Wild Goose Festival Migrates through Turbulent Issues of Transgenderism, Intersex

on July 12, 2013

An annual progressive Christian festival that draws oldline Protestants and disaffected former evangelicals will feature workshops on transgenderism and “Intersex” next month.

Inspired by Britain’s annual Greenbelt festival, the Wild Goose Festival brings performers, yoga practitioners, speakers and artists to a multi-day campout in the mountains of western North Carolina August 8-11. In its first two years, Wild Goose speakers promoted an assortment of liberal causes – peppered with sharp critiques of Southern Baptists and other conservative evangelicals.

Wild Goose has broached issues of human sexuality before, welcoming gay and lesbian speakers and exhibitors in 2011 and 2012. The unofficial United Methodist Reconciling Ministries Network will have a presence at Wild Goose this year, and former Contemporary Christian Music artist Jennifer Knapp has brought her “Inside Out Faith” program to the festival. Tony Campolo and his wife Peggy have also spoken at Wild Goose about the church’s response to homosexuality.

In 2013, Wild Goose is apparently getting wilder. Among the workshops highlighted at next month’s gathering will be a talk by Asher Kolieboi, co-founder of the Legalize Trans* campaign, on creating “trans* inclusive faith communities.” Kolieboi’s talk will be entitled “Galatians 3:28,” referencing the verse “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

Festival goers will also have the opportunity to hear a talk on “welcoming the intersexed among us” titled “When Male and Female Is Not Enough.”

As we have the previous two years, IRD will send a team to report on the festival’s speakers. Both of the above workshops should be intriguing. Kolieboi was born a woman, now “Trans Man,” who self-describes as an “artivist” (activist and artist). Co-founder of the arts collective Queer Sol in Austin, Kolieboi was featured in The Advocate Magazine’s “Top 40 under 40” LGBTQ activists for work with the Soulforce Equality Ride, where Kolieboi served as the Co-Director of Young Adult Activism.

The discussion on “intersex” will feature Lianne Simon, author of Confessions of a Teenage Hermaphrodite, a young adult novel about an “intersex” teen. Born with a mix of testicular and ovarian tissue, Simon was raised, for a time, as a boy and eventually came to identify as female.

While not as prominent in gender and sexuality conversations as homosexuality or transgenderism, “intersex” is an umbrella term for people either having traits of both sexes or identifying with neither. Transgender activists often point to “intersex” persons as evidence for their claim that biological sex is not binary, but instead a continuum.

Simon will be joined by Megan DeFranza, a professor at evangelical Gordon College who has written about sexuality. Interestingly, DeFranza attends a conservative Anglican parish. The Gordon College professor recently appeared on a panel discussion at Episcopal Divinity School in which she examined the eunuchs of the Bible and suggested that such a study would be helpful for Evangelicals in understanding how to approach intersex persons.

  1. Comment by withchristianeyes on July 12, 2013 at 12:21 pm

    Why do so many not only want to accept our fallen nature, but to take joy in it? This is what it seems like to me. What they are now, their physical nature, is all there is to them, it seems. To want what God says, and to want what God originally intended for us before the fall, is to “hate” them because it’s different than what they were born with or what they want in this earthly life. I don’t know Christians who hate people like this, but treat them well, and who simply accept God’s word over theirs.

  2. Comment by eMatters on July 12, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    Sounds like a big herd of goats. If they loved “trans” people they would tell them the truth. But they love themselves and their popularity more than they love others, and they follow the world, not God. Anyone who interprets Galatians 3:28 that way should be ignored.

  3. Comment by Donnie on July 12, 2013 at 1:31 pm

    “Legalize trans?” Since when is it illegal to be transgendered in the USA?

  4. Comment by raybnnstr on July 12, 2013 at 1:50 pm

    These are the same “progressive” nut jobs who insist that someone is “born gay” and it is impossible and immoral to try to change that. You can’t change orientation (they say), but it’s a great thing to change your sex if you were “born into the wrong body.”

    If you need proof that “progressivism” qualifies as a moral of mental illness, look no further.

  5. Comment by Kendall Mahaffey on July 12, 2013 at 4:11 pm

    That verse from Galatians wins the prize for Most Abused Verse in the Whole Bible. Whether you read it in context or out of context, clearly Paul was not trying to lay the foundation for feminism, gay rights, or “trans inclusion.” If you read Paul’s letters (which liberals don’t, because they hate the Bible), it’s very obvious he saw distinctions between the two sexes – equal in the eyes of God, yes, but equality is not sameness.

    Speaking of distinctions between the sexes, this Megan DeFranza isn’t exactly a shining example of intellectual fire power. (Yeah, I know lots of intelligent women, but judging from her comments, I don’t think she fits that category.) To compare eunuchs as being in any way comparable to trans-genders is turbo-nonsense. Eunuchs in Bible times were FORCED to be eunuchs, not exactly “elective surgery,” and their emasculation did not mean they ceased to regard themselves as men.

    There is no “intersex” and no “continuum.” Any 8th-grader knows that the two chromosomal options are XX and XY, female or male – that’s it. I don’t think Paul would have argued that, but liberals think they can conceive an idea in their hyperactive imaginations and that makes it a reality. Do we have to let our social policies be dictated by people who are detached from reality? We used to put people like that in asylums.

    If they want to call me a “hater,” hey, I can handle it. God knows my heart.

  6. Comment by Andrew DeFranza on July 11, 2015 at 4:23 pm

    Get a copy and check out the argument. It is always good to be well informed even if you disagree. The link is below.

    She is pretty smart actually. I would know:)

    The variations on XX and XY (yep they exist) was news to me as well. Give the material a shot and then hit up her blog with any thoughtful feedback. She can take it.

