Saturday, January 23, 2010

Find Out Who Your Friends Are

Everybody wants to slap your back
wants to shake your hand
when you're up on top of that mountain
But let one of those rocks give way then you slide back down look up
and see who's around then

This ain't where the road comes to an end
This ain't where the bandwagon stops
This is just one of those times when
A lot of folks jump off

When the water's high
When the weather's not so fair
When the well runs dry
Who's gonna be there?

You find out who your friends are

Going through something like this naturally brings one into a lot of unusual situations, but what's not unusual about it is that it can let you see a side of a lot of folks you might never have otherwise seen. Including yourself.

Looking inward, I find that the possibility of a future alone is very painful to contemplate and something which is, so I am told, very easy to avoid. All I have to do is deny myself and behave as others expect me to - which certainly applies an appropriate amount of gravity to the decision. You really learn what you are made of when you are given the choice to submit or suffer for your integrity. Most of us wonder at some point in time "what would I do if I had to make such a choice?" I fear that soon I'll find out.

But that's not what this one is about - this is about looking outward.

One of the joys of this difficult journey has been a few new friends I have acquired, and some old friends I have re-connected with in a much deeper way. There are about ten people out there who have gone beyond being accepting (which is all I ask of anyone) to being actively affirming and supportive. That's not to say that they are taking some stand on the "rightness" of transsexualism, I'll leave that for them to speak for themselves. It's just that they understand that "love thy neighbor" actually means something. They are people who understand that such things are not done on a whim and that people don't chose to be what I am. I won't repeat here any of the kind things they have said as that would seem self serving, but I treasure their kindness.

Many others have of course been very kind and gracious, whatever their private thoughts and opinions might or might not have been. I definitely do not want to seem to be overlooking them. This situation would have been much harder without you people.

But I really really want to say that wherever the road takes me, I'll have infinitely more strength for the journey because of those - the cream of the crop - who encouraged me to stay strong.

Of course, while I really don't want to go negative on this post, I wouldn't be telling the whole story if I didn't acknowledge that there are those out there who once called me friend who consider it bad news that anyone would encourage me in my "perversion."

It's just as much a bracing and ultimately strengthening revelation to find out who your friends AREN'T. People who can't bring themselves to consider the possibility that their cultural prejudices (usually disguised in the robes of religion) could possibly be in error even when faced with a messy fallen world that doesn't fall into their neat categories.

Consider this - every one of you, of whatever denomination, know that there is something in your belief system that those in another denomination believe differently about. If you are a Baptist, for instance, you are firmly convinced that salvation once gained cannot be lost - but others sincerely and just as fervently disagree. But here's the thing about that - ONE OF YOU MUST BE WRONG. And yet both of you believe they are right in all sincerity and good faith.

What's the point? The point is a sincerely and fervently held point of view, taught by a serious and credible religious organization as a true understanding of God's word for hundreds of years CAN BE WRONG.

It's not for me to say who's right and wrong on that point of disagreement, or any other. But what I AM trying to say is that while you sit there reading this and grumbling to yourself about my perversion, are you willing to even consider for the briefest second that what you have always believed is wrong? Honestly, for most of you I sincerely doubt it.

What's funny (not funny ha-ha, funny strange) is what happens when two of these absolutes come into conflict. I'll wager that a lot of you folks who think I'm just making some selfish sick choice here for the fun of it (and could I ever write again at length on how insane it is to think anyone would go through 1/10th of this mess for fun but another time for that) and that I am "bound in sin" are also of the opinion that my wife should divorce me post haste.

One wonders what your opinion of divorce normally is. The Bible, after all, is very specific about the grounds for divorce (if you read it in the most rigorous interpretation as you have to in order to judge me) and I nave neither abandoned or committed adultery on my wife. But of course, those who are very strict about divorce will have no trouble contorting what they believe about THAT in order to give her leave, nay encouragement, to seek divorce - yet there will be no contouring to show compassion to a person who doesn't fit into the approved mold.

