Christians: Are We Cool with Transvestites?

By way of introducing himself to his fellow commenters, yesterday a fellow named Mark included this as part of his comment on my (weirdly inflammatory) post, “What’s Wrong With Dressing Sexy?”

I am also a transvestite, a wearer of feminine clothing, which practice I have had for nearly half a century. Unfortunately, or otherwise depending on your perspective, due to my draw in the genetic lottery, except for very early on in the behavior when I had NO desire to do so, my overall size has always militated against my going out while dressed up, except, grudgingly, on or around Halloween, which practice I have performed only sporadically throughout the years of my hobby.

Totally charming, right? I love it. I wrote Mark, in fact, to thank him for the overall quality of his contribution to my blog.

But then I got to thinking. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you might know (as I wrote about, for instance, in “How I Broke My Lesbian Friend’s Heart“) how completely surprised I was to learn about the whole issue between Christians and homosexuals. I just had zero idea that was a thing at all.

So before I again go blithely wading into any piranha-infested waters, lemme just make sure. We Christians don’t have any trouble with cross-dressers, do we? There’s nothing in the Bible about that, right? There’s no, “And verily did Amalech, alone in his chambers, sip of the wine and then don upon his own self the lacy garb of his wife, Clementine. And God, shaking his head, was sorely grieved.” Right? Adam never yearned to try on Eve’s leaf. As far as I know, none of the Bible’s kings was a queen.

But I’ve got a lot of good Christian readers. You guys tell me. I just get to think Eddie Izzard’s funny, right? I’m not supposed to have any sort of moral issues with how he dresses, am I?

Boy, I hope I’m not. I love Eddie Izzard.

Anyway, I’m listening.

(Follow-up post: “Christians: Are We Cool with Transylvanians?”)

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About John Shore

John Shore (who, fwiw, is straight) is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question, and three other great books. He is founder of Unfundamentalist Christians (on Facebook here), and executive editor of the Unfundamentalist Christians group blog.  (In total John's two blogs receive some 250,000 views per month.) John is also co-founder of The NALT Christians Project, which was written about by TIME,  The Washington Post, and others. His website is JohnShore.com. John is a pastor ordained by The Progressive Christian Alliance. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. And don't forget to sign up for his mucho awesome monthly newsletter.

  • http://friendlymama.blogspot.com Mary Linda

    We are ALL made in God's image. Each and every one of us.

  • Paul

    Well, I consider myself a Christian, and I'm OK with transvestites. But I grew up in an evangelical Christian house and transvestism was frowned upon. From CARM.org (a self-proclaimed Christian website):

    Deut. 22:5, "A woman shall not wear man's clothing, nor shall a man put on a woman's clothing; for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord your God." The reason it is wrong is because it obscures the distinction between male and female, blurs the pattern of the created order of male and female (Gen. 1:27), and has the potential of promoting homosexuality. We are created as male and female and need to act according to the gender that God has ordained for us.

    Funny how the vast of people who point to Deut. 22:5 to wage war on transvestites completely ignore the command set forth 6 verses later: Deut. 22:11 "Do not wear clothes of wool and linen woven together."

  • Rainne

    You must be confused. Christians hate everyone who doesn't precisely conform, and they have a Scripture for transvestites, too. "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." (NIV, Deuteronomy 22:5)

    Of course, there's also a Scripture that says you aren't to wear clothing of mixed fabrics ("Do not wear clothes of wool and linen woven together." [NIV, Deuteronomy 22:11]) and one that says not to cut your hair ("Do not cut the hair at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard." [NIV, Leviticus 19:27]). Those two, and the rest of the ones about how you're not to eat shellfish and you're allowed to sell your daughters as slaves and adulterers should be stoned to death in the public square, THOSE all get swept under the rug of "BUT JESUS SAID WE DON'T HAVE TO DO THAT ANY MORE!!!"

    P.S. To all of those who claim, as I just pointed out, that Jesus said you don't have to do that stuff any more, I beg to differ: "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished." NIV, Matthew 5:17-18.

    So yes, John, Christians hate transvestites just like they hate everyone else who isn't them.

    • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

      Okay, Rainne, let's not get carried away. I'm sure you wouldn't want to ruin your point about how Christians hate whole groups they ignorantly stereotype by claiming to hate a whole group you've ignorantly stereotyped.

      But you (and Paul) raise a good point: I HAVE, in the past, surreptitiously skipped a page or two of Deuteronomy. Dang! I just KNEW that would one day come back to chomp me on the glutes.

      • Rainne

        Deuteronomy and Leviticus are the tools that Christians use to justify their marginalization of and discrimination against people who do not fit into their mold. Maybe it's a stereotype and maybe it isn't, but every Christian – WITHOUT FAIL, every single one – that I have encountered has used one or both of those books to marginalize someone, whether it be gays, transvestites, women who have abortions, people of other religions, people of no religion, or some other group of people.

        Case in point: I started a Federal work-study job at the college I attend. This job was provided to me by our secular government, and I attend a state (read: secular) institution. On my first day of work, one of the women in the office asked to friend me on Facebook. I agreed, and friended her back. The very next day, she approached me. "Rainne," she said, "Are you gay?"

        I was a bit taken aback, as I'm sure you can imagine, but I replied, "Well, I'm bisexual."

        "Will you hate me," she said, "if I tell you that I'm a Christian and we don't approve of that?"

        I stood there for a second, staring at her and wondering which of us had lost their mind. "I don't give a crap what you think of it," I told her. "It's not your business."

        She then proceeded to spend the rest of the semester trying to "encourage" me to "act more feminine," including trying to shame me when I got a bid from a coed honors fraternity by leaving a comment on my wall asking me if I didn't want to join a proper sorority like all the other girls. (My mom wasn't very pleased about that, by the way, and let her know in no uncertain terms that she needed to mind her damn business.)

        The point I am trying to make by telling this story is that if I stereotype Christians, it's because WITHOUT FAIL every single one of them has refused to accept me as who I am and has tried to turn me into something different. People keep telling me there is some mythical Christian person out there who won't do that (in fact, they all keep trying to convince me they are that person), but I am starting to think that person must be hanging out with Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and some unicorns.

        • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

          You're like a guy alone screaming in the middle of a vast open field about how no one will talk to him. It doesn't make sense. Episcopalians have yet again elected a gay BISHOP, for goodness' sakes. Don't you think Episcopalians are Christian. Are you really unaware of the countless numbers of Christians out there fighting for the equality of GLBT folk?

          Here:

          http://www.christianlesbians.com/

          Okay? There are a million such organizations and collectives.

          You might be happier (not to mention kinder) if you quit insisting that you have nothing but enemies where, in fact, you have friends.

          • Rainne

            Maybe it’s time for the Christians who support GLBT folk, who support a woman’s right to choose, who support a human being’s right to select whatever path to spirituality they prefer (or lack thereof) to take a vocal stand.

            How do you expect people like me to know that these quiet little groups are out there when we are surrounded by the Westboro Baptist Church and all its ilk with their bullhorns?