    Book: http://www.amazon.com/Sex-Difference-Christian-Theology-Intersex/dp/0802869823/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1436646003&sr=8-1&keywords=Megan+DeFranza

    Blog: http://megandefranza.com/

    good luck. Its some mind blowing stuff.


  7. Comment by fairfaxian on July 12, 2013 at 9:27 pm

    I don’t know, guys. As much fun as this sounds, I went on their website (risky, I know) and saw the list of some of the other discussions that will be taking place. I think that my favorite was this one:

    “Mystic Soul Movement — Explore the path to your inner divine through gentle yoga-based movement, relaxation techniques, and guided contemplative prayer”

    Now they are blatantly using language that suggests explicit Eastern mysticism. Falls within the “we’re all basically good and inherently the same as God”. Strangely there are no seminars on dealing with sin, repentance, or forgiveness.

    Glad to see Brian McLaren is showing up. It’s not a heretics ball without him!

  8. Pingback by Wild Goat — er, uh, Goose — Festival Migrates through Turbulent Issues of Transgenderism, Intersex | Juicy Ecumenism – The Institute on Religion & Democracy’s Blog | Wolves in Sheep's Clothing on July 13, 2013 at 8:32 am

    […] people claim the name of Christ.  They are wolves in sheep’s clothing. See Wild Goose Festival Migrates through Turbulent Issues of Transgenderism, Intersex.  It is your basic rebellion against God.  They can play the “we’re Christians” […]

  9. Pingback by On the Wild Goat — er, uh, Goose — Festival | Eternity Matters on July 13, 2013 at 8:37 am

    […] See Wild Goose Festival Migrates through Turbulent Issues of Transgenderism, Intersex. These people claim the name of Christ.  They are wolves in sheep’s clothing.  It is your basic rebellion against God.  They can play the “we’re Christians” card because weak-willed Bible-believers wouldn’t kick them out of the church years ago. […]

  10. Comment by Lianne Simon (@liannesimon) on July 13, 2013 at 10:06 am

    I don’t wish to debate intersex in your comments section, but I’d be delighted to answer your questions in an interview. Who knows? Perhaps we could learn from each other.

    Confessions of a Teenage Hermaphrodite is written from a Christian perspective, semi-autobiographical, and shows how two different Churches treat the same struggling teenager.

    Were a “conservative Christian” conference open to it, I would love to speak there. Unfortunately, those of us with medical conditions resulting in sexual ambiguity too often get put in quotations by such groups.

    Kind regards,
    Lianne Simon

  11. Comment by skotiad on July 14, 2013 at 9:22 am

    Your own situation doesn’t seem to typify the typical “transgender” person. The typical one is physically, and indisputably, male or female, but decides for whatever reason that he is “really” the opposite sex, and either proceeds with all the medical procedures or chooses to identify as the other sex. I can’t see into people’s souls, but it seems obvious enough that a man in a male body doesn’t just decide “I’m really a woman” unless he has some deep emotional and mental problems, among them a rather infantile desire for attention. It appears the process is something like this: My life isn’t perfect, I get dissed by a lot of people, if I become my “real” sex, then everything will be cool, plus I’ll be the center of attention at every party I attend, my friends from high school and college will talk about me a lot, I’ll get my picture in the papers, etc.

    What do churches “owe” people like this? Not much, in my opinion. If someone is convinced that “God made a mistake,” how are we supposed to “accept” that person without giving up our own belief in a benevolent God? I wouldn’t dream of doing anything unkind to such a person, but frankly I think churches have bigger issues to deal with than another nagging victim group to appease. Last time I checked, membership in the body of Christ begins with “I’m a sinner, I repent, I take Christ as my Savior,” not with “You better not exclude me!”

  12. Comment by Brettany Renée Blatchley on July 31, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    Your comments do not reflect the consensus of people who have made it their business to try to understand this phenomena:

    Answers to Your Questions About Transgender People, Gender Identity and Gender Expression. (American Pschological Association)

  13. Comment by Kamilla Ludwig on July 15, 2013 at 12:04 am

    De Franza has also spoken for CBE (fyi) on transgenderism.

  14. Comment by Brettany Renée Blatchley on July 31, 2013 at 3:07 pm

    I am a married Christian woman: a transsexual woman.

    People can rail about this (and me) all they like, BUT nobody can deny the power of Christ in my life and in the lives of other LGBTIQ Christians. God’s Spirit is moving; times are changing: whineskins can stretch or burst! 🙂

    As a volunteer at the WGF this year, I can’t wait for people to see Jesus in me as He continues to demonstrate His power through the “scandal” of my gender transition. God has put me “on display” to help His other children learn some important eternal lessons in loving God and others different than themselves.

  15. Comment by Peter M on July 31, 2013 at 7:37 pm

    Those three guys in the photo are quite handsome!!!

  16. Comment by kay aron on August 5, 2013 at 9:55 am

    You folks are really missing a chance to show Jesus to people who DO have equal worth and the love and grace of God as you. Do not judge. You are making damaging, hate filled comments…where is the love?

    You know not what you do…but God’s grace encompasses even you. Please show love.

  17. Pingback by When Christian Celebrities Go Gay - Juicy Ecumenism on March 14, 2017 at 10:58 am

    […] However, Knapp continues to perform in liberal Christian circles, having sung at a Cooperative Baptist Fellowship event in 2012 and the annual Wild Goose Festival in 2013, as the Institute on Religion and Democracy previously reported. […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The work of IRD is made possible by your generous contributions.

Receive expert analysis in your inbox.