One wonders if they would be encouraging her to divorce me if I was schizophrenic or bi-polar or depressed? Can these people be certain that, even if I am doing something "wrong" that it is not a mental illness? does it matter? I don't meet their standards, thus the rules will just have to be fudged a bit in my case.

Now, let me be clear -I absolutely DO think she has the right to divorce me. It would pain me beyond words for her to do so, but I would never suggest she has no right to. She might yet. Hell, I might yet assume the illusion of the man she married because I can't bear to see her in such pain (though she and I and all of you would know it was a hollow man unworthy of respect who shared her home).

So I'm not suggesting these people are wrong who might think she should or advise her to (albeit I'll bet none of them have given a moments thought to the logistics of it) rather, I'm pointing out how very sad it is that the rules about divorce can be compassionately bent in a hard case - but that other, less well laid out and more questionable rules must be held firm even if it means they become a weapon against a person you once professed to call a friend.

As for me, I find it almost invigorating to know where people stand. Rest assured, if you called me friend before and have no compassion for me now, I'm forced to assume you were no more than an acquaintance (at best) and I'm VERY glad to find out where you are when "the well runs dry."

It might be petty of me, but I'll certainly keep that in mind in the future.

Boy, so much for not going negative, eh? Oh well, at least there is this - how amazing is it that the 10 or 12 folks who have REALLY shown God's love and compassion towards me (Yes indeed, each and every one of them is a serious and committed Christian) are almost all people who were casual acquaintances at best until the last couple of months, while some of those who have been quite the opposite are those who've been important in my life for many many years.

It is all the more remarkable, and praiseworthy, that these people - mostly women by the way - stepped up and showed compassion in a situation where it would have been VERY easy to point and laugh and judge and shame. And the fact that there doing so casts an unflattering light on those of you who wish they hadn't is all the more pleasing to me. Maybe the light will illuminate some things that need examination.

Like I said, call me petty. I've been called worse lately I'm sure.

I'm willing to wager that in time I'll have more compassion for those who judge me than they will have for me in return. Eventually. Maybe not quite yet though.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Bring Your "A" Game

I may put up two posts tonight or I might hold the second one for a few days since I'm always paranoid the casual reader won't scroll down to see if they missed one. I really really wanted to do the other one tonight, because too often what I have to say here is not as upbeat and positive as it might be. It was to be - and will be - a shout out to a handful of women who have made me there "sister" and voiced strong support for me in this journey.

I certainly appreciate all those who have been nice enough to take an "it's not my place to judge" position and been nice to me, but these special ladies have gone above and beyond that, either in directly expressed opinions or in their behavior and I wanted to just take a few paragraphs to brag on them.

But this other thing that's been on my mind this afternoon is a bit less chipper and it seems to me that I'd rather follow with the upbeat than to give the impression that I had a good mood that was spoiled. That said, before I dig in rest assured I'm NOT in a bad mood or depressed or any such thing about this. I understand it's out there and a fact of life and I'm not going to let the negative things rob me of the joy my sisters are giving me but I'm also not going to just let slide an opportunity to address the idea.

What's on my mind is a conversation I had recently with a Christian friend of my acquaintance. To be clear, I am not hurt, resentful, or begrudging towards the views expressed. This person is perfectly entitled to hold those views and to respectfully share them and I don't feel oppressed that they did so. but the conversation does give me a bit of a platform to say something that needs to be said before I move this blog away from so much of this sort of subject matter.

The issue at hand is briefly summarized as this: If you are going to challenge me, attack me, scold me, or "discuss with" me on this subject using the Bible, then my advice to you is to bring your "A" Game.

(Let me acknowledge, as an aside, on the front end that no one ever "wins" an argument when no one changes there mind, and that's even more true of religious debates. So while I'll use terms like winning and losing as I elaborate, do know that I realize that's a pretty empty claim)

Back on the subject - So far my experience in these conversations has gone something like this:

Them: You know the Bible says people like you are going to hell, right?"

Me: "The Bible says all sorts of sins will send you to hell. Is mine the unforgivable sin?"

