Friday, February 24, 2017

The AFA and me

There has been a lot of chatter in certain quarters regarding stuff that's been happening this week. I'd like to get the facts out there, so they're all in one easy-to-find place. 


I was asked to join a conference call last Sunday with two of the AFA's top leaders; Matt Flavel and Alan Turnage, ostensibly to discuss a book project I'd been working on for the group. It turns out the subject of the conversation was actually my child, who happens to be transgender. It was explained to me that it might be "bad optics" for the AFA to have a member of the leadership with such a family issue. I explained my thoughts on the matter, including the fact that I had no issue with AFA policy when it came to LGBT people as I understood it, and the reasons I was taking a supportive, hands-off approach with my kid, and offered to resign. They agreed it might come to that, but did express regret at the prospect. We agreed to speak again two days later, after the leadership had had a chance to discuss the matter, having heard my thoughts.

Last Tuesday, I was asked to resign, and did so, also explaining that I no longer considered myself bound by the oath of office I took last year at Winternights. I did point out that since there wasn't any actual disagreement on policy, this request must have come from a feeling that the AFA had the right to criticize or even intervene in specific choices made when dealing with one's children, and parenting strategies.

My family comes first, and even if I choose to not support a broadly political "transgender movement" that doesn't mean I'm going to not support my transgender kid. That's not a call the AFA gets to make on my behalf.

It's worth pointing out, since some erroneous information has been spread by a few people (who were not present on the call) that the phrase used was "we're going to ask for your resignation." Now, Matt might have meant "we're going to ask for your resignation from the clergy," but the actual words used were more general, and it was that request to which I acquiesced.

That's about it. I am no longer a member of the AFA, nor am I a member of the clergy. Time to move on.

13 comments:

  1. I don't know you or your kid but as a transgendered person, I just want to thank you for supporting your kid.

    I wish you the best of success!

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  2. Ever since Steve left, things have been very different.

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  3. It is both saddening and heart wrenching that any parent would be put into the position of having to choose between thier child and the religious organization they represent. I applaud you for doing the right thing and putting your child first. There are many parents who would agree with you. Move on and move forward with the love of family behind you. Our children are the future. It's our duty to show as much love and support to them as we can. You have support, this is clear. There are many other organisations that would support you in your decision. If you'd like to talk further, I would personally extend an invitation to do so.

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  4. Jon, You may not be a clergy to that organization anymore; but, you are still clergy. Once ordained, you are clergy for life.

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  5. We may have disagreed on many things in the past, but in this choice you have shown that you have a true understanding of our responsibilities to our gods. Our children are given to us by the gods, our duty to our gods and ancestors is paid to those children first, and all other responsibilities after that. There really can be no conflict, there is either also, or there is not. Any organization that seeks to step between parent and child has forfeited any rights to your loyalty or your services. I am happy your child can know that you are there for them, no matter the cost.

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  6. I agree that your family should come first and applaud your courage in standing up for your child.

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  7. I am a transgender heathen. As such, I would like to let you know that you have made the right decision.

    I know you didn't want to be an activist, but I am glad you took the high road here.

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  8. Thank you, brother.
    For showing that not all of us are close-minded, backwoods idiots.
    If we expect others to respect our rights, we must also respect theirs.

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  9. Good for you. You made the right decision.

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  10. Kudos to you for standing by your kid.

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