Thursday, April 23, 2009

Urging Tolerance

Greetings friends,
Every once in a while in one of my TG support groups someone makes a comment or reacts to current events and when I respond I am struck with a sense that maybe I ought to post here to a wider spectrum of folks also. So here is what I said today in such a situation:

I agree in principle with what you say and certainly don't approve of the dishonest tactics of the zealots you mention, but I take a bit of exception to the statement "Religion cannot allow even the slightest of concern or any possibility that GLBT community would have some protection or gain equality". Though I understand and share your outrage, and have been the target of many religious people's hatred I feel the need to comment and ask can that statement be modified to something a little less harsh on those that are religious and GLBT and do have great concern for these issues, please? Maybe one could say "Some peoples religion..." or "Fanatical religion..." or "Religious zealots cannot seem to allow..."

There are many for whom their religion drives them into the battle on the side of equality and rights for every human. I am one of several like that in this group, and I have out of courtesy tried to keep religion out of my posting but I have to say our religion can and does allow for GLBTQ, and for straight or allied persons and for otherly challenged persons rights and equality - I.E. every human's rights and equality. Many of us are an active and well established part of the GLBT community as well as persons of strong faith - be we Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Pagan or any other. Those that are in both camps get bashed by many in both groups and wind up struggling to bring both groups to a place of tolerance or else we allow ourselves to be crushed by both groups and have nowhere to call home.

I gave up hiding and having no "place" when I embraced who I am fully. For me, with my transition and my faith combined, my openness and belonging to certain groups is about claiming my place in the world and making my home openly in the world while not denying others their place (even if they don't like me or what I am about). I constantly apologize if my sensitivity and this personal ethos of mine are a problem to some, but I must ask and work for tolerance.

We transgender folk must practice tolerance too - even of those that at times are intolerant and ignorant (as many of the religious groups TRULY are) and even of those that are blindly militant in their intolerance - because we are human and quite capable of harboring the same damaging kinds of judgment even though it is the mirror image of those we react to. It is a tough pill to swallow reacting with patience and understanding and kindness rather than reacting in kind to intolerance and hatred and blind, dogmatic ignorance. We have been doubly blessed to see life from both sides and I think that means we have to try twice as hard to forbear those that don't have that blessing. I don't mean we must let them walk all over us, but we can stand up to them without hurting them back.

I personally abhor the intolerance of religious fundamentalists, but I have no right to clobber them in the same way or with equal or greater force because that would, if put into practice, make me just as wrong as them. So I ask, what can each of us do to heal these wounds and bring enlightenment and understanding to those that don't have any and to those that hate us? What can each of us do to not perpetuate our own individual brand of intolerance?

Hugs and Blessings,


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Yes. I agree. Eve.

    We need to be careful not to make rash generalisations. I know of many religious people who have no problems at all with LGBT folk.

    ps, can't believe I got your name wrong the first time, Eve. I was just after reading a post from Lucy... apologies :(

  3. A great post, Eva. Tolerance and education is needed on both sides. There are many religious folk on our side, thank God.

  4. Thanks ladies,

    Thanks for stopping by.

    No need to appologize Chrissy - I still have moments when I get my name wrong too. I remember my first name challenge. I had just recieved my first credit card in my new name and went to buy something, and I was so embarassed because I actually gould not remember how to form a cursive "G" - I literally broke into a cold sweat in that moment. Then I went home and spent hours practicing how to sign my full name.

    Finding a religious community that accepts me just as I am was a fearful thing for me at first, having been a militant fundamentalist for many years prior to accepting myself as created. I was so afraid that I would forever be a pariah because I had no idea that there were so many other like me, so yes I do thank God too. This journey I am on has brought me so much closer to God it is hard to recall how I felt in those Findie Pseudo-man days. I hope I can help bridge the gap between GLBT and faith communities and I try at every opportunity.

    Hugs and Blessings!

  5. Great post, Eva!

    My partner belongs to a supportive reform Jewish community - I say she belongs because I don't consider myself to have any specific belief - I am kind of a spiritual tourist - very interested in Judaism, Buddhism, Islam, and various pagan beliefs.

    I think accepting communities tend to hide out too much. The fundamentalists seem to grab too much of the media's attention.

    I haven't yet had to sign anything in my femme name - but have been planning to get some cards in my name - and practicing my new signature.

  6. Thanks Jill.
    You are quite right - the good and the accepting and truly loving people are not the ones that grab the headlines - they are grabbed by the loud and rude, the boorish and the spreaders of hatred. I used to be a Fundamentalist Christian myself and they did ocassionally get something right. You know the saying "a stopped clock is right twice a day" and so in spite of doing a complete turn around in my life I learned from them to be very vocal about what I believe. I encourage us all to get out of our closets and encourage the accepting ones to speak up and make their views known too. We can make a difference if we do not remain hidden and silent.