A cry to Christians from an “Evil Satanic Marxist Nazi Gestapo Hitler”

I received the email below last night. It’s certainly apropos to my recent post about the aftermath of the “Gay Wars.” Its subject line was “Thank you for being sane.”

Hi John,

I’ve read your blog for a long time, recommended it to many others invested in the whole LGBT/Christian thing, and have found it to be a rare fairy bubble of sanity in an increasingly ridiculous culture. I’ve found it to be both encouraging and maddening at times. It is comforting to know that there are some compassionate Christians out there in the world. But it’s also discouraging to so rarely experience it in real life.

I’m a 29-year-old biracial, transgender/lesbian, Southern Baptist-raised atheist (the hate crime trifecta!) currently living in [a fairly large Midwestern city]. I grew up in a deeply conservative environment, and moved to [this city] several years ago, which is actually a fairly liberal place, given that it’s in [the state it is].

I know that the Christian blogosphere is tired of the whole LGBT debate, and that many Christians have even accepted that on a federal level LGBT equality is inevitable. Unfortunately, the LGBT debate has really been more of the “LG…B…what?” debate: to most people, trans-identified people are still Evil Satanic Marxist Nazi Gestapo Hitler Nazis. You just don’t hear much from the T part of the community, so I thought I might share a little bit.

Yesterday a proposed bill to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the local non-discrimination laws regarding employment and housing was being read (not actually voted on) at our City Hall. Interested in hearing about it, I went to the City Hall to attend the reading, but wasn’t allowed inside since it was already full to capacity. Quite a crowd of protestors (for and against the bill) was gathering outside. I am a bit of a people watcher, so I decided to walk around and listen in on people’s conversations.

Most of what I overheard was completely ridiculous and expected. I was there for less than 15-minutes before I heard “Nazis” and “Holocaust” being tossed around. Here’s a pic I took of my favorite sign:

Though I pass as cisgender [where an individual’s gender identity matches the behavior or role considered appropriate for one’s sex], I definitely don’t pass as being straight—so I myself was the subject of a lot of conversation, including many “dyke,” “faggot,” and “abomination” chants. I eventually did get sucked into some conversations, like the one that began when I saw one unfortunate person being cornered by a group of Christian protestors. Things got a bit heated at times. But no one got shot or beat-up. I was actually pleasantly surprised that some people were willing to listen to some of what I had to say.

Despite slurs being yelled at me, being accused of sexually assaulting children, and otherwise being generally degraded for some three hours, the one thing I cannot get over is the conversation I had with one particular woman, by far the nicest, most civil person there. She listened to some of my story, and then said that while she disagrees with “the gay lifestyle,” she doesn’t hate LGBT people, and thought that it was horrible that I have experienced some of the things that I have. At one point I had to stop her, and say “I literally cannot hear what you are saying right now over this guy behind me yelling ‘ABOMINATION!!!!’ in my ear.”

Her response was, “Don’t pay attention to that, it’s not important.”

But no, it is pretty important. I pretty much disengaged from everything at that point—but in every little conversation I got in people kept saying that while I seemed really nice, they just didn’t want their family exposed to transgender people. But what about my family? I don’t get to choose if my family gets “exposed” to a different viewpoint.

Here’s how “being exposed to Christianity” has affected me and my family:

  • Years of Southern Baptist teaching taught me that I was so wholly unclean and beyond redemption that the only thing I could do that would be pleasing to God was kill myself, which I attempted to do twice.
  • After eight years of belonging to the same church, my family, after I “came out,” was asked to stop attending that church, since its members no longer felt that their children were “safe” around us.
  • I have been denied treatment in multiple medical facilities (for non trans-related healthcare) by staff citing religious reasons.
  • My partner was denied services at a fertility clinic due to a practitioner’s religious beliefs.
  • A woman from a local church phoned my employer and attempted to get me fired by claiming that “people like me” are a threat to children.
  • I have had a gun pulled on me and been informed that “people like me” would be shot if ever again seen in that part of town.
  • Offensive slurs are used to address me to my face multiple times per week; when asked to stop, people have claimed that I am infringing upon their “expression of religion.”
  • I could write pages and pages on workplace harassment—but I might just summarize by saying that nothing makes you feel more like a second-class citizen than having to go to a gas station two blocks away to use the restroom.
  • Most importantly: ninety-nine percent of the Christians in my life looked the other way while their brothers and sisters did these sort of things to me and my family.

Christians, my community is suffering. We need help, but you are hurting us. I’ve posted many little Internet tirades before. The first comment is always: “Those weren’t real Christians, that’s not Christlike at all, they’re just misguided, Christians are really loving, there are affirming denominations, etc.” All of that sounds wonderful. But it’s just not a reality in my life. I would love to have some positive, affirming Christians in my life—but here where I live, they seem some imaginary group that only exists on the internet.

