08 April 2009

The Perfect Blend (Part One)

The Perfect Blend

This post is dedicated to the memory of Angie Zapata, Lateisha Green, Tracey Thompson, Ebony Whitaker, Duanna Johnson, and thousands of other Transsexual murder victims, known and unknown. They were people to whom God had given everything, but blind human jealousy, ignorance and hatred brought a violent and premature end to their lives.

MSNBC is currently running a series that focuses on the Transsexual phenomenon. Predictably, it’s called "Born In The Wrong Body". It profiles several female-born men and male-born women as they negotiate gender transition, relationships, marriage, family, etcetera.

I've watched excerpts of the series with a mixture of empathy and dismay. Through its lens, I see a binary gender world in deep denial about Transgender status. However, I also see Transsexual folk who are themselves in deep denial. I see an oppressed minority group fighting against the restriction of biological gender but falling into its trap at the same time!

The most recent telecast of "Born In The Wrong Body" introduced viewers to a pre-operative, 53-year-old Transsexual male. He mentors a teenage Transsexual male, and eventually begins dating the Transboy's biological mother. Sitting on the couch together holding hands, the lovers insist that they not be perceived as Gay or Bisexual; they say that they're "just like any other heterosexual couple".

I flinched at those words! Is that one of the goals of Transsexual activism, I wondered? The illusion of heterosexuality? The entitlement to Straight privilege? I was happy for the couple, of course, but their homophobic attitude disturbed me.

THE GNOSTIC GOSPEL OF PHILIP
People who are slaves against their will can be free. People who are freed by favor of their Master and then sell themselves back into slavery cannot be free again.

I’ve said this often enough before: I think Gay Pride is a huge myth! LGBT folk make big noise about being proud, but more often than not, their retrograde language and behavior belie the claim. Frankly, the "T" in LGBT is especially devoid of pride!

I wouldn't associate that word with any of the Transsexual people I've seen depicted in media over the years. I get the distinct impression that they perceive Transgender identity as a bad dream they want to wake up from. Some are so heavily invested in thinking of themselves as traditionally male or female, they find the terms “Transgender” and "Transsexual" infuriating!

Often, it seems to me that Transfolk strive for life goals that are the direct opposite of what Lesbians and Gay men strive for. We LesBiGay people know we aren't sick or handicapped, and God forbid we represent ourselves that way (though, Lord knows, it does happen)! We don't want to be judged by heterosexual concepts of sexuality. We want to live open, uncloseted lives, free of pretense and the tyranny of gender conformity.

On the other hand, the Transsexual population does represent itself as sick or handicapped. It seems to worship hetero-conformity. Some Transsexual individuals want so much to conform to traditional concepts of gender that they’ll spend thousands of dollars on dangerous and often inconclusive surgical procedures. They aren't satisfied until they fall totally in line with binary gender expectations. Failing that, they want to get as close to those expectations as possible!

For example, I’ve noticed that many Transpersons (Lesbians and Gay men, too, for that matter) are naturally androgynous in appearance. Androgyny isn’t enough for them, though; they crave gender stereotypes, and how! The Transsexual women in my community tend to go overboard with garish make-up, elaborate hairstyles, suggestive clothing and exaggerated demeanor. Likewise, I’ve seen Transsexual men adopt macho dourness to the point of intimidation; they’re so scary, they remind me of Clint Eastwood in a spaghetti western!

It’s a Hollywood parody of femininity and masculinity; there’s no subtlety in the presentation! The acting-out of stereotypical images looks so desperate, I’m never sure if these Transfolk are trying to convince others of their gender legitimacy, or themselves.

Transsexual people seem unable to accept Transgender physicality as normal. They're so obsessed with "correcting" their bodies, it's frightening! They'll endanger their lives with black market silicone treatments. They'll endure horrendous post-operative pain and discomfort. They'll consign themselves to a lifetime of hormone injections.

Then, once they achieve the appearance of a biological male or female, they run headlong into the closet and slam the door behind them. These closeted, post-operative Transfolk agonize over whether to reveal their Transgender "past" to co-workers, friends and potential lovers. At the risk of sounding insensitive, I must ask: What the Hell is a Transgender "past"?!!! How can a person's gender ever be part of the past?

I will never believe that a grown person’s gender can be switched by means of human devices. A lot of folks share my skepticism, too, although most won’t admit it. Yes, I know it’s possible to legally change your gender, but that makes about as much sense to me as legally changing your ethnic heritage!

Gender is a non-returnable gift from God! If you're born male, you'll be male until the day you die. If you're born female, you will not end your life as a male. Most important, if you are born Transsexual, you will always be Transsexual, regardless of what cosmetic changes you make to your body!

