Trans-affirming Ceremony at Equinox
presented by Kindred Spirits Traveling Medicine Show
Answer the call for transgender unity
to honor, affirm, empower and celebrate ourselves
at this liminal time of balance at the equinox -- our special time.
All are invited to this non-denominational, premiere event,
to be formally welcomed into the greater family of gender-variant beings.
Composed by Holly Boswell
First performed Sept. 21, 2002 at SCC in Atlanta
Primary Officiant – Holly Boswell
Officiants from the Four Corners:
Androgyne & Intersex (SE) – Verba
Female to Male (SW) – James Green
Transcendent (NW) – Zantui Rose
Male to Female (NE) – Stephanie Sands
Drummers – Yvonne Cook-Riley, Angela Brightfeather,
Shelley Emerson, Zeek Christopoulos, Emily Singleton
1. The call to participate
2. Acknowledgment of sacred space & time, and of everyone gathered
3. Attestation of belonging through a litany of questions
4. Veneration of ancestors, deities, archetypes and trail blazers
5. An action by one and all that exemplifies, owns and honors our
6. Officiants affirm the value of trans, celebrants claim their power
7. Offerings: all are asked to declare what gifts they contribute to
8. Consecration: officiants lead a simple chant, with drumming
9. Blessing of self, each other, and all who share our essence
COSTUMING & PROPS
Everyone wears black clothing. Officiants also wear a black ‘poncho’.
The heads of each of the 4 corner Officiants should look like their
archetypes. They will each bear a "standard" on a tall
corresponding icons: Andro/Intersex: +O-> FtM: O-> Transcendent:
The Drummers will share a large gathering drum in the center of the
1. The Call
(from the podium at lunch, with soft drumming)
You are all invited to a special celebration at this magical time of
equinox to honor, affirm and empower ourselves as gender variant people.
This is a call for unity, and for an awakening to Spirit that is totally
non-denominational, intended only to serve each of us as the unique
gifted beings we are.
It will begin immediately after the keynote in the Sherwood Room, which
is directly over the Banquet Hall lobby, and requires only 15 minutes.
Seminars will resume at 2:00, so please be prompt.
This will be the first ceremony of its kind, and will be repeated at
IFGE conference this Spring equinox, and elsewhere we hope for many
hence. Come join us, and be initiated into the greater family of gender
(There is a heart-beat pulse on the gathering drum, and the smell of
in the room. Standards lie like spokes around the drum. All five
Officiants usher everyone into the room, dispersing them to form a
circle. On a cue from the Primary Officiant (PO), drums stop and the
other Officiants pick up their standards and move to their corners.
will be free to move about, and is personable and spontaneous, not
Andro/Intersex Officiant (A/I) speaks: Bless the Intersexed born to
the Androgynes at the crossroads, and everyone else who transgresses
bounds of gender.
(3 drum beats)
FtM Officiant (FtM): Bless the Transmen, who boldly cross the great
(3 drum beats)
Transcendent Officiant (Tra): Bless those who strive to transcend the
human whims and dictates of gender.
(3 drum beats)
MtF Officiant (MtF): And bless the Transwomen, who gently cross the
(3 drum beats)
PO: We are all creatures of the Earth. Let us honor the Great Mother,
and all that has come to pass across her face. We are all children
Heaven. Let us honor the Great Father, and all that will come to be
this place. Let us honor ourselves here and now, perfect as we are,
of us blessed to walk our special paths. We are here now to manifest
dreams of Heaven on
Earth. (Soft drum pulse of steady beats begins...)
All Officiants in unison: We have crossed the human divide. We are
bridges that span two worlds — one foot standing with men, the
women. We embody all humanity, in the twilight between sun and moon
— the time of balance.
We are transgender, transsexual, intersex, crossdresser, androgyne,
and this is the equinox. This is our time. (drum pulse crescendo, then
PO: There are questions. If true for you, please answer "I am".
Officiants ask these questions:
Are you one who questions gender?
Are you one who suffers for your gender?
Are you one who revels in your gender?
Are you one who confuses pronouns?
Are you one who has changed your name?
Are you one who defies the expectations of your birth?
Are you one who is seldom seen for who you are?
Are you one who feels betwixt and between?
Are you one who must choose whether or not to lie about your gender?
Are you one who sees your kindred here assembled?
Are you one who proves the exception to the rule?
Are you one who walks a path of transformation?
Are you one who embodies the breakdown of dichotomies?
