Crossing the T

Life at the intersection of Church and Trans with Rev. Allyson Robinson

Casualties of gender, casualties of silence

I hope you’ll set aside a few minutes to watch this video, highlighting the five murders and one suicide of gender-variant people that received media attention in February of this year.  How many victims must there be before it becomes an epidemic?

PhD. candidate and Point Scholar Joelle Ruby Ryan created the piece.  In a companion essay (available at this point only as a Word document),  she writes,

The tyranny of gender rigidity has a death grip on our culture.  And this system is not merely theoretical; it has very real casualties.  One of the things which troubles me the most is how few non-transgender people get involved in the fight for change.  How many transgender people have to die before you will get involved?  How many gender-variant youth will be brutally murdered or will commit suicide because they see no hope for a livable future for themselves, let alone a happy one?

I recognize and respect that many conservative Christians believe the binary gender system to be God-ordained and biblically endorsed.  I cannot believe, however, that any of them would endorse murder or suicide as justifiable means for protecting, enforcing, or advancing that system.  And yet those who speak for conservative Christians in America are largely silent on the matter of these deaths. 

To those who are prone to these kinds of violent acts, that silence implies that violence is indeed justified.  To the young straight man who has discovered that a gay classmate has a crush on him, the church’s silence says, “It’s okay to rough him up a little.”  To a twelve year old boy who has known all his short life that he needs to be a girl, the church’s silence says, “We’ll all be better off if you’d just put the gun in your mouth and pull the trigger.”  To the parents of a teenage girl who refuses to stop seeing her girlfriend, the church’s silence says, “Of course you’re justified in kicking her out of the house and onto the street.”  When the voice of moral authority refuses to speak, hatred and injustice hear all the permission they need to hear. 

For conservative Christian teachers, preachers, and leaders, speaking out against this kind of violence is risky.  Some in your congregation will wonder if your views on homosexuality have softened.  They’ll question your convictions against offering equal marriage rights to gays and lesbians.  There will be talk in the corners of the fellowship hall and around kitchen tables about whether you’re falling prey to the “Homosexual Agenda.”  Deacons might start receiving worried phone calls from influential church members.  Some members will confront you to your face.  Some will trust you less.  Some will start looking for another church.  The most hardened congregations will eventually suggest that maybe it’s time for you to move on, or will call for a vote to vacate the pulpit.

I recognize these risks.  I’ve faced them myself.  But I ask you, since when has preaching truth and justice been a risk-free proposition?  And I ask you, how much risk are you willing to take?  And I ask you, do gender-variant or questioning young people qualify as “the least of these” from Matthew 25?

And I remind you, as our Lord has said and will say again, “Whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.”

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3 Comments»

[…] 2008 at 11:42 pm · Filed under Activism, Advocacy, Current Events, Hate Crimes Earlier today I pointed my readers to a video and companion essay by transgender activist Joelle Ruby Ryan entitled “Casualties […]