Them: (ignoring the question) "I just believe (that phrase appears a lot) that it says that people who do what you do can't enter heaven"

Me: "It says the same thing about adulterers, and it says that with certain narrow exceptions those who divorce and remarry commit adultery - how many of your divorced friends have you declared unfit for heaven?"

Them: (ignoring the question) "Well, I just believe..."

etc, etc, etc.

Now, I don't say this to criticize anyone's specific statement but to illustrate a point which is this - I've yet to have a religiously based conversation with a person who thinks this is "wrong" in which logical questions were given reasonable consideration and answered with logical answers.

So far my experience is that people ignore logical questions and say "I believe..." or "The Bible says..." (and the latter almost always what they were told by someone else the Bible said on the subject, not what they themselves gave study to) and the impression that is unmistakable to me is that the speaker hasn't given ANY thoughtful considerations to the implications of the cliches they are parroting. When I have a discussion like that and my good points get no thoughtful answers, I call that a win - even if no one changed there mind.

For instance, one of the things that came up today and in other similar conversations is an exchange that goes like this:

Them: "God made you a man and God doesn't make mistakes."

Me: "do we say, when a child is born with a birth defect, that 'God doesn't make mistakes' and when it is possible to medically treat a defect do we decline that treatment because 'God made them that way and God doesn't make mistakes' or do we do all we can for that child?"

I have never once asked this question of a critic and gotten ANY answer - they just ignore it and press ahead with their beliefs. But it's a question that deserves consideration. IF it is true that how we are born is how God intends us to be, then it is true of EVERY person born. So if little baby is born with a big lump in the middle of it's face and a surgeon can remove it, you should decline - God doesn't make mistakes and that lump is there for his reasons.

Can we not all agree that this is an incredibly stupid point of view?

If it is, then we cannot resort to "God doesn't make mistakes" to argue against this thing.

Furthermore, all Christians would agree that God has the power to stop ANY bad thing from happening, so why doesn't he? He can stop an earthquake like we saw in Hati - shall we say all those people who are injured are hurt because God wanted them that way and we shouldn't treat them? They are going to starve because God doesn't make mistakes and we shouldn't feed them?

Nonsense, of course. We all know that we live in a fallen world and God PERMITS bad things to happen because it's in the bad things that he shows us himself and teaches us how to love each other. So it's not any problem for us to agree that earthquakes and tornadoes and whatever occur because God chooses not to intervene, and if we think just a TINY bit we know that the same applies to cancer or juvenile diabetes or yes, even a birth defect.

So, if God permits a bad thing to happen it is NOT a logical truth that he therefore WANTED the bad thing to happen and since he doesn't make mistakes we must stand aside and do nothing about the results of that bad thing.

To summarize this train of thought - the fact that God doesn't make mistakes (which is true) tells us NOTHING about how he wants us to react to any less-than-perfect event or situation in our lives. that's what free will is all about.

There is a long list of similar cliches that people assume they are basing on the Bible but are, in fact, basing on Christian tradition. Far too few give any serious in-depth thought to the logical implications of those cliches. What I'm saying to you in this post is, if you intend to come after me with the Bible (or so you think) wielding these cliches, then you had best be sure you know WHY you believe them to be true and have reasoned out what it means in your life and everyone else's if those things are true - not just how it proves being a tranny is sinful.

For instance (I do love me some illustrations, don't I?), if you come at me with anything in the Levitical law ("a man shall not wear that which pertains to a is an abomination") then I expect you to assure me you keep a kosher diet and you don't wear garments of mixed fabric. If you are going to tell me that Paul said the "effeminate" are not going to heaven, then I certainly hope that you can assure me that your wife (or you if you are the wife) "keeps silent in the church" and doesn't go with her head uncovered.

Do you see where I'm going with this?

And that's before I get into the whole notion of most of the people who are most hostile to people like me somehow having convinced themselves that god suddenly stopped superintending his word 400 years ago for some unknown reason. I've never heard a REMOTELY logical explanation for why that should be so. That's a whole other kettle of fish but it similarly illustrates the point that people say "I believe" about a whole truckload of things that they never really applied any logical reasoning to - usually as a result of believing what someone else told them.

