Testimonies: Trans Lives Matter

Felicia Elizondo, Lee Whittaker, Schmian Evans, and Angel Starr -- June 14, 2015

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Duration: About 24 minutes | Key Scriptures: Ps 9:9-20, Isaiah 56:1-8, Acts 8:26-40

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Felicia FlamesFelicia A. Elizondo, AKA Felicia Flames, calls herself a Screaming Queen, pioneer, legend, icon, and a diva.

A 28-year survivor of HIV+, she is also a Vietnam veteran. Born July 23, 1946, in San Angelo, Texas, her activism started the day she was born, fighting all her life for who she was meant to be – from being harassed, having kids make fun of her, molested, beaten up, raped, and thrown in jail. Felicia first came to San Francisco in 1963, changed her sex in 1974, and moved here in 1993. She worked for SF AIDS Foundation, Project Open Hand, Shanti, and SF LGBT Community Center.

Felicia started raising money for AIDS and organizations such as the Aris Project, the Names Project, Project Open Hand, Shanti, SF AIDS Walk, Tenderloin Tessie Dinners, and a lot more.

Lee WhittakerLee Whitaker earned a Masters of Divinity from Starr King School for the Ministry, a Certificate in Sexuality and Religion from the Pacific School of Religion , both in Berkeley, California. In May, 2015 Lee earned ed a Certificate in Advanced Professional Studies also from the Pacific School of Religion.

"I'm a firm believer in church-outside-the-box. People are spiritually starving and many are religiously homeless. We seriously need to rethink church. That is why I am blessed to be a part of the emergent church movement which is beginning to blossom. Seeing the results of worship and ritual done in a way which creates agency to access the Divine for those who may not have had it before gives me such a sense of joy. I feel blessed that the Divine has called me to this ministry."

Currently, Lee serves on the pastoral team of Tapestry Ministries in Berkeley, California.

Shimaian EvansSchmian Evans was born in Monroe, Louisiana and as a child moved with her family to the Bay Area.

Shmian is a Master of Divinity and Certificate of Sexuality and Religion student at Pacific School of Religion. She also serves as the student representative on the Inter-Cultural Justice Committee and student trustee on the Board of Trustees. She holds a Certi3pxicate of Ministries Studies from PSR and a B.A. in Gender Studies from California State University Stanislaus.

S/he envisions hir ministries as part of the communities of people tha9 are working together to bring healing to the world. S/he believes that there are many times in hir own life when the door has been closed, but in hir relationship to the divine even when injustice is abound, there is another door opened by the divine that cannot be taken away. S/he hears, speaks with, and loves God. Schmian has lived through and seen enough things to know that God is real, and with each of us.

A poet, performer, and City of Refuge Minister, Schmian remains dedicated to the work and service of creating a more just world.

Angel StarrAngel Starr was born in Michigan and arrived in California on July 7, 1977.

Angel studied Graphic and Fine Art at Santa Monica College and worked in a variety of environments including state and Native American governance, corporate banking, software design, and graphic design.

Angel chose to stay away from "organized religion" because of how she felt "it corrupted powerhungry overloards seeking to enslave everybody and supress independent thinking so they get all the godl" the ran from church for about 30 years until she heard Tim Wise speak on white priviledge at a KPFA event and was moved by the Spirit present in the FCCO sanctuary that night. She eventually returned to FCCO for worship and has been a member of First Congregational Church of Oakland for about six years.

Angel is now retired from the Corporate Rat Race and is currently learning something about computers, finished Breaking Bad & House of cards/catching up on Star Trek at Netflix, and is looking for ministry opportunities to help disenfranchised people empower themselves.