I’ve tried very hard to build bridges. I’ve taken risks and put myself out there, only to be disappointed every time. I realize that I’m probably preaching to the choir here. But it’s just devastating to know that once I step away from the computer the fairy bubble is gone, and all I have to look forward to is more daily harassment. I greatly appreciate what you do. I’m sure you’re as tired writing about LGBT issues as people are of reading about them. But it’s comforting to know that there are some people out there who seem to be in it for the long haul, rather than just moving on to the next hot topic after a month or two.

It gets better other places, I guess. But not here.

Don’t forget about us.

I won’t. I can’t. Letters like this won’t let me.

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  • Wow! This hurts my heart to read. I would like to know as a Christian who is affirming and supporting, what can I do to help on a practical level? Because I really want to help.
    I can believe what I believe but sometimes feel at a loss about how to do anything to affect change.

  • Tim

    I don’t know why, letter writer, but even for many of the Christians who have come to reasonable terms with the LG and even B parts of LGBT, the T is kind of a bridge too far at the moment. As a gay man and Christian, I kind of have to say I understand the broad-based confusion. I mean, I know that this is another issue of “born this way” and that there are any number of possible biological explanations for a crude lack of match between body and mind and a myriad more reasons for one less clear, but for someone who believes in God, the thought that someone would turn out the “wrong” gender was much, much harder for me to grasp than the fact someone (like myself) would like people of the same gender.

    I’m not sure what the difference is, but I know I had (and still somewhat have) that mental block. I know that between 2006 and 2010 we had numerous debates in the halls of power about how far Democrats as a political party could push equality and 9 times out of 10 that didn’t include trans people because people just don’t understand yet.

    I understand the hurt and pain as well as I think someone not T can. It is getting better, albeit slowly for LGB people, it is just that the T people are about 50 paces behind us. That can’t feel good.

  • boy jesse

    Oh my God, this brought me to TEARS! While my own story is not anything LIKE what this dear person is going through, it has been no easy road whatsoever. i am a gay Christian transman who grew up in a VERY conservative part of town (John, i believe i sent you “my story” once upon a time) and i never fail to be baffled by how easily so many people can “sort of” accept gay and lesbian Christians (and to a lesser degree, bisexual Christians) but “ZOMG! You cant be Trans and belieeeeeeeve in JEEEEEE-zus!” They seem to think that because we “think” we are transgendered, we are saying “God made a mistake.” It’s very difficult to find rational discussion regarding this, too.

  • Wendy

    John, thank you for sharing this. As the mother of a son who identifies as genderqueer, my heart breaks for this woman and all LGBT people who have been subjected to so much hate from people who call themselves “Christian”.

    As much as it terrifies *me* that my child could be subjected to so much of the same hatred, I know my fear is nothing compared to what he and others in the LGBT community face daily.

    I want to scream at these “christians” and tell them wake up and see all the damage they’re causing to their fellow human beings. The sad thing is, the majority of them will cling to their hatred and consider themselves martyrs for their “cause”.

  • Kay

    I consider myself a Christian and completely accept you as you are. Even IF being gay were a sin, it still would not give me the right to judge you. I am a sinner and am no authority on the levels of sin, regarding severity, etc. I just feel that Jesus loves you, Jesus loves me. Jesus loves. We’re all God’s children, all made in His image, all beautiful. I’m sorry you have been treated badly by “Christians” giving Christians a bad name. I am sorry for them that they do not understand that the word, “Christian” means Christ like. I am sorry for them that they are not enlightened by the New Testament. I know it’s little consolation, but of course, that’s on them. If you were to desire a church home, I wish with all my heart you would find a loving one. If you were to seek to feed your soul in any way, I wish you total fulfillment. I wish you peace and happiness–and rights. God bless you and yours, always. Your friend on the internet, Kay.

  • Ogrebeast SixtyFour via Facebook

    These are the reactions I’ve witnessed being done to an LGBT. I DARE someone to say the people doing these things are not “true” Christians or are misguided to my face. They will get a couple things thrown in their face like:

    1 – Judge not lest ye be Judged.
    2 – Thou shalt not bear false witness.
    3 – Treat others as you would be be treated yourself.

    All this has happened before, and all this will happen again.

  • Larry

    This is an extremely helpful post. Thanks for sharing it, John. And thanks/prayers/blessings to the writer for her courage.

  • Larry Petry via Facebook

    Thanks for sharing this one, John. Very powerfully and vulnerably written. Glad she shared.

  • Like the woman in this article, I am also transgender, although I’m a femme bisexual trans guy, not a transwoman. I’ve dealt with people saying that my 10 year old son and I are “not a family” (as only a two male/female parent with children household constitutes a “real” family), I have told that I am a freak and should have my child taken away from me to “protect him from [my] harmful influences”, that I should “get used” to people insisting on referring to me as a female because “it isn’t fair on other people”. In addition to that, I’ve been refused service at my local barber shops and am currently fighting to get funding on my insurance for the medical treatments that I need.