          • http://kenreads.wordpress.com wken

            Ummm … Westboro Baptist is less than 20 people if I remember correctly. It's pretty much Fred Phelps, the kids he hasn't disowned, and their spouses and kids.

            The Episcopal Church is a lot bigger and a lot noisier. There is this whole thing called the Emergent movement that is pretty easy to find, if you care to look.

            I really want to be sympathetic to your story about the college student, but this is rapidly turning into one of those stories about meeting a bad person and using it to justify your own bigotry.

            Yes, there are Christians like the ones you're describing. There are a lot of us who aren't.

          • Rainne

            And I would like to point out to you, as I just did to John, that not only is the LGBTQ issue NOT the only one I raised, but that my single anecdote was both preceded and followed by a statement indicating that this is not the ONLY person I've had issues with, but that every single Christian I've dealt with has been like this on at least one issue.

            Stop cherry-picking my comments and either read and deal with the whole thing or don't read them at all.

          • Schlegs

            Hmmm EVERY? Really? Daily, I, a Christian man, fight middle schoolers insistence to say "(fill in blank with disapproved noun) is so gay." Along with my Lesbian partner, I am working to provide a safe educational arena for some kids marginalized in a number of ways. I'm not one of teh EVERY.

            I'm left wondering why you didn't answer her first question honestly – yes, you will hate her for being Christian. You don't say it directly, you don't emblazon it on signage, BUT, it rings loud and clear.

          • Rainne

            I don't hate her for being a Christian. I hate her for being a holier-than-thou, self-righteous bitch. There's a huge difference.

          • Schlegs

            Sista,

            Hate's hate. And, you're coming across as equally holier-than-thou.

          • http://kenreads.wordpress.com wken

            You’re right here, on this blog.

            Did you read the post? John is one of those Christians whom you wouldn’t hate, if you took a moment to see that.

            I’m not sure you read past the headline, much less any of the comments.

            I suppose that, since I’m a pro-lifer, I’m not actually eligible to be part of what you’d consider a good Christian. Never mind that I condemn groups like Operation Rescue and the shock tactics, and would never attack a woman.

            To be honest, I cherry-pick out of your comments because you’re using the shotgun-blast method of argument — throwing out everything you can think of and demanding that everyone else answer everything at once or else calling us more names.

            Enjoy your life.

          • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

            How do you not hear yourself? The first argument you used to refute the notion that you’re ignorantly stereotyping people was to tell a story about how one person insulted you. And now you’re using the nutjobs at Westboro Baptist as examples of typical Christians? The tiny little Westboro is universally condemned by all Christians, left from right. How do you end up feeling “surrounded” by a church that has less than 50 members in it? And how do you not know how small Westboro is? It’s basically one raving lunatic and his family. If they upset you that much, why do you know nothing about them? And since when has the complete RIFT the Christian church is undergoing because of its profound split on the gay issue been the matter of a “little group”? Don’t you ever read the news? It’s a massive issue that’s been in the world’s headlines for years.

            You’re embarrassing yourself. Stop. Get a little informed about something before you start spewing hatred about it.

            Here. This story is TWO WEEKS OLD:

            http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8684194.stm

          • Rainne

            Because I didn't say "Westboro." I said "Westboro and their ilk." There is a Baptist church in the town where I live; it's the largest church in town. Every week when I go by, they have some new sign about who's going to hell and why. It's Muslims, gays, atheists, pro-choicers, Democrats, you name it. EVERY WEEK.

            You guys need to stop trying to pretend that the hateful among you are the lunatic fringe and start admitting that they're the most vocal.

            And I'd like to point out that you keep focusing on the LGBTQ issue as though it's the only one I've raised; it's not.

          • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

            A bigot choosing the cling to their hatred over being reasonable. Gee. What a surprise.

            Sigh.

          • Rainne

            Mmm. You call the names, you use the labels, but don't address what I actually said. What a surprise, indeed; clearly it's easier to claim that the problem lies with me and not with what Christians have chosen, through desire or through laziness and fear, to allow as their most vocal representation.

          • KerryC

            This is a very interesting string of comments. I hope you don't have a problem with me jumping in the middle John.

            Rainne, you seem like an intelligent person. Why do you use your experience with a sign in front of a church as your basis for your argument? Or your experience with a Christian that didn't agree with your lifestyle? I understand that experience generally trumps argument so my point may not be able to be made, however I will try.

            I am sorry that you have had those experiences with Christians. Many Christians really believe that the rules we live by that come out of the bible are for us and don't necessarily apply to people that don't "buy into" Christianity. We believe that this mystical God you refer to has given these rules to us for our benefit. We also believe that we are free to break these rules at anytime and God will be okay with us.

            Your comments make me think that you also believe that all Muslims are extremist terrorists, or all football players are dumb jocks. I think you know that most groups of people are stereotyped. Your decision on Christianity should be on the life of Jesus and that alone. Someone as intelligent as you should be able to read Matthew, Mark, Luke and John and make your decision for or against Christianity on that body of work alone. Show your intelligence and stop using everyone else's interpretation of God to make your decision.

            Again, sorry that you have had people that call themselves Christian hurt you. If I could take it back I would.

          • http://william1580.wordpress.com william1580

            John,

            Great post and great response to Rainne. But be nice! I can feel her pain!

            I think I as a Gay man do not need to respond as a victim and give hate for hate.

            I am accepted by alot of christians, really and truly, who still think that sex between same gender is wrong. They disagree. They do not understand.

            They love, love, love me. I can tell the difference. I am simply William to them. I am not "yeah-I-am-a-biggot-but-one-of-my-best-friends-william-is-gay-as-my-"proof"-that-i-am-not-gay. We argue. We love. We are brothers and so we realize we are stuck with each other. so we go have a beer together. what else would we do.

            And slowly, very slowly, the preconceptions and pre-judgements fall. One by one.

            This does not mean I put up with crap Rainne. Ya feel me?

            Heck. I don´t understand. Doesn´t that tell me that I can be just a little patient?

            And it took me how long ( multiple decades and I am still in process) to accept myself inspite of having to live 24/7 with some rather obvious and undeniable facts within my very own self?

            And yes I do accept myself fully as a gay man. Self acceptance is alot more than that I am learning.

            So come down to Brasil Rainne. I will buy the beer!

        • http://www.barnmaven.com Barnmaven

          Hey, Rainne! <> I'm over here! With my unicorn, off to visit Santa! Just kidding.

          There are Christian denominations and individual churches that welcome and embrace *all* people. I'm Episcopalian. In the past, I've been on the receiving end of "Christian" scorn, for different reasons, but I totally get what you mean about how many christians act. I could not attend a church that preached or practiced discrimination against anyone, and I just wanted you to know that there *are* Christians in this world who don't think you need to be "cured" or changed in order to be loved or saved.

          Shalom.

          • Ace

            Eh, there are several openly gay folks in my pretty middle-of-the-road church's congregation. Does *everyone* in the congregation totally accept homosexuality there? No, some don't, but we are all still brothers and sisters in Christ and can act like human beings instead of apes and not harass people over something that is ultimately a pretty trivial issue. Basically, people have their personal opinions but nobody really cares that much about the issue (which, like the abortion debate, is largely a political red-herring that has been over-blown by politicians on both sides of the political spectrum looking to whip up a lot of fervor to get votes).

