Dani Gabriel

Dani Gabriel is a writer and lives with her partner and two kids in the Bay Area. She is a postulant for the diaconate in the Episcopal Diocese of California.

Posts By This Author

Why I Led a Renaming Ceremony for My Young Transgender Congregant

by Dani Gabriel 05-22-2018

Image via @lil_bear_photo/Unsplash

"We experience being known in many different ways: in baptism, whether as infants or children or adults, in confirmations, in ordinations, in weddings. We haven't had anything for people who have transitioned to change their name or ask that we use different pronouns for them. Yet this is obviously a really profound shift in who they understand themselves to be. It’s important for the church to affirm that identity, and name it as good."

A Blessing for My Transgender Son

by Dani Gabriel 04-24-2018
How witnessing Samson's renaming ceremony changed my church.
MY CONGREGATION, All Souls Episcopal Parish, is in a college town. In the summer when students and faculty go on break, our numbers thin considerably, so we move the pews to create a more intimate space in the round. But today was not an average summer Sunday. The pews were overfull. People were sitting on the sides, and there were extra chairs in the back.

My son Samson stood in front of our pew. One of the men in the congregation knelt and fixed his bow tie. The Sunday morning sunlight was streaming through the stained glass and the skylight. I hugged friends.This is going to be good, right? I prayed . Please, Lord, I hope we’re doing the right thing.

On Aug. 13 we renamed and blessed my son, Samson Red Gabriel. Samson is transgender. That week we had gone to court to legally change his name and gender, and that week he turned 10. That Sunday held the joy of five baptisms, all the hilarity and devotion that goes along with that, and this incredible rite that had never been done before in the Episcopal Church. As far as we know, nothing like it had been done for a child in a mainline church before, period.