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Transgender And Religion: Six Trans People Discuss What Faith Means To Them

"You are either Catholic or you're not, you're either the Muslim or you're not."

15/03/2016 10:20 GMT | Updated 15/03/2016 10:38 GMT

A documentary web series has examined the issue of religion from the perspective of transgender people. 

Our CLTR’s ‘Worship Trans’ series collaborated with six people who identify as trans and asked them one question: “What is your religious understanding?”.

Munroe Bergdorf, Dani Gibbison, Elisa Mastrangeli, Mzz Kimberley, Leng Montgomery and Fox Fisher all had a different perspective, with most not believing in a single faith but maintaining a strong sense of spirituality. 

Agnostic singer Mzz Kimberly said: "I find it very interesting that at gay pride you have all these religious fanatics out there, with their Bibles and everything.

"If the gay community did that to them as they were going into church, they wouldn't like it, but they feel like it's okay because they're religious and religion is the most important thing."

Leng Montgomery, 32

Diversity and inclusion specialist 

" My relationship with religion has been quite neutral overall. I say this because when I was brought up I grew up in a family that had multiple faiths. 

For example my mother was brought up as a Catholic, and then her mother re-married and converted to Islam. We had Islam in the family and throughout other strands of my family we've had other members that have become spiritualist or you know Jewish.

I haven't been baptised or converted to any type of religion but in some ways I have a respect for religion. 

I feel like a lot of my values are in some ways guided by religious beliefs. 

For some people, religion or faith is something that is very important to them and that can be a crucial part of some people's identity. One thing that I firmly believe in, is not to ever erase that. 

For myself I've always been left with the choice. If I wanted to join a religion I could. 

At this point in my life I have never felt a massive desire to be in any religion, but I have respected other religions and when I've taken part in ceremonies, I've really enjoyed looking at the elements of that."

Elisa Mastrangeli, 40

Make-up artist 

"I believe in loving and the energy that I'm made of. I don't really ascribe to any religious beliefs as such. 

In fact if you talk about religion I find it quite off-putting because from my experience, I grew up in Italy, it's almost obstructing society.

The whole thing about gay marriage or you know equality, you know all of that. It comes down to a set of beliefs that separate people. 

You are either Catholic or you're not, you're either the Muslim or you're not. 

They are all fundamental things but you know people have been fighting each other over this. 

Clearly along the lines some beliefs have been constructed that have nothing to do with the original message. 

And I believe that its more to do with power structure."

Dani Gibbison, 24

Nightclub manager 

"My religious beliefs are that I think I came from two people, that didn't follow a set religion. 

My mum was Christened but my dad wasn't and they chose not to really give us a set religion at that time or have a set ceremony, because it was very much my dads belief that you shouldn't give somebody a belief system, they should just find their own path.

I went to a Catholic school, more so because it was the best school. Not because it was a Catholic school, and because of that I had to follow that religion. 

I think that there's a big difference between having a religion and having faith. I definitely have faith. 

My step-dad talks to the afterlife which kind of broke through any real notions that there was a higher power.

I do believe that in a way, I think it would be nice, because I know people who follow religion to the letter, I think it would be really nice to have that countability in something. To say thank you for giving me this.

Also to have someone to blame when shit goes down. 

So I don't have a set religion, I believe that I do everything that I can do to be a good person."

Mzz Kimberely, 38

Singer and performer 

"Well I'm Agnostic. I sort of feel that some people they interpret the same scripture, they interpret it in a different way. 

For instance in one of the passages there is this thing about singing. You must sing from a thorn. Now, in my church singing from a thorn meant that you sang from your voice and there were no instruments. 

Now I notice that in a Baptist Church singing from a thorn means having music instruments to sing with, which I find quite interesting. 

I don't think the Bible is really about violence, but it's okay they can say that because they're religious. 

I find it very interesting that at gay pride you have all these religious fanatics out there, with their Bibles and everything. You know if the gay community did that to them as they were going into church, they wouldn't like it, but they feel like it's okay because they're religious and religion is the most important thing. 

Society is moving on and we are learning that just because you go to church and you practice religion, it does not make you a good person. 

I'm sorry but I know drug dealers and prostitutes who are better people than people I know going to church."

Munroe Bergdof, 29

Dj and model

"I don't see myself as religious, I'm spiritual. I kind of think that all of the religions in the world have something to offer you, but I can't see myself picking one specific one, because I don't know what's real.

I see religion as something that you are either born into or your life kind of steers you into that direction. But even if life did steer me into a direction I wouldn't know what one to pick. 

I have Muslim friends, I have Hindu friends, I have got Jewish friends, Christian friends and I think everyone is kind of going along the same path. 

I just think that religion has so many downfalls I think the negatives outweigh the positives."

Fox Fisher 

Gender documenter, co-founder of My Genderation 

"I think a good place to start is I found my baptism certificate, and because a lot of my family used to work at British Airways, I was actually baptised at Heathrow airport, which is kind of weird.

It's also weird because I was not of an age to make a decision about that. That decision was made for me. 

I feel like I had to dig deep to work out my own spirituality. Rather than transitioning at a younger age - because the information wasn't really there for me  - I spent most of my 20's doing a bit of a soul search.

I was looking to find out more about myself and try and feel more comfortable in my own body.

I did find out a lot, after looking at all the religions that were there, and trying to pick and choose what kind of felt important to me.

I suppose the closest religion out of all of them would be Buddhism.  It's a very peaceful religion. With my spiritual quest it helped me to find a lot of peace. I think that religion and spirituality are very different animals. 

The western world can be very chaotic and spirituality for me is a way to feel at peace in the world."

‘Worship Trans’ will be presented as a short documentary web series - showcasing their lives in frank and open conversation while incorporating photography and original illustrations.

The project has launched a Kickstarter campaign to cover the publishing costs.