            There are churches out there that aren't hate-filled and they aren't THAT difficult to find, unless you just take a couple bad experiences and slam shut the door and take a blind eye to every other potential experience. That's like biting into one rotten peach and deciding ALL peaches must be rotten.

    • http://allegro63.blogspot.com/ Sylvie Galloway

      Riane,

      I am a Christian, and I don't hate you or others who find themselves in the GLBT lifestyle. You see I am of the mind that to God everyone matters. And if He thinks so, then so should I if I aspire to be anything like him. John 3:16-17 alludes to just a small scope of his thinking of our value.

      In my community there is debate beginning to occur that stems around a Pride march that will be held for its second year here in a couple of weeks. This event is attended by members of the GLBT community as well as friends and family, in support of the people they love, work with, have grown up with, live next door to, call brother, sister or parent and friend.

      Of course there is the opposition and that opposition brings out the same arguments every singe time, yet those that oppose never seem to bother to get to know someone GLBT, to befriend them, or to look past the less obvious and hardly threatening matter of their sexuality. It is sad, but take heart, there are those of us who call ourselves followers of an amazing former Jewish carpenter, who believe that you matter, have value and are very worth calling friend.

  • http://www.barnmaven.com Barnmaven

    Which "we" are we talking about? The "we" of Christians that cling to doctrine and dogma in order to prove how much more "Chrstian" they are than anyone else? Or the "we" of Christians who follow Christ's commandments of "Love God. Love others" (and yes, you dogmatics out there, I *know* I'm paraphrasing).

    One of the things I love most about the church I attend is that they welcome ALL. To me that is the epitome of being Christ-like. The God I believe in doesn't make mistakes, so therefore it matters little to me whether a person is gay, straight, transvestite, transgendered, transcontinental… (that's meant to be funny, laugh now, please. Thank you.) So if you mean "we" Christians as defined by the latter of the two groups in my first paragraph, yes, "we" accept cross dressers.

    As to whether a cross-dresser should be following your advice on modesty in dressing, I suppose ultimately, if one agrees with your opinion on the matter, *everyone* should follow the advice you gave. Don't you think?

  • http://kenreads.wordpress.com wken

    You'll find the ban against cross-dressing in II Legalism, and it's repeated in III Extrapolations.

    Let's be honest about it … Jesus wore a robe and sandals. So did just about everyone in the Bible, male or female.

    However, no … most conservative Christians aren't cool with transvestites. Which means that they're reading into the text things that aren't there.

    Which makes them liberal theologically.

    Which would make their heads explode if they ever actually understood that.

    • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com ric booth

      Which would make their heads explode if they ever actually understood that.

      Hysterical. So true.

  • http://odgie.wordpress.com Odgie

    Wow Rainne, your comment just exudes love and understanding.

    • Rainne

      Sure does; just as much love and understanding as I've gotten out of the Christians I've had to deal with in my life.

      • http://william1580.wordpress.com william1580

        Rainne, I disagree with you, but that does not mean that I am unsympathetic to the reasons for your disgust. They are very real , and the offenses are real.

        It is very hard not to respond to that kind of hate with hate in return. I do understand.

        God bless you Rainne!

  • Bill

    I've seen Izzard on utube. He's (It's?) hysterical. He's made a plus out of a minus and more power to him for that. That said, even as a gay man, I just can't relate to trannies and drag queens. Seems to me they can't decide what they are, especially the men, many of whom would otherwise be drop dead sexy men. I'll never understand it but I can't be uncivil toward them. I just think there's something tragic about it.

    But I imagine that's how some "christians" think of me too….when not thinking worse. And as some have pointed out, there are biblical admonishments against it…..as there are against so many other things conveniently ignored by those same judgmental "christians". I weary of having to so repetitively point out their inconsistencies and biblical smorgasbording that they know very well they are doing. Can we all say HYPOCRISY?

    OH, and just for everyone's enlightenment; it may be true that none of the Bible's kings were queens, but one of the Bibles patron kings was very much so. King James was such a flaming queen that his advisers were vexed to have to repeatedly advise him to tone it down for fear of alienating his subjects. It's richly ironic that millions of anti-gay christians were raised on the Bible translations he commissioned.

    • mark

      Bill, your reference to Eddie as an *it* was most unkind of you. Edward distinctly comes across as a male; the fact that he might be able to go out in public and get away with the act speaks more to his talent as a mimic of human behavior than to any gender-identity issue.

      Having got my scold out of the way, here is the *real* response to your comments. Speaking solely for myself as a T-type, as a male, I wear female clothing because I am more *ME* when wearing even a single item of feminine clothing as opposed to when not. I am more confident, expressive, coordinated, intellectual, coherent, capable, etc. It is OBVIOUSLY a psychological crutch for me, one that I embrace willingly, avidly, and obsessively. I have always been more successful in communicating and connecting with other humans while dressed even partially, even and especially when being exposed as such would be/has been of distinct embarrassment to me!

      Were it possible, I would dearly LOVE to be able to go outside while dressed and be accepted in that guise; unfortunately, my body's size renders that fantasy moot. I think that I (and possibly other T-types) are jealous of females and want to experience what it is like to be treated the same way as they are in our society and by individual members within it, both in general and under specific circumstances. Basically, I *want* to be a desirable sex object with the option to say NO at any time!

      • Ace

        "Basically, I *want* to be a desirable sex object with the option to say NO at any time"

        You're assuming women always have an option to say no at any time. That's not always true. Or at least not to say no and actually be listened to.

        *kof*

        • mark

          Women DO always have the option to say NO at any time during their interaction with others, especially males. That is so much a given that it is written into our English common-law based legal system, even in situations where she doesn't actually use the word!

          Case in point: a few years ago in California, a young man and woman connected with each other at an off-campus college party. They went up to his room and did the deed. Afterward, she sat up and said she "probably should go home now." Her lover-of the-moment assumed that she was angling for some intimate interaction of the non-physical kind and so he schmoozed with her for awhile and shortly thereafter they re-enacted their passion. At the end of THIS physical exercise, he tried to get her to continue, but this time she said "No, I have to go home now." A few WEEKS later, he was arrested and charged with rape, for the second act that occurred that night. He was found guilty by a jury of his peers and sentenced to a few years away at prison. Naturally, he and his lawyers appealed; after all, she had NEVER said NO to the second act. The Appeals Court affirmed the original verdict by a 2-1 vote. Curiously, it was the lone female judge that differed with the other two, noting that a college student SHOULD know what NO meant and how and when to use it.

          Now, I do agree with you….her audience should understand that NO means NO!

          When a person ignores the wishes of another, especially in a social interaction, that person is guilty…..at least of having a serious character flaw! if not of something more criminal.

          • Diana

            Unbelievable that the guy in the above case was charged with (and convicted of!) rape. If the facts are as you presented them, then what happened was definitely not rape and it's unconscionable that the woman didn't woman up and take responsibility for her own sexuality. Appalling.

          • mark

            The story I told IS true in its details; it occurred at/near Fullerton State College.

