Unwrapping the Onion: Part 8: Coming Out, Bit by Bit



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This post is part of a series of nine posts. Please click here to start with the series Introduction.

It was getting harder and harder for my spouse to put on a masculine facade when we went out. At home, after all, he was able to just be himself. It was also starting to feel awkward referring to him as a “he.” The pronouns just didn’t fit anymore. Other people started to notice too. When we went down to visit family over the summer we had several different family members ask if my spouse was gay. Apparently being a feminine male-presenting person attracts attention.

The summer of 2011 was significant in another way too. I had arranged to meet up with a friend that I had made over the internet, and I was planning on maybe coming out to her if it felt right. It would be the first time I had told anyone I knew about our journey, and I made my pick carefully. Libby Anne had grown up in a similar Christian conservative environment, and had changed a lot of what she believed over time. She seemed very open and friendly, and she was an atheist, so I had hopes that she wouldn’t condemn me unheard. We met in person with Libby and her husband, and hit it off just fine. I broached the topic of LGBTQ rights and she seemed very caring and open. Before I told her our secret, I reminded myself that she was someone I had just met, and if she reacted in a really hateful way, I didn’t have to see her ever again. That gave me the courage to just come out and say it. But she was completely accepting of our story, and she became someone I could chat with about all the questions. It was a relief to be completely open with someone, and it seemed to bolster my courage, because soon after that I began coming out to other people who gave me the feeling that they would hear me out: several of my sisters and then another friend. My spouse also came out to one of his close friends and was able to continue that friendship. These people’s acceptance and love despite any misgivings or beliefs they may have had has meant so much to both of us.

At the end of that summer, both my spouse and I began getting counseling for the first time. My counselor turned out to be a catholic nun, which I have to admit freaked me out at first because I knew from my research that her church had a very determined position on LGBTQ issues. But she turned out to be very loving and compassionate. She heard my story and set out to give me tools to continue healing from past issues and make sure the decisions I was making today were good for me. Both my spouse and I also went to the LGBTQ resource center in our city. One of the scariest things that came with transition was the loss of the white picket fence and “normal” looking family. We would always stand out as a lesbian couple and that bothered me. After growing up the odd one out as a homeschooled extreme Christian who wore sneakers with my skirts, I had really wanted my children to have a more “normal” upbringing. But going to the resource center, something dawned on me for the first time. My kids weren’t going to be isolated like I was growing up. They were going to go to school, they would be part of other groups, and we would have family friends. As parents, my spouse and I would not be providing the only interaction and influence our children would have. My children would be surrounded by people who cared about them, including people who could provide that “masculine influence” that our home might be lacking. All of a sudden it wasn’t as scary to be leaving the game of pleasing everyone else and instead embracing life as who we were, wherever that might lead. The pressure was off.

My spouse began thinking about changing his name. His given name was unmistakably masculine so it didn’t make sense to keep it through transition. He spent some time trying to figure out how to come as close to his given name as possible and finally picked a first and middle name that each began and ended with the same letters his old name had. Switching the name at home (since he still went by his other name professionally) took some time. Many times I found myself saying the old name while thinking the new one! But it meant so much to him, and eventually it became second nature.

We had been talking about how to leave ministry for some time now. We knew that this denomination was no longer a good fit for us at this point in our lives. We had too many unanswered questions and we did not want to cause distress or confusion for the people we were serving. We had managed to pay off our debts and were hoping to pull together a little cash to leave ministry and start over.

We continued serving the church we had taken a call to over a year before my spouse had even come out to me. Despite either of our questions, we officially adhered to the churches’ teachings, remained faithful to their understanding of the Bible, and sought to serve faithfully and wholeheartedly. And yet, it was not enough, living our lives more authentically instead of trying to fit the pre-determined stereotypes was making people uncomfortable. My spouse had pierced his ears, carried a purse, and let his feminine side show. Unknown to us, some church leaders began to keep tabs of things they didn’t like, and when a parishioner saw my spouse out shopping wearing eyeliner the leaders cracked down, talking about how being a feminine person was a serious concern, an attack of the devil. They demanded that my spouse be more masculine. My spouse had continued wearing professional dress while on the job, including removing earrings for church events, but they wanted him to be masculine even on private time. Giving up who he felt himself to be and going back to playing the game of people pleasing was not an option. When my spouse wasn’t repentant or ashamed of being feminine, we decided it was best to part ways.