  • The above are examples of my everyday life. But there are just as many people (if not more) who are supportive and accept me as I am. And to those people, I am extremely thankful. 🙂

  • Elizabeth

    Tim, perhaps this will help with that mental block. It’s written by a trans-woman, and it puts transgenderism into context. Eleven years after the Sexual-Orientation Nondiscrimination Act passed in New York, trans people still aren’t a protected class. The article explains how we are, all of us, judged by our external bodies. It’s not a “gay” issue; it’s a “human being” issue.

    I’m a straight woman, I’m clearly identifiable as such, and I’ve been told since I could talk that I thought like a man because I’m intelligent. All you have to understand is that we make gender assessments every day. Forgive me, but it’s just not a hard concept to wrap one’s head around. Democrats have been dropping the ball. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/laverne-cox/everybodys-trans-gender-o_b_1605314.html

  • Tori Phillips via Facebook


  • Alright… the workplace discrimination and not being treated at medical facilities…

    Can’t you sue their little pants? I mean, aren’t those kinds of things severely sue-able offenses? Now, I’m not sure I’d *want* to be treated at a medical facility where the staff makes no secret of hating my existence (I fear they’d do the most slipshod job they could get away with) — actually I think I’ve experiend just such “care” on account of being poor — but I thought outright denial of care like that was illegal. In any case, such stupidity should be punished…

    Then again, I was talking to an online friend last night on my instant message-system about my own struggles with recognition… I’m cis (?) and an asexual who passes for straight, so I haven’t had your struggles, but as someone with bipolar disorder severe enough to cause official disability, well… I almost feel like accepting my role as a “subhuman” sometimes. (Of course, that could be the depression side of the coin talking). I am currently trying to figure out how to get the government to actually give me the Disability compensation I won in court way back in March. I’ve just lost the only job I’ve been any good at… a farm job that I may or may not be at fault for losing. I’m kind of unemployable on the grounds that I’ve had and lost many, many jobs in my life. The longest I’ve ever kept a job was two, two and a half years but most jobs I’ve not lasted at more than two months. It seems, inevitably, stress triggers a panic attack. Even if I told the people hiring me beforehand about my problem and they promise not to discriminate, I wind up getting the little “you suck, get lost” speech the next day and always for some “other reason” – something non-suable. Being poor, I never bothered to seek litigation. So the cycle of the “different member of society being pushed to the back of the herd to be eaten by the lions” goes on. The one time I wasn’t passive about it led to me getting an assault charge. Not fun. Happened years ago, still hampers employment.

    I tend to use the wrong bathroom all the time becuase I have a health issue and cannot/will not wait if “my” labled bathroom is occupado. Then again, I only do this with single-stall bathrooms… for which the excuse of “I was going to burst!” is socially acceptable. You can try that excuse for single-stall places… “Potty emergency, rawr!”

    I’m honestly not sure what to call myself anymore. “Spritually Christian/follower of Christ, but not *politically* ‘Christian’ presently,” or the word that one person I met in real life dubbed me with, a “Jesusist.” But the Internet has changed me a great deal, too. Flash back ten years or so ago and I would have been one of the “righteous” jerks trying to change you “for your own good.” I’m sorry for that.

  • Or, they think you’re “rebelling against the way God made you / the body God gave you.” and think of you as in a state of Raging Against the Heavens by default.

    __ This is the opinion of a pastor I once had back when I was Baptist, not even an old pastor, either, but a young and fairly “cool” guy. The opinion was on gay people, not trans specifically and it came with a story about some other reverend he knew who was gay and had to accept the “consquences” of dying from AIDS even though my pastor was sure he went to Heaven.

    … I um… Kind of view such opinion now as a “well-meaning and ignorant messed-upness.” Part of the reason why I’m afraid to get involved in a meatspace church again is that if I encounter any attitudes like that, instead of agreeing with them, I’d have to counter them and would cause all kinds of disruption and friction and stress myself out.

  • charles

    John, can you sticky this article? it is such an eloquent and powerful commentary.

    if thats not possible, perhaps reposting it on a regular basis could happen….

    just a humble request.

  • Rebecca

    Kristi, I believe what we can do is quit ignoring, looking the other way, not getting “involved” in the conversation because you don’t want to offend really nice people who “just believe the Bible”, or that you can’t get through to that particular person because they will “never” change their mind. Challenging constantly is so important, but I have found that you must come from the position of respecting that most people do not believe they are contributing to that kind of hate by just being “good Christians who believe the Bible”. It can’t start with challenging basic beliefs that have been ingrained in good people for their whole lives – it took me years to get to the place where I could hear that what I had been told was condemned by God ain’t necessarily so. Now I feel SO frustrated that a person I am talking to can not SEE the truth that sometimes I start yelling (or using ALL CAPS!) and it just shuts it all down. That person who I have known for years, or sit next to in church, or who posts nothing but positive Christian messages on Facebook, who has considered herself a good Christian her whole life and thinks that I am ignoring the Bible and making it what I want it to be, who would never in a million years participate in harassing any LGBT person…she does not identify her own beliefs with hate. So you take a lesson from the one favorite teacher who finally got you to understand that concept, that book, that equation… who took you from A to Z even when you didn’t want to go there….

    and you keep challenging. Post thoughtfully, point out discrepancy, always bring it back to God’s love. And keep standing up against the crowd, being brave even when it’s uncomfortable. Go out of your way to bring LGBT people into your life. Talk to young people, at least that gives you hope for change. Pray for patience, to make a difference.

