Friday, July 11, 2008

Geographical Cure

I've been fixating on a geographical cure for my ailments lately. It's not so much that I expect a new locale to fix me, or make my life "unbroken". I really believe that doesn't work. I feel its time to just start living.

I spent way too much time doing the opposite. Which is to say, waiting to die. I started to realize around 5 or 6 that I was different from others and shortly thereafter I started feeling "less than". With no real solution to this dilemma, I found comfort in the friends I would keep. Typically the other Outsiders, Malcontents and "Island of Misfit Toys" inhabitants. This would be fine for those tree climbing, Evil Knievel bike jumping, and blowing up plastic Army guys days. However, more often it turned into the sneaking out at Midnight, breaking into the local elementary school and "toying with the county police", hanging out in the woods, drinking and smoking til 4-5am days.

I would not have classified myself an alcoholic at that time. Looking back on it, I was just a potential alcoholic.

Then life happened. I got older, not wiser, married and became a parent. Along came the job, the mortgage, the car payments and responsibility. By the time I reach the 11th Anniversary of my 29th birthday (please don't do the math) I was done. I was empty and broken. This time, I could safely say I was an Alcoholic. Not the high school/ post college days drinkers who have their first hangover and laugh " I'm such an alcoholic". No, this was the “I have no control over when and how much I drink" and” no matter how hard I try I can't stop drinking" admission. I'm a firm believer that the " phenomenon of craving" as described in my last statement is the manifestation of an allergy. An allergy that NEVER occurs in the average drinker. So, with that concession to myself, I sought a path of growth, spiritual growth. It so happened to coincide with my desires to live in my own skin. In the body I was born with.

I just wanted to be ME.

Up until then, I was this image, a persona I created. The actor who would please everyone around me. I was masculine, let polite, intelligent, yet tactful. I would work long hard hours, then relax and party even longer. People pleasing became an unwitting art form. I pursued it to the gates of Hell and beyond. This had to stop.

Today, I have found a solution to my problems which is based on a relationship with God, and a reliance, not defiance upon Him (Yes, Him, not Her. Pronouns are a man made convention. For me God transcends such man made notions. I use masculine pronouns in the same spirit as my faith. He is my Father. It also further illustrates, in human terms His power and strength.) This solution has allowed me to look at myself each and every day. I can take stock of who I am and the things I've done. I look for the underlying motives behind my actions (And are there!)

So this desire to pick up and move has taken hold of me in the last few weeks. The want and need to live my live in the truest sense of myself is motivating me to look for answers and solutions to pain and fears. My first reaction is ask myself "Am I trying to run, yet again from who I am?" "Am I fearful of how people will react to me, for the person I truly am?" and " Is this God's Will for me?"

I believe, given the chance, I'll run at the first opportunity. It's in my nature and has born fruit throughout my past. I never wished to bring unwarranted criticism or examination upon myself, lest I be judged by others for being different. And I certainly never sought what is God's Will for me. And what have I learn about myself in the last 3 years. 3 years spent seeking God and myself?

I know I'm a genuinely good person at heart. I make mistakes and always will. That, for me, is part of the human experience. I strive for selfless faith in my soul and in my actions. I ask for guidance to achieve that, so that I may be of maximum service to God and my fellows.

It is also a tenet of my faith that God created me, exactly the way I am. There was no mistake that happened on that day so many years ago. I've spent a lot of time building up a veneer around me to mask that creation of God. Do I have the courage to shed this facade?

The real question is "Do I have faith?"

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Comprehending roots of animosity toward transgenderism: Building a bridge based on mutual understanding

Comprehending roots of animosity toward transgenderism: Building a bridge based on mutual understanding

Dear Sisters,

I have long been curious about a segment of society that views the transgendered lifestyle with utter disdain. I have often wondered why we appear so threatening to some people and why they feel the need to impose their views on our community.

In reading the Old Testament of the Bible at the suggestion of my former therapist, I came across the following quote from Deuteronomy 22:5 the New International Version: “A woman must not wear men's clothing, nor a man wear women's clothing, for the Lord your God detests anyone who does this.”

In searching for interpretations of this passage, I have come across a number of eye-opening statements on the web that have shed light on the connections that some people make from transgenderism to: 1) mixing of the genders 2) buying into Satan’s plan 3) attracting males to perform sodomy, and 4) and to attracting boys to sodomites. Some of the quotes I have reviewed include:

“Even the European Union, the supreme democracy, has stated that pants are man dressing whilst gown and skirts is garment pertaining to women.”

“We would have never even considered this 20 years ago, but now we are eliminating the difference in the sexes that God made. In fact, I believe that it is all part of Satan's plan to further defile mankind by mixing the genders. But God is the God of order, not of confusion.”

“We should first see that there is a need to keep a clear distinction between the two genders (male and female). God made two sexes. There is no third category as people are suggesting nowadays (such as transsexuals). God has made no such category. God made male and female. He stopped there and so should we!”

“It is well known that men wear earrings to look attractive to other men. These are the effeminate. Cross gender clothing and styles, therefore, are prohibited because they foster sodomy. The two are connected.”

“We need to remember even though our boys are free from problems with homosexuality, if they are wearing an earring, a sodomite will single him out with a special eye…….. And certainly we do not want men attracted to our boys or our own selves (if we as men wear earrings).”

It appears that much of the disdain we perceive comes from fear of the transgendered lifestyle with roots stemming from interpretations of Old Testament Biblical citations. In short, people fear the effects of transgenderism in their lives because they believe that the Bible tells them it is against God’s plan and will be a corrupting force to society.

Is the aforementioned quote from Deuteronomy 22:5 to be taken literally, or more constructively considered within the context of the society in which it was written? Are there alternative interpretations to this verse that are not condemning to the transgendered community? Perhaps an understanding of the philosophical and cultural schism will allow the process of healing and acceptance to begin. I hope that through understanding the basis of this conflict, that the transgendered community can strive to form a bridge with this segment of society.

Felicia Conti