  Kara wrote @

Hi my name is Kara im a 23 year old Christian, transwoman-lesbian I believe with all my heart that Jesus died on the cross to pay for my sins and he is my Lord and saviour I trust God with all of my heart. I believe that the bible is the holy word of God now il tell the story of my complicated life I was only five years old when I began to display girlish tendencies in grade 1 I preferred playing with girls by the age of 7 I put hair curlers in my hair and I wished my hair was longer my mom got upset and threw the curlers away when I turned 10 I really dreaded mother cutting my hair it disappointed me that I couldn’t have long hair. I was never one of the boys I was always physically weaker and easily beat up so I quickly learned the strategy of running away when those situations presented themselves it’s a good thing that im a very fast runner. Boys called me a sissy but I could care less I hated fist fights and guess what I still do when I was a child I instinct fully used the girls bathroom despite my mothers protest and I have always sat down to use the can by the age of 12 I wanted to be a girl and I looked pretty passable until my mom found out that people thought I was a girl she cut my hair short I hated it I wanted nice long silky hair if I could have had my way my hair would have been halfway down my back from age 13 to 16 I wanted long hair but my mom wouldn’t let me she said that someone would grab it and I would look like a girl well duh I am a girl I just couldn’t find a way to explain it to her. During my late teens I was still much weaker than normal boys I always had skinny girls arms and legs I really enjoyed my slightly feminine appearance finally when I was 17 years old I grew my hair out shoulder length when my mom wasn’t home I wore a pink ribbon in my hair and put on my only denim skirt I went around town at least a dozen times like this I felt great finally I was able to express myself then a friend told me that it was an abomination to wear girls cloths then I read in the bible it was ashamed for a man to have long hair so sadly I chopped off my pretty hair and threw my dress away this was one of the stupidest things I have ever done I really wish I didn’t give up like that and the bible verse didn’t apply to me it was for ancient Corinth and I forgot what Paul said next ( we have no such custom nor the churches of God ) I accidentally misinterpreted scripture ! my error lead to the 6 most miserable years of my life I was literally depressed every day by age 20 I began shaving thank goodness my beard grew in late when I turned 22 I had a inch long beard with a receding hairline and my body hair was thickening up I was a little relieved I thought my sinful thoughts of being a girl would vanish no it grew stronger and so did my anger and depression from age 17 to 22 I attempted suicide 4 times all this time I cried out to Jesus for help I had pastors and elders from several churches pray for my deliverance surprise it never came I turned 23 years of age in November 2008 my anger was very bad I threw things at the wall and smashed my computer this anger was due to my high testosterone finally in march of 2009 I hit the breaking point my anger gender disphoria and depression were too much to bear I was ready to leave home go into the mountains and die from hypothermia my mother begged me to at least stay the night and she told me to give all my problems to Jesus so for the first time I turned complete control of my life over to God then I went to bed as soon as I awoke I had the thought to call the BC health line I asked if changing from a man to a woman was possible she said yes then she gave me the phone number to the local GLBT health center I called right away a kind transman answered the phone and answered all my questions then he assigned me over to an excellent psychologist who diagnosed me with GID one month later I was on hormones and well on my way to recovery for the last 4 months I have been anger free and I only get depressed about 3 hours a month my breasts are growing nicely my skin is nice and soft I lost 35 lbs and my hair appears to be thickening up now im able to cry laugh and experience a whole range of wonderful emotions I never want to go back to being a guy or more properly I was impersonating a guy God made them male and female if men and women are the same there would be no basis for transsexuals when you think about it GID proves the distinction between a male and female soul God chose to give me a female soul I don’t know what causes this birth defect? But it kind of reminds me of when the disciples asked Jesus who sinned this man or his parents that he was born blind Jesus replied nether this man nor his parents caused this but that the glory of God might be displayed and when Moses was making excuses up God replied who made mans mouth? Or who maketh the dumb or deaf or the seeing or the blind? Have not I the Lord? Isn’t this interesting God made me this way to show his glory for this reason people should never be too quick to judge someone else Christians should be especially careful of how they treat there brothers and sisters in Christ after all true Christians are going to live together forever Jesus said what manner of persons should we be Answer Faithful, Generous, Loving, Peacemakers, and we are to share the good news with every creature This Is The Great Commission now that im free to live my life as Kara I feel more comfortable sharing the gospel and helping others now I understand how bad pride really is when I say pride I mean the diabolical me me me attitude truth be told it was my pride that stopped me from transitioning im glad God never gives up it took 6 years to shatter my pride now im a gentle Christian woman who feels a deep appreciation for what Christ has done for me it was the devil who filled my heart full of fear and doubt now I can safely say im a happy fulfilled member of the transgender community im also a lesbian but I want to save sexual relations for marriage that is what the Lord would want me to do someday I hope God will lead me to the right Woman marriage should never be taken lightly it is a lifelong vow and should only be broken in cases of adultery or abuse and my partner hast to be a sister in Christ it breaks my heart to see family’s break up the way society is going is very disheartening all the violence, theft, lying, adultery, greed, bigotry, hate crimes, and rejection of Jesus the only one who can save them the goal of the Christian isn’t to be the same as everyone else no we are sup post to be examples of Christ’s love as a child of God I cannot condone violence of any kind I believe in the sanctity of life its obvious that the right and left wing don’t care about life look at all the hate crimes, greed, abortion, genetic engineering, destroying the environment, and look at the war on terror all these things are an abomination to the Lord, God didn’t destroy Sodom because of gay, lesbian, and transgender people Ezekiel is plain on why God judged them I suggest you all listen carefully Ezekiel chapter 16 verse 49 lists the four sins of Sodom 1 pride, 2 gluttony, 3 laziness, 4 they didn’t help the poor people don’t like hearing this but I must say it anyway Sodom and Gomorrah were judged because they were greedy bigots the truth hurts doesn’t it all these years the religious right has been picking on the GLBT community when they failed to see the beam in there own eye and guess what the right wing preachers are saying on Television they want to do away with welfare and helping the poor wow our world really is back to Sodom Jesus spoke really harshly to the Pharisees he called them hypocrites and a brood of vipers the Pharisees were proud, gluttonous, and didn’t help the poor the Pharisees were spiritual descendants of Sodom now a message to all those modern Pharisees-right wingers if you don’t want to see the descendants of Sodom I suggest you throw your bathroom mirror in the trash! or better yet go to the Lord and repent of your bigotry Jesus is faithful and just to forgive our transgressions im sure thankful that God is the judge of my life, in the end il give an account to God for everything that I have done im sure glad that Jesus is on my side and he is my advocate to God the Father. Thanks to Gods blessing in my life im now a happy Christian girl.

  Kara wrote @

Iagree these hate crimes must be stopped in america many people are killed because of predgidice it grieves me that people hate the G,L,B,T community so much that there willing to kill us this senseless violence needs to stop how many more people like me will die before someone speeks up?


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