Letters Volume Fourteen
This is Volume Fourteen of the collected letters.
Wherein can be found the anonymous texts of actual letters written to me, and my answers in return. They are included because it has been suggested that the discussions are of value. The letters are presented as a rather loose, ongoing continuous dialogue between a hypothetical questioner, and myself.
You can write to me, too!
These are the fourteenth set of letters
Reference Topic Index
Relative ONLY to this volume:
For the complete list see main letters page.
do you cope with the conflicts between religion and transsexuality?
Feeling 'Outed' when I just want to fit in...
Feeling suppressed by keeping my transsexuality hidden
Worrying about being 'Spotted'
Why do I feel that being transsexual is evil?
I really love the
website. As a 18 year old, who is fascinated
by the idea of changing sex, partially becuase of my own gender
dysphioria. I'm quite religious, and in my mind there always appears
to exist a conflict between God and Transsexuality. Are you
religious, and if so, how do you cope with this internal
conflict, if it exists in your mind? I know that I'll never have the
surgery, partially because of the fear of pain and the
finality, I think rejection is another very real fear, yet at
the same time I wouldn't class myself as a transvestite as my
desire to be a woman is very real, and not a source of sexual
pleasure or entertainment. I think as I believe a woman thinks, I
speak as a woman speaks, yet I have no word or category to
associate myself with. I feel that this goes way beyond simply
being a homosexual characteristic. PLEASE HELP! The only way I
feel that the female aspects of my personality can be
manifested are when I leave home for university- the freedom
will allow me to express myself without the fear of my Muslim parents
disapproving. How do you think transsexuality fits into religion? How
do you deal with the conflicts?
You have asked quite a question, in asking me how I relate religiously to transsexuality. I will answer, though.
I personally have no conflict, nor do I see a conflict, whatsoever, between religion and being transsexual.
I do see conflict between human bigotry, and transsexuality, though....deadly conflict.
Islam, Judaism and Christianity all share the same basic roots, and even much of the same texts, and all three have passages regarding how 'male and female' are together in the soul, and much else besides. They also seem to share passages condemning homosexuality and crossdressing, but none of the big three can address transsexuality, because they cannot even recognise that it exists.
I really do not care, to tell you the truth. 2000+ years is a long time, and the bottom line is that real is real.
It is real that gravity exists, and will kill a person who falls from a great height, no matter what they believe. It is true that the earth circles the sun and that the moon orbits the earth as a planet, whether or not the Catholic Pope pardons Galileo or not. And babies are born with physical and neurological defects and mutations all the time, just as they always have, for all time.
One such mutation, or 'defect', or whatever one wishes to label it, is the biochemical events that occur in a fetus that lead to homosexuality, or in the extreme form, transsexuality. It happens in animals, including the animal known as mankind.
This is reality seen unflinchingly. Some babies are born with obvious physical sex differences, they are called 'intersex' babies, and are often altered to fit one sex or another. When they grow up, if the doctors guessed wrong, they get really upset, and they seek to have the problem corrected. This is reasonable: there is a sex for the body, and a separate sex for the brain. Sometimes the two do not match in some, or all degrees. Snipping the body does not change the brain. Snipping the body can only change the garment the brain, the mind, the soul wears. Hopefully to a proper fit.
The problem with religion today is that it is built on really, really ancient books written by ordinary men ('inspired' or not, they were still just men) who only knew what was known in the time they lived in. They knew nothing of the nature of the universe but what they could see in a desert sky, and the intricate and amazing clockwork of life was to them only a sticky mess that would gush out of a butchered animal, or slain man. Mysteries and gore.
Now we can identify, and deliberately create, animals who lack heads, or limbs, or other such genetic and developmental errors at will, and of course many neurochemical alterations as well, among them transsexuality and homosexuality.
Transsexuality is real. It is part of nature, it is a biological event as clear as the living cells of the cornea of the eye, or the hydrochloric acid inside a stomach.
Those who preach any given religion may have great issues with all sorts of things. The Catholics killed and imprisoned people for daring to suggest that the moon was an imperfect cratered body instead of a perfect pearl, and I do not think I need to draw similar comparisons in the behaviors of the fervent believers of Islam, Judaism, or any other major religion. Observing reality can make some religious people nervous, if what is actual conflicts with what is traditional.
When religion tries to make any statement or law, about something it cannot possibly address, to which the texts of the religion are blatantly, clearly, utterly out of date, knowledge, or possibility of understanding, and when people try to enforce such ancient ignorance blindly, for no other reason than it is old, I consider that one of the greatest true evils mankind can commit.
It is the evil that leads to slaughter, and torture, and misery, all for the sake of a wisdom half understood from an ancient age that had no understanding whatsoever.
If this is what any god wants, then I stand against that sort of god, utterly. I do not care how scary a god is, a tyranny of ignorance cannot be tolerated.