Are you one whose questions take you outside the paradigm?
Are you one who knows fear and courage, death and rebirth?
Are you one who seeks your true identity?
Are you one who yearns to be more fluid?
Are you one who holds contradictory points of view?
Are you one who mixes wardrobes?
Are you one who’s learned the difference between the performer
Bless you all for being who you are.
PO: Let us thank our gender variant ancestors for preparing a way
A/I: The human beings:
Adam before Eve, the Galli of Rome, Chui Chin of China, all the Amazons
and Eunuchs, the Priestesses of Cybele, Joan of Arc, the Castrati of
Italy, the Daughters of Rebecca in Wales, the Molly Maguires of Ireland,
Madge Wildfire of Scotland, the Chevalier D’Eon, Governor Bradford
York, George Sand, Boulton & Park, Black Elk, Sitting Bull, Crazy
We’Wha, Jack Bee Garland, Quentin Crisp, Lou Sullivan, Sylvia
Venus Xtravaganza, Marsha P. Johnson, Brandon Teena, Freddie Martinez,& so many more...
FtM: The deities:
Lilith, Baphomet, Avalokitesvara, Shiva, Agdistis, Kuan Yin, Obutala,
Krishna, Caeneus, Tiresias, Dionysus, Athena, Hermaphroditus, Brahma,
Kolhamana, Phanes, Indra, Sphinx, Daksha, Misa, Prajapati, Bahuchara,
Eon, Macha, Te Rongo, Kahukura, Oyamakui, Kucumatz, Mwari, Kiha, Nilus,
Bathala, Abrao, Mohini, Ptah, Loki, Tupilak, Jinn, Bythos, Sedna,
Taweakame, Ungud, Dzonokwa, Hera, Tiamat, & so many more...
Tra: The archetypes:
spirit in flesh, Nature as Divine, self-awareness, wholeness, healing,
balance, the androgyne, alpha and omega, the cosmic bridge, the chalice
and the blade, the alchemical marriage, the P.T.A., wisdom of the fool,
the sacred clown, the absent-minded professor, the gentle giant, the
madonna and the whore, death and rebirth, will and grace, moderation,
ambivalence, ambidexterity, synergy, paradox, ompassion, peace, & so
MtF: And those still living who are blazing our trail:
Virginia Prince, Merissa Sherrill Lynn, Jan Morris, Wendy Carlos, Ari
Kane, Cheryl Chase, Jane Fee, Marcia Botzer, JoAnn Roberts, Phyllis
Martine Rothblatt, Riki Wilchins, Kate Bornstein, Leslie Feinberg,
Green, Jason Cromwell, Gary Bowen, Dallas Denny, Terry Tafoya, Spotted
Eagle, Chrystos, Ru Paul, all the hijra, mahu, radical faeries, musicians
and artists, gender-queer kids, & so many more...
PO: To all who have gone before, and all who walk with us now, we
humbly thank you, and aspire to your vision and strength.
5. An Action
PO speaks, and demonstrates with other Officiants: Let us bow to one
another — all curtsy our femme spirit to the left,
moon the cosmic trickster from behind,
bow our butch spirit to the right, (deeply)
and honor the One True Heart of All Being to the center. (palms together & gentle
All Officiants in unison:
We honor and affirm the nature and value of our gender variant being.
you claim your power?
All Celebrants should answer: I do. (3 drum beats, followed by 2
repetitions of the question)
All Officiants in unison:
Then let it be known by Heaven and Earth that we do own our nature.
PO: As you are so bestowed with special gifts, what will you contribute
to the world?
Please offer your one word responses as I point in your direction.
Pan the circle. (May need a plant in the audience to get things going.)
PO: Let us consecrate these gifts with song. All join hands.
(Demonstrate the chant, with drum & bell & rattle:)
"Those who wonder who we are, let them know us by our gifts."
(This could be accompanied with a dance.)
PO: Let us be seen and be received for who we are, and rejoice in our
A/I: Bless yourself by saying: "Father/Mother, bless my
Spirit in my
Flesh." (Celebrants repeat)
FtM: Bless each other by saying: "Bless you my family,
as we walk this
path together." (repeat)
Tra: And bless all who share our essence by saying:
"Bless us all with compassion, as we heal with love, and thrive."
MtF: Spirit bless us every one.
All Officiants bow to center, then in unison: Amen, aho, aloha.
A final drum cadence (same as for the chant), as PO heads to the
followed by other Officiants. Drummers stop, bow to center, and follow.