I won't take time here to rattle on for 10,000 words listing all those various weak arguments - what has gone before serves only to illustrate the point.

The thing I'm trying to say here, on my own behalf, is this - today I asked probably six or eight different questions - logical question which concerned the specific implications of what this person was saying to me - each and every one of those questions was ignored. the next time I have one of those conversations, and every time I do, I will expect answers. If you cannot logically defend what you believe, then what you believe isn't worth my time to listen to.

You want to talk me out of my sin and perversion (falsely so called)? Bring your A Game or don't waste our time. I have EVERY respect for your right to think I'm wrong and for your willingness to tell me so (respectfully) - but I have NO respect for weak argumentation.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Understanding, and the Lack Thereof

I'll warn you ahead of time, this might be a bit of a rambling and unfocused post. I know what I'm trying to say but I've not taken the time to distill it into a sharply defined thesis.

I've said before in this place that those who have given me, shall we say, negative feedback - have done so almost entirely from the "God would not approve" worldview. Both among a few who have spoken up, and among several more who's opinion I am aware of but with whom I've not spoken directly, the mindset that this is somehow a great sin that I have chosen to do and can chose not to do - or even want to do - prevails.

I often wonder, if that is true, just how they think people get this way. I am not going to deny that I have done some thing that are hard to defend in my life (though I see no need to defend myself on those things) but none of them "infect" a person with being trans. For instance, back in the day I was known to visit a strip joint or two. But since not every man (hardly any in fact) who goes to such places ends up like me, that would be a poor argument. And such would be the failing of any other sin you might lay at my feet and say "because of THIS you are a pervert."

And that doesn't even address the reality that I was sneaking chances to dress up all through my childhood from even before puberty. does the sin you think so harshly of in my 20's or 40's somehow explain that?

But heck, let's lay aside myself and look around. sure you can point to the drag queen or the person of confused sexuality and make your judgments (not that I think those people deserve your judgment either) but what of the others?

The thing that provokes me to post these thoughts is the comments of a friend of mine on a message board I frequent. Whenever someone brings up God or Jesus or Christianity you pain in her posts leaps off the page. She was - in her former life - a hyper-committed Christian who lived and breathed the faith 24/7. She taught, she sang, she witnessed, she studied, she prayed - just as much if not more than you do.

Now? Now she is alienated from God and from those who follow Christ. Why? Because the church has insisted that God hates her. That's she's a freak and a monster. Worse than that, her spouse is so bound up in that point of view that whatever feelings they formerly had are dead. The wife was not free to make her own choices about how she felt about this person she had been married to - she had been trained from childhood to consider such people freaks, even if the freak was a person she once loved.

Tell me, oh ye who would judge: how is it that such a person is transsexual? Where's the red flags in her past that portend a falling away? If this is just some "kink" that we have chosen to indulge ourselves in, whence cometh this woman's fate? She did everything right as far as being a "good Christian man, husband, and father" yet there she is, giving up all that you consider valuable in order to be the butt of jokes, the villian in her loved one's pain, and the outcast among her former "friends." THIS is something a person does by CHOICE?

Another variation of the "sinner" charge has to do with the marriage. Sure, they chose not to argue with you about how you got this way (whatever opinions they might hold) but they are on much firmer ground when it comes to the responsibilities that come with marriage. I'll even admit to some conflicted feelings on that point myself because you'd have been hard pressed to find a person more convinced of the "wrongness" of divorce just a few years ago.

However, shall we not consider what's being asked here? The common requirement is basically "knock it off!" - again, as if this is something you DO and not something you ARE. In fact, without going into indiscreet details, this is pretty much the heart of the issue at home - thanks to her training, my wife simply can't bring herself to accept that this isn't something you DO (and thus something you can STOP). and if her worldview were correct, then she would have every right to require me to not do it.

But it's not something you Do. It's something you are. I tell you three times gentle reader, if you don't get THAT concept right, you can't possibly understand anything else about this subject.

