY and is completing an Execute level Master of Public Administration from Rutgers University in May.
4. Minister Louis J. Mitchell
Minister Louis Mitchell has been involved in the fight for health, respect, and self-determination since the early 1980s, with deep engagement in political, mental health, recovery, and black church contexts. Mitchell serves as the Community Engagement Consultant at Transfaith, and he is one of the founding members of the TDOR Unite! Coalition. He is also a founding member of both The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries’ TransSaints and the Trans People of Color Coalition.
5. Chris Paige
Chris Paige is an OtherWise-identified organizer, serving as executive director of Transfaith, a national non-profit led by transgender people and focused on issues of faith and spirituality. Transfaith works closely with many allied organizations, both secular and religious, transgender-led and otherwise, to equip and cultivate diverse expressions of gender-affirming spiritual vitality.
6. Rev. Dr. Cameron Partridge
The Rev. Dr. Cameron Partridge is an Episcopal priest and an openly transgender man. He currently serves as the Episcopal Chaplain at Boston University and Counselor for Episcopal/Anglican Students at Harvard Divinity School. He was a founding member of TransEpiscopal, which collaborated with other advocacy groups to support trans inclusive legislation which passed at the Episcopal Church’s General Conventions of 2009 and 2012.
7. Rev. Lawrence T Richardson
Based in Lakeville, MN, Rev. Lawrence T Richardson is the Founding Pastor of Shift United Church of Christ, the Social Media Strategist for The Center for Progressive Renewal, and a writer for The Salt Collective. Rev. Richardson is curating an online spiritual movement that encourages everyone to live as authentic expressions of love in the world, recognizing that church isn’t just a place we go, it’s who we are everywhere we go. Rev. Richardson uses a variety of social media platforms to communicate the message that God is love, and that we must BE the very expression of that love in the world around us.
8. Valerie Spencer
Valerie Spencer has worked in the arena of social services for nearly two decades. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in social work at California State University-Long Beach. On completion, she will pursue doctoral studies in holistic psychology. Working to liberate, educate, and affirm trans people has been part of her life’s work, and she is honored to provide holistic therapy and spiritual counseling for trans people and others within LGBT communities.
9. Vivian Taylor
Vivian Taylor is the Executive Director of Integrity USA, the national LGBTQ organization of the Episcopal Church. She is a writer, activist, avid Sung Compline promoter, and proud (if occasionally troubled) North Carolinian currently living in Boston, MA. She served in the War in Iraq from 2009-2010 and is currently running several statewide LGBTQ rights campaigns in places like Ohio, Oregon, and others. She writes about her experiences in war, being a peacenik veteran and being a transgender Christian.