  • Bill

    And one more thing. Trannies (gender or vestite) are NOT gay. They are in a category all their own. Oh, I should just be honest and say I do NOT what to be lumped in with them. If that's prejudicial, so be it.

    • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

      I've been operating under the assumption that everyone knows "transvestite" has nothing to do with sexual orientation. But … maybe people don't?

      • http://william1580.wordpress.com william1580

        No John. People do not realize there is a difference between transgenders, transvestites, bisexuals and homosexuals.

        That would require waaaay more thought than they would be comfortable investing in the area.

        Bill is your proof that alot of us homosexuals share this basic mindset.

        Bill, why would you ever expect heterosexuals to provide you one ounce more of respect than you do towards transgenders and transvestites? Wouldn´t it be nice if we all gave each other this respect and attempt at acceptance?

        • Ace

          Eh… most of the transvestites I’ve known were straight, often married men. I guess I missed the memo that I’m supposed to lump them all in the same bucket?

          Funny old world we live in.

      • http://kenreads.wordpress.com wken

        I know people who don't.

        Bear in mind, John, you live in California. ; – )

      • Ace

        Quite a lot of people fail to separate the subjects of "gender" and "sexual orientation" despite the fact they are quite often unrelated.

        For a pop-culture representation of the subject, there was featured a while ago on Oprah a person who was born female, transitioned to male, and currently has a boyfriend. I think Oprah's also had a story on someone who was born male, married a woman, had a few kids, and then transitioned to female and is still married to the same woman.

        Weird? Well that depends on your perspective I suppse, but it happens. Psychological gender, sexual orientation and genetic/physiological gender (none of which, including biology, are NOT always straightforwardly male-or-female binary, regardless of what some may believe) do not always come in fixed sets. Different strokes and all that jazz.

        I think some people just have a really basic, unthinking knee-jerk defensive reaction when they see something "out of the ordinary" in other people's appearance or behavior, much in the same way both chickens and pigs will peck/bite at any injury or weird spot on another member of the flock/herd, often until they have killed that individual (I could relate to you some gory stories about this subject that farmer friends of mine have told). It would be nice to think humans are a little more advanced than barnyard animals but sadly that is not always the case.

    • mark

      It is NOT prejudiced………..It is merely your own reality and desire not to be misidentified !!!!!

  • Schlegs

    John,

    I tried babbling a response to no avail. So, like any good follower who's been away a while, I read your previous two posts.

    Suffice to say you kick some serious a## when it comes to this writing thing. Compelling. thought-provoking. Genuine. And, willing to banter & spar w/posters.

    Thanks.

  • Appalachiana

    Transgender, transvestite, homosexual, heterosexual….these tell us about differences, but what about how we are all alike? Were we not all children once? We still all have a child inside who needs love, nurturing, encouragement and someone to believe in us. Perhaps we should recognize that all remain children within and consider a different interpretation of the words, "Suffer the little children to come unto me and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of God."

  • Matthew Tweedell

    1) Any & All 2) @John, @Rainne, @William1580 3) @wken.

    First–to answer the title question–yes, totally cool. If you aren't, you can still be a Christian of course–just one who's struggling with/against his/her own sinful nature, tending towards the rejection not only of God and His will but of others whom God loves!

    Second- Way to go, John! Taking on Rainne's objections/rejections like that (so as I don't have to :)). Oh Rainne… you know, the only thing that most Christians would hold against you as a person is your virulent disdain for their religious identity. Also, I'm sure there are many Christians you’ve met who’ve never even mentioned to you that they're Christian!

    William1580, your testimony speaks volumes to how Christianity isn't anti-GLBT, or anti-anything-else, but rather simply and profoundly pro-love!!! I just wanted to add though that John's reaction is reasonable in light of Rainne's previous comments/reactions, of which I wasn't sure whether you were aware or not.

    Third: Thank you so much for finding the relevant scriptures for us, wken. God knows we're too lazy to open a Bible, so I'll just take you at your word on that. That's II Legalism & III Extrapolations, right? :) Great work! And I always did find the theology of III Extrapolations a bit too liberal for me–I just figured it was due to people's misinterpretation of the Scripture, having never actually gotten around to reading that one myself yet (and frankly if I didn't know it comes right after II Extrapolations, I wouldn't even know where to look for it ;)).

    • http://william1580.wordpress.com william1580

      William1580, your testimony speaks volumes to how Christianity isn’t anti-GLBT, or anti-anything-else, but rather simply and profoundly pro-love!!! I just wanted to add though that John’s reaction is reasonable in light of Rainne’s previous comments/reactions, of which I wasn’t sure whether you were aware or not.

      Matthew Tweedell:

      My experience, unfortunately, is far far from the norm! Further, it is still problematic. It is much like a segregation era white saying "I accept you, but please excuse me for thinking it is godly to not allow you to drink from the same drinking fountain". This attitude should be forgiven by Gay christians, but it should not be glossed over.

      • Matthew Tweedell

        I'm aware that there are serious problems of the sort that should never be glossed over; I am convinced that in the end they will be overcome by the Spirit of Truth and Love! My point was that your ability to forgive for such things, which seems far higher than average, as well as the loving attitude that's just overflowing in the comments you've made on this post, are your testimony to who God is seen through the work He does in and through you. I'm not talking about the testimony of your experiences in this world as expressed in the written words, but the testimony of your experience of God, expressed in the spirit behind your words!

  • http://megaloi.blogspot.com Redlefty

    I can't think of many Christians I've known who would be okay with tranvestites. For most of them it seems to be an issue of proper gender roles, which is a big issue in the denomination I grew up in. Women aren't allowed to speak/lead in worship settings, so men are supposed to step up and be the leaders. Crossdressing would be seen as ceding the God-given role of manhood and playing the role of a gender they weren't born into.

    None of that resonates to me anymore, though.

    Besides, here in the Montrose area of Houston I've seen some dudes who look pretty good in drag. Prettier than one of the girls I dated in college!

    And while I'm onboard with a lot of the Levitical interpretations in the previous comments, I do find it interesting that it was even addressed. Which means that 3,000 years ago the practice of crossdressing was common enough to warrant mention in the Pentateuch.

    I have to wonder though — how did Adam know that he was wearing the "manly" fig leaf? Was there some sort of fashion guidebook in the garden?

    • http://william1580.wordpress.com william1580

      I don´t know of many gay men who are as “ok” as they should be with transvestites. In many ways, the gay community is harder on transvestites and transgenders than the general population is as we trip over ourselves in trying to gain acceptance as “normal”.

    • Diana

      "I have to wonder though — how did Adam know that he was wearing the “manly” fig leaf? Was there some sort of fashion guidebook in the garden?"

      Maybe that's the reason why God turned fashion designer and made animal skins…oh wait, he made them for Eve as well. Never mind.

  • Appalachiana

    Well Redlefty, I am a Christian (among other things) and I'm okay with transvestites. In fact, I know a Christian transvestite or two. Nothing spectacular there. And Matthew Tweedell, you mention struggling against one's own "sinful nature", but isn't human nature a mixed bag wherein we all sometimes find it easy to be and do good? Dark and light. Yin and yang. Would God reject human nature? I do not follow what you are saying.