But so many, particularly among my brothers and sisters in Christ, struggle with that. Why? How many documented cases of pre-school children having gender identity issues must we see before we can drop the "sexual perversion" cliche? How many young people raised in "good Christian homes" with well balanced influences on every side must step forward with this condition before we stop insisting that they were molested or abused or whatever.

And please, how many times does it have to be pointed out to you, when you say "God made you a man," that babies are born with mental and physical defects every minute of every hour of every day and when the surgeon says "we can correct this" NO ONE says "no, leave him crippled - it's how God made him." You know, if you have one eye and half sense, that we do not assume that of every defect, every disease, every mental condition - that which we CAN treat medically we DO. We don't say "well, it was God's will he has a cleft palette or "God just wanted me to die of cancer."

Despite the often inaccurate cliches we toss about, most of us understand that it is in our defects and our flaws and our weaknesses that God shows himself to us. When you deny that I or anyone like me was born with this defect, you assume that this defect is unlike all the other defects God doesn't preemptively cure. Why? On what grounds? Because there's a rule in Leviticus about clothing? Are you wearing mixed fabrics right now? Did you have bacon for breakfast? Why does some of Leviticus apply and not all of it?

Sorry. that's starting to turn into a rant.

Back to the marriage issue. IF in fact this is who I am, and not some perversion or kink, then what is it that you ask the trans person to do for the sake of their marriage? Deny themselves? surely. but there's nothing wrong with that - many people chose to deny themselves something they want for the sake of their family (many don't, too, by the way). But it's more than that. Does the woman who gives up a promotion which means time away from her family suffer mental anguish to do so? Does the man who gives up the sports car to pay for his kids college consider suicide?

There's a spectrum of sacrifices and every one isn't identical or comparable. but even beyond that, you are asking that person to live a lie. Every minute of every day. Every hand you shake, every room you enter, every job you apply for, every friendship you make, every church you attend - all predicated on a lie. (Consider what it must be like to be trans, and be forced to repress it, and sit in church and listen to the pastor or teacher tell you how "freaks" like you are what's wrong with this country) Would you really be comfortable knowing your spouse was presenting a false image to you and to the world all the time? how could you trust him? How could you know anything he told you was real?

And in my situation, that's magnified by the fact that I am out. If I took all the well intentioned advice and reverted back to the former facade I once presented, do you really think my wife and kids would see me as a "real man" worthy of respect? Can I go back to the same store which has served Laura and ask them to hire the the man? Oh, I'm sure there are those who would understand the situation and love me anyway - but those are not the same folks who now think I should repress my true nature for the sake of others.

I know some of you are reading this now who would make that argument but look into your own heart - would you REALLY feel the same about me if I went back as you did a couple of years ago? Really? Don't lie to yourself. it is impossible. But even if it were, that's not even the bottom line. Do you think SHE could?

The actual bottom line is not what you think about me but where the marriage, or the relationship if it makes you less queasy, goes from here. I will state for the record that I have no desire or purpose to be apart from her for it's own sake. I would very much like, selfishly speaking, for her to make peace with this and prefer to be with me over being apart. But much more than that, I have a tremendous desire for her to be as happy as she can be (in time) given the circumstances we both are faced with. If that happiness is found in friendship and some sort of companionship with me, tremendous. if it is found by kicking me to the curb and finding a real man, then such is the price I must pay because none of this was her fault.

Some have said I should remember my vows but the vows don't exactly cover this do they? There is no vow to remain a man. I have not been unfaithful nor have I forsaken her for another person. I might argue - but I won't - that my condition falls under "for better or worse, in sickness and in health." But I wouldn't see her suffer in bondage to vows made to a person she's lost her love for (if the day comes when she loses it). If there's anything my situation illustrates, it's that simplistic thinking and cliched platitudes are not strong enough medicine for what ails us.

We live in a fallen world folks. Bad things happen. Storms and diseases and broken relationships are the rule, not the exceptions. Why should it be true that people can have a million sorts of physical and mental defects and we show compassion for those who suffer and for the loved-ones who's lives are made more difficult but THIS - this ONE mental defect, because it is (falsely assumed to be) about sex - THIS thing is not a defect or a condition or a mental flaw - it's just something some one can turn on and off like a tap and if they don't turn it off then clearly they are to be judged a pervert and a freak.

