In another of their head::desk inducing screeds, the transphobes over at Focus on the Family, have decided to target an Argentinian woman, 45 year old Marcela Romero, who was recently honored as a Distinguished Woman of 2009.

The author of the CitizenLink article demonstrates his ignorance on a wide array of issues including sexuality, gender identity, and genetics. It seems to me that every time authors at FotF or CL churn out their tripe, they must be required to do the following: mention how we mutilate ourselves through surgery, use the word transition (but only if it is first bracketed with “scare quotes”), and discuss how their extremely disrespectful bile is actually speaking the truth in Christian, Godly love.

To CitizenLink and Focus on the Family: Eat me. If that seems disrespectful to you, I might point out that more insulting things have been said about me in every single article that FotF publishes about trans people. In other words, they started it: they claim that I’m fooling people by passing myself off as a woman, that Dr. Paul McHugh knows the whole truth about trans women, and that I am radically redefining the vision of the sexes found in the Bible. Oh, and they said I have a mental disorder. Yeah, those are some nice people. In fact, I’ll say it again: they can eat me.

Apropos of nothing, the CitizenLink writer brought up sexual orientation in an article about gender identity– a questionable thing to do since the two are separate concepts. Why would they do such a thing? Because they’re trying to paint trans people as perverts– we can’t change our sexual orientation, but we can change our genders; see how easy it is? All you have to do is mutilate yourself. Epic Fail. Let me ask you something really personal: are you gay or straight or bi or something else? How fluid do you find your sexual expression to be? I’d ask all the the straight laced homophobes on FotF whether they might let us try to “pray away their straightness.” Puh-lease. Don’t bitch about my sexual orientation and how I can’t change it, especially if you can’t change yours at the drop of a hat, either. Hypocrites. And no, trotting out some ex-gays is not sufficient– those are people who choose to put themselves through an entirely different kind of hell so that they can avoid the social stigma of being gay in church*. Or being Episcopalian.

As for using sexuality as a segue into backhanding the notion of gender identity, I’ll segue myself: it’s been pretty well understood that aversion therapy, reparative therapy, and all those things we used to try to get people to stop being gay didn’t really work. Well, those things don’t really work when you want men to stop acting like women, either. I got teased and mocked all through school, called faggot, all that, and the bullying couldn’t socialize the girl out of me. You think a little electricity will do what all the rocks and taunts and jeers have failed to do for me and every one of my sisters?

The reason that trans people change their bodies is because you can’t change or remake a person’s mind to make them into what you want them to be or what you think they should be. There’s no such thing as a brain transplant, but I’d expect you to realize that if you’re intelligent enough to use the internet. Instead of branding people as deficient “others”, we used to respect a multiplicity of viewpoints. Cultures worldwide used to recognize trans people as individuals that understood both sides of gendered behavior. We were mystics, we were shamans, we were counselors. Now that we have these twisted notions of Christian Bible-based gender and complementarianism, trans people are regarded as mentally ill, but that’s a more recent invention, and it’s completely unsupported by centuries of cultural understanding.

I am not mentally ill. In fact, there’s a lot of really good research that gives every indication that being trans is just another part of human diversity– things happen during development and brain formation, and we end up with bodies that don’t match up to our internal identities. The thing that makes me resentful, the thing that drives all the profanity that I’ve had to go back and edit out of this article is that FotF and their writers would like to privilege their understanding of my sex and gender identities over my own experiences, and they’re trying to put their hate driven spew out there to distort and confuse the truth over what it really means to be trans.

I get that changing one’s sex is a pretty weird (read: uncommon, unfamiliar, intimidating, scary) thing, especially if you lead the kind of life where you’ve never met an actual trans person. But that doesn’t mean that your fear gets to drive the entire discussion or determine how I get treated by society. I’ve got news for FotF– the Holy Spirit doesn’t bring healing and transformation to the lives of trans people, at least none of the ones I know. I could point you to dozens of support forums online with trans people who are or were Christians. I would estimate that we have collectively spent millenia** praying and crying to be cured– I started praying to be cured when I was 13. By 15, I was cutting, too. I didn’t understand why God had never answered any of my prayers, why I hadn’t been cured, or why I was they way I was. I thought that if God would see that I really meant it, that if “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin”, then maybe God would hear me if I hurt myself for Him.

The Holy Spirit does something different for us: We get strength to persevere, the determination to be ourselves against all odds and injury, peace when we realize and understand who we really are, joy that we are loved by a God who sees us as we are without precondition. That’s what happens when you let God show you who He is and what He does. FotF is too focused on getting God to do exactly what they want him to do, projecting their own fear and resentment as though that were truly God’s will.

What FotF and the citizenlink blog author fail to understand is that what they are speaking isn’t a truth told in love. It’s transphobic hatred, and calling it love doesn’t make it love. What it is is an attempt to control people, to tell us how we can live our lives, to define us on their terms, and to refuse our identities as we understand them. That is not meeting people where they are with the Gospel of Christ– it’s expecting that people ought to be perfect, and Focus on the Family can’t even live up to their own expectations and definitions.

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* They still get “the urge”, they’ll say, and they might “stumble” once in a while, but they love their wives, and they’re committed to making their marriage work being perceived as straight even if they’re not. See how easy it is to demonize other people with scare quotes?

** By my estimation, I prayed for 17 years before I gave up at the age of 30. Some of the trans women I know delayed their transition longer than I did, and consequently spent a lot more time praying, too. So, if each one of us has prayed for an average of 10 years, and there’s 3000 of us on one online forum, you do the math. You’d think one of us would have gotten lucky over time.

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