    Of course, I imagine if I was the person who wrote this letter….or the so many like him/her….I would just take a gun and go ape shit on them.

  • Amy

    I think this is maybe a wake-up call for me. I often write about things like marriage equality on my blog, as well as other LGB issues. But I’ve failed to do the same for my trans* friends, at least not on a regular basis. The irony is that I came to be an ally because I already felt that there was nothing wrong or sinful about being trans*. It then wasn’t much of a stretch to become fully affirming in other ways.

    I am sorry for not standing up to Christian bullies on behalf of my trans* friends. I am committing to do better.

  • Anne

    Reading your letter made me sick to my stomach. Literally. I was nauseous and thought I might lose my lunch.

    Why do people have to be so mean?? All right, I know the term “mean” doesn’t even begin to cover the hatred and evil that has been directed toward you. I am so, so sorry for all the ugly things that have been perpetrated against you. And I just want to say that I do not merely “accept” you. I EMBRACE you. You are a beautiful person, created in God’s own image and you are perfection. If you lived in my city we would hang out on my patio and I would invited to a church where you’d be welcome, and you would come to parties at my house where you would be embraced for who you are and for the fun and interesting things you add to the group.

    Please know that there are lots of people out in the world who think like I do. And there are more of us every, single day. Some of us are even breeding and raising our children to be enlightened Christians who are open to all of creation.

    You are beautiful.

  • Anne

    One more thing for all of John’s readers. If you haven’t seen it, find the documentary “Beautiful Daughters” It’s about the first all transgender production of Eve Ensler’s THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES. It’s interesting and informative and will open the eyes of many.

  • Curt Naeve

    Thank you John for providing this safe bubble where this voice could be heard, and many thanks to the author for putting your story out there. Yours is a voice we all need to hear and I promise some of us are listening. On a practical note, don’t give up on your search for a welcoming home church. We all need that sense of belonging and I know there is a congregation out there that wants and needs you. The UCC [United Church of Christ] churches use the term ‘Affirming’ to denote an active welcome to folks from the LGBT community and we in the United Methodist use the term ‘Reconciling’ to denote the same thing [look for the rainbow colored flame symbol] and I’m sure the other denominations so something similar so please check the websites of the churches in your area. Don’t give up, the church needs you my friend.

  • Your last paragraph sums it up. We can’t ever forget other human beings.

  • boy jesse

    There is no reason you cannot have a perfectly civil discussion with folks like that. Like one of the commenters above stated, there are plenty of open and affirming/reconciling churches, many of them non-denominational, that by their very nature tend NOT to attract the sort of hateful/judgmental nonsense that many GLBT folks have experienced elsewhere.

  • Anne

    The Evangelical Lutheran Church of America is worth checking out, too.

  • Allie

    Just out of curiosity, why not move? This is not a problem limited to gay people. I have a young friend in Missouri who was pretty much in hell throughout high school and college because of a lack of intellectual, sensitive people. He’s straight, but he knew from fairly early on that he wanted to be a writer and a poet, and he got shoved in lockers and trash cans a lot. Glee takes place in Lima, Ohio for a reason – flyover country blows big chunks if you are in any way identifiably different from the extroverted sensate type majority. So he transferred to a different college, and last time I talked to him he had a girlfriend, and friends, and wasn’t talking every moment about how he couldn’t think of a good reason not to kill himself.

    Obviously it would be nice if horrible people weren’t horrible, but the truth is that most of these folks have not evolved enough to ever have the empathy to be nice to people different from themselves. So go where people who are real live human beings with empathy and decency and an ability to discuss abstract concepts are in the majority.

  • Natalie

    Maybe they can’t afford to.

  • Marsha

    To the writer of this letter, I have only one thing to say, from my heart: I am so sorry.

    I am sorry on behalf of the people who claim to live a Christian life, but inflict hate and negativity upon you at every turn. I’m sorry on behalf of a society that claims to offer equal opportunities and personhood to all, but denies them to you and your partner on a regular basis.

    Most of all, I’m sorry for all the times that I personally, and those who (like me) believe that you are a beloved child of God and a beloved member of the human family, did not speak or act on your behalf, or do so loudly or visibly enough to prevent the negative treatment you’ve received.

    I’m deeply sorry, and while it doesn’t ever erase the hurts of the past, I want you to know this essential fact. It’s not enough, but it is a starting point. Thanks for bravely beginning the conversation.

  • FB needs to make an ‘I lovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelove<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3' button

  • Dear lady,

    I have just printed out your story. I’m placing it under a pink-and-black candle tonight; pink for All Things Not-Heteronormative, and black for Some Haters Just Need to Stop Breathing.

    It stands on my justice altar, where “Brother Outsider” — Bayard Rustin — presides, along with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

    I light it every night while praying Psalm 12, with the words “poor” and “needy” replaced with words more appropriate to your condition.

