A ‘Naturalized’ Woman
Transgender. The word sounds surreal, mysterious and out~of~the~comfort~zone incongruous. Transylvania, transubstantiation and transmogrification have similar think-twice effects on the hearer.
In a less frightening usage, “trans”, the Latin prefix “across”, evokes thoughts of crossing a border or a change from one type to another. Consider the words “translate”, “transition”, “transportation”, “transposition” and “transformer.”
The chemical use of “trans” in describing food may also promote consumer acceptance or rejection based on whether or not a product contains “Trans Fat.”
In personal use I do not use the word “transgender” to describe myself. I find it reproachful and slighting, in fact, due to its connection to the LGBT community and the connotations that this community has engendered for the word.
I realize that there are many in the LGBT community who use the word “Trans” to describe themselves as in “I am happy to be a Trannie.” But this was never true for me.
To begin with I am not associated with the LGBT community whatsoever. There are reasons why I am not involved in the LGBT community and I have written about the reasons elsewhere in previous posts. Basically, my choice not to be involved in that community has to do with the fact that I am a Christian. I do not encourage or promote homosexual or bisexual behavior of any kind. And, I certainly do not base my life or center my life around sexuality as do the members of the LGBT community.
Beyond this, in conversations I have often found that if a person says that someone is living a “lifestyle” they are in fact seeking to buttonhole that person into a predefined category. And certainly there are some people who want to be buttonholed (you have probably seen the tee shirt that says “Out and Proud”). But using this description to define who I am and what I am about would be demeaning.
The word “lifestyle,” used in this way, is used in a pejorative sense, especially in ‘Christian’ circles. The speaker may presume that he or she has a legitimate life and that I, by presumed cross purposes, have a faux, superfluous life and one based on unreality. But that is far from the case.
I began living as woman several years ago. I have written only a few posts since then regarding the topic of my change. To be honest, the whole business bores me to death. Except.
Except when there are times when I have to describe to others what has taken place and to help them understand the issue of my change. I hope to do so with this (hopefully) last post about The Change.
Though not born with female body parts, I became woman through a naturalization process. I call the process “a naturalization process” because it is similar to becoming a naturalized US citizen: a person not born in this country can become a ‘naturalized’ citizen by acceptance of its Constitution, its language, its laws and so forth. You get the picture.
The naturalized citizen acquires all of the benefits and responsibilities of their new country. Likewise, as a naturalized woman I have acclimated to my new country: I go to work, I go to church, I go… as woman. If asked, I would say that I am a “naturalized” woman as opposed to saying that I am trans-gendered.
As a person who was gender “stateless” before my naturalization process I felt I needed to find a place where I could live in wholeness without segregating the mind from the body. And having always believed in God~given binary gender of male and female I knew that I had to be one or the other. I could never see myself as an effeminate man or as a butch female. I had to be female and not a bastardized version of one or the other.
The genesis of my gender understanding and disconnect with my body is most likely born out of genetic and pre-natal hormonal influences and a good portion of mystery. It is not exactly clear as to why I needed to make the change.
It is at this point that a theologian may say that my change is working at cross purposes with God and that I am not getting my understanding from Scripture. They may also say that I have made Illegitimate changes to what God has created as good. A Christian psychologist may say that I have a neurosis. Others may say things like “God doesn’t make mistakes.” I have heard it all.
You should know that my gender understanding and change are both coupled with my understanding of God’s grace-God’s elbow room for sinners like me. And at this point, let me make something clear: I don’t practice homosexuality. I am celibate. I have been given the grace to make the change and also to remain celibate.
Grace. Do divorced people receive God’s grace? If you listen to Christian talk radio the answer is yes.
Divorce, not a feature of Adam and Eve’s garden relationship came about because of the hardness of men’s hearts since the garden. Today we have Christian radio personalities who are divorced. Did God, who sanctifies marriage, make a mistake when the One became Two divorce happened? Did God’s grace allow you to divorce your husband because he looked at pornography? Does grace (both God’s and yours) allow you to stay with your husband in the same situation as a witness for Christ, as His light and salt in the marriage? What’s the appropriate use and measure of grace? Is grace the wherewithal to transition from a broken state into a state of wholeness, a purified temple for the Holy Spirit? Is grace the transmogrification of a person’s point of view? (See Flannery O’Connor’s short story, A Temple of the Holy Ghost.)? Is it all of the above? I think so.
God hates divorce but he allows it to take place. His grace works with man’s brokenness. Should my change be judged or weighed differently than a divorced person’s change-the one becoming two? But let’s not think about the subject of my change in relativistic terms. I don’t. I think about my change in terms of grace, in terms of unction, in terms of me, a woman, set apart not for sin and the world but for God.
There was no doubt that I was divided or split about my gender since my earliest remembrance. To resolve the matter I spoke to all kinds of counselors. And, as mentioned above, psychologists may use the word “neurotic” to describe someone who is divided in their thinking. But I have since learned not to accept psychology and its “naming” conventions as truth. And, I am not Woody Allen-esque enough to need regurgitation of emo and hypochondria three times a week or even once a week.
Beyond this, there will always be people who want to nail down the ‘morality’ of my change as deserving of social crucifixion. Some will seek to nail me down to their own cross but I’m not going there. I have my own cross to bear.
I have understood and accepted that wholeness could be achieved through a “naturalization” process where mind and body could coexist in a stable peaceful state within God’s grace and with God’s blessing. Jesus said, “Come to me all who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.” I am now resting.
It was Abraham Lincoln who said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” And, it was James, the brother of my Lord, who said, “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” And, it was Carol King who sang, “You make me feel like a natural woman.”
It was me who said, “Amen.”