Rev. and Dr. Robyn Henderson-Espinoza, Ph.D., is certainly breaking boundaries and busting stereotypes left and right as a Transqueer, Latinx Theologist, and activist.
Henderson-Espinoza is also an ordained Baptist minister, a title rarely seen among people who identify as transgender and non-binary. But Henderson-Espinoza, who uses gender-neutral pronouns, has always felt a calling to explore the borderlands and in-between spaces, knowing it was their purpose to ponder the big questions of life and work to disrupt supremacy culture.
Through their work, studies, visionary thinking, and leadership, Henderson-Espinoza is helping to shed light on concepts like being and becoming and what that means, especially as a Transqueer, Latinx, mixed race, gender nonconforming person.
In their new book, “Body Becoming: A Path to Our Liberation,” Dr. Robyn Henderson-Espinoza embraces a body constantly in discovery, a body determined to thrive, and exploring the relationship between living and becoming.
Robyn was born to a Mexican mother and an Anglo father and was born and raised in Texas before traveling the country and spending time learning and studying in Chicago, Denver, and Berkley.
Now living in Nashville, Tennessee, Dr. Henderson-Espinoza is dedicated to teaching and embracing the radical difference that makes belonging and being possible for everyone.
“I reject oppositional politics in favor of the radical interrelatedness of all things. Difference is possible because of our radical interconnectedness,” they say on their website.
“It’s important for me as a trans person, as Latinx, to take place and to bear witness, that even someone like me can follow the ways of Jesus and maybe imagine another possible world,” Henderson-Espinoza said.
In their new book “Body Becoming: A Path to Our Liberation,” Dr. Robyn Henderson-Espinoza explores the gray areas that define their life — they live in a trans body, a nonbinary body, a body that is multiple races and multiple identities.
This book dives deep into the concept of coming into a new body, both through emotional connection and abstract thought. It’s a product of a lifetime of living in and exploring gray areas and a part of a larger mission to achieve collective liberation.
The hope is that “Body Becoming” offers “a way of understanding the body beyond constructions —political or medical-industrial-complex defined — toward cultivating the body as important in our endeavors to build a more inclusive vision for democracy,” they explain.
In a speaking engagement at The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology, Robyn read an excerpt from their book and stated: “When we begin to take seriously the felt sense of the body, and the relationships that come from that felt sense, we can reshape not only our own bodies but the bodies of our culture and finally, our cultural body.”
It’s an ever-evolving study, one that they are only scratching the surface of. The study of the body and the fascination with how one’s body and being are related go back to when Dr. Henderson-Espinoza suffered a brain aneurysm at 16 years old.
After surviving two full craniotomies right before finishing high school, Robyn fell in love with the big questions about life and being and dove headfirst into theology and philosophy.
It was equally about passion and about really wanting to help others navigate the in-between spaces that they occupied.
“I wanted to invite us into a different way of being in the world,” said Dr. Henderson-Espinoza. And “when we are closer in relationship with our bodies, it impacts how we are with other people, and that can … shift and shape our cultural body, and we could be a better people because of embodiment.”