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Transcending Boundaries: Becoming Trans* Allies in a Challenging World
August 2023


Justice Advocates is grateful for all those who contributed to our Transcending Boundaries series. This page contains links to session recordings, resources mentioned by speakers, and other resources that we have found helpful. We hope use of these resources will continue to deepen understanding of the lives of our transgender and nonbinary friends. 

Our purpose in offering this series...

In our polarized and power-seeking world, transgender and nonbinary persons have become the enemy of choice. Because human beings crave order, our amorphous fear of that which we do not understand  can easily be exploited. Compounding that fear is the reality of a world that is becoming more open, more accepting, and more celebratory of the gift of diversity. We at Justice Advocates long to be a part of that expansive view, yet we know we have much to learn. Hence we offered this series on the basics of understanding transgender and nonbinary lives.

Session One
The Basics:
Find Out What You Don't Know 

To view the graphics used by Dolly- Davis Dollberg in this session,

click here. Access three poems by Erika Joyner here: 

"Walk a Mile in My Shoes"

"A Trans Woman's Fantasy"

"Trans Handedness

Includes discussion of gender identity and gender expression; pronouns; and how to stand in solidarity with our transgender and nonbinary friends as allies in their journey toward authenticity. 


Decca Knight, founder of SERV (Standing for Equity in the Roanoke Valley) 

Dolly-Davis Dollberg, president and executive board member and Erika Joyner, executive board member, "Ladies and Gents of the Blue Ridge - Transgender Alliance"

Session Two

Gender Diversity:

How Different Faith Traditions Respond

Due to technical challenges, the PowerPoint slides for Pastor Wiles' presentation did not load. To view those files, click here. To view resources referenced by Rabbi Cohen, click here

Given the rhetoric in the public square, it would be easy to assume that major faith traditions oppose transgender lifestyles. What do the more progressive voices say? This session includes reflections on acceptance and affirmations from two faith perspectives:  those of Reform Judaism and Protestant Christianity (mainline, specifically PC-USA)NOTE: Unfortunately, our speaker for the Islamic tradition was unable to attend. 



Rabbi Kathy Cohen, Temple Emanuel, Roanoke 

Rev. Sarah Wiles, Blacksburg Presbyterian Church

Session Three

Seeing Beyond the Gender Binary: 

Living Trans*

From Joe Cobb:

  • Equality Virginia is tracking all 131 school districts and supports local community members on how to draft public comment and/or lobby their school board members.

More information about Equality Virginia

Becoming trans* allies means listening to the stories of transgender persons and those who support them. It also means increasing our awareness of issues that impact their lives. 

This session includes an overview of the transgender policies of the Youngkin administration: their impact on transgender students and their legal standing. It also includes the stories of two transgender journeys.



Rev. Joe Cobb, Board Member, Equality Virginia and Vice-Mayor, city of Roanoke. 

Rev. Katherine Ferguson, transwoman and Episcopal priest

Courtney and Bettie Thomas, mom and nonbinary child from Montgomery County. 


FROM MARK WINGFIELD: The Baptist Pastor and His Transgender Friends


The Trevor Project (

The Trevor Project provides 24/7 crisis support services for LGBT young people. For quick access to their resource page, click here

Human Rights Campaign (

Leading the Fight for LGBTQ+ Rights

Equality Virginia (

... when Virginia is safe for ALL LGBTQ+ people, Virginia is safe for everyone.


Austen Hartke, Transforming: the Bible & the Lives of Transgender Christians (Updated and Expanded Edition with Study Guide)     Link to Austen's YouTube page

Schuyler Bailar,  He/She/They: How We Talk about Gender and Why It Matters

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