But I do not think that any god would want such a thing. We humans do it to ourselves, clinging to moldering books, out of date, and out of time.
We are the product of reality. If reality is the work of any god, then all the things in reality are the creation of god.
If this is true, then transsexuality, being a real thing, a natural thing, as is homosexuality as well, is the creation of god just as surely as the moon, gravity, or babies born without legs.
A person cannot just grow new legs by wishing, and a transsexual or homosexual cannot reconstruct the neural cells of their amygdala and hippocampus just by wishing either. Just because something is hidden inside the skull, where we cannot see it, does not make it less real. Real is real. And where reality intrudes, religion, must bow.
So, either god is an evil tyrant beyond vileness, or the things of nature have some purpose. We cannot be other than what we are, and to ask the legless to dance or be damned forever is despicable.
Transsexuality is a matter of birth. No amount of religious intolerance can cure it. But hormones and surgery, real things, can. And in this 'cure' comes some measure of happiness and productivity in life, which means everyone benefits.
If this is ungodly, if happiness and productivity and sparing people from agony and misery is ungodly, then I am forever the enemy of god.
Surely god is not that evil.
So therefore, any religious passage condemning anyone for how they are born, must be in error. It must be ignored.
This still will not save you from being stoned or burned or stabbed or shot to death in certain countries, however. Including the United States, where I live.
So my long winded argument boils down to this:
Either being transsexual, and having the condition treated with hormones and surgery is a godly thing, or god is an evil tyrant that should be opposed utterly for the sake of all living things.
I prefer to believe that if there are any god or gods, that they are not monsters. I could be wrong, and god could be a psychopathic tyrant, but I would rather not see things that way.
So, with regard to religion, transsexuality should be all right, and any religion that clings to hate in the light of real understanding, must be modified or ignored altogether. Take your pick.
I say mindless hate cannot be tolerated, nor misery permitted based on books and scrolls 2000 years past their Freshness Expiration Date. I have had my fill of a history of Inquisitions, Jihads, and general genocide.
If there is a
god, then I think being Queer is just fine in Her book.
I am doing pretty well since my transition, and I am happy in my life. Occasionally, however, things still happen that direct attention my way. Perhaps somebody slips and uses 'he' or something from my past shows up and outs me, or something like that. A lot of it may not actually be being outed, but some of it may be. When I am apparently outed it depresses me because I want to be seen as genetic, which gets to me since that means I still feel shame for being what I am. Does this make sense? It's the first time I've tried to write it out.
Of course it makes sense! I would, and have, felt exactly the same way. There is a tremendous urge to 'just have all that past not be', because it IS something lots of folks have a problem with, and that can make a transsexual history a burden. Also, after fighting so hard for so long for some scrap of gender happiness, hearing a wrong pronoun can feel awful. It hurts even if it has nothing whatsoever to do with being spotted. English defaults to 'he' in both writing and in much conversation, so sometimes a slip of 'he' can occur for no reason at all. My nontranssexual spouse Eldenath has been called he by someone being careless or distracted...of course it does not hurt her the way it would me. Such slips, caused by the english default or by being 'spotted', hurt if for no other reason than the whack a sore spot, an issue transsexual woman have that no one else has. It does not even have to involve shame for being transsexual, either...it just hurts, because it feels like a 'loss' in the Big Battle to be accepted as ourselves. I could not help but flinch at even the most innocent of pronoun errors, for no other reason than this!
I've never mentioned being a transgirl to anyone whom I wasn't absolutely sure knew already, but I think I'd like to. Even though I started hormones in my early twenties, relatively early, there is still a good chunk of my life I've lived being perceived as male. I didn't neccesarily like it, but it's part of who I am, and consequently I need to talk about it. Of course not all of my stories are gender specific, but some are, and putting it through that filter is just another form of deceit; something I've been steadily moving away from through transition, among other things.
This is what, after 16 years of hiding my past desperately, drove me to create my site and effectively Out myself. I just could not stand the mute feeling of being silent, of never being able to completely express myself...it began to feel just as much of a prison to me as I felt before I went through transition. That hit me: the whole reason I went through transition was to be myself freely, without restraint or affectation. Here I was living an affected role, this time trying to be a nontranssexual, mundane woman. I am not mundane, I cannot be ordinary, and when I think about it, find being an ordinary woman revolting. So many of them are quite awfully dull, shallow, and, well, cowlike. Men are no better, but I feel more grief towards the members of my own gender...I fought hard to be known as female, and so many females are really bound by roles and limits. Grrrr.
I am what I am, and it is not Popeye, but it is one of a kind. I reasoned that there was no point to my transition if I just got stuck again in a prison for my soul. But...and this is a big, wide, round, fatty sort of but...(oh I am soooo humorous in a juvenile manner) I did need the years of hiding just to sort myself out and be free from the weight of being 'different'. Sometimes being in the closet can be very healing. Animals need to lick their wounds and hide away sometimes. Sometimes for long times.