There’s more in this world than male and female, and there always has been. Science and religion agree that humankind evolved from a single life form. How could separate male and female gender exist today if they weren't originally combined inside that life form? Transgender is a gender! Male and female can and do co-exist in one body! Why do people have so much trouble grasping this simple truth?

A Transsexual human being represents God's perfect blend. Nobody was ever born into the "wrong" body; that mistake has never been made! Why am I so sure of this? Because God Himself is a being of blended gender! The book of Genesis says so:

GENESIS 1: 27
God created (Adam) in His image . . . male and female He created (him).

I just quoted from the original Hebrew text of the Old Testament. Not only does it indicate that the Lord is Transsexual, but so was Adam, the first human being He created! Transsexuality is a Divine state of being! When I see a male-born woman or a female-born man, I know it's the closest I can get in this life to seeing what God looks like.

THE GNOSTIC GOSPEL OF PHILIP
When Eve was in Adam, there was no death. When she was separated from him, death came . . . if the female had not separated from the male, the female and the male would not have died . . . Christ came to heal the separation that was from the beginning and reunite the two . . . those united in (God's) Bridal Chamber will not be separated again.

Gnostic Christians were among the ancients who revered blended gender. Selected Gnostic scripture like The Gospel of Philip, The Egyptian Gospel and The Secret Book of John teaches that if your soul is "married" to the image of God prior to birth, you'll be born Transgender. Contrary to popular belief, that term not only refers to Transsexual persons but also encompasses homosexual and pansexual humanity. Transgender status (called "Fullness" in Scripture) is a naturally-occurring, genetic echo passed down through the millenia. It's a mirror image of God's own gender, as well as of the gender that existed within Adam before Eve was created!

If God has designed some human beings to resemble Him more closely than others do, how can anyone call it wrong? How dare they do that? Much as the narrow-minded among us may shun it, there's nothing sinful or wrong about having a male body and expressing yourself as female. There's nothing sinful or wrong about having a female body and expressing yourself as male, or vice-versa. There's nothing in the least abnormal about having a gender identity that doesn't "match" your genitalia.  Nothing!

"The Perfect Blend" concludes with Part Two.

6 comments:

  1. It hurts to hear someone whom I've held a great deal of respect say sutch cold things. I consider myself to be a bisexual woman, and a tomboy. My likes and dislikes are based on what I grew up with, NOT an idealized view of what is femenine.

    I seek to alter my body so I can feel comfertable in my own skin.

    Right now I'm too upset at your blantent disregard for understanding and compasion for our trials to type much more.

    Just remember, we are supposed to be on the same side here, and you are only insulting us with the same mindset that is used agains ALL LGBTs.

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  2. If you ever get over your hurt feelings, I'd urge you to re-read "The Perfect Blend". You accuse me of something I'm not guilty of. The mindset used against LGBT folk says that we are all sick and in need of correction. That is the exact opposite of what I'm saying.

    I questioned the need for radical, life-threatening "gender reassignment" procedures, but never did I say transsexual people shouldn't do what they need to do to feel comfortable. I pointed out the shame inherent in how transfolk perceive themselves, but never did I condemn transfolk. Never will I do that.

    What I'm saying is that the transgender body is normal, and natural! And I'm saying that it is under attack from within and without. Violence is violence, whether it occurs on a surgery table or a darkened city street. I'd like to help curb the violence, if I can.

    I want to challenge the transsexual population to think of itself in a bold new way. I challenge you to be true to your gender identity, but to own it in its completeness: both the spiritual aspect, and the physical one. That's no different from what I urge LGB folk to do. I want us to shake off the culture of oppression that we've taken refuge in for so long.

    I am not the enemy of transsexual equality! Heterosexism is its enemy. The internalized kind is the worst kind of all. I oppose internalized heterosexism wherever I find it, and unfortunately, I find plenty of it in the narrow concepts of gender that many transsexual people cling to.

    If my stance offends you, I'm sorry. People usually get angry when I share my thoughts on delicate issues. But none of my essays ever come from a "cold" place. They come from a concerned place.

    When a revolution begins at home, home is where some of the fiercest battles can be found. They are necessary battles! They will make the difficult road ahead easier to walk.

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  3. I apologise if I came off hard (as stated, I was quite upset), but the way it reads is too close to the way I have seen others attack transpeaple.

    And it just seems like you don't understand why some of us try to be hyper-femenine/masculine. Many transexuals do so in an attempt of self preservation or to prove to resistant family and friends. Other times it is just a faze of 'letting it out', a compulation of all the things we have been told to bury all our lives. That part tends to pass rather quickly (it is just more visable).

    We also have a slightly diferent view as to what counts as homosexual or heterosexual than most. Many of us see it in terms of gender identity, not physical sex. The resoult is that we are often asked, repetedly, as to wether or not we or our significant others are homosexual. It can be anoying because it not only says that the questioner doesn't reconize us as the gender we view ourselves, it implies that niether WE nor our significant other does. We often make the statement of what we consider our sexuality to be to prevent that insult, NOT to discriminate against homosexuals.

