I am OtherWise. I am male and female. Neither. Both. I have been given a non-binary gender. Made in the Image of a OtherWise God (Genesis) who transcends labels. “I am who I am.”
I am OtherWise. I honor the courage and strength of my Two Spirit siblings, who struggle to reclaim their traditional places in Native Circles: winkte, nadleeh, and more.
I am OtherWise. I acknowledge that it was settler-colonists, invader-immigrants from Europe who came with rigid and binary ideas about gender. Enforcing those ideas on Indigenous peoples in the Americas through violence and cultural genocide. Labeling my Two Spirit siblings as evil and feeding them, literally, to the dogs of war.
I am OtherWise. Those European settler-invaders were Christians, funded by Church People. The tools of gendered violence had already been used for many generations in the Old Country to eliminate the OtherWise — gender non-conforming people, as well as pagans, wise women, healers, and other so-called heretics and perverts who challenged the status quo.
I am OtherWise. I hear the voices of the slaughtered still crying out from those “burning years.” The genocide of my own tribe long before Columbus “sailed the Ocean Blue.” Demons unleashed again in the Middle Passage, Residential Schools, Internment Camps… and so many other places from Ferguson, Missouri to Kampala, Uganda.
I am OtherWise. I am a Witness to the Resurrection. All of this is my heritage and inheritance. Jesus calling for our demons be cast out. Jesus inviting us to rise again from these tombs of our own making. Born again.
I am OtherWise. My pronouns are they/them.
©2015 Chris Paige. All Rights Reserved.
With thanks to M. Barclay and Reconciling Ministries Network for the invitation to write.