Stephanie Mott

Column: Claiming My Religious Right

StephanieMottBy Stephanie Mott

In the days of my youth, I knew little of the meanings of terms such as the religious right and the liberal left. I was taught to believe in a loving God, and that, I have begun to understand, is the greatest fortune of my birth. I was raised by parents who believed in a loving God.

The religious right that is the subject of this blog is not the religious right that comes to mind as these words are used to classify a particular brand of faith. The religious right I speak of, is my right to believe in a loving God. It is a right that was stolen from me. It is a right I have claimed once again.

It is not the right to force my religious beliefs on another. Nor is it a requirement for anyone to embrace the spiritual nature of the universe. In truth, it seems strange to me that the Creator of the universe would be so vain as to require that someone must believe before they are worthy of unconditional love. Not to put too fine a point on it, but adding the requirement of believing in God in order to qualify for unconditional love kind of negates the unconditional part.


Column: Transgender Acceptance Simplified: The Air and the Light

StephanieMottBy Stephanie Mott

In the movie “Fried Green Tomatoes” there is a scene where Evelyn Couch (Kathy Bates) is asking her husband, Ed, if Ms. Threadgoode (Jessica Tandy) can move in with them. She explains how Ms. Threadgoode has changed her life and Ed is all like “It’s not going to happen.” Evelyn persists and Ed finally asks her, “What has changed?”

She says, “The air and the light.” Then the movie goes on without stopping to recognize that Evelyn Couch just said the most amazing thing. What has changed? The air and the light. The air. Every breath I take. The light. Everything I see.

You ask me what has changed since I stopped pretending to be a man and began living as the woman of my soul? The air and the light.

To begin with, there is air now, and there is light. There never was before. Light was non-existent. Every breath contained thoughts of suicide. I could not imagine the day when I could live as my woman self. I could not continue trying to live as the man I never was.


Learning and Sharing at Womyn Rising Topeka 2014

Womyn Rising
Photos courtesy Dan Brennan. (l-r) Holly Weatherford (Advocacy Director with the ACLU of Kansas), Ann Mah (Former Kansas House Representative), and Stephanie Mott

By Stephanie Mott

Living as a woman in the state of Kansas for the last seven years, I have learned many new things. How does one rightly go about being a woman? After all, I spent many years trying to figure out how one rightly goes about being a man – to no avail, I might add. Thus, seven years ago I began the process of discovering, uncovering, and recovering the woman of my soul. It never occurred to me that one day I would be organizing a women’s conference in Topeka.

Last weekend Capital City NOW worked together with the Washburn University Women’s and Gender Studies department, the Washburn student group STAND (Students Together Advocating Non-Violent Dating), YWCA of Topeka Center for Safety and Empowerment, and the local chapter of the League of Women Voters to present the first-of-its-kind Womyn Rising conference at Washburn University in Topeka. As vice-president of Capital City NOW, I had the honor of being the conference committee chairwoman.


Column: Transgender Education – Teaching the Teachers

StephanieMottBy Stephanie Mott

Is transgender education partly responsible for transgender discrimination?  Unfortunately the answer to that question is yes. It is time for us to message the message. What does it mean to be transgender? Who are we? What do we need you to see about us?

The single most significant barrier to transgender equality is the idea that transgender women are not really women. So, why do we continue to teach it?

We, which is inclusive of me, have repeatedly taught the very same ideas that stand in the way of seeing us for who we really are. The teachings are embedded in the message we share. Perhaps we should learn to teach the ideas that open up the doors of understanding.

In our own writings; in the words that are found in articles, on blogs, and in our own minds; we unintentionally reinforce the message we most need to confront. We do this when we talk about becoming a woman or becoming a man. We do this when we use the word, “transition”?


Column: Trans-Uterus

StephanieMottBy Stephanie Mott

The recent CBS story regarding nine Swedish women who received uterus transplants undoubtedly caught the attention of transgender women throughout the world. Anyone, with even the slightest awareness of the advancement of medical science, understands that eventually there will be few things left in the realm of impossible. The idea that a transgender woman will one day be able to carry a child in her womb is no longer just an idea. It is a reality of the future.

Another story in the Dallas Voice is evidence to this fact as Sarah Luiz has positioned herself as a candidate to become the first transgender woman to potentially give birth. Anyone, with even the slightest awareness of society’s obsession with sex and gender, understands that the word controversy applies to this situation in the same way the word skirmish applies to World War II.

Society is obsessed with sex and gender. Society is also fearful, uncomfortable, and distrustful of anything that doesn’t fit quietly into the imaginary gender binary. And if that were not enough to complicate the simple, society is also fearful, uncomfortable, and distrustful of conversations that question the tidy little fabricated boxes of male and female.


Column: Choosing Social Work as a Transgender Career

StephanieMottBy Stephanie Mott

I am about to enter into the last semester of my Bachelor of Social Work program at Washburn University in Topeka. My focus is increasingly toward my future. As a soon-to-be 56-year-old college graduate, there are many choices available to me; including entering the seminary, entering law school, pursuing an MSW, and working for an MBA.

The decision regarding my choice of career has been a process of looking at impact and matching with passion. I spent the first 48 years of my life in a passionless trudge through the existence of not being my true self. The total impact of my first 48 years on the planet can be summed up in these few words: alcoholic, homeless, and spiritually dead. Passion and impact are extremely important to me.

A person might ask, “Why do you say a transgender career? “ I would respond by saying that I am a transgender person. It is a label I choose to place on myself, knowing full well that I am really a person who is transgender, and transgender is only a part of who I am. But also knowing that being transgender is something that has had an encumbering influence on every aspect of my life.


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