If you can be depressed, suicidal, bi-polar, schizophrenic - whatever - and recognize it is not something you CHOOSE to be then where do you get off thinking I choose this? If your spouse or your friend or your pastor says to you in the midst of your depression "just cheer up" can you? Have you ever just arbitrarily decided to "be happy"? I trust I don't need to offer a similar illustration about physical faults.

But here's the thing - if you are bi-polar (or whatever), I don't understand what that is like and I CAN'T understand it if I haven't lived it. What I can do is not presume to tell you to "get over it" or "suck it up." What I can do is show you love and compassion in the midst of your very difficult circumstances. What I can do is continue to call you friend, continue to think well of you, and continue to show you my support, while also showing support to those around you who might suffer because of your condition. Instead of making you out to be the villain because you don't "get over it."

1. The inspiration for this post comes from things I've experienced myself, along with things which have been described to me by my fellow travelers on this road. It refers both to directly stated comments and second and third hand awareness of people's opinions, as well as things said by on-line acquaintances. If you think you see your own views in these remarks, or those of someone you know, it would be a mistake for you to assume that the comment is a personal shot at you. there's nothing here that I haven't heard (or my friends haven't heard) from multiple sources.

2. As always, i must remark that MOST of the feedback I have received has been either politely neutral or vigorously supportive. I do not mean these remarks to imply I face adversity on every hand. Much the opposite is actually true.

3. for those of you who pray, pray for my wife and my family. Pray for me too if you want. But don't waste your time with God asking him to "Straighten me out" - you can't possibly devote as much prayer to that request as I did over the foregoing 20+ years. Just pray that he gives us the wisdom to deal with these things in the manner which will produce the most peace for all concerned.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Kobayashi Maru

How many of you are Star Trek fans?

If so you'll know what that reference means, but for those who don't: the Kobayashi Maru was the name of a disabled spaceship in a computer simulated test for Starfleet Academy students. It is designed to be unwinnable.

An illustration of the no-win scenario, and the name Kobayashi Maru has become a synonym among geeks for that situation. For another geek reference, you might remember the movie "War Games" in which the intelligent computer decides at the end that in some games, "the only winning move is not to play."

Many times I feel like I'm in the middle of a kobayashi maru situation. As I write this I am on the verge of quitting this quest - at least for a few years. but to do so will be spiritual death for me. The thing is, if I don't, it will be a similar fate for my wife.

I told her the last time (previous to this morning) that we "discussed" the situation that I had to face the fact that for me to live, she must die, and for her to live, I must die - emotionally and spiritually speaking. As long as I presist she is in pain - ev en if we split she will continue to suffer because I have "killed" the man she loved. On the other hand, if I revert and repress, things still can't be the same as they were before for either of us, but especially for me.

So what is to be done?

By all the rules of honor and ethics, I should be willing to lay down my life for my beloved - and physically I am. If repression means my spiritual death (when I use the word spiritual I do not use it in the religious sense) and transition means hers, am I any less oblidged to give myself up for her? I do love her that much, as much as it would be agonzing to do.

But the problem is that it just reverses the problem. She loves me "that much" too. And whenever she sees the pain it causes me to consider giving it up, she insists that I must press on if it's what I must do. You can't say that to me and me not take advantage of it, I'm too weak to resist. So back and forth we go, each offering to fall on their sowrd for the other, and each tortured by the pain the other one is caused because we can't give them what they want.

Both of us understanding that seperation would lessen the pain but neither of us wanting to be apart.

I don't begrudge her her feelings. she's entitled to hate me and she doesn't (yet). I do take exception to the fact that she cannot surrender her assumption that feeling this way is a choice and not an inborn condition. She's been SO conditioned for SO long to see people like me as people who have chosen to do something she thinks is wrong, that she can't see past it. the problem is that logically, if that is true, then the only reasonable conclusion is that I willfully decieved her when we married, that I was using her as "cover", that I am now chosing to induldge something I don't have to do in spite of the pain and loss it might cause.

