Elaine Sommers

Elaine Sommers

I am a retired surgeon, living in Bristol. In the last few years I have become involved in LGBT advocacy, with a particular emphasis on acceptance of trans people in church communities. I work with three LGBT Christian groups, one of which has connections throughout Europe.

 

My own Christian roots are in Anglican evangelical and charismatic churches, often the hardest groups to reach on the subject of inclusion of LGBT people.

 

The topic I have chosen for my talk concerns the visibility or invisibility of trans people. I identify as bigender, so I can view the issue from both perspectives. The possible paths which trans people take during their lives will vary, but they usually start with invisibility, i.e. living in their birth gender and keeping their trans nature a secret. Later on they may become visible by choosing to come out as trans, or if they are outed by someone else. A possible further progression occurs if a trans person decides to transition, at which time they may desire to return to invisibility by hiding their trans history. 

 

We will discuss the pros and cons of various different levels of visibility, and why they are particularly relevant to any potential trans activist.