    • Matthew Tweedell

      Certainly God would not reject human nature. Rather, in His impenetrable mystery, He embraced human nature, and became man, perfected, in Jesus Christ. Both the divine nature and the perfected human nature however are free from the errors of sin. I though certainly am not and don't hope to be ever in this life. That’ll be what the afterlife is for, because God nevertheless does not reject humanity, in spite of our grave sin. I don't think you understood my point that sin, a rejection of God's will, occurs when people reject those whom God loves—which would be everyone! A Christian, desiring to please God, struggles to overcome the tendencies he/she may have to do this. I think you may have misunderstood my answer regarding Christianity’s position in relation to transvestites—i.e. totally cool with them. However, God will not refuse forgiveness to the sincerely repentant, no matter how much of a self-righteous bigot they might have been, tempted to understand—for example—that transvestites are the ones in need of God's forgiveness!

      • Appalachiana

        If "divine nature and perfected human nature are both free from the errors of sin," aren't you in essence saying these are the same thing? What does "perfected human nature" mean? We are either human and imperfect or we are not human, right? I'm still confused.

        • Matthew Tweedell

          Divine nature and perfect human nature are indeed similar, for the latter was made in the image of the former, BUT there is a distinct difference, which has nothing to do with sin though. For example: when the Divine says, "Let there be light," there is light, without contingency; when the human says, "Let there be light," there is only light if someone turns the light on, and then at any moment the light could possibly go out unexpectedly.

          The perfected human nature is man (or woman) at his (or her) greatest potential; it's what a person *should* be. A perfect human is no paradox–which is demonstrated by the example of Jesus Christ.

          • Matthew Tweedell

            Ok… so, actually… that does have something to do with sin, only not directly. In the gap between the ideal human nature and the nature of God is a darkness from which all evils flow. Yet it is also this darkness from which is separated the light shining forth from every blessing we've ever known.

            You see, that we are not divinely omniscient creates a need (or a life-essential desire anyway, at least for our present lives) for information transfer, which occurs in the process of entropy-increase which we perceive as time and to which God lies transcendent, immune to the consequences of this (such as "ignorance" and "aging"). In recognizing the consequences of this our own construction we see what we consider evil, and the things that we do (though if perfect we would not) that tend to promote it we call sins. Of course, our very humanity is dependant upon this (the recognition of it, not necessarily its personal manifestation)—it is of the essence to human nature since it is in the choice not to totally screw each other over, even when it could be totally to one's advantage to do so, that we discover love! But where did this come from? It comes from across the gap between humanity and divinity: God is love! We look into the gap, and there we do find evils of all sorts, but as we look farther, deeper, we see beyond it- to the love, itself of divine nature, that dwells in and among our humanity.

          • Matthew Tweedell

            To put the connection with sin another—hopefully more intuitive—way: our lack of omnipotence fuels the "will to power", which our lack of omniscience allows (though it doesn't require) us to confuse with being greater than some other particular person(s) in some way or another.

            (This, B.T.W,, is why we waste good time and money on sporting events (+some other games & fights) in which competition serves no greater good, like it does where (regulated) competition truly ought to be, such as economic markets, which just aren't nearly as fun to watch since they're more impersonal and less appealing to baser human instincts more becoming of animals actually than spiritual beings.)

            The function of empathy—and her daughter love—is to transcend the barriers that separate the others from ourselves, and together use the common collective will to power—a will from love proceeding—the will in the Holy Spirit—God’s will to be done on earth, building a better tomorrow. (And you can believe in tomorrow.)

          • Appalachiana

            What are you talking about?

          • Matthew Tweedell

            I'm giving a comprehensive answer to following—see if this sounds familiar:

            If “divine nature and perfected human nature are both free from the errors of sin,” aren’t you in essence saying these are the same thing? What does “perfected human nature” mean? We are either human and imperfect or we are not human, right? I’m still confused.

          • Matthew Tweedell

            If it seems confusing, that's because it is! And, in my own confusion and my haste to make the point that human nature is not inherently sinful, I made the mistake of saying that the difference between the divine and human natures isn't connected to sin. While it's true that sin isn't what constitutes this essential difference, I was quite wrong to claim that sin has nothing to do with it, and so (to keep the inquisitors from charring my sorry bones) I corrected myself in defense of the orthodox position, simultaneously filling in gaps in constructing a proper understanding regarding the questions that you raised.

            Anyway—in regards to your questions raised both here and in comments below—let us understand that the difference between divinity and humanity is like a difference in dimensions: Jesus is man and God, just as I am a brother and a husband.

        • Bri

          There's something to this, Appalachiana. I humans were perfect, they would be very close to God, like Adam and Eve in Eden. But one of the subtle themes in Christianity is that, however possible it may seem, humans will never be perfect.

          • Matthew Tweedell

            Then what about Jesus? It seems to me that a not-so-suptle theme of Christianity is living proof of just the opposite–Christ.

          • Appalachiana

            If Jesus is a "perfected" human and divine at the same time, then it must have been a breeze for him to steer clear of sin. He didn't even have to work at it.

            But wait….When asked, Jesus said he was the son of god, but also said we are all children of God and that the kingdom of God is within us. He was talking to imperfect humans. What do you suppose he meant? Was he human or divine? Are we human or divine?

          • Matthew Tweedell

            First, I wouldn't think it a cakewalk by any means to be perfect! Temptation was all around Him, and He was after all a man.

            What is this about the Kingdom of God being within us? Is that what the Bible says? I haven't seen that one! And when did Jesus tell imperfect humans they are God’s children? Again… haven't seen it. Sometimes it seems people confuse Christianity with some sort of cult mysticism.

            We're not all children of God. God is Spirit. Those who adopt Him as their own become the children of this our Spiritual Father, but not everyone does so. From our birth in the flesh we already have true fathers by the flesh, but, reborn in the Spirit, we gain another True Father (the God of Abraham), who is in Heaven, at whose side our fathers join their fathers (in the bosom of Abraham), awaiting resurrection, Kingdom come. There now- not mystical at all ;).

            It's quite simple really: I am human; Jesus is human; Jesus is divine; I am NOT divine.

          • http://william1580.wordpress.com william1580

            please note that when Jesus said "the kingdom of God is within you" he was addressing this comment to a group of Pharisees. Does that make a difference in your understanding.

            an alternative translation is "the kingdom of God is now in your midst". This would have Jesus referring to his very person as being the arrival of the kingdom.

            Take yur pick!

            My john. this has turned into quite the heated discussion eh?

          • http://william1580.wordpress.com william1580

            "My john. this has turned into quite the heated discussion eh?"

            picture william158o clutching his pearls here. ;)

          • Matthew Tweedell

            I think what your referring to is when Jesus actually said, "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men's faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to."

            I was just looking up every mention of "kingdom" in the Gospels (NIV) (searched electronically of course), and I the closest I can find is Jesus saying that the Kingdom is *near* to us, but nothing with "within". I think this idea might have been taken from Gnostic literature; the Gospel of Thomas, for example, has Jesus saying, "the kingdom is within you," immediately followed, however, by "and it is outside you."

