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.

The Perfect Blend (Part Two)

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.

However, there is something wrong with claiming you’re fully male or female when your genitalia and other physical traits indicate otherwise. Gender identity defines gender only up to a point; the physical aspect must be taken into account as well. We live in a corporeal dimension, after all, so the body can't be ignored!

Most Transsexual folk realize as much, and that's why so-called "sexual reassignment" surgery has grown in popularity. Despite their dubious origins in Nazi Germany, the medical profession has seen fit to approve these risky procedures as “treatment” for transsexualism. Major complications like tissue death, fistula, blood clotting and hemorrhage haven’t deterred Transfolk from seeking them by the thousands.

The Transsexual patient’s reward for risking her life and emptying out her savings account is a strictly artificial result. The subtleties of inborn biology are such that a lifetime of medical maintenance becomes necessary. It's impossible to "assign” gender after birth; the body knows what it was born to be! Some people successfully transition with little or no surgery at all, which calls into question the necessity of such radical procedures. Yet all too many Transfolk feel that the only way to validate their gender identity is with syringes, scalpels and stents. To me, that’s heartbreaking!

I would never presume to tell anyone how she should or shouldn’t change her own body; everybody's got the right to do what's necessary in order to feel whole. Even so, an artificial penis will never be the key to manhood; a surgically-created vagina isn’t what defines a woman; and you can’t buy legitimacy in a silicone syringe! Nobody will ever be more masculine or feminine than they are on the day they're born. If physical characteristics can't determine gender at birth, they certainly can’t determine gender later on!

“Sexual reassignment” shouldn’t be considered “treatment” for anything! It should be viewed in the same light as other forms of plastic surgery: A cosmetic option that’s available to patients. This idea that Transgender bodies must need be altered to fit traditional gender concepts is tragically misguided! As long as Transgender activism has this idea as a core motivation, the world will view transsexualism as a malady . . . and that is entirely the wrong view.

How could a blessing from Heaven be a malady? Transsexual men and women aren't born into the wrong body; they're born into the wrong society! Society must change to accommodate them, not vice-versa!

THE GNOSTIC GOSPEL OF PHILIP
The rulers wanted to fool people, since they saw that people have a kinship with what is truly good. They took the names of the good and assigned them to what is not good, to fool people . . . for they wished to take free people and enslave them forever.

The Transgender = Sick mentality is widespread among Transfolk, but who can blame them for having it? How could they avoid having it, given society's extreme prejudice in favor of binary gender? In fact, extreme is much too mild a word. "Maniacal" is a better description!

Most cultures, including my own African-American ethnic group, are maniacal when it comes to enforcing strong separations between male and female. Breaching those separations invites cruel punishments, ranging from ostracism to physical violence to murder! There aren’t any hard statistics to cite, but I'd bet you any amount of money that most victims of heterosexist murder are Transsexual! I’ve heard far too many horror stories like those of Brandon Teena and Gwen Araujo in my lifetime to think otherwise.

It’s easy to wake up dead if you’re a female-born man or a male-born woman. Even worse, it’s easy to wake up alone. Finding a mate can be a b*tch if you don't conform to binary standards of physical gender! The same is true of binary gender norms that dictate behavior, and the prejudice is equally strong in homosexual and heterosexual circles.

For example, most of the men I've been interested in have let me know that I'm entirely too "nelly" for them. However, I refuse to do what some have suggested and "butch up". It's also been suggested that I go as female. No way! Locking myself inside a gender role closet has never been a viable option. Since childhood, I've insisted on expressing the totality of who I am. It has cost me dearly, but I've never regretted making that choice. Maybe that’s why I have such a hard time accepting the Transsexual population’s hunger for hetero-conformity.

LGBT folk love to think and speak of themselves as revolutionaries. Well, the revolution begins at home, sugar! If it doesn’t begin at home, it sure as Hell won't begin anywhere else! When I say "at home", I mean that place within our own minds, where our perceptions of who and what we are lie.

There's nothing revolutionary about people who represent themselves as "queer" or "gender queer".  Au contraire, mon frère!  That's counter-revolutionary thinking, to perceive yourself in the same way your oppressor perceives you! If you dare suggest that LGBT status is in any way sick, deviant or in need of correction, the only blow you strike will be a blow in support of ignorance and discrimination.

THE GNOSTIC GOSPEL OF PHILIP (reconstructed scripture)
Ignorance is the mother of (all evil). Ignorance leads to (imperfection, because) those who come from (ignorance) neither were nor (are perfect), nor will be. (But those in truth) will be perfect when all truth is revealed.

Real sex and gender revolutionaries reject narrow definitions of male and female! They also know that male and female isn't the whole story. They acknowledge and embrace the Transgender body, the Transgender soul. Most important, they realize that in order to be authentically Gay, Lesbian, Pansexual and/or Transsexual, all they have to do is haul ass out of bed in the morning! Natural beauty needs no embellishment.

LGBT individuals don't have to talk a certain way. They don't have to walk a certain way. They don't have to dress a certain way. They don't have to have this or that protruding from their chests or dangling between their legs! All they need do is be true to their sexual orientations and gender identities and go about their normal business on God's Earth. That's all, folks! Who knew revolutionary thinking could be so uncomplicated?

Transsexual people owning their Transgender identity instead of running away from it will be one of the most crucial developments of the revolution. It will require a tremendous amount of courage, and it won’t happen overnight. Even then, a certain number of Transfolk will always loathe the bodies they were born with. There’ll always be a market for "sexual reassignment" quackery (pardon my French). However, that market will shrink considerably when the civilized world abandons its maniacal obsession with binary gender.

Whether that day ever comes or not, male-born women and female-born men must start giving themselves permission to be everything that they naturally are! Persons of homosexual and pansexual gender must do the same thing. We’ll never be totally free of heterosexism until we shake ourselves loose from the insane compulsion to be “all-man” or “all-woman”!

In his second letter to the Corinthian churches (chapter 12, verses 7-10), the Apostle Paul wrote about a metaphorical “thorn in his side” that he begged God to remove. Some scholars believe that the reputedly homophobic preacher was referring to his own homosexual (or transsexual?) orientation. Whatever this “thorn” was, God refused to take it away.

The Lord told Paul that his secret burden was an example of almighty power “made perfect”. Made Perfect . . . I can’t think of a better way to describe the miracle that is Transgender existence! I can’t think of a Scripture that’s more relevant to Transsexual experience, either; every Transgender Christian should learn it by heart. Here’s another one worth remembering:

THE GNOSTIC GOSPEL OF PHILIP
All those who have everything should know themselves, should they not? If some do not know themselves, they will not enjoy what they have, but those who know themselves will enjoy their possessions.