Stories connect us, help us empathize with one another, expand our minds, and change our perspectives. Stories have the power to change the world.
Since I was a little kid I have loved losing myself in stories. Back then it was to escape the pain of being a queer kid growing up in a hostile world. Stories were protection and comfort, they were a balm to my soul and a refuge when I was in pain.
These days I still like losing myself in stories. I like the feeling of connection that occurs when I read a line that so perfectly resonates with my own life, or that moment when I feel seen. I also like the empathy that comes when I can enter into someone else’s story and understand, even if only a little bit, what it’s like to be them.
With my love of reading stories, of finding the perfect words to describe something, of painting pictures with phrases, it makes sense that I would turn to telling my own story. In essays and sermons and pictures I tell the story of my life. I tell the story of my journey from growing up as a fundamentalist evangelical in rural Pennsylvania to becoming the first openly transgender man ordained to the Old Catholic priesthood. And of course I tell all of the stories of the twists and turns along the way.
So thank you for being here and for reading my stories. I hope that in them you find those coveted moments of “me too!” where you felt seen and heard. I hope you find empathy for transgender people. I hope you find a companion on your journey.
Wondering what’s next?
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He graduated from Union Theological Seminary with a Master of Divinity and is an ordained priest in the Old Catholic Church.
Fr. Shay is a sought after speaker on queer theology, transgender issues, and the intersections of identity and faith.
He’s been published in Geez Magazine, Lavender Magazine, Believe Out Loud, and the Huffington Post, and featured in The Advocate and the Star Tribune.