We were moving on.

Click here to go to Part 9

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17046924507335607146 Amy

    Melissa.. you my friend are the most bravest soul I have ever met! I am inspired and so in awe of your transparency. I have to tell you, on my own blog, I am finding it's a place to be open about things that I have never talked about before. Sharing my story and just saying it…my struggles, my "shame", all the things that were so taboo to talk about for years and years. I feel like the more you share, the less shame has a hold. What a beast shame is. I love that you are sharing.. I have read every part, and just want to tell you how completely inspired I am by your braveheart.
    Courage is another word that comes to mind.
    Big big hug to you… Loves to you!

    Amy

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02614822971755761394 Rebecca

    Hey Melissa…Continuing to follow your story. I know the leaders at the church's reaction was probably painful, but they were right to react strongly. Although your husband was trying to keep the Church's teachings while "on the job" (and I really respect that…many people I've known in similar positions instead rebelled against the teachings of their church and did not show respect), being a pastor is a job that is never off-duty. At least not while in public. For far different reasons, this was one of my biggest struggles with being a pastor previously.

    However I may differ with your conclusions, I respect the unconditional love you have for your husband. I think most people would really struggle to show that kind of love.

    What are you going to do about your kiddos though? Obviously, the love they are receiving at home is not disputed. I have learned so much from you on gentle parenting. But it's hard to imagine that they will not emerge from this with a lot of confusion.

    I hope that is respectfully expressed! Thank you again for your vulnerability in sharing your story!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13674332089949439989 Melissa

    My spouse had not actually done anything against the churches teachings privately or publicly. As far as I know this denomination has never had rules on what clothes one must wear, or a ban on getting counselling. My spouse was professional. However, I do understand that people believe ministry to be more than full-time, as in never off-duty. As I was told (quite angrily I might add) by someone at the church, "He has his ears peirced! Do you see any men in our church who have their ears pierced? He has to represent what we believe and how we think!" Obviously we already knew that was the common consensus, which was why we were already making plans to leave.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05049442534437457900 Jessica

    If you haven't already done this, you may want to look into any LGBTQ parenting groups both online and within your region. Many cities will have family picnics and other events, both for support for the parents and for the kids. They can see that they aren't alone and that there are many families beyond the "one man, one woman" mold. We don't have children yet, but I've been really impressed by the family events I've gone to. It truly is a community that will gladly accept you with open arms.

    I wish you luck in your journey. You aren't alone. A family headed by two women can be a wonderful place to raise children, as well, just as positive an experience as any other: http://www.lgbt.org.ar/blog/Matrimonio/archivos/golombok_2003.pdf

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15454965172669677301 Bethany

    I think one of the most impressive things about this series is your reaction to your spouse's changes (or at least the level of reaction you've been willing to share). For all the sympathy and acceptance I feel toward your story, I truly can't imagine being in either of your positions. It's such a foreign reality to me, and I don't know that I would have the level of flexibility or grace that you've shown in accepting a new version of your spouse. All the more because of this, I'm so grateful that you're letting us in on your world. I see unconditional love in every line you've written, and it's breathtaking.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06233321050691782148 Michael Mock

    Also (and again, I'm not Christian, so take this with a grain of salt if you like) pierced ears seems like an awfully superficial thing to focus on in terms "representing what we believe and how we think".

    At a guess, the kids probably find this less confusing than a lot of adults will. Kids tend to take things as they find them; they don't have such a deeply ingrained idea of how things "should be" to create confusion/conflict for them.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03792937108732259684 priest’s wife

    Your spouse might look into chaplaincy as a way to earn money after ministry- usually it requires a Master's in Theology and then a residency in CPE- I recommend a women's prison (I'm not being a 'jerk'- this could be a really good fit and it pays well)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13674332089949439989 Melissa

    It has been changes we have gone through together every step of the way, my spouse was very patient and put up with me asking millions of questions. I never could have imagined this would be our reality either, until it was. I've done the best I can to explain the journey, thank you.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13674332089949439989 Melissa

    Thank you for the suggestion. :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13674332089949439989 Melissa

    Thank you Jessica.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13674332089949439989 Melissa

    Yes! Sharing the struggles and the things that were shamed into silence is an incredible experience for both of us. You are so right, the more you share, the less shame has a hold. You are an inspiration as well, thank you!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13674332089949439989 Melissa

    Oh, and on the kids and confusion, I'm not sure what you mean by "this". They have had to move to a new place, but their parents are both with them and all their things came along with us. They are making new friends. They obviously did not have much knowledge about the job change given how young they are.