    It’s “only prayer,” but it’s the closest I can come to waving a magic wand, and it’s better than being helpless with rage.

  • Elizabeth

    Dear letter writer,

    My first trans friend came out to me two years ago. I was a relatively naïve straight Christian woman. We hadn’t really communicated in twenty years. I don’t know, to this day, why he picked me of a hundred mutual friends to tell first. I was reposting a lot of John’s work on gays and Christians at the time. Maybe that was it. Or, maybe, he knew, innately, that I was a friend.

    I’m going to tell you what I told him. Being trans, like being a lesbian, is mundane. It’s not exotic. At all. What makes you exceptional is, in the face of Christians calling you an abomination, an LGB community that too often ostracizes trans individuals, and a sociopolitical system that can’t give you basic legal protections, you’re still building bridges. You may be an atheist, but I thank God for that.

    You’re not alone. There are a bunch of us fighting on that trio of fronts: Christianity, LGB acceptance, and legal rights for all LGBTQ. Thank you for sharing your moving letter. I won’t give up if you won’t. Pinky swear.

  • Elizabeth

    Shadsie, I love your insight, as usual.

    The problem with suing for workplace discrimination is that being transgender isn’t a protected class anywhere in the U.S. It’s heartbreaking the writer has to walk two blocks to use the bathroom, just as it’s heartbreaking you can’t get the disability compensation you rightfully won. Litigation takes time and money.

    My most recent employer, one of Forbes’ 147 companies that run the world, didn’t allow me to do impromptu push-ups with the head of security because I wore a skirt. Through trial and error, I discovered I had to wear mascara in order for my immediate supervisors (all women) to HEAR me when I spoke. It stunned me. It’s 2012, after all. If I had properly documented it, I probably could’ve sued. But who has the time? When I’m at work, I’m focused on working. Blatant gender bias is part of the deal with the devil I made when I took a job with Big Business. It is, unfortunately, the status quo.

  • Kelli Hazlett

    Dear letter writter, Please don’t give up. Hold onto the online community. I also live in a place where being gay is regarded as being pedophile and worse. I wish my circumstances were different and I wish your’s were too. But for now we have to hold on to the support and love given by John and other’s like him.

  • Matt Gilliland

    I was picked on as a kid, every single day, just for being different. I wasn’t even gay but to the ignorant tools in my town different and gay were basically the same thing. Yes, I’m angry about it, but I now know that this was a lesson I needed to learn. It showed me what NOT to be like, and that I should never treat anyone the way I was treated. I feel I learned this lesson because I was probably just as big of an ignorant asshole in one or many of my past lives.

    I once heard the Mayans believed in 4 genders.

    1. Man-Man who is a male with masculine mindset and attributes;

    2. Man-Woman who is a male with feminine mindset and attributes;

    3. Woman-Man who is a female with masculine mindset and attributes;

    4. Woman-Woman who is a female with feminine mindset and attributes.

    Any one of these genders can be attracted to any other gender. Just because one is Man-Man, doesn’t mean he has to be attracted to Woman-Woman, and Man-Woman & Woman-Man doesn’t necessarily mean homosexual. ANY of the 4 genders can pair up. Sexuality doesn’t really exist, people are simply attracted to whomever they are attracted to.

    I believe we switch our genders from one life to the next so that our souls can gain a full understanding of what it is like to live from each point of view. It’s like the changing of the seasons for the human soul; a change in seasons is a change in perspective. All those Homophobes out there will choose to be reborn into a different gender, and thus be forced to face the same hate and judgment they are currently dishing out. That is what karma is all about.


    Be who you are. God created the Universe and Science states that matter and energy can be neither created nor destroyed. If that’s true, then EVERYTHING must be a part of God. Put together, everything IS God. You are God. I am God. Those ignoramuses are God, albeit a very closed off portion of God. Do what makes you happy no matter what anyone says. Don’t let them ruin your day. Their lashing out is a reflection of their own mental state, and it has nothing to do with you; They would lash out at the birds in the sky if they felt it would have any affect on their flight patterns.

    You are God living life from one human perspective, and through the collective Universe you will always be loved.


  • And I think this right here explains why, when the rest of the world was living in caves and wearing dried mud, the Mayans were busy inventing math.

  • Natalie

    And lets not forget those awesome calendars.

  • Jill

    The time spent reading stellar posts like this is time well spent.

  • Barbara Rice

    Is there a “like” button on this?

  • Al

    Thanks for the enlightened perspective. We live in the Garden of Eden but we’re still to ignorant to know it.

  • Matt

    People have come up to my (trans) partner and asked her: “What ARE you?!” As if it were any of their business (for the record: Female). Her mother threatened to burn her female clothes. She has been called “it.” People have stared and pulled their children away.

    I luckily have not come out yet as a trans man. I won’t for years, because to do so will threaten my job too much. But I do still get from other people: “Hey, are you a boy or a girl?” I want so desperately to say: “Boy, boy, I am a boy!” But that’s dangerous at my stage in the game, when I still have breasts and a high voice and hips. Cis men/boys might want to “check.” It happens.

