Thursday, June 2, 2011

Pondering Faith and Walking Openly

Recently I talked to another Trans Christian, one I just met on-line and our conversation has caused me to ponder how we must walk by faith in this world – even Trans and Gender Variant folks that do not have the same belief system as we Christians do – certainly it is an act of faith to step out into the world as our real, authentic selves; we risk everything the moment we hit the street. Even more so those who know they have to remain hidden from co-workers and others simply to survive must walk by some sort of faith even if it is just faith in the fact that one is part of a group that is pressing for acceptance. I speak from a Christian perspective about faith (and hope that this draws others into the family), but faith even without this context is key to what I am speaking about.

I could not live openly as myself now without Jesus by my side - it is all a walk of faith even though the Evangelicals and Fundamentalists can't quite grasp the truth I (and other Gender Variant people) represent. I wonder if that isn't a little like how Jesus felt as he walked among the religious people of His day. He embodied the Truth – all of it – and He loved God with all His being, yet he was ridiculed and eventually brutalized and put to death, so obviously He knows what it is like to be tortured, bullied, teased and ridiculed by family and religious people and likely even amongst His peers simply for being Himself. We have something in common with Him and this becomes important in the times when others turn against us and when we must endure our situations without giving up.

Lately I have faced a lot of harassment from people on the streets and this seems to be on the rise as I spend a lot of time walking and taking Public transit around Riverside and Los Angeles. I suppose this is due to the turbulent current Social, Political & Economic climate that seems to be pushing towards some sort of critical mass. Though I always try to dress tastefully and appropriate for a woman my age people that “read me” seem to have something hurtful to say and if it were not for this commonality I have with Jesus I would surely crumble under the weight of their hatred and ridicule. What I want most to do is share the Love God has for them with them because I really do know what that love is like, but in the heat of the moment I also want to lash out and get back at them so I usually wind up saying nothing and move along trying to keep my bruised feelings from showing. I go home and cry it out and then fight the depression that generally follows behind such challenges to myself and to my self-esteem – and it has been a struggle lately. Again if it were not for Jesus being by my side (faith) I would not be able to pick myself up and move forward again.

So what is it that we Gender Variant folks represent? I think most of all we represent the fact the God is still speaking, still creating, still alive and well and accessible to each one of us by faith, also that He is well able to function outside the tiny, tradition steeped box that most people think of as Christianity. We stand in stark contrast to the limits of religious tradition. We are told, you can’t live that way, “its evil”, “its abominable”, “it teaches our kids to be promiscuous” and even (with a little tongue-in-cheek here) “it makes them wonder who or what they should marry”. Of course nothing is further from the actual truth; such things can’t be taught – one either is or isn’t “that” way by nature, however one identifies. What we represent is the glory of God and Her ability to challenge and shake up the status quo even in these modern (and oh so enlightened) days. We represent living Truth just as Jesus did and that scares the beejeebers out of folks!

We have heard it said often enough that God can do anything but when He actually does do something miraculous it is those shallow, reactionary religious people that scream and say “that’s abomination!”, though it really is simply because who we are makes them uncomfortable and challenges their beliefs. I believe that such challenges to ones beliefs are healthy and it is something that God is still in the business of doing today, in real-time and right in their (and our) faces.

Please take this to heart: each and every one of us is one of those miracles in the flesh, just as Jesus Christ was one in the flesh! Talk about being trans – He had the Spirit of God fully dwelling in his human flesh. We put the lie to the traditions of today’s religious people regarding Gender Variant folk. Jesus said it of the Jews in His day(Mark 7:13Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.), and our very existence combined with the faith we have makes the exact same statement to all those religious folks who tell us we are wrong, evil, abominable & etc.

I just had lunch with a Pastor friend of mine today and I would like to adapt a quip she quoted to me that happens to speak volumes to our detractors: If God hates Transgender and LGBQ… folks so much why does he make so many of us? So whether you have faith in God or just faith in the fact that there are so darn many of us, as always I encourage you to be out because just by being out you make a difference. I encourage you to be proud of who you are and to stand firm even in the face of opposition (though avoid becoming violent if you can). Get involved in support groups so you have a personal support network, get involved in civic affairs and take your place regularly so you can make a difference – Woody Allen once said “eighty percent of success is showing up”. Remember that you are not alone as you struggle to be free.

Hugs and Blessings,