    We seek to alter our bodies for many reasons. No gender is not as binary as many would believe, and we know it well. But all the same I do feel like I'm in the wrong body, and every attempt to change that feeling has failed. I don't see it as regecting what God has given me, I see it as a jurny, a path to understanding who I am, and the chainges and dangers are my trials.

    You compared the treatment to ex-gay theropy. There is a big diference. First, there are many points where the LICENCED doctors are supposed to check for signs that it is causing too many problems, at wich point treatment is stopped. You don't see many licenced practioners in the ex-gay biz, nor would they ever consider stoping there "treatment" when it starts to endanger the individual. Second, when we go through qualified experts and docters there is no brainwashing, no guilt trips, and no pushing for the treatment.

    Sorry if this post was as long as one of your blogs, but I believe I should clarify some thing that could be taken the wrong way to prevent further misunderstandings (like my own). I would also like to point out that what I said doesn't apply to all transexuals, just to myself and the majority of those I have known.

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  4. I do understand that hypermasculine/hyperfeminine acting-out amounts to over-compensation. It's important, though, that those who engage in it also understand. They are frantically grasping after something that is already in their possession.

    The terms we use to describe sexuality (Gay, Straight, bisexual) are inexact when applied to transsexual persons. The thing to remember is that, no matter how much importance we place on gender identity, the physical aspect cannot be disregarded! Cosmetic changes to the physical body can't erase the fact of gender at birth, the gender I believe transsexual persons keep all their lives.

    That gender is neither male nor female, but transgender! Not a “third sex”, but the first one: the original gender. I'm sorry, but I cannot agree with your "wrong body" analysis.

    You will get no condemnation from me should you choose to change the body you were born with. I certainly have no right to condemn such decisions. But any changes you make will be a result of your personal choice.

    Regardless of what doctors may claim, such changes are never necessary to "treat" a handicap. There is nothing handicapped about the transgender body. It needs no "treatment"! It is our society that is handicapped and needs treatment.

    If the treatment analysis is not shifted from the transperson to the society she lives in (where it belongs), the suffering of transfolk can never diminish. Neither can the suffering of Lesbians, Gay men and bisexual persons. Lethal heterosexism oppresses us all.

    Remember, at one time psychologists were unanimous in thinking homosexual orientation was disordered. This proves that ignorance and prejudice can infest the higher disciplines just as easily as it can infest uneducated minds.

    The parallels to “ex-Gay” doctrine are subtle, but nonetheless present: One mindset says you must be heterosexual, the other says you must be one gender or the other. Anything else can or should be seen as aberrant. A doctor needn't engage in brainwashing activity when society has already done that job quite well on both doctor and patient.

    What I hear underlying your comments is a fierce refusal to let go of binary gender norms, despite your acknowledgement that such norms are false. Again, I urge you to re-read my essay. Not that I think you’ll ever agree with my assertions, but they’re worth more than a cursory inspection. I put many months of thought, research and prayer into them.

    However you ultimately choose to express your gender, it will never be just male or just female. The same goes for my own gender. Blending is permanent, but fortunately, blending is also perfect! There’s simply no other word to describe the state from which all life as we know it is derived.

    Do you understand what I’m saying? Transsexual gender is the mother (and father) which gave birth to separate male and female gender. If that doesn’t inspire pride in you as a transwoman, I don’t know what will.

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  5. When I came out as a cross dresser and trans gender to my wife and son, I said that I will not go back in the closet. Being a late comer, living life on others terms is tantamount to letting them control you.

    While I haven't come out to other members of the family, if I really need to I will. To me pride is being happy and content with who you are, not trying to be like some one else.

    I have a speaking engagement coming up in June in which I'll share about being a trans gender person. I pray more opportunities come. I enjoy sharing my experiences to anyone who will listen.

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  6. It's impossible for a person of transsexual gender to "cross-dress" . . . the way transsexual folk dress is a natural expression of their gender identity. If I can accomplish anything at all with this blog, it's urging LGBT human beings to think of transgender expression as totally natural and not deviant in any way. We do ourselves untold harm by casually adopting heterosexist ways of thinking and speaking about who we are.

    I often say to myself: "If only we could see LGBT status as a blessing, the way God sees it." What a difference that would make in our daily lives, and in the world. These binary gender cultures we're forced to live in are so horribly oppressive! It's like a crushing weight on your soul. Pride is a very difficult status to achieve under such circumstances. Just overcoming shame is achievement enough, I think. It sounds to me like you're in the midst of that necessary journey. Thanks for stopping by; I hope you'll return.

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