    Once my partner and I were trying on clothes at a department store. She had a panic attack, and excused herself. She didn’t come back for an hour, wasn’t answering her phone, and I didn’t know where she was. I ran through the mall in a blind panic.

    All I could think was that she’d run into the wrong person, and I was about to stumble upon her body. I can’t describe my profound relief when I found her in her car, safe and well. I began to cry.

    My partner and I don’t go to clubs although we are otherwise normal 20-somethings. Our driver’s licenses (especially mine) don’t match our presentation, so IDing for alcohol can be trouble. We follow all laws. Being arrested could be dangerous for us. We are always on the lookout for people who could hurt us. We feel safest when we’re together.

    Letter writer, I get it. All of it. We’re in this together. We can do this, okay? I can’t wait until the day my kids say: “Dad, Mom, you’re trans? Oh, okay. Let’s go to the park!”

    –A trans man partnered to a trans woman

  • Jackson Hearn via Facebook

    thanks for posting. It is hard to hear these things, but we need to hear them, and what a blessing to read the supportive comments.

  • Allie

    Worth it not to get shot?

    John wrote a book about reasons women stay with abusive men, and why they aren’t valid reasons because really, when your life is in danger, you get out, period. It seems to me that there’s such a thing as staying in an abusive relationship with a place. Maybe if you stay you can CHANGE them. Would you buy that if an abuse victim said it about her husband? Then why should abused people stay in abusive places?

  • Jane

    I have a grandson who is 10…who can’t come out to his own bigoted parents. His mom is my stepdaughter who was raised without contact with me and her dad….My youngest daughter, my husband and I are the only ones who “know” and support him…but the words uttered by my carelessly bigoted stepchild anger me to the point that I have to leave her home before I go nuclear on her…because I have tried to let her know (without outing him or my own bi daughter) that her words hurt people but she doesn’t care…Last year I told her in front of her children that she would NOT speak that way in my home and that if she did there would be consequences…which I later detailed in a private conversation…Her older son knows and is protective of his little brother so they both came to me after thier parents left and hugged me and expressed thier thanks…I hope that one day my daughter and grandson and every other LGBTQ person will have all the rights and will never ever have to hear anyone degrade them under the guise of “Christian Love”.

  • Jane

    Sometimes and for some people there is NO safe place…

  • comment from mark reilly: what a courageous life the letter writer is living. well done. I will not forget.

  • I would buy it as a reason she can’t leave *today*. I’d help her come up with a plan to either save up the money herself or to survive without it until she could, and I’d definitely emphasize that leaving needs to be the end goal, but I’d recognize that needs like shelter and sustenance need to be met and that she needs a plan for doing that.

    Same with moving. If someone’s geographic location is toxic for them, I’d definitely encourage them to start working on a plan to get out of there, but moving takes money. Housing, moving vans, move-in costs, it all adds up. Even if you want to suggest something extreme like live in your car, well, not everyone has a car or the gas money for a cross-country road trip.

    Again, I’m not saying “stay where you are forever because that’s the easiest thing,” nor am I saying “stay where you are and maybe you can change your narrow-minded, bigoted community.” I agree with the statement that “when your life is in danger, you get out, period”. But if someone rashly picks up and leaves with only the clothes on their backs and the money in their wallet, they could be running from death by a lynch mob to death on the streets. Get out, but do it smart. And understand that sometimes that takes time.

  • Ugh…

    My beloved girlfriend is trans (I’m cis), and this is the kind of stuff I’m afraid of. I put on a brave face and encourage her every day, but I’m so, so scared that one day I’m going to get a call and learn that someone murdered her.

    We need to make this world better, for everyone who is oppressed.

  • Allie

    Yay grandma! I was raised by abusive parents, and my own grandmother was pretty much the only reason I kept my sanity. Your work is blessed work.

  • Oz in OK

    ‘Her response was, “Don’t pay attention to that, it’s not important.”’

    It was easy for her to say, since you know, none of that vitriol and hatred was aimed at her… *bites tongue*

    To the letter writer – I am so sorry… damn I am so sorry for what you’re having to experience!

  • Interesting Name

    Hello, and I apologize.

    Please excuse my language but many people are witches when dealing with issues as sensitive as this.

    I apologize not on behalf of others from similar beliefs for their perversion of ultimate good and kindness but for my inability to personally involve myself in this

    mess. (It was hard to think of a good word, okay?)

    I don’t like it when people are belittled or looked upon in assumption, to put it bluntly. I have valued peace and common empathy and I still believe that it can do something for everyone, though my cynicism says: “Eh.”

    I do not know any transgendered people (at least it is not to my knowledge if someone is in transition and has not come out) on a personal level. I thought I would have met a transgendered person sometime in my existence (considering that I lived in San Diego) yet I have not had the pleasure. Now, as I attend a private christian university in Missouri, I find it much less likely that I would have any acquaintance with someone that is in a similar situation as yours.