It's like I want to
be true to myself, but I want a different
self, a non-transsexual identity. What thoughts do you have about
this? Do you
drive yourself crazy wondering/worrying about "who knows"? Did you go through a phase like this? Am I even articulating it clearly enough?
I'd love to hear some of your thoughts.
I used to drive myself nuts, and everybody around me as well, with my endless paranoia about 'who knows do you think?' 'Is that guy staring at me?' 'Do I pass OK? Hows my hair? Do I look OK? Is anybody going to be able to tell....'
Um...you know the drill. I cannot imagine a transsexual woman who does not. This kind of insecurity can last for years. Even now, it can sometimes hit, and the last time anyone 'spotted' ('Clocked', 'Read', 'Scanned', and so on...) me was in 1985, and that was a guy who deliberately sought out transsexuals. If i am spotted today, no one ever says anything, or gives me any indication. I am probably considered quite eccentric, but, well...I am. But I do, on occasion, still have moments of transsexual insecurity. Perhaps one never completely gets over the trauma...and it is trauma...of going through the hell halfway between the sexes, during transition proper.
So, all that
you describe is unfortunately par for the course, and ever so basic
to the experiences of being transsexual. It is dreadfully common, in
fact, to the experience of being 'T'. This can be comforting; there
is not to my knowledge a single transsexual that has not been plagued
with such worries and issues, often for years and years. It can also
be seen as annoying...like the symptoms of a cold, very common,
unpleasant, and part of the very definition of having a cold. The
kind of annoyance that is too ordinary to really enjoy bitching
about, yet dreadfully bothersome nonetheless. Sigh.
Why do I feel that being transsexual is so evil? Why do I feel like it is something dirty or bad? I have friends who care, Friends I met over the net, other transsexuals, but I still feel really alone and bad. It feels like I can't talk to my family anymore and when I try to I feel scared of them. I feel like everything hates me, or that just being me is wrong somehow. I feel like I am damned to going to hell and that I am evil. Why does everyone seem to think being a transsexual is so awful? How did this happen? Why?
Guilt and shame about being transsexual is caused by the things we are taught in our culture. Currently, it was not always so, any exceptionality with regard to gender or sexual preferance is considered by many people to be taboo. This is almost entirely due to the influence of organized religion, which teaches a great deal of hatred, not only towards others, but also towards ourselves. This hatred is a very nasty business, but it serves the interests of men seeking power. One way to achieve power is to offer a big reward, and to invent a great evil to collectively fight: an 'evil' enemy. If one fights the enemy well, one will get the reward. Someday. Always someday -other than today! This results in droves of people seeking the reward, and joining together to oppose the evil, and that forms a basis for control and power.
This worked very well for Adolph Hitler: his reward was a utopian ideal, and his enemy was all non-white races. It works well currently for Islam: the reward is heaven, and the enemy is all other faiths. It worked for a long time for Communism: the reward being made a hero of the State and the People, and the enemy being Capitalism, and it works incredibly well for Christianity: the reward is 'heaven' and the enemy is a very loose definition of 'evil' which can include (and has at one time or another) anything from wearing brightly colored clothing, dancing, or even just noticing things about the world, all the way to being gay or transsexual. Christians especially have historically been one of the more creative groups in arbitrarily inventing fashions in evils. If it did not result in mass slaughter and torture, I would find the whole thing rather impressive...as power games go. In Western society, this is what made being Queer something associated with guilt and shame.
The scam is to always have an evil to oppose (any thing can be choosen, it really does not matter) and a reward delayed until...well...forever. Now all that is required is leadership...and oh boy, does being a leader pay well! It is an ancient ruse, an ancient con game, and the horror of it is that the easiest thing to make 'evil' is any group of people that are few in number, different in some serious way, and unable to put up much of a fight.
We have all been raised from birth, drowning in hate, with several hundreds of generations of this crap behind us as well. In gets beaten into us, it is everywhere we look.
That is why you feel so bad about being transsexual, despite what your mind reasons, or your heart desires. This is emotional pain, deep set lies and untruth, and it takes time and courage to overcome. It takes thinking and reason, it takes being rational, yet it also takes facing your own feelings, and the programming that created those feelings, and being willing to work at getting past them. It takes thinking new thoughts, all your own, and nobody elses. It takes some tears, too. But it can be done, and it is possible to get past guilt and shame for simply existing.
It is worth it too.
But it can take a long time. So be prepared to deal with these feelings for years and years...they are not conquered overnight. A lifetime of training and fear is not easy to overcome...but you can feel comforted that you already possess the three things you need to win and to finally own yourself with pride: your own thoughts, your own feelings, and a desire to stop feeling bad for something that should never have been named 'evil' in the first place.
To be free from
shame, you must own your own mind and heart. Take them back.