Mockery should never come from the House of God. Never. As the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities find more acceptance in churches and in society, still left in the shadows and in the back corners hidden from our kind considerations are the transgender people. I am witnessing them become the next target of religious leaders.
It can be no surprise to those who read my blog or hear me speak that I have an unusual burden for the transgender community. I admit, that just five years ago, I could not have verbalized an intelligent definition of the word “transgender”. Now, I weep over the abuse and ignorance towards them.
The technical term is “gender dysphoria” and the simplest way to understand it is the brain imprint of gender (male or female) does not match the body biology/sex. What’s in the brain does not match what is in the underpants.
What pushed my button tonight is reading completely uninformed, mean spirited comments on, oh here we go again, Pastor Mark Driscoll’s Facebook page. He has taken a new tact since his comment about “most effeminate anatomically male worship leader” blew up the internet. Rachel Held Evans called him out on that stupid and insensitive comment. Now, only he posts and often links to controversial stories and lets his followers tear up the victims for him. And, they do. Point made, and hands clean.
Today, Driscoll linked a story about trans kids in Seattle getting guidance for their condition as early as 5 or 6. When the teachings from the pulpit are not warm and fuzzy towards glbt Christians, even I know this was not going to be a “whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is good, now think on these things” love fest for trangender people. Driscoll knowingly puts this stuff out there and lets the attack and ignorant statements begin. Driscoll is not accountable for what his commenters say, but, come on, I know what they will say. It is intensely irresponsible to dangle the irresistible magnet for derision. Right on cue, the Pavlovians posted:
- “parents push their children towards the gender they wish they were.”
- “God would not accidentally give us a gender that we don’t fit in. The thought of a transgender person teaching little kids to become transgender themselves just turns my stomache.”
- “if I don’t feel happy with my left arm can I have that lopped off too?”
- “it is sad that this is being taught and promoted in kindergarten.”
- “transgender is a choice that is made, not a birth defect.”
All of this ignorant scorn is invited. If I know what the resultant commentary will be, surely the pastor knew that when he posted the story, mockery, rampant mockery would ensue. No one deserves to be mocked. To think of a pastor specifically holding out the sacrificial lamb to be torn apart is intensely negligent of his office. Theological differences are expected, but, I would hope the godly treatment of others is the supreme dictate we would encourage and model.
Driscoll is not the only leader dangling the misunderstood transgender person over the heads of the jeering crowds. I recently read and reviewed “A Queer Thing Happened to America” by Michael Brown. His references to transgendered people actually made me scream out loud while I was reading. I was appalled by the many comments about transgender people in his 691 page book that he insists is a compassionate Christian view. Please, read my review.
Sentences akin to: “We [speaking about transgender people] would do better to concentrate on trying to fix their minds and not their genitalia.” And, “No doubt there are many beautiful people among them, but that hardly means that each of their sexual orientations and identities and proclivities must be recognized, endorsed and celebrated by society or that their sexual orientations or identities or proclivities are what make them beautiful. Really now, it is beautiful for a grown man to surgically mutilate his penis and wear a dress?”
No one is asking for a party for them; they just want the dignity to be the humans. Transgender people want the same things we heterosexuals want: love, acceptance and dignity. If you do not take issue with the offense of these comments by Brown and others, you do not understand the complexity of brain stamping versus body biology.
Transgendered people are about .25% to 1% of the population. They are the most discriminated groups in housing, jobs and in churches. Although they are only 1% of the population, they are a disproportionate quantity of the homeless and unemployed.
I understand that most of us know very little or nothing of the “T” community. But mockery and ignorance is not the way to deal with it. Get educated and meet some personally. And, listen to them, don’t tell them, listen. Hey, maybe even chat with a doctor at a clinic since this is a medical condition. And while you are doing your homework on the statistically “very least of these”, keep you poison to yourself. Don’t even post bait that will bring nasty and stupid comments. It is offensive.
God in His cleverness used a sexually-other person to spread the Gospel outside of Judea and Samaria. The Ethopian eunuch was rejected at the temple by man, but GOD, saw him, and used him, and blessed him, and wrote him down in history.
If the world is only comfortable for you in pink and blue, start with my blogpost “Can Sized 14 Heels Keep You Out of Heaven?” Then check into a wonderful book by Lisa Salazar “Transparently”. Lisa is on the board of my organization and a beautiful Christian transwoman. As you read , you will be deeply affected by the struggle for life as she decided to transition. And God is in every step of this process with her.
This crazy targeting of others that are not like us must stop coming from the House of God. I get daily mail from the outcasts that do not fit strictly heterosexual model. People are born gay, bisexual and transgender and other beautiful variations and carry a piece of God’s image. This may scare some of us. We don’t like the differences we do not understand. But, this is not a validation for mockery.
God cares about hearts. Not genitalia. Not sized 14 heels. Not shaved Adam’s apples or additions or subtractions of the flesh. Hearts.
People of God, and in particularly leaders, stop it. Get educated, get in relationship with transfolks and, until then, stop the ridicule and ignorant slander against the transgender community. It is not godly, it is destructive and it is pushing yet another group from the mercy seat of God.
I hope the people of God start speaking up loudly on issues of injustice against any targeted group. The transgender group is the next one on the church’s radar to “seek and destroy”. I am not overstating this. My faith drives me to not be passive while others are oppressed. When I witness pastors and religious leaders intentionally shaming and bringing ridicule upon transgender people, I will not be silent. If you need education, get it; ignorance is not a validation.
Today I am speaking up for the many transgender people I love. I honor you: Lisa, Lance, Sarah, Izak, Bren, Karen, Cindy, Dix, Antonia, Sissy, Deborah, Cecilia, Elisabeth, Cindi . . . and many, many more. These are my some of my Christian fellow brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus that you mock. They are some of the most grace filled people I know. Their path to God is strewn with struggles the rest of us will never understand, so yes, I honor them.