Trans Folk Are REAL.
Christianity will NEVER Change That FACT
This tweet showed up on my Facebook feed and boy howdy does the folly of this resonate with me. Parents gifted with gender-nonconforming children have tried for generations to erase us with zero actual success.
If being raised in cisheteronormative households, schools and churches, with big doses of their “normal” all around us and coming through the TV, the textbooks and the magazines could not change us before -and it never has- I’ma go ahead and conclude it never will.
Isn’t the definition of insanity (still) doing exactly the same thing over and over and expecting a different result? All one need actually do is look around, listen to us when we speak, allow us the same respect you expect -and then move on about your day.
The onus is always on us to “prove” our reality, worth and value to people who refuse to listen. For children with no agency, this has always been a heartbreaking struggle that too often ends with dead kids. Suicide is a real problem with us, as not everyone can find it within themselves to face a world of hate everyday that begins within their own homes and continues throughout the places we must go. Y’all say “let kids be kids” but what you really mean is, “let all kids be treated as cishet kids, and fuck ALL the ones who don’t comply.”
I am never going to understand adults who will believe a pastor or an interpretation of an ancient book, over the human being in front of them exclaiming, “I am simply different from you.” Why on earth does that feel so threatening? And why would “grown” humans ever assume they have the right or ability to change another human’s reality? Rhetorical questions.
We haven’t been truly listening to LGBTQ+ children for all that long, and the fact that some parents finally get it, and finally support these amazing kids - has some folks all adither.
Your beliefs do not make something true. You have a right to believe what you want, but if you don’t challenge your own thoughts with reality now and again, and you’re raising an LGBTQ+ child whom you refuse to affirm, I’d suggest you are the one guilty of child abuse and severe neglect - not the parents who are listening and learning.
What is best for Us won’t be found in most churches. It won’t be found in the various iterations of conversion therapy y’all are so fond of -and it isn’t in that ancient book, either. And taking away the books that do affirm our reality doesn’t change reality. What it does is make us feel less than, and broken, and other -which is the game y’all like to play with us. But you will never win. Unless you actually count your “wins” in funerals. Love wins over hate and ignorance every time. I have to believe that to keep going at all.
Many trans folks settle for a very uneasy “peace” that includes trying to accept a life without transition. Some “succeed” for a very long time in convincing themselves that “God” doesn’t make trans people, because “God” doesn’t make mistakes. I’ll even concede the notion that no (BORN) human is a “mistake.” But what I have concluded, then, based on all the religion I was force-fed, is that God does indeed make trans people. I’m here. Many of us are here. And many of us pray as hard and as earnestly as the next human, yet we remain trans. Seems “God” refuses to change LGBTQ+ people into cishets. We shall always be the seasoning to an otherwise bland dish, whether you approve or not.
For me, it has felt like “God” was saying all along, “when are you going to accept yourself for the glorious creature you ARE?” For all the years I assumed my prayers went unanswered, I think maybe I just had to finally accept the answer that “God” loves me exactly as I am, and I can offer this world (and myself) far more love and compassion by accepting that I am no mistake. Trans is no mistake.
I’ve shucked the idea that I was “born in the wrong body.” I think that narrative must’ve come about in trying to find the language to convey the trans experience to the ones refusing to listen in the past, or in trying to explain it to the doctors we had to rely on for relief. I reject the language of “birth defect” entirely. I’m not seeking your pity, I’d like you to dial back your hubris over my body.
I was born in this body. And my experience of my body has been mostly incongruent with the expectations society sets forth for those born with external genitalia. Because I am alive in 2022, rather than say, 1822, I have far more options for finding a place where I feel comfortable and whole. Just. Like. Everyone. Else.
We have hair dye, fake hair, manufactured teeth, skin procedures, lasik surgery, breast augmentation, artificial insemination, penis enlargement, and all manner of stuff -available for a price- that did not exist 200 years ago. So if you wear glasses, spanx, or heels that make you taller -you kinda need to shut up about what I do over here to feel like a “better” version of my Self.
I would humbly suggest we All start really examining some of the absolute bloviation coming at us from the religious right. Who are any of you who identify as Christian to tell me you know me better than I can know myself? I’m the one who has put in the hours getting to know the depths of me. I’m the one who suffered your slings and arrows for not conforming to your ideals. And I am the one who has to be me. I am literally none of your business.
I am willing to allow for the idea that most of us want to be “good” people. (This is my essay, so I get to do that.) But “good” folks who don’t examine their prejudices aren’t so useful to the rest of us. It all feels a bit like the Salem Witch Trials as folks pile onto the notion that We don’t belong here, and somehow not saying “gay” eliminates the reality of Us. Do y’all really believe that nonsense? And do y’all actually think we’ve come this far to ONLY come this far? You’re bringing the fight, yet again, not us. We are simply trying to exist amid your cacophony.
I’ll hand it to you rightwing “think” tank word-twisters, though. You’ve even got otherwise rational, intelligent cis women convincing themselves We are their enemies, and not YOU. Even as we stand in solidarity with them while YOU work to strip away their rights along with ours, you’ve managed to convince enough of them that we’ve “gone too far” and are somehow threatening them by wanting some decent healthcare for ourselves (hence more inclusive language around birthing capacity.) You’ve got them staking their own credibility on some twisted notions that keep them a bit less angry with their Real enemies (that would be YOU) as they fuss with an already marginalized tiny percentage of the population. And some of that tiny percentage call them their “Moms.” Brilliant on your part, for sure. Devious, but brilliant.
I long for a world that makes more sense for people like me. I often turn to the elders -and the ancestors- who’ve already examined the mischegas of the religious right, the bigoted, and the intentionally ignorant, and found it deeply wanting.
“You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.”
Maya Angelou’s words so often comfort and sustain me, and I believe she left them behind for all of us.
If all of us who know what it is to be marginalized in this world ever do come together and settle our differences, We are the majority. We are The Super Majority. And those who continue to fuss with us and twist words about and between us - KNOW that. We’d do well to know it, too.
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