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T in the Life: Rev. Sean Parker Dennison
by Kate Sosin, Windy City Times
2012-08-08

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Rev. Sean Parker Dennison


Pronouns: He/his/him

Identifies as: Transgender

Life's work: Unitarian Universalist Minister

When did you start questioning gender?

"I remember questioning around age five. I cut my hair off and wanted to wear boys' clothes. It was definitely not allowed, so I tried to find ways to make 'female' work for me. I discovered the trans community at age 30."

Hobbies

"Computers, writing, art, my three dogs and cat, social media, justice."

What is the best thing about being trans/ gender-variant?

"The amazing strength and beauty of the trans people I've come to know and love as family. It's also been part of a journey to uncover and heal from the consequences of having privilege in many ways, helping me overcome divisions that I was taught and become aware of the gifts of so many amazing, daring, loving, strong, complex people. And of course, I've been able to learn to love all the complex parts of myself along the way."

When did you start questioning gender?

"I remember questioning around age five. I cut my hair off and wanted to wear boys' clothes. It was definitely not allowed, so I tried to find ways to make 'female' work for me. I discovered the trans community at age 30."

Do you have any coming out stories that you want to share?

"I came out in seminary, which was an amazingly supportive place. I was scared to death to come out and tried to cover it with bluster. I told the president of the school, 'You and this seminary are going to have the privilege of watching me transition from female to male.' I totally didn't believe it myself and thought I would be kicked out. To her credit, the president, Rev. Dr. Rebecca Parker, leaned forward and said, 'How wonderful! Tell me about it!' She then invited the entire faculty, staff and student body to her home for the showing of a trans-positive documentary and Q&A with Jamison Green. When I expressed gratitude for all she was doing she said, 'It's not your job to educate this school, it's mine.'"

What do you think is the most pressing issues facing trans people?

"I'm very concerned about the amount of conflict I see among the parts of the trans/gender-variant community ourselves. We can't afford to be fooled into acting as gatekeepers or engaging in infighting. We need each other and we need to learn from each other. We need to nurture connections among the various "sub-groups" in our community and let those connections strengthen our movement."

To nominate a person for T in the life, email: Kate Sosin

sosin@windycitytimes.com


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