  • http://travelingmonkeys.org Deanna

    I just wanted to say that I love this series and I think that your partnership with your spouse is one of the greatest love stories I've read in a long time. Two suggestions for you: one, pick up the book "10,000 Dresses" for your kids. The heroine is a little girl named Bailey who just wants a dress but because she was born a boy no one will get one for her–then she finds a friend to help her. Second, watch this YouTube video. No reason except that to me it's the musical equivalent of what a high-five sounds like, and I'd love to high-five you. :D http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EIurAP4yHtQ

  • Anonymous

    Wow! Your family has been on a roller coaster ride of epic proportions. I hope that things start to settle down and that your peace will grow and continue as you are on this journey.
    Leigh Ann

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06233321050691782148 Michael Mock

    Good point; for the record, I was assuming that "this" meant "the kids' father starting to present as female" – I hadn't factored moving/changing jobs into that thought.

  • Anonymous

    I'm reading your story with much interest. I appreciate the way you think through things carefully and your honesty. I've always felt so saddened by the warped image of God that you received from your upbringing – not at all the image of the loving and merciful Father that I know from my Catholic faith. I learned as a small child that God made me to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this life and be happy with Him forever in the next. This is my prayer for you and your family. I hope that you will continue to seek Him as we cannot be happy without Him in this life and to be without Him in the next is the definition of Hell (not so much a "place" we are sent as it is a permanent rejection of a relationship that we choose to make). It's hard to discern God's will sometimes, especially in a situation as complicated as yours. But He has revealed His Truth to us definitively in His Son and through the Church that His Son founded. I pray that you will find true peace by doing God's Will and not a false peace by rejecting it. May God bless you and your family. Mary Ellen

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06583242351453043902 Kelseigh

    No reason the kids should be full of confusion if the parents are honest and open with them. Kids can be pretty sharp, and more adaptable than people give them credit for. I know when I was little, there was nothing I appreciated more than adults who would take me seriously.

  • http://grace-filled.net jen

    I'm glad that you do have people in your life who are supportive.

  • http://www.pslibrary.com/ MrPopularSentiment

    What's so striking to me about your account is how fresh it all is. The summer of 2011? That's barely a blip in time. As I'm reading, I have to keep reminding myself that this is something your family has just gone through and, most likely, is still very much going through now. And yet it reads like an old tale that you've been thinking about for a long time. I keep getting the sense that you've reflected on your family's experiences in a very mature and objective way. That's incredible given how raw the experience must still be.

    You write about the expected roles that people are supposed to play when they are in a family, and how these leave so little room for the individual. I wanted to add that this isn't just an issue when we're dealing with sexuality, but rather it's something that all of us – even those of us who naturally fit (at least superficially) the standards – have to deal with as we move out of the honeymoon phase of our relationships. We can no longer be happy with the scripts and we need to start to love and accept each other as individuals rather than ideals. Or, as my husband would say, you gotta start farting again!

    I feel like I need you to know that you aren't alone, that you aren't weird, and that your children will be totally fine. By listening to yourselves and by loving and supporting each other through a very difficult time, you have taught them a far more valuable lesson than any amount of "masculine influence" ever could. I know that even though you write with much equanimity, the emotions of your journey must still be very raw, and that you do still have many struggles ahead of you, and I hope that you remember that for every jerk you mean, there are just as many of us out here in cyberspace rooting for you.

