Unwrapping the Onion: Part 6: Talk of Transition

This post is part of a series of nine posts. Please click here to start with the series Introduction.Even though we had hoped that it would be enough for my spouse to simply be more authentic to his feminine self, it seemed that the idea of transition was coming up more and more. My spouse talked about how frustrating it was to have this battle raging in his head every single day, his brain telling him again and again that he was really a woman. He told me how the idea of becoming an old man terrified him. It was bad enough being trapped in the body of a young man, but to be old and helpless and cared for by people who would treat him as a guy was dreadful to him. Sometimes he cried, all … [Read more...]

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Unwrapping the Onion: Part 1: A Secret Revealed

by Permission to LiveThis post is part of a series of nine posts. Please click here to start with the series Introduction.As many of you know, my spouse and I got married young after a short parent-supervised courtship. We began our marriage “the right way” according to everything we believed. We had obeyed our parents and stayed pure from emotional relationships or sexual activity, so when we got married neither of us had ever been intimate with any other person. We were wholeheartedly committed to our Christian beliefs at that time, feeling certain that birth control was wrong in almost any circumstance and that men should be the family leaders and women should be submissive. My hus … [Read more...]

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Sex Confessions and the Single Fundy: Adventures in Recovery

by Calulu(or be careful who you tell your secrets to..)Bless me Father for I have sinned... told you I'd been raised Catholic. One of the big rituals from my days in Catholic school was the time of confession. At first I found it frightening, going into that big wooden closet-like structure, sitting down with only a metal grill separating you from a priest. You usually couldn't make out exactly which Father was hearing your confession.It was always awkward, trying to scare up a list of all the bad stuff you'd done that week. I was a shy bookish young girl and nervously squirmed in the confessional trying to come up with my wrong doings, only to sometimes whisper out stuff I … [Read more...]

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Emotional Incest: The Mama’s Boy and the Other Woman

by SierraI have already written about the ways that growing up in fundamentalist-evangelical culture made me especially vulnerable to covert incest from my father. There is a flip side to the father-daughter craze in Christian patriarchy, though. I am here to bring you two stories: and one of them isn’t about me!In what would have been my high school years, a miracle happened. Sven, my best friend from my early childhood, came back to my church. We were fourteen. We had been estranged for about three years while his family lived in another state. But we quickly reconnected (not least due to my idealistic hopes that we could pick up where we left off, and some aggressive b … [Read more...]

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Sexuality: the Elephant in the Room

by LatebloomerMy mom walked into my bedroom and handed me a heavy biology textbook. "Read chapter 13," she told me, breathless and blushing. Then she rushed out. I opened to the appropriate chapter: "The Reproductive System". That was my entire sex education; I was 17 years old.I think we can all agree: sex education should probably be done by people who have said the word "sex" out loud at least once in their lives.My parents' denial of sexuality couldn't stop puberty, and couldn't stop our curiosity about sex. Instead, their attitude clearly showed us kids that we could never go to our parents with any questions or concerns that were related to our sexuality or genitals. For … [Read more...]

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Why Courtship Fails: A Male’s Perspective

by The GraduateAs a young man in my early twenties who grew up in conservative homeschool circles, I was excited to return home after spending four years in a Christian college. I had very little experience in dating and hadn’t been in a relationship in college, but I had a good degree and a solid career lined up in front of me. My parents were excited too, because they hoped that I would be able to easily find a bride among the many single homeschool girls my family knew. I was a willing participant to their plans, but I soon found out that even with the right credentials, it was still impossible for me to come against homeschool patriarchy and perfectionism.According to Bill G … [Read more...]

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Contradictions: Who’s the Visual-est of Them All?

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jj3dYHwx2mMby SierraFundamentalists argue that women should dress conservatively because men are visual. This is supposedly something women can’t possibly understand, because women are emotional, not visual. Women become attracted to men through flirtation and flattery; indeed, male visuality is like a foreign language to them. Men are not obliged to cover up for women for this reason.However, Libby Anne has brought up the following argument that a fundamentalist father made against women’s right to vote: The first impact of women voters was really felt after the televised Nixon / Kennedy debates.  Nixon, the superior statesman without question, l … [Read more...]

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How the Modesty Doctrine Hurts Men, Too

by SierraI’ve written a few times about how the modesty doctrine hurts women. Now it’s time to switch lenses. The modesty doctrine also wreaks havoc on the minds of young men in the Christian patriarchy movement. Here’s how:It teaches men to be afraid of women because their sexual power is too great to be resisted. It teaches men to despise women and hampers their relationships. It teaches men to be afraid of their own bodies. It teaches men to control and criticize women in order to protect themselves. It teaches men to be paranoid about their sexual orientation. It teaches gay men that they don’t exist.(There are probably more consequences of which I’m not aware, so m … [Read more...]

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Throwing Out the Moral GPS

by SierraGrowing up in fundamentalism was like living with a moral GPS navigator installed in my head. Every decision was mapped out already; all I needed to do was listen to the voice telling me where to go. Sometimes I could stop and look at the map. Most of the time I was looking ahead, trying to live, listening and following directions as best I could.The GPS gave me directions for living: Read the Bible and pray every day. Obey your parents. Be respectful of elders.Those directions made sense. They were there to help me get where I wanted to go: straight ahead. There were no twists and turns yet.Then the directions got a little stranger: Listen to one of Branham's … [Read more...]

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Daughter of the Patriarchy: Doing the Math

by SierraTurning eighteen was magical. Suddenly, all the job applications I seemed to be throwing down an empty chute were bounced back with interest. Sven had already landed a job at Wal-Mart in his town. Now it was my turn. I nervously sat through my job interview, not daring to hope that I might actually be on my way to earning money. When they called back with an offer, I could hardly contain my excitement.Not only did I have a job, I had a real driver's license. No longer did I need the supervision of an adult driver. I could take myself anywhere I wanted, whenever I wanted. The freedom was intoxicating, and I found myself driving everywhere at the slightest excuse.Now that I was … [Read more...]

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