On Tuesday, September 26, 2017, John Ensslin, who does a podcast and reporting using social media, posted this in On the Record on his interview with reporter Monsy Alvarado about the feature story she wrote about me:
Transgender minister talks about her decision to come out to her former congregation. The caption reads: “Petra Strand, a transgender minister from Teaneck, talks about her decision to reveal her gender status to her former congregation in Ridgefield Park in this episode of On the Record. We also talk with Record reporter Monsy Alvarado about her profile of Strand. Photo by Amy Newman.”
On September 28, 2017, Monsy Alvarado’s story about me was published online, with a video clip on top:
On Sunday, October 1, 2017, The Record (northjersey.com; part of the USA Today network) published the story: “Road to Acceptance: Transgender Minister’s Path has Her Looking to the Future.” Here is the front cover (the story continued for a full-page on 8A):
The Northern Valley Suburbanite, South edition, part of the same network, published the story on its front page on Thursday, October 5, 2017. The story continued on pages 11-13 with three photos not in the Sunday edition (they are on the online version). While the The Record paper is by subscription, the Suburbanite is distributed to every household in the towns of Alpine, Cresskill, Englewood, Englewood Cliffs, Teaneck, and Tenafly.
I am happy with the article. The reporter Monsy Alvarado and the photographer Amy Newman did an excellent job. It was well researched, and, except for two minor factual errors, accurate. I did not expect front page coverage.
What I wanted when I agreed with Monsy to do the story—and I believe the story succeeds in this regard—is to help transgender people by helping to break down the stereotypes that one finds in so much public discourse and in the attitudes that people hold. A medical condition has been politicized by an ambitious group of political leaders who have deliberately turned public ignorance into public hysteria for their own political ends. The immediate reaction of many people seems to be revulsion, if not fear. By seeing and understand transgender people better, however, I hope that this knee-jerk reaction might change to something more positive, like compassion, or empathy, or even admiration, and that people will treat transgender people better.
Generally, people I meet do not register that I am transgender, and therefore I receive no special treatment, for good or ill. Following the publication of the story in the Bergen Reccord, however, my friend Chidimma Ozor contacted me and interviewed me for her theTYPEAhippie Podcast. Here is the link. The title is: “Transitioning with Time, Expectations and Faith.” I met Chidimma on the basis of a yoga connection, but now we share in addition our passion for social justice concerns. Please explore her website.