How could you NOT hate a person who would do such things?

So you see what I mean about the no-win scenario. I can (emotionally and spiritually) kill myself and give her at least some shadow of the man she wants back - even though everyone would know it was a blatant lie (I suppose those of you who really think I'm just choosing to indulge a fetish would think something had been accomplished). Or I can press forward and try to live an authentic life and steal from her everything (except her kids) that she ever wanted in life (and compound that by asking her to somehow tolerate the person who hurt her so deply still being involved in her life at least where it comes to the kids).

I have no solution. It feels like making up you mind to jump off the bridge except that you don't even get the satisfaction of bringing the matter to an end.

So why am I spilling my guts here? Well, if you see me out town bare faced and "male" - please know I'm not undecided about my identity. If that happens you are simply looking at someone who laid down their life for the one they love.

Monday, January 4, 2010


Since it's been a couple of weeks, I really should post something new. The one real struggle I have with this thing is that blogs have a way of lulling you into speaking publicly of that which really ought be kept private - especially when it is in reference to the actions or words of other people. It's a delicate balance, when you set out to give the world a "behind the scenes" look at what your situation is like, to accomplish that purpose without violating the trust or privacy of others.

Anywho, the thought which has been rattling around in my addled brain this weekend has to do with the sometimes surprising contrasts to be made among the various reactions you get. I had a couple - no three - in the last week or so that seem worth remarking upon.

I should explain before I begin that I have chosen to keep a respectful distance from churches and church folk in general in order to not force people into uncomfortable situations. If I were to show up at, well, any church in this county there would be those in the congregation that would "love me anyway" and there would be those who would want to run me out along with anyone fool enough to tolerate my nonsense. So while I don't go for a variety of reasons, paramount among them is that I don't go because I don't have the right to do that to a congregation.

Likewise, I have no way to gauge how well my believing brothers and sisters can accept and be comfortable around me now, so I refrain for the most part from initiating situations where the person is obliged to deal with that situation. If they approach me, wonderful! If we crose pass inadvertently, so be it. But I do not wish to impose.

It's too big a point to say much about here, lest this post go on for 10,000 words, but I stand in a bit of a "no man's land" between a Christian community that as a whole has demonstrated quite a bit of judgment and condemnation at transgenderism, and a trans community that has developed a healthy resentment towards Christianity because of it. I hesitate greatly to join in that resentment but I've heard so many horror stories of Christians mistreating and, frankly, abusing (emotionally and spiritually) trans people that I understand it.

All that said, I am capable of recognizing how the opinion of the Christian Culture regarding transgenderism produces some unfortunate results. for one very obvious example, I've come to understand that the fulcrum upon which my marriage turns has come down to a battle between the love my wife feels for me and the belief system she is welded too which insists that things like this are "wrong" (transgender is wrong, two women in a couple is wrong, so forth and so on).

I do find my myself more and more mourning that "the system" has so often trained people "into a corner" as it were so that their pain is increased when the real world doesn't match up with their belief system. And it doesn't even take transgenderism to make that point. Consider the wife who's being emotionally abused by her husband but also has been thoroughly conditioned to avoid divorce at all cost. (some might say I'm speaking of MY wife here but it's not my intent)

So I hope you will understand the mixed feelings I have when the course of life brings my path to cross that of one of my old acquaintances who is a strong Christian.


The first two anecdotes I wish to share were very pleasant and heartening experiences. There's a minister I know who's a person that I tend to think of as my "pastor for life." No matter where I've been a church member, this man always seemed to be "comfortable" to me in a way that isn't always true of the man who happens to be your "official" pastor at any given moment. Not to sound as if I mean to slight any of those men, I have no ill-will to them and consider them friends (to the extent they would still wish to be my friend). but there has always been something different about this one guy.

This pastor came into a business where I was shopping and I recognized his voice as he spoke with the manager. I debated whether to "hide in the corner" and go unnoticed but when he spoke to my wife that didn't seem to be something I could do without giving the impression I actively wanted to avoid the encounter (I didn't!). So I remained where I was and the man greeted me and we spoke, as I had hoped, as old friends. He reassured me I would never be "disowned" on account of my situation and I assured him that I had hoped there was at least one minister I could count on to be there should the hour of need arise.