    I do leave the school and walk among the town and city areas and experience many different peoples (including an Islamic center a few blocks away!), but I do not have any obvious opportunity to — It’s hard thinking up a way to say this succinctly– Represent, yo.

    I recognize the need to represent my Christianity and blahbitty-blah whatever. The main thing I mean to represent is myself (as well as attitude). To show there are people (ME) that are cool with that sort of thing or whatever, man, because we don’t like it when you’re in pain.

    I’m guessing that it would be harder for a transgendered man or woman in areas such as the Bible Belt compared to places like San Diego, so attitudes such as mine and John Shore’s (and the many lovely people who follow this blog) are more of a necessity.

    One more thing I apologize for is your hardship; not only for the difficulty you’ve born but especially for the uppencoming pain. I am sorry it will suck. I want to help those around me for it is an incessant tick of my being. I want to help you, and I am sorry I haven’t.

    It is a fairy bubble on the internet. We are not everywhere and neither are we able. We can represent and improve situations for everyone. We may also suffer geograhical and societal limitations and secede from effort.

    I apologize, but we are still here.

  • Don Rappe

    Thanks for posting. How else could I know? And sometimes, knowledge IS power.

  • Elizabeth

    Matt, this is the dream. We’re in this together, and we can watch your kids in the park. God bless.

  • Navarro

    I’m ashamed of my Christian brothers and sisters. Above all we are called to love. Love God and each other. I am truly sorry this is happening.

  • Libby

    I am so unbelievably sorry. What I wouldn’t do to somehow reach out. My heart is completely broken. I am so sorry. You ARE loved and lovely.

  • Libby Taggart Unwin via Facebook

    Speechless. Heart-broken.

  • Molly, thanks for sharing.

  • Many times they may have a very well-paying job that only exists where they live. Or they have loving and supportive family members who require additional caring for/support. Or it’s not financially feasible. Or they have nowhere affordable to move to with solid employment opportunities. As simple as it may sound to say “why not move?” there are all too often major reasons why they cannot move at this point of their lives.

    And FWIW, i count myself among that number.

  • *like* *like* *like* *like*

  • i think in many ways there is a HUGE disparity even within the trans community. After all, most folks are rather used to seeing women wearing unisexual clothing and being rather androgynous in overall appearance.

    Many transmen often suffer less ridicule than their transwomen counterparts because (at least in my opinion) society still cannot wrap its collective mind around a “man wearing girl clothes”. Transwomen are so often just viewed as cross dressers, drag queens, or “freaks” while many transmen seem to be able to fly under the radar with less fuss. Part of that may be because there tend to be fewer transmen than transwomen.

    i wish i had a magic solution to eliminate hangups over gender and orientation. There are so many folks out there hurting and they have so few resources to turn to. The problem is exacerbated if they are in a stifling environment that refuses to allow them to be who they truly are.

  • Paul Kenney via Facebook

    Ineed – what an honest and wonderful letter.

  • Matt

    There is that, Jesse. Without a doubt, people are more comfortable if they think I’m a “tomboy” than my girlfriend being a “boy in girls’ clothes.”

    It’s a double-edged sword, of course. Trans men fly under the radar, so our struggles are extremely private. Before we transition, we are just as likely to be sexually assaulted and abused, and so many of us keep it quiet because “that’s not supposed to happen to a man.”

    It’s sucky however you slice it. I get nervous when the trans community tries to discuss this (disparities), because it never stops at discussion. It always ends up with divisions in the community.

  • Hannah Grace

    Thanks for sharing. I don’t know what to say. Sending hugs and love your way, and wishing that we were in the same area so I could meet you for coffee and offer some support. Or maybe go to a shitty protest with a big rainbow cross on and stand in solidarity with you. I’m fighting from this end to stop these kinds of things from happening, which is all I can really do. I hope everyone is fighting in every way that they can in their little community. Sending lots of support and warmth and prayers (if prayers are ok).

    Thanks, John, for running this blog.

  • Mike Little via Facebook

    Thanks for posting this John.

  • David S

    Tim – Thanks for your honest reply. I gotta admit that I also had to come around in my understanding of people who are transgender. I didn’t actively engage in the conversation because I simply didn’t get it. I’m sure that this is how it is for some straight people to understand what it means to be gay.

    There were a couple of watershed moments for me. One was in the affinity group of a company I used to work for. We spent pride month focused on what it means to be transgender. That was the first time I ever met a transgender woman, and it was really enlightening to hear her talk about reconciling her gender identity in her conservative world. I had never really grasped the concept of gender identity; and I instantly connected with her struggle as I went through a similar process with my sexual orientation. The bathroom issue was a big one for us. The other big issues were those of someone going through transition and how it impacts the employee, their colleagues and customers. We ended up writing and publishing a resource guide for managers on issues of being transgender in the workplace. I was really proud of that project.