  • Ciara

    Hi Melissa. In the grand scheme of everything, this might be a trivial question, but one I have wondered and am going to ask. You mentioned earlier that prior to your spouse embracing this new life, he would often make comments about "womens work" such as cleaning and grocery shopping. I know you said that he would now go to the store with you, which is great! I have two little ones myself and grocery shopping can be quite an experience at times! I wonder though, is your spouse participating more in what use to be thought of "womens work," such as cooking, cleaning, and such? I was just wondering if your spouse was embracing those kinds of things and if that was something maybe he had wanted to do all along. I know, sort of a trivial question, but still I wondered about it. :)

  • Anonymous

    Although you have received plenty of uplifting comments already so you certainly don't need my two cents I feel compelled to respond especially because you were gracious enough to exchange a few emails with me about two years ago mainly pertaining to gentle parenting and differences a protestant raised individual questions about the catholic church. I was pregnant with my fourth child in less then 4 years at the time and shortly before you announced the coming of your fourth, if that rings a bell :) guessing there's not many of us crazies in that time frame ;) But now I have even a greater appreciation for the eloquence and compassion you have poured into every word you've sifted through on your journey and truly honored that you took the time to dig a bit deeper for my silly questions when you were on the brink of all of this onion about to unwrap. I'm not clear on how you feel about any church at this point in time nor more importantly your feelings on God but I hope its okay for me to say with total respect and awe for all you've shown over your journey filled with love, compassion, selflessness and did I mention love, is all just incredibly Christ like. I hope and pray for the very best for you and yours. You are very generous to share your journey. I too have taken your words to heart when you said you used to comment all over other peoples blogs until you realized you could just start your own…I finally did but its too bare bones and inconsistent to even own up to it just yet. I do so appreciate the space to process thoughts safely over a long period of time so thank you again for your openness.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13674332089949439989 Melissa

    Ciara- Yep, my spouse participates in childcare and housecare equally with me now, and is learning how to cook some as well. This has been part of our quitting gender roles, you can read more about that by clicking on the "Gender roles" subject category. I think my spouse had always wanted to do many of them, other chores I think we could both do without, lol. But we now see men and women as equals, so our participation in housecare and parenting is based on our interests, talents and the need at hand, not the gender of the person.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13674332089949439989 Melissa

    Thank you. Just thank you.

  • http://jesusisntenough.blogspot.com Cherí

    What, exactly, is the difference between "true peace" and "false peace"? How does one tell which kind of peace one is experiencing?

  • Cathy W

    I've been reading this story through Libby Anne's blog. I just wanted to say I'm so glad you and your spouse were able to find a way to move forward together, and that you were able to find the support you needed.

    If you don't mind answering this – have you and your spouse had issues regarding legal recognition of your marriage? Several years ago, a friend of mine was in a similar situation, and found that after her spouse had transitioned whether or not they were married depended on what state they were in at any given moment, and I was wondering whether things had changed much.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16697786223479498256 Sal Bro

    "we cannot be happy without Him in this life"

    This is not true. Many, many people lead happy lives without a Christian god–some of us without any gods at all. You can define our peace as a "false" peace if you'd like to, but it does not change the fact that humans can be happier and healthier when freed from the burden of living according to the standards of a god.

    On the flip side, Melissa and others have written extensively about how earnestly seeking god's will created a lot of pain and suffering in their lives. You cannot deny that their search was honest and heartfelt. In the end, god's will is just the projection of the will of ordinary, fallible humans. If the standards of other people who claim to know god's will mesh closely with your own, it's possible to live happily within those standards. If not, it becomes very difficult or impossible to live happily.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16430430847669544406 Mad Gastronomer

    Rebecca, it is those who have been inculcated with the idea of a biologically-based gender and a strict gender binary who are confused by a trans person's trasition. Young children have not yet learned that false structure, and so are not generally terribly confused. Instead, they learn than gender is not based in some false understanding of biology*, and that you don't have to be who everyone else tells you you are, which is truth instead of falsehood.

    You expect confusion because you have been taught falsehood. That's all.

    *Seriously, chromosomes, gonads, external genitals, and secondary sexual characteristics are all waaaaaay more complicated than most people realize, and variations from "boys have a penis, girls have a vagina" are way more common. Case in point: there are multiple documented cases of fertile cisgender women with XY chromosomes, who have given birth repeatedly. Some of their daughters are XY as well.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13674332089949439989 Melissa

    As far as I know, in the USA trans people and their partners are still considered married by law if they were originally married as opposite sexed persons. If a trans person were to try and get married to someone of the same sex, then they would not be allowed to get legally married, even if they were once the opposite sex. Our marriage is a sort of forgotten loophole in the anti-marriage equality movement, thankfully.