          • http://william1580.wordpress.com william1580

            Many people believe Jesus Christ taught that the Kingdom of God is something that exists only in the hearts and minds of believers. They base this on Luke 17:20-21, which says: "Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, 'The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, 'See here!' or 'See there!' For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.'"

            The assumption that the Kingdom exists only in the hearts of believers is incorrect for several reasons. The Greek word entos, translated "within," is better translated "in the midst of" (Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, "Within"). Several translations, including the Revised Standard Version, Jerusalem Bible and New English Bible, make this clear. Jesus Christ could not have been telling the Pharisees that God's Kingdom was something that existed within their hearts or minds—after all, these were people who wanted to destroy Him (Matthew 12:14; Mark 3:6).

            Actually, Christ was pointing out the paradox that the Pharisees did not have the spiritual discernment to recognize that the message of the Kingdom of God was at hand or being offered to them (Matthew 23:15-17). To punctuate this point, Jesus, who will be the King of Kings in that Kingdom, was referring to Himself when He said "the kingdom of God is among you" or "in your midst." The spiritually blind Pharisees did not recognize Jesus as the divine Representative of that Kingdom.

            Rather than telling the Pharisees that the Kingdom of God was something in their hearts, Jesus Christ warned them that they were so spiritually blind they couldn't recognize the very personification of that Kingdom in Him. There is no basis in this passage for believing the Kingdom of God resides in one's heart instead of being a literal world-ruling government.

          • Matthew Tweedell

            wow… totally missed that. I must be more tired today than I thought.

            Sorry, appalachiana! Thanks, william1580 (and thanks for the commentary regarding that verse as well).

  • Appalachiana

    We've all heard that some loggers can't see the forest for the trees, well sometimes watching out for a person's sins gets in the way of seeing a person's goodness.

    • Diana

      Yes, this is true. Thank you, Appalachiana, for saying it.

  • Elizabeth Fullerton

    Hi Rainne and John and everyone. I want to add a couple of ideas to the mix.
    First, gender is hardly a binary system. As you might guess, statistics are hard to establish — you don't put it in the church newsletter — but commonly used numbers are 1 in 2000 on up to 4% of infants are born with ambiguous or dual genitalia. Historically, since the gender-specific parts were underdeveloped and not fully functional, infants were surgically made female — the thinking being that it was less onerous to be a woman unable to have menses and give birth than it was to be a man with a short thingy.
    There are also cultures which believe in a third gender, especially when it comes to their healers and leaders. There are examples in aristocracy of women who ceremonially feigned being men in order to lead the state.
    I don't believe that in any of these instances, God was displeased due to a misrepresentation of gender, if that's even what you would call it. And, not to sound snide, but I pray for the day when the biggest sin God can hold against me is that I wear pants, or my guy friend borrows my stilettos. If I have conquered all the other sins — hate, greed, laziness, jealousy, vanity — even not tithing, working on the sabbath, and eating too much ice cream– I will sing my joy that my worst fault is that my male friend looks better in fishnets than I do.
    Rainne, I don't know why I feel compelled to reach out to you. You said some cruel things, and seem intent on making generalizations, probably because that's been done to you. But somehow, underneath that, it seems like you're still searching. I can't answer for all, or any, Christians. In fact, forgive me, but I don't even identify with this monolith that is mainstream religion. I find many Christians judgmental, unforgiving, intellectually lazy and, well, no fun. We probably both have some work to do on loving and accepting others. But if you would take a chance that just one could be on your side, I'm willing to learn with and from you. What do you have to lose?

    • Diana

      I'm not too bothered by what Rainne said–maybe because I can see how those incidents might have happened and how she might be bitter as a result.

      It's true that there are a lot of us Christians who come across as (in the words of the book "UnChristian" by David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons): hypocritical, too focused on getting converts, antihomosexual, sheltered, too political and judgmental. It's also true that Christianity as a whole doesn't look as if it's standing up to the types of Christians listed above. So, I don't blame Rainne for her feelings.

      My solution as a Christian is to try not to fall into the above traps. I won't say that I always succeed. I will say that I've been accused more often of not being Christian enough than of being too Christian by those who are most fundamentalist in their viewpoints.

      As for Rainne, telling her that she's wrong to feel as she does isn't going to stop her from feeling that way. Only if she meets enough Christians who are genuine, unassuming, accepting and loving toward homosexuals (and all people for that matter), open, fair-minded, and encouraging will she change her mind about Christians and Christianity. And that may take awhile.

  • http://craigbenno1.wordpress.com Craig Benno

    Hi John.

    I think there is a difference between hate and love. Christianity is always about loving people; without having to be in agreeance with their actions.

    Christianity isn’t so much about following rules and regulations, rather its all about relationship with God and each other through Christ Jesus. Jesus came to heal the broken hearted, to set the captives free, to heal the blind etc.

    Brokeness comes in many forms and manifests through many issues. I have no problems with someone who is a transvestite, gay, bi etc. I do believe that often it is a sign of brokeness of relationships somewhere down the line.

    I am a committed christian. I know God loves people and hates sin. I have friends and know many who are gay, tranny etc. Some don’t want to be this way and struggle with it. Others don’t and embrace it. All know my stance on the issues and know that I accept and love them as individuals.

    If a persons identity is broken because of the way they have been treated in the past…eg a man I know struggles with cross dressing because of the way his mother favored his sisters and not him and there was bullying in regards to his masculinity . The church has a responsibility to help that person discover their true identity in Christ Jesus through the healing power of the Cross.

    Another lady I know started a transgender operation to become a man… she had often been sexually abused and her identity had been so shattered she thought becoming a man was a safer option. ( This is a brief paraphrase of a complicated issue) Again the churches response needs to be one to provide a safe place of healing and a place where ones true identity is rediscovered through the power of the cross.

    To be loving doesn’t mean you have to agree with someones behavior. It does mean though that you will accept them as a person and treat them with dignity and respect.

    • http://kenreads.wordpress.com wken

      I know what you're saying, but "I think there is a difference between hate and love" struck me as funny.

      Yes. Yes, there is a difference between hate and love. ; – )

      • http://craigbenno1.wordpress.com Craig Benno

        You picked me up on that one…yes there is a difference. Some so called christians might disagree on what love and hate is…and call their actions loving. I believe loving someone is to be able to treat another with dignity and respect, while being able and allowed to set your boundaries as to what you believe is right.

        This means as has been said by others here and myself that I am able to have real friendships with others, be able to treat them with dignity and respect…and yet at the same time still be allowed to voice my opinions while treating the other with dignity and respect. This also means that I give them the right to voice their opinions also.

        • http://kenreads.wordpress.com wken

          Absolutely.

          I was just having fun with the wording. It’s a very good point.

    • mark

      Hi, it's me…….the T-type.

