Collective Blessings: A Storytelling Event of Transgender Lives & Journeys

Holy Wisdom Monastery, its partners, and allies throughout the state, will provide an on-line forum event on  June 30th from 6:30-7:45 pm to let trans kids, their parents, and every transgender individual they are loved, respected, valid, and there are faith organizations, including Holy Wisdom Monastery that support and welcome them. Please join us as two women of trans history tell their stories, plus we’ll hear from a parent of a trans child and from a behavioral health expert about the added stressors trans kids/families endure because of these hateful bills and how to cope with them. There is no cost to participants.



Becca (she/her, they/them) 

Rebecca Jane Bedell is a queer spiritual wanderer, a non-binary trans dyke using both she and they pronouns. Becca facilitates Queerly Beloved, a group for LGBTQ young adults of faith at Pres House in Madison, where they work. She is a poet with an MFA from UW-Madison, published in The Adroit JournalPalette Poetry, and elsewhere. They are a 2021 recipient of a Ministry Exploration grant from FTE. Becca’s pastimes include guitar and drums, hiking, and cuddling with her fiancée Lily and pit-lab mix Melon.


Ghazel Tellawi  (she/her/hers)

Ghazel is a queer Syrian immigrant woman from a Muslim background, and a licensed Psychologist in Wisconsin and Minnesota. She has a passion for recognizing how important our identities are in shaping how we move in the world, and how the world responds to us. Her areas of focus as a professional is in working with individuals who possess marginalized identities such as race, sexual orientation, gender identity, and religion.


Sheri Swokowski (she/her/hers)

Dr. Sheri Swokowski is a retired Army Colonel with 35 years of service.  She is the senior, out, transgender veteran in the United States. COL Swokowski holds a PhD in Leadership for the Application of Learning and Service. Post-retirement, Dr. Swokowski was a lead course instructor at the US Army Force Management School (USAFMS) at Ft Belvoir, VA, where she was abruptly fired in 2007 when she transitioned. She is an internationally known advocate for transgender rights and Trans military service.


Dave Heide (he/him/his)

Dave is a Madison-area chef with over 20 years of experience. He is the owner, operator, and executive chef at Liliana’s and Executive Director of Little John’s Restaurants. While this Le Cordon Bleu graduate has won multiple accolades from Best Chef Madison to Best Restaurant, he is also well known for his dedication to philanthropy, with a lifetime of inspired, bighearted projects to help address food waste, food accessibility, and to support local farmers and independent small restaurants. Dave is a parent of a trans child.


We wish to thank our sponsors!

Our Lives







WI LGBT Chamber of Commerce 








Fair Wisconsin




Outreach LGBTQ+ Community Center









Wisconsin Council of Churches




Holy Wisdom Monastery

Register by June 29

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