  • Paula G V aka Yukimi

    I was wondering about that too after reading the linked posted in other entry of the series about the Australian couple who were thinking about divorcing (but still being together) because it was the only way Bridget would receive the legal female statue. Let's wish that loophole isn't needed for future couples because gay marriage gets legal in the whole US =)

  • Paula G V aka Yukimi

    Another happy atheist here, daughter of happy atheist parents with a happy atheist boyfriend and many happy atheists friends ^^

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08782366056731381450 Froborr

    If you were to tell me that you cannot be happy without God in your life, I would believe you. You know yourself better than I do.

    Please extend me the same courtesy when I tell you that I am happier without a god in my life than I would be with one.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01858152577717538284 Alexandra

    <–So much happier without God! The searching was torment. Recognizing that I didn't believe, and that I knew what was moral without God, was how I found peace and happiness in my life.

  • Aubergine

    I'm pretty sure that once you enter into a legal heterosexual marriage, you are still married even after transition in every state.

    The problem (and confusion) comes after you transition. In a few states that don't recognize gender changes that means that a trans person and his or her same-sex partner could get married legally. But in other states that do recognize gender changes but not same-sex marriage, those persons could NOT get married. Isn't that silly.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16430430847669544406 Mad Gastronomer

    Unfortunately, there are actually a lot of states in which marriages already in existence when one partner transitions are declared null and void if challenged in court for any reason. They'll generally hold until challenged, but in many states, precedence is on the side of a judge who just throws out the marriage. Of course, there are also places where, because of a state's lack of recognition of transition, it is possible for a couple to enter into a new same-sex marriage, although there's no telling if it will hold up in court if challenged. There are also states in which no marriage in which one partner is trans will be recognized by the courts, although again, it will probably hold unless challenged in court. I'll look around and see if I can find the list I had a while back. It's pretty scary.

  • Meyli

    I'm a new reader to your blog – found out about you through Libby Anne's. Just wanted to say thank you for sharing your story. Since you started this series, I've been anxiously awaiting each new post!
    If you don't mind me saying, you and your spouse have such a sweet love story. All the trust in one another, consideration, understanding, and willingness to work together through the hard times is really inspiring. I have almost nothing in common with your upbringing and experiences, but I think your posts have really helped me think about my own relationship.
    Can't wait to see the last post! I think we're all excited for a happy ending. Also can't wait for 'normal' updates after! Thanks for writing!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16430430847669544406 Mad Gastronomer

    The ACLU's FAQ on trans people and the law, states that marriages stand, but does mention the problems that can arise with insurance and inheritance. I'm told the ACLU is not the best resource when it comes to trans issues, but I'm having a lot of trouble finding anything further. Most of what I'm finding is about marriages made after one partner transitions.

    It looks like the specific cases I was thinking of were different issues, marriages entered after transition that were legal when entered but later invalidated by judges based on gender designated at birth, despite corrected birth certificates. It's still a good idea to be careful. With the current debates about same sex marriage, judges in conservatives states may be willing to contravene precedent on standing marriages in order to invalidate one like yours. I'd worry.

    (I, of course, am busy worrying about other cases, as my fiancee has already had her legal documents updated. Most of them. But the state she was born in doesn't correct birth certificates, which could be a problem someday. We currently live in a state where our marriage will probably be legal regardless by the time we get married, but the future is always uncertain.)

  • Radi

    Melissa, have you looked into these two resources yet:

    1. The Clergy Project, a resource for questioning / agnostic / atheistic clergypersons (and their families), to allow them to switch over to another career – started by the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science, now handed over to the clergy to run themselves, as they see the need.
    http://clergyproject.org/

    2. Recovering from Religion, a resource for people who are questioning faith and belief in gods. Not just for clergypeople, but for anyone who needs them.
    http://recoveringfromreligion.org/

  • Steve

    @Melissa
    That actually depends on where you are. There are states that don't allow people to change their gender on the birth certificate. That includes Texas for example, I think. That can lead to the paradoxical situation of being able to have a same-sex marriage there.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02614822971755761394 Rebecca

    That's confusing…so if someone is transgender prior to marriage, they basically couldn't get married to anyone??

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02614822971755761394 Rebecca

    Thank you for your replies, Melissa. I'm gonna keep reading your blog. Thank you for always sharing from the heart.