      FYI….I, my identity, my personality, collectively and individually, are NOT broken. Quite to the contrary, ALL of us are the person we are, the very lovable, tolerant, understanding (especially of females and their behaviors), fashion-erudite, artistic, intellectual yet approachable and emotive precisely BECAUSE of the various experiences we've had, due, in no small manner, to the behaviors (*yes*, especially THAT one) that I've engaged in throughout my life! *I* don't condemn people nor imply,, through snidely-worded phrasing, that they're somehow lesser-capable beings merely for the actions that THEY engage in. Nor do I profess to love them while condemning, secretly or not, their behaviors because it is not my function in life to judge them. MY function is to be the best possible me I can be; whether that either offends OR inspires someone else, it is not my doing and is solely up to the other individual to evaluate their response to me based on their own life experiences.

      I, too, came to the behavior because of the difference in the ways that my sisters and I and my brothers were treated, by my mother and by others. But, my only struggle has been to find attractive, affordable, feminine clothing that I can get into and out of without destroying it in the process

  • LoneWolf

    Considering that I am in a relationship with one, its hard to object.

    Though I will say that the Action Transvestite needs to wear more dresses to convince me he is a trannie. First time I saw him, I thought he was just a foppish man.

  • John Parton

    Reading all these posts helps me to understand why I gave up on Christianity a long time ago.

    • Jeremy

      If the Bible never said one word about homosexuality or transexuals, the problems would still exist. I know plenty of people who haven't set foot in a church in years that "disapprove" of them. It's not even about God or religion most of the time. It about fear. When is the last time you heard any Christian speak out against pornography (for example). If the only homosexuals that existed in the world were attractive women, would anybody care? (We love them!)

      Homosexuals and (especially) transvestites make many people uncomfortable. It's way out of their comfort zone, and they'd much rather marginalize "those people" than deal with their discomfort.

      • Diana

        This is so true! Thanks for saying it, Jeremy.

  • Freda

    BUT… how do we define men's and women's clothing? To some extent I'm playing "Devil's Advocate" here because of course men don't normally wear lacy bras, etc.

    However, don't forget that women started wearing what was traditionally defined as men's clothing in the early 1900s when they started wearing pants. And boys traditionally wore dresses when they were babies and toddlers, before they graduated into shorts and eventually pants. Many old pictures are very confusing because the young boys are pictured in gowns.

    And what about women who wear men's jeans because they're a better fit? What about men who steal their girlfriend's sneakers? (This happens to me so much that I try to buy very girly sneakers with pink trim but he still steals them!!!)

    So if we are to strictly adhere to Deut. 22:5, should women return to dresses? Count me out, and number me among the transvestites.

    In Facebook, someone pointed out that women started wearing pants because of their practicality. Well, yes and no. Pants became fashionable, women who wore them tried to look a lot more like boys with short haircuts and tailored shirts that looked like men's shirts so… it wasn't merely practicality. It was also fashion.

    If lacy bras became the fashion among men today, would they still be women's wear? I think these are all issues to ponder carefully.

    • Ace

      Want to hear something funny?

      I had a friend in middle school who's grandmother *insisted* to us that when baby Jesus was wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger, "they swaddled his legs separately because he was a boy" and swears that this is the Gospel. Because, you know, boys must only wear pants! So that MUST be how it was done! The Bible says so! And when I stated that the Bible didn't exactly say how swaddling was done back then, she accused me of being wicked.

      She had a lot of weird things to say about a whole lot of stuff though.

    • Diana

      "So if we are to strictly adhere to Deut. 22:5, should women return to dresses? Count me out, and number me among the transvestites."

      Me too!

  • D.

    Well, if you are a man and dressed like a woman, wouldn't that be deceiving – actually a lie – and the Bible has a lot to say about that. I don't have a problem with you doing that personally, but if you want to be known for intergrity then it seems to be a conflict.

    • Matthew Tweedell

      I think then you or we deceive ourselves if you choose then to label him as something he's not (and perhaps if you looked more closely into it, it would be rather obvious). Did Jesus or John the Baptist lie when they conducted themselves in a manner that made it quite clear to many that they were Demon-possessed?

      I don't think the Bible is nearly as definitive on what constitutes "a lie" as some might wish to believe. Does God lie when He dresses up in Jesus and appears in every way like some mortal soul? Just as God became man, can not woman become man without any loss of integrity? Of course if someone actually says that he is what he knows himself not to be, this would be deceitful; yet how does one "know" who or what one truly is?

    • mark

      @D.

      For simplicity, I am going to agree with you…………whenever I, as a man, dress in female attire, I AM lying. Especially to myself, if in looking in the mirror, I see that there is a woman; the more so, if I even to dare to suggest that SHE(?) is attractive. There are very few females that stand in at over 6'3” tall and weigh in at 270#, and considerably fewer that sport an Amish-like, very bushy, over-grown goatee!

      As much as I should be ashamed at myself for my lies, that feeling is dwarfed by my pity for you, and your very dull and boring life! Under your rules-of-engagement for life, you can NEVER EVER watch movies, television shows, listen to radio, nor even read a book, of any sort whatsoever. After all, the vast majority of movies and television shows are populated by ACTORS: people who are paid to lie.

      Of the rest, I'm afraid to break it to you, but Transformers, Mickey Mouse, Shrek, Ariel, Bugs Bunny, Roger Rabbit, et al. do not really exist, and even if they did, robots and animals don't speak English!

      Most songs that narrate a story are usually fabrications and a sizable number of books are works of fiction, i.e. a tissue of lies. Of the books that are NOT fiction, perhaps the one most pertinent to the ongoing discussions and to you personally is the Bible and it is full of lies (by omission).

      Of all the various versions I've read, not one of the various characters ever had to urinate, defecate, or bathe. Very few ever ate, slept, bled, or got sick. And, certainly none (except Lot's daughters—incest, anyone?) ever enjoyed 'marital relations' with their spouses, despite which the women all seemed to bear children. And what's up with the very different descriptions of the Crucifixion in each of the four Gospels? One says that Jesus died alone, the next says that there was a single thief who was executed alongside Him, per another there were two thieves who both mocked Him, and the last says that one thief repented and was promised salvation. So,which One is the Truth (if any) and which are lies?

      And, who exactly did Cain mate with after he was exiled? According to Genesis, Adam and Eve were the only two humans God ever created and they only had sons! Furthermore, whom did he fear harming him after he was tattooed with the mark of the beast (for the same reasons as above)?

      The point of this diatribe is that we all, Christians as well as non-, tolerate , even embrace, a certain number of lies, except for the ones that don't directly inform our own belief and survival systems.

      • Matthew Tweedell

        I would say—in place of your main point and concluding sentence—we all tolerate and even embrace certain myths.

        In my understanding of a lie, a claim is a lie only if its aim is to deceive someone regarding what is actually true. Fiction, myth, and omission (of the sort you describe) are not. In fact, in a sense, fiction is the construction of a set of conditional truths, true within the context of its fictional setting, and myth is similar but meant to be actually true in the context of reality after the proper understanding of a complex analogy relating some element of absolute truth.

        By the way, Mark, thanks for sharing your comments here. I for one have definitely gained a better understanding of transvestites and why you are how you are.

  • beth

    I love eddy Izzard. Cake or Death?

