WHERE THE TRUTH LIES
Before you flip a wig and write nasty stuff all over the web, take time to understand the perspective from which this is written. It is not meant to demean any one person, but of attitudes we allow to persist because it is easier to argue them from a level of comfort, rather than knowledge or understanding. Whether you agree with my perspective or not is really not that important. What is important is the fact that we all need begin to put aside age old propaganda and stereotypes and learn to understand each other.
I am a MTF Transsexual currently in my transition and soon to live my life full-time as a woman, leaving my male persona to fade away. My goal has always been to just be another person, blended and un-noticed. Given the nature of who I am, that won’t be totally possible, but being an advocate or ground breaker in a public forum has never appealed to me. I also consider myself very spiritual in my beliefs, something that has saved me more times than I can count and is a very big part of my life. I attend church every Sunday and practice my faith daily through prayer. But, being Transsexual AND Spiritual has been the source of some greatest triumphs and some of my most troubling internal and external conflicts. I have always believed in showing it, not shoving it when it comes to matters of faith. I also offer that here.
We all play a role, however small that may be, in promoting our views based on what we know and feel. When it comes to the subjects of religion/faith versus TG/TS, I have sat on the sidelines as a current member of both sides, hoping that some reasonable person would come forward and sift through the nonsense, providing a competent platform for a meaningful understanding. It has come to the point that I believe I can’t be silent any longer and need to offer my viewpoint on the disturbed nature of these contentious interactions. I will assume the “Devil’s Advocate” role, looking at both sides as I have viewed and lived them. Your own experiences are yours, but hopefully you are not so dug into your mindset that you fail to see positives each side brings to the table.
There are vocal members of the LBGT community who tend to talk about the “religious right” with a level of distain often reserved for most detestable in society. They curse those they see as self-righteous and even talk about how they lost their faith because of the zealots that poisoned their joy and led to them leaving their church. On the other hand, the vocal members of the “religious right” advocate justified living by following the “word of God”, including how to deal with anyone with gender issues, mainly when they refer to the LBGT community. (They view homosexuality as a sin, which is their bread and butter argument). The clash of ideals and misunderstanding often brings heated debates and yelling matches or protests. In the end, neither side is swayed by the other as everyone has refused to budge from their positions. However, both sides are right, both sides are wrong.
When I speak of the religious right, it is a coverall term to describe organized religions, (Christianity, Judaism, Muslim, etc.) It is true that even within their own faiths, there are strong divisions on practice & ideals, dating back before any of us were even conceived. Many who consider themselves faithful are as informed on the TG/TS community as a 1st grader, not knowing what we have dealt with our entire lives, nor do they care to find out. Specifically, I am talking only about those of us that are true Transsexuals, determined to make ourselves one person, not for the cause or desire of sex, but for the wholeness of mind/body/soul as the reason we choose to make a change. Too often, however, the only visions and interactions the public sees are from those that thrust themselves into the spotlight for 15 minutes of fame or personal profit. Because the right views any gender deviations from social norms as immoral, automatically they assume that anyone who makes some sort of move toward a gender change is homosexual, again, their main arguing point. As a Transsexual who IS NOT homosexual, the questions I would pose to them is this: Since when does living a life as a complete Transsexual person and homosexuality automatically come together? Where does it say that I cannot change my appearance?
(Christian belief holds that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit and that any defilement of that temple is a sin. But if a temple is a dwelling place and that dwelling place is in disarray because of gender issues, is it not better to get that dwelling in order by finding a completeness, especially after years of prayers, tears and knowing in your heart this is the path you must walk? If by having your dwelling place in order, does it not make a better temple?)
If I choose to live a celibate life and still transition, have I sinned? None of these matter, I believe, to those hell bent on pushing the TG/TS issue back into the closet because they use religion like a social club meant to create exclusivity and exclusion. “Think like I do, or else I don’t like you.” Little do they realize their arguments and actions actually conflict with God’s word, because by advocating an atmosphere of anger and separation, they are violating the most important commandment given to us by God, “Love thy neighbor”, or better put, “Love each other as I have loved you.” How can one proclaim to be a child of God if they can’t keep and promote the most basic and important directive? I will not preach here, but if you believe as I do, you know it is written that Jesus Christ engaged with those deemed “sinners” by the religious in his day again and again, by not only speaking to them, but by showing them compassion. This was his example to us of how to live with and love each other. In fact, when Jesus spoke in his harshest tones, it was to those with self-righteous indignation towards others they felt weren’t worthy of God’s love. As it turns out, they were the ones that Jesus saw as the worse sinners of all.
The LBGT community as a whole has also failed to promote its own positive affirmations of what is true and what is not. For the longest time, TG/TS were thought of as passive carriers within the community, not vocal, and even marginalized by those that called themselves Gay or Lesbian. Being Transsexual is not a sexual desire conflict, but gender identity orientated one. I have often been asked why I need to alter my genitals to be called a woman. Because to me, it’s a matter of being one complete person, rather than the split existence I have endured my entire life! It has put me on the outside looking in many times because I feel being a true TS is rare and foreign to even those on this side of the fence. I view this attitude as the wrong approach and I have clashed with advocates of Gay/Lesbian causes because of it. I do not do this for show; in fact, I am quite shy and reserved, preferring to live my life under the radar. When it comes to matters of faith within this realm, one can quickly find themselves separated from others, even though they are simply trying to find their own way, mainly because of the anti-religious feelings expressed and embraced. This community seems more than content to allow everyone covered under the umbrella of the LBGT banner to be considered or hinted that they are bi or homosexual, even though many are not, simply because the leadership feels it benefits everyone in the long run. If this thinking is allowed to persist, it only seems to suggest it will create a lasting confusion to those outside as to what is true and what is not. I find it troubling that a group thrown to the edge of society for ages would press into service a mindset such as this. It may be time for those of us that are Transsexual to step away from shadow of the parent group and promote our lives with truth and distinction.
If you are a person of faith, you will know what is right in your heart and while you may feel strongly about someone’s given lifestyle, is that your place to tell someone how to live? Do you know the heart of the person you persecute? Are you so confident in your relationship with God that you can condemn someone without knowing them? (Remember the parable of the speck in the eye and the plank?) If you are Gay, Lesbian, CD or Transvestite, I am not speaking against you. In fact, your persistence at getting your message out has made it is easier for you to live in society than someone who is Transsexual or transitioning. But by not supporting the simple truths that not all TG/TS person are Gay/Lesbian or someone who is TG/TS can have faith in a higher power, you too diminish the lives of those that are only trying to live a life as a whole person.
My transition is for my inner peace/wholeness, nothing more. I believe that there are many more just like me and that I must present a voice for that group here. I am also spiritual, like many I have chatted with, but who are afraid to voice their faith within the LBGT forum because to the undercurrent of anger voiced by many against the church. So what to do? The easiest thing for any of us is to do nothing at all. But I don’t do easy that well. I chose to do what is right, but that means doing what is hard: I will love my neighbor. I will speak the truth. I chose not to hate, but to forgive. I chose not to live in ignorance, but wisdom. I will be who I am. I am Rachelle Marie Walker. I am a Transsexual woman and I am a child of the true and living God.
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