Follow Friday: Megan DeFranza

by Rachel Held Evans Read Distraction Free

I’ve been meaning to highlight Megan DeFranza's work for months now, as it has proved immensely helpful in some of my “real life” conversations about gender and sexuality, particularly with more conservative friends and family who are somewhat new to the conversation. 

Megan is a Christian theologian who facilitates conversation around controversial issues for churches, Christian organizations, communities, and colleges, particularly around issues related to sex, gender, and sexuality. Much of her recent work has focused on sharing the stories and experiences of intersex people and examining what Scripture has to say about people who do not fit into rigid, binary gender categories. You can check out her findings in her book, Sex Difference in Christian Theology: Male, Female, and Intersex in the Image of God. 

One of my favorite things to watch and share is this brief interview with Megan about the content of her book. I especially appreciated her comments on how Genesis 1-2 gets distorted in conversations about gender. 

I’d also recommend checking out Megan’s blog, Scholastica’s Seedlings, where I’ve found some of the clearest and simplest arguments online in support of LGBTQ identities. See especially “Transgender 101 (for conservative Christians),”  “Transgender 104: Reconsidering the scope of the Fall,” and “Why I am a Christian for Marriage Equality.”  Perhaps what I appreciate most about Megan is the way she thoughtfully and gracefully engages those with whom she disagrees. She has a special gift for making a killer argument without sacrificing civility. (Oh, and Megan’s guest post for Peter Enns’ series on biblical scholars’ “aha moments” is another must-read.) 

A few more recommendations: You can watch Megan team up with Lianne Simon in a lecture for Calvin College’s sexuality series where Lianee shares about her experience growing up intersex. And if you doubt Megan’s commitment to LGBTQ justice, see her statement to students in the wake of Gordon College’s position paper on sexuality. 

As you know, when it comes to discussing gender and sexuality, I generally prefer to hear from LGBTQ people themselves, who are more than capable of speaking for themselves and who too often see their humanity diminished to an issue up for debate. (Check out my past posts on gender and sexuality, as well as several other “follow Fridays” for links to LGBTQ writers, ministers, and activists.) But Megan proves an exception to the rule, and has become one of the first people I recommend to my more conservative friends and readers seeking to approach gender and sexuality with a more open mind. So keep her on your radar. I’m sure there’s more good work to come! 

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