Conference Announcement: Speaking at WPATH 2017 (Los Angeles)

I’m pleased to announce that I will be giving a lecture as well as a symposium at WPATH Presents:
The Inaugural USPATH Scientific Conference  (UCLA, February 2017).

I’ll be speaking on Catholicism, spirituality, and psychotherapy.

Fittingly, I received the news whilst on retreat in backwoods Colorado, at a Franciscan convent. We were a lovely, diverse group of women gathered together: cis and trans, theologians and therapists — cocreating change through prayer, reflection, sharing, and scholarship.

Issues surrounding transsexuality and living an authentic Catholic faith have increasingly become topical in more mainstream religious publications. Invariably, transsexual Catholics are identified and analyzed in these opinion pieces as a categorical abstraction. Our contributions are not attributed or acknowledged, our efforts to forward the conversation appropriated and outsourced.

Therefore, I earnestly believe, that trans Catholics must stop being rendered into generic blankness by “allies” who are capitalizing on our words and experiences. We’re individuals, not vague paradoxes for opportunistic commentary; so please encounter us, lifting up our participation, not as an absence but a committed engagement. Restore our humanness through real dialogue, one that reveals our faces and friendships with Christ — He who also dwells among the outliers and the silenced.

This blessed retreat has demonstrated to me the undeniable power of healing through genuine, Gospel-inspired, equality of interaction. As always, my gratitude for your readership. See you at USPATH 2017!




If you are so disgusted by me, why are you reading my blog?

1) I can’t help how my eyes look (pendulum nystagmus and congenital strabismus btw).
2) I dearly love Our Lady.
3) I will never give up speaking of her loving intercessions for me, by the salvific glory of Her son, who stretched out His arms on the cross to embrace everyone.

(For sources of these screen caps, please click full article to see comment section below)

A Catholic Transsexual Applauds Several Points in Latest Papal Remarks

“I happen to believe that you can’t study men;

you can only get to know them.”

C. S. Lewis, That Hideous Strength

[Editorial note: if tl;dr, please scroll to the section Five Important Implications for Transsexuals Arising From Pope Francis’s Remarks: the primary argument of this longish essay.

The first half, which I sincerely feel is an important preamble, addresses the current gaps and problems in how transsexuality is observed in mainstream Catholic opinion pieces. Thank you for reading: I understand the intense emotions this subject evokes.]




The First of October! Weather, golden. Contrition of withered leaves cross-hatched with burnished bronze sunlight. Easily my favourite season. Favourite month even. Starting off with my favourite saint’s Feast Day!

Last Saturday morning, typing on my blog (which is a pasture of rambly reflections) the inkling urge had itched its way from idea to draft. For the first time in ages, I wanted to write: something like a tribute letter to dearest St Thérèse of Lisieux, keeper of my tears and tender of the ikebana in my heart. How I love her, even referring to the saint of collected blossoms as my “heavenly BFF“, calling out to her gaze with an unrestrained childlike confidence, through wounded singing and temperamental prayers. St T: you who led me back to the Church; you, renowned for your lack of subtlety in terms of touching souls, who continually makes appearances in times of severe struggle. The scent of a rose-wreath wrapped around an old olive cross, dripping with the tresses of petals, each a pain of penance and a scapular of patience. Doctor, mystic, author of transformative Peace.

Beginning kicked off OK: first paragraph. But typing turned into sand, and my fingers choked on their own indecision. As a petition for intercession began in my head, for St T to approach Our Lady, as the zenith of love’s simplicity, on my behalf . . . as beseeching began — panic onset. An inexpressible ache except to those who have endured the inner delirium of sexual dysmorphia. The screen went blank with buried question marks:

In heaven, would St Thérèse refer to me as “he”to the cold shoulder of angels? 

Me being who I am, uncertain of my continuing status in Canon Law or pastoral concerns . . . I’ve coped with the swelter of bad science made valid through media reiterations; of bishops launching contradictory declarations on “trans people” and “gender theory”, without ever defining either; of conservadox Catholic op-eds, eager for clickiest of controversies . . . and the incessant dismissal of transsexuals as deluded, hyper sexed, and loyal to filth and confusion. Overall, impossibly wrecked to approach the altar in clear conscience. As an actual transsexual (not transgender) Catholic trying to live faithfully and authentically according to the Church teaching — attending Mass daily whilst viewing a pulpit hardwaxed and polished by unclear opinions — the dread never departs. Has all hope or blessing been breathed out, once and for all, against me, like a defective candle snuffed in the brassy dark at the votive’s unseen end?

Whatever one’s individual opinion of transsexuality/gender theory/transgenderism, the  earnestly practicing trans Catholic worships from a place of divine love but also human incoherence. Poster-board priestly invectives — which filter down to ground-level pewish derision — have borrowed heavily from the manual of insulting analogies: from the denigrating, the quaintly condescending. Worst: the eschatological similes of thermonuclear warthe apocalypse of insanity; and the Devil’s culminating hatchet job on the Divine Image of God. Every time “Catholic” and “transgender” appeared together in a headline, I flinch in readiness for the next cling-wrapped rebuke. Yes, there were some voices of support for us, but the cubiclist mentality of moral opining, assuming but not stipulating  formal teaching, left little room for “shades of grey” engagement.

Sympathetic clergy, religious sisters, and congenial laity communicated to me in private, but avoided open interaction. How I wish I were a normal Catholic, I sighed. Because a transsexual Catholic is best not seen and most of all not heard.  Don’t ask, don’t tell. Better yet, don’t come. Yet my faith informed me that it didn’t have to be this way: splitting my head against indifference. But who is listening? The editorials chastised us as pitiable but goat-headed. The marginal body like an irritating hangnail clipped from the corpus of the church. I’ve been expecting the excommunication order to come down against us from the CDF quis ex, and that’d be the end. Such has the rhetoric ratcheted up into unsympathetic glee: the ultimate affliction of consumerist vanity — we, the  fictional quasi-women who carve our likenesses out of the salubrious gloss of magazine covers.