  • Kara

    Mainstream Christianity is not. I am, and so is my church. You get varying responses, like on most things. But for the most part, my experience is that transvestites and transgendered folk are *more* hated and feared than even gay folk. Especially trans women. (They never acknowledge that trans men even exist.) It’s pretty awful.

  • DonP

    "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone"

  • Oldstuff

    ….how completely surprised I was to learn about the whole issue between Christians and homosexuals. I just had zero idea that was a thing at all.

    Seriously John?!?!?! Can you really say you were oblivious to the "Christian" position on homosexuality?!?!? Isn't the whole Culture War thing pretty much built around fighting the "homosexual agenda" (and its kissing cousin the "secular agenda"). Like I said before…Someone needs to come up with a certification process. Only those that believe some some defined list of Jesus-related things can be called a Christian. It would make things so much simpler for us on the outside to have conversations with those of you on the inside.

  • http://none Don Rappe

    The Bible tells us that Jacob didn't realize he'd married Leah and not Rachel until the morning after. If Leah had been a cross dresser I'll bet there would have been even more trouble.

  • mark

    John, I don’t know what it is about your site, but I’ve written more words in the last few days to IT than I’ve written in the last 20 years to my parents and 8 siblings combined. Actually, I DO know what it is: Most of the Christians I’ve dealt with in my life have either been closed-loop, close-minded, fanatical fundamentalists or so lackadaisical in their Faith that they made the rocks in my garden look like zealots. You and your loyal coterie of respondents are intelligent, erudite, enthusiastic but not cloying, and possess and wield a spot-on ‘sensayuma’. You are, all of you, people I would be proud to call friends, despite and because of our little differences of opinion. Oh, and by-the-by, I was a resident of ‘your fair city’ from ’69 through ’86; if you were writing for the Reader during the time, I probably read your stuff, since I devoured that rag, you should excuse the expression, religiously. Boy, do I miss Manny Farber’s movie reviews…..

    Anyway, with your permission…or even without it…I would like to respond about Rainne, though not necessarily TO her. The way I read her initial post, I could sense that she was coming from a position of honesty albeit with (what I think was) a canoe-load of sarcasm. Sarcasm, after all, is a time-honored method of provoking a heated and, at least in this context, intelligent discussion of her points-of-view. Unfortunately, the responses she engendered were direct attacks on her logic and attitude, not discussions of her topics. Since she was now being personally attacked, she responded defensively by figuratively circling her wagons. As such, even though she tried, she could not redirect the discussion and had to spend her efforts on defending her honor. The further arguments presented by other respondents probably continued to look like attacks coming from new but similar directions. In essence, she felt ganged-up on.

    As for me, I believe that I have much more in common with her than the rest of you. I am Trans—she is Bi. Together, she and I are bannered, VERY grudgingly, under the LGBTQ family (Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transgendered-Queer), because the other members of that family perceive that we have issues that are similar to their own. Not the same issues, mind you, but close enough that we should band together for mutual benefit.

    Heterosexuals, hereinafter referred to as straights, look at a trans like me and all they see is a gay male, this in spite of all the exhortations and declarations on all of the talk show circuits to the contrary. Gays, on the other hand, look at me like I’m some kind of alien life form, except for drag queens, who see me as a wanna-be but without the intestinal fortitude to BE one of them. And they still don’t get why I’d want to be taken for a real female instead of a guy in drag. Lesbians don’t like me because as far as they are concerned I’m a drag queen, making fun of females.

    After all that, as a Trans, I have it a lot easier than a Bi like Rainne. Straights hear Bi but see a Gay / Lesbian person who is too afraid to be Out-and-Proud and, totally coincidentally, of course, a target for the right-wing, Christian-self-identified assassination teams that operate with total impunity, even on the extremely rare occasions when the Police accidentally stumble upon them, in spite of their deliberate disinterest in investigating hate or other crimes against LGBTQs. Gays, on the other hand, see a Bi as a straight person, pretending to homosexual inclinations until someone important to them finds out about it. The only people who believe that Bisexuality exists are other Bisexuals. BUT, the LGBTQs need our numbers in the mix, so they ALLOW us to be a very silent minority in the family.

    • Gina Powers

      Hey there, Mark…..really enjoyed and appreciated your post–particularly since I am the cousin of a Transgender individual myself. She has been enduring absolute hell (like, 5th layer hell) since she made the decision to get her "new" life started almost 11 years ago. Just this weekend I was made aware of how much she truly has had to put up with, and it makes me ill. All she has EVER wanted was to peacefully live her life on her terms and it burns my ass (so to speak) that there are actual humans out there who find her to be SO despicable that they simply cannot abide the idea of her existence–unless it's on THEIR terms (i.e., she be a hetero white male like she started out as)…so they go to the lengths they do to destroy her as painfully as possible. It's heartbreaking, and I'd like to help her, but am not sure how…..

      Also, wasn't aware of the LGBTQ's true attitude toward the Trans community…..enlightening, and truly sucky. I know humans are in a constant state of personal evolution (whether we like it or not), but I wish some of us wouldn't take so long in our journey……damn humans! I wish you well….take care, and peace……Gina.

      • mark

        Gina:

        thanks be to you for the kind words, it helps to know that someone out there cares even that much…………..

        As for your cousin, the only thing that you can do is to treat her as you would any other reasonably close female relative. Perhaps your example may inspire others to follow your lead.

        -M

  • mark

    Actually, Leah WAS a crossdresser…….the agreement Jacob had with her father was that he would work for all those years, then marry Rachel. But daddy dressed Leah as the bride, as Rachel, to deceive Jacob and got away with it and, of course, got a whole lot more work out of Jacob in the bargain.

  • mark

    My definition of crossdresser is; a person who wears clothing normally and nominally denied to that individual, for any number of different reasons. Thus, people who dress in costume, say for Halloween, are crossdressing, even when wearing gender-appropriate attire.

    Oh, and I use the epithet, cross dress, as a single word so as not to confuse or confound the readers who might wonder about the Knights of Malta and other Crusaders who fought the Saracens while wearing crosses on their tabards, not to mention other individuals who sport crosses on chains or their clothing. Gee, am I splitting hairs, or what?

  • Nathan W.

    No, we shouldn't condone sins of others.

    Yes, we should respect their decision to live the way they want.

    No, we shouldn't hate others.

    No, we can't force people to believe what we believe, though we should share the faith.

  • Joanne W.

    Not all Christians have trouble with LGBTQ's or transvestites. Sadly for all of us, many do. But many Christians are working for gay marriage, full inclusion in ministry, and ending hate and hate crimes against LGBTQ's. Our reading of the Bible doesn't demand us to hate or exclude gays or transvestites any more than it requires us to have multiple wives (also biblical), stone people who curse God (it's in the Bible), make women cover their heads (yep, that's in the Bible, too), or believe, literally, that the world was created in 6 days. We know more now about how the world was created. We also know more about gender and genetics and sexuality.

    Nor do all Christians hate "everyone who isn't them," as Rainne's post claims. And we Christians who are inclusive ARE taking a vocal stand. It just rarely makes the news because for some reason, Christians who hate are much more newsworthy than Christians who love.


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