The Trans Seminarian Cohort, a joint project of CLGS, the Freedom Center for Social Justice, and the National LGBTQ Task Force, enters its seventh year this fall!  Every year, five to six seminary students who identify as transgender, genderqueer, nonbinary, or gender nonconforming are selected to journey together for one academic year.  In this program, students from a variety of seminaries are given the opportunity receive mentoring, participate in community-building, and take advantage of educational programming that helps to shape their present and future as trans-identified religious leaders, activists, and academics. Each year the number of applicants grows.

Many of the Cohort members come from schools where they are one of only a few – if not the only – trans or gender nonconforming students in their program.  Our Trans Cohort experience offers them unique opportunities to hone skills, make connections, and become empowered in their vocations as religious and spiritual leaders.

During the year, Cohort members participate in three face-to-face gatherings, regular phone and video calls with the Cohort faculty, and meetings with a variety of guest speakers.  Particular highlights for this year include an opening fall retreat in Tampa, Florida;  attendance at the Creating Change Conference in January, where the Cohort will lead a workshop; and taking part in the Trans Faith and Action Network Retreat in the North Carolina mountains in August.

Summertime is always bittersweet for the Cohort faculty: as we excitedly preparing for a new Cohort to begin, we must also say “goodbye” to the current Cohort in August.  As I reflect on the work of this program, I am especially grateful that each Cohort develops its own unique spirit (and sense of humor), which keeps things lively, for sure!

Thank you for your support of CLGS, which has been an ongoing sponsor of The Trans Seminarian Cohort from the beginning.  This is such a unique program that provides these seminarians – who often live on the margins – an opportunity to feel connected, valued, and deeply understood.  Please stay tuned: we will announce the 7th Trans Seminarian Cohort later this month!

Rev. Jakob Hero-Shaw

Coordinator, CLGS Transgender Roundtable

Faculty Member, The Trans Seminarian Cohort


August 2019