In reality, the Catholic transsexual is a liminal verse, in a way the 21st-century version of Matthew 19: 12’s eunuchs:

“… there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let anyone accept this who can.”


And then yesterday!  — the Pope offered a few surprising remarks — albeit in that most misinterpreted of all Vatican genres, the mid-air free-for-all colloquium. Notably, for the very first time, his observations shook me out of my chair with  cautious optimism . . . we, as a Church, seemed to finally be coming into contact: and — “HEY,” I exclaimed,  “THE POPE IS SAYING WHAT I’VE BEEN TRYING TO SAY!” Spirits lifted. Genuinely

The intercession from St T came through for me: my canonical fate had not been foreclosed, and my Church was developing a more nuanced approach, one of encounter rather than dismissal . . .  And maybe, just maybe — a celibate, pro-life, trying-to-be-devout transsexual women like me … that I … that I could remain in the church I truly love and consider my life’s greatest treasure — being Catholic. Pope Francis offered to walk with me, not against me.

And my tears fell with the weight of mustard seeds.

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Clearer Futures

Usually not a point of reference worthy of an individual entry, I know.

But for the sake of my … audience, as such … (the loyal and few — thank you for the honor) —

I direct you, please, to important statements on my personal and professional pages — also linked above in the header.

(Crib notes:) For whatever it’s worth: what I intend to do with aoifeschatology from this point forward. I like writing. A lot. The satisfaction I once found in this blog has returned, reinvigorated.

For that uplift: I thank a reader — anonymous angel really — who spotted me in a Catholic bookshop. She gently took up my arm, cradling kindly as I cried out my frustration, bonded in fellowship and prayer. “Don’t quit writing”, she said urgently and respectfully. “This is important.”  (She meant my faith and my precarious status as a transsexual Catholic.) Storehouses of weaknesses shook within me; and I pleaded for strength. We hugged, one that rocketed to a top-ten rank of Best Ever.

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Film stills from the NHK adaptation, available for viewing here (Japanese/Korean subs).


Tomorrow, yet again, will be more of the same sort of day.  Happiness will never come.  I’m understanding that more and more. And yet, right before sleep, it would be  lovely to believe that it will definitely come with the next morning. Making a determinedly loud sound, I flopped onto my futon. Ah, nice feeling that.  The futon was pleasantly cool; and my spine shivered in delight. Right away, I felt dozy.  Happiness comes one night too late . . . faintly, I recall that phrase.  Waiting and waiting for happiness, finally unable to endure it anymore, the girl flees her home.  And the very next morning, the wonderful news, that good luck, finally arrives at the place from which she had run. But so the tidings arrived too late.  She was gone. Hence the saying . . .Happiness comes one night too late . . .   Happiness . . .

Dazai Osamu, The Schoolgirl (1939)

(My own late-night translation.)




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Interview with ‘The TransAdvocate’

Licensed for controversy, Rani Baker (@destroyed4com4t) recently interviewed me for The TransAdvocate. I am sincerely thankful to her for this opportunity to reflect — in casual and honest conversation with someone whom previously I’ve been both friend and foe.

Rani’s open, respectful, and unfiltered engagement with me speaks much to her integrity as a writer and a colleague. I also wish to offer my gratitude to Cristan Williams, for her editorial patience and willingness to share her platform.

You can read the interview here, which also has a text->speech module for those (like me) with visual impairments.

‘Ancestral Recall’ Now Available!

I’m not cool enough to have a launch party . . . (reality: the parcel just arrived and I’m still in my yoga clothes) . . . — but, imagine if you will . . . me about to break open a bottle of Napa Chardonnay with a toast:

The hardback is in my hands, not by my own power alone, but steadfast love and help from Our Lady; the belief in me from great scholars; and many friends who helped me press on, improve, and finally publish this: my first book!

Space is limited. Gratefulness is not.

Thank you always for your readership.

–aoife assumpta


Updated – How a Trans Woman Learns Her Dad is Dead (21st Century Version)

“This is my last message to you: in sorrow, seek happiness.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov


My biological father passed away on 24th June, 2016 (may God rest him.)

It was not until four days later that I received this generic, dispassionate, impersonal, templated, mass email on 28th June. The author (name redacted, above and below) is a legal secretary. The Mr (Name Redacted), mentioned in the email’s single sentence, was my father.

how a trans.png

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A Prayer for My Feast Day

“On the eve of our life we will be judged by how much we loved.”

-St John of the Cross

On the afternoon of January 5th, 2015, in a winter-locked clinic … my fingers twitched in spasms, splayed over a steel gurney rail. The thick IV needle was embedded just below my forearm tattoo — grip unable to tighten because of the deep wedge in the skin.

“I won’t damage your ink,” the French-accented anesthetologist assured me, medical-taping the nozzle into place and turning on the drip.

Then (as goes typical hospital protocol) he switched on his headlamp and studied a buzzing monitor, simultaneously instructing me to count back from 10.

“9,” I exhaled.

Already my eyeballs had begun to roll inward upon their own orbits. Seven seconds. My sex reassignment surgery. Every accumulated wish from that lifelong unrequited emptiness within, summarized as a buried dread:  “Why wasn’t I born a girl?” Losing, breath, sinking, last cry.

Throat could only accomplish a coarse offering that barely passed across cracked tongue. Final seconds. Prayer.

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