  • http://marsgirlontwowheels.wordpress.com Mars Girl

    In my state (Ohio), a trans person is not allowed to legally change their gender on their birth certificate… therefore, if couple are opposite gender as stated on their birth certificate, they are even allowed to get married even if they trans person is now living as the opposite gender. I have a friend who got through this loophole with her partner after she'd already transitioned. And she said that it really seemed to piss some old ladies off at the probate court. :)

    – Mars Girl

  • Aubergine

    Mad, the best place I know is the Transgender Law Center in San Francisco.

    http://transgenderlawcenter.org/

    FWIW, I purposely have not changed my birth certificate (from WA State.) I have a passport and driver license that show my correct gender, and that's all that's really need. I did travel to Europe two years ago with my old passport (complete with mustache) and that caused a few raised eyebrows at a few spots. ;-) Fortunately our lovely federal government now permits getting passports to match your identity.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04262012749524758120 Eamon Knight

    Meh, tried it both ways, and conclusion is: at least as happy now as an atheist as I ever was as a Christian. If nothing else, it's a great relief not having to deal with the cognitive dissonance.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16430430847669544406 Mad Gastronomer

    And I am far happier with different gods.

    The insistence that you know better than other people do about their own lives is just so condescending.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16430430847669544406 Mad Gastronomer

    Rebecca — In some states (Texas and Kansas, specifically), yes. Or rather, the courts will refuse to acknowledge any marriage a trans person might enter.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11770298265814823275 Sarah

    That sounds like such an ideal way of dividing chores.

    And I've never understood men who don't cook. Baking, I think I can get, but cooking? Aren't they effectively saying "I am a grown adult but I cannot and will not feed myself." Why would you not want to learn how to further your own survival?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03105080714287793242 saraquill

    The Transgender Legal Defense Fund (http://transgenderlegal.org/page.php?id=2) might be a good place to consult for legal issues

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13051097936243570389 Andrew Gubb

    I'm eagerly awaiting the last post. Thanks so much for sharing.

    I'm transitioning myself and just came out to my friends. A friend sent me the link. It's been wonderful on so many levels to read this. Thankyou.

    Sophia

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17404542349133650549 Basil.

    I understand exactly what the original author is saying. God is the creator of us, our emotions and feeling etc. including true and genuine happiness and peace. While you may feel a worldly joy and peace, how can you feel the even deeper and richer joy and peace that God made without knowing the creator of that? It's like claiming to know everything about a wooden chair without knowing the carpenter who created and carved and knows it better than anyone (excuse the poor analogy, I'm thinking on my toes here!) what I'm saying is that while you may have a good happy life, you are missing out on elevating those feelings so much higher by not knowing or having a relationship with the creator of it all.

    Just a disclaimer, I am not catholic, I am non denominational christian. If you don't I know the difference, do some research! Feel free to ask questions if you have any as well.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06583242351453043902 Kelseigh

    I think the issue here starts with your first assumption, that "God [the God described in the Bible, that is] is the creator of us all". If you don't buy that assumption, the rest pretty much falls apart.

    Personally, I'm sort of an odd amalgam of Wicca-esque pagan, Buddhist and skeptic/agnostic, and I feel that you can experience utter joy with the world by accepting it as it presents itself, in all its wonder and complexity, without caring one whit where it came from. It's there, it is. That's really all that's necessary. That's how I interact with reality, and from that I feel just as happy and fulfilled in that as any Christian in the world.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17952020007163151134 villemezbrown

    I was also led to your blog from Libby Anne's and have been enjoying this series. It is very brave of you to post it and you tell your story very well. I have a question for you. I believe this is the first post in the series where you explicitly mention pronouns and you say "It was also starting to feel awkward referring to him as a “he.”". Throughout the rest of this post (and all the prior posts in the series too, I believe) you continue to write about your spouse using he and him, though I notice you use the word "spouse" and not husband (or wife). Was this a conscious and intentional choice for this series? Do you plan to switch to feminine or alternative pronouns for the last post in the series?

    Thank you very much for sharing.

    Adele

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16430430847669544406 Mad Gastronomer

    Basil, I understand perfectly what the original poster meant, too. She, and you, are simply wrong, though. I might as well say, how can you know true peace without knowing the freedom and peace to be found in the ecstatic worship of Dionysos. You know nothing of the experience of others, so don't try to tell us what our experience is.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13674332089949439989 Melissa

    For clarity purposes and to accurately reflect the journey chronologically I tried to stick with one set of pronouns throughout the series. And I guess you