    The other moment for me happened at a Yom Kippur service at an LGBT temple. The Rabbi’s drosh was simple. She said “For those of you who continue to ask me why the gay community should link ourselves to the transgender community; for those of you who think that ‘they’ are holding ‘us’ back; I ask you this in return: if not us, then who? We are all children of God, created in His image. Who understands that better than us? How can we ignore the struggle of our transgender brothers and sisters?” It was truly a day of atonement for me.

  • Jill

    This post– this is why the war isn’t won yet. Perhaps gay marriage is the ‘banner issue’ of late, and while we don’t stop fighting for civil rights on that front, we cannot forget the daily efforts of the transgendered that want to be as boring as the rest of the world. Respected, honored, safe, loved.

    This post– I will need reminders of this. To never dull my senses with the assumption that the world accepts trans people like I do. I await that day, but until then… complacency is my enemy.

  • Mindy

    Wow. This is exactly what I believe. From life to life, our souls are presented with the challenges we “earned” in the life before. The old souls we encounter in this lifetime – and we have all had that experience – are the ones who have faced the most. Great comment on a powerful post.

  • Margaret Bengtson via Facebook

    Years ago, I was an evangelical Christian and frankly a zealot. I viewed the faith as the solution to all the world’s problems. However, today things have changed Christianity is now associated with being cruel and intolerance. I left the faith and now fear those who I once prayed with and for. This letter sums it up.

  • MattPatt

    Actually, the EEOC has recently issued an opinion that existing laws against sex discrimination also apply to transgender people. (To paraphrase Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, to say otherwise would be equivalent to saying you’re protected against religious discrimination if you’re Catholic, and you’re protected if you’re Jewish, but you’re not protected if you convert!) See http://transgenderequality.wordpress.com/2012/04/24/victory-federal-agency-rules-trans-people-protected-by-sex-discrimination-law/, which has got links to more resources on the subject. However, this is literally a brand-new thing, so hardly anyone knows about it… and the EEOC could potentially change its mind under future presidents.

    Similarly, portions of the Affordable Care Act forbid health care discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, *particularly* gender identity, but this is again brand new and it sort of remains to be seen how vigorously those provisions will be enforced. See http://transequality.org/news.html#HHS1557 for more details on that one.

    But of course all the laws in the world don’t matter if people don’t understand them and refuse to enforce them either out of ignorance or malice.

  • charles

    the 14th Amendment comes into play here…

  • Brian

    I was wondering how come no one has mentioned Floyd Corkins yet?

  • Matt

    Boring! That about hits the nail on the head, Jill. Oh, how I wish I were boring.

    (Confession: I AM boring. I bore myself all the time).

  • That’s one thing that we have to avoid overall: the one-up(wo)manship game of “I’m oppressed more than you”. Tempting at times (we LBGs generally have no trouble admitting the Ts have it harder) but devastating, between all types of groups having to fight for equality, not just sexual/gender minorities. We all fight for full equality for everyone – and a key part of the argument is that none are free until all are free. When inequality of anyone hurts everyone, there’s no competition.

  • (Completely none of my business, so, you know, free free to ignore.) On the kids, will you guys save “donations” to have kids. I mean, to have your own bio kids – kids made from sperm from their mom and eggs from their dad? Because that would be so cool.

  • i have zero desire to have children so that’s kind of a non-issue for me. i still cannot quite wrap my brain around a person’s burning “NEED” to perpetuate his or her own DNA. There are MORE than enough people on the planet, after all. It makes me wonder why they are SO fixated on it being their exact DNA that is being perpetuated. Therefore, it seems a bit selfish (at least to me).

    Oh, and just as an FYI… i have shared my home with countless numbers of wonderful “kids” – granted, they were of the furbaby variety…

  • I don’t recall the letter writer citing physical danger in that actually relatively liberal city. Harassment, yes. Experiences of physical danger in the past, absolutely. But not much to indicate that the threat of death is around every corner at the present moment. How far away might this person need to go before things get demonstrably better? Sometimes getting out is the best option, but at some point, aren’t you just suggesting that all minorities leave the country and go somewhere they have rights? And then nothing would ever change.

  • Interesting take of the gender discrimination law. What an awesome comparison!

  • Elizabeth

    This is great news on all fronts. Thanks for the linkage.

  • My heart is aching and I am just so very touched by this persons honesty.

  • Michael

    this is beautifully eloquent especially the last bit about how when people say ‘those arent real Christians’ they are basically just wrong. Those are Christians. And thats what I think when i hear the word christian. christian in bigot in my life have been synonymous. people sometimes tell me that i should never be ashamed of being a christian. but i disagree. i think all Christians should be ashamed for being associated with such terrible people. the fact that we Christians often disassociate ourselves with those people is exactly why their behavior is allowed to propagate. since we dont feel responsible for our own communities actions, we take no action to correct them. evil is allowed to prosper because good men do nothing.

  • Jill

    And all the straight, cisgender folk want so much to be unique and exciting and have their own reality show. Matt, they don’t want to hate on you… they’re just jealous! 🙂

    (But seriously, I totally get your point. Someday my friend. Soon. We’ll give each other big hugs on that day.)