Again, I don't mean to disrespect any other preachers I know - but if I or my family need one I'd prefer it not be a man who's having to metaphorically "hold his nose" in order to be there. I'd prefer the love be unreserved and not conditional. I believe in this case I can be confident of that.

The second encounter actually occurred on a different day but in the same place. I saw a friend of mine whom I used to go to church with and over the course of a warm conversation she asked if we were going to church anywhere, and I replied "I can't go to church now." (there was no need to get into a deep theological discussion of my other reservations about organized religion at that time, it wasn't that deep a conversation)

She said "Why?"

And I said "Seriously? Look at me - where am I going to church like this? If I stroll up into any church around here in a skirt and heels (for instance) it would split wide open."

She said "I don't see anything wrong with you." (I could have kissed her for that! and I kick myself for not being more obvious in showing her how much that meant to me)

I thanked her for that but I had to reply "You have the right attitude, but I have to think that in any congregation those who didn't want me there would be pitted against those who were nice to me." and she nodded understanding. Still, it so made my day that she was so outspoken in saying that I should be accepted. People like her and my pastor friend reaffirm my faith that transgendered people need not assume that to be Christian is to be hostile to us.


The third encounter however, serves as a counterpoint. Without going into the sort of detail that would be indiscreet, I will simply say that this was a professional person who had reason to know better (but who is also a life-long Christian) and this person offered the view that by transitioning now I would "warp" my children. At the time I passed it off as the opinion one was entitled to but looking back and reliving the conversation in memory, I'm feeling more and more insulted.

"Warped" how, exactly?

Might they somehow be influenced to become something like me? Then I must be "warped" too, eh? Further, I'm sure my folks would appreciate some insight into how my "man's man" father managed to "warp" me into wanting to be a girl.

I'm sure maybe there's some other "warping" that might happen. Could it be the potential effects of a divorce, should one ever happen, would warp them? I suppose that some would argue that my kids would see me having chose my transition as more important to me than my wife and family. That's not an invalid point on the surface, but let's test that out.

A very great many of the people in my age group that I have known over the years are now divorced (good Christian folks most of them) and most of those had children in the home, so if one applies the same logic, would one not have to say that in each of those couples, at least one and possibly both adults chose some other interest over their spouse and children, right?

Whether there was a "cheating" situation or whether they simply didn't get along and thought they'd be happier apart or whatever, the simple truth is that EVERY divorce is a result of at least one party to that marriage placing a higher priority on their happiness (or what they perceived to be their happiness) than on preserving the marriage. Frankly, pretty much the only divorce that isn't a result of both parties prioritizing their own happiness is the case of abandonment.

So, shall we conclude that all those multitude of couples are "warping" their kids by choosing divorce? No? Then let's rule out that option for me as well. So how will they be "warped"?
The only conclusion I can come to is that they might be influenced to - horror of horrors! - be more likely to accept that people like me were not freaks and perverts after all.

My bet is that if you are reading this right now and you agree that they will be warped, it is because you think that to learn to accept and even care for people like me then is to be "warped." A great many prominent Christian thought leaders that I otherwise respect all too often put forth teaching that can only lead to that conclusion.

But I don't think that people who so casually hold and promote that view have ever given serious thought to what happens when a faithful believer is faced with a no-win scenario where the things they have been conditioned to believe require them to betray their hearts when it concerns someone they care about. Thankfully, more and more believers are wise enough to see past that sort of illogic.

But, alas, I digress onto a topic which could lead to those 10,00 words so I will get back on track. I will close by saying here what I didn't say to the lady I spoke with or my pastor friend to their face (much to my shame) - such people are a credit to the Lord, and are far more a tool in his hand for good than those who seek only to judge and condemn. Your graciousness meant more to me than any words, there or here, could convey. As for the third person, well, I can hardly be upset with people when the behave as they've been conditioned to. Others my chose anger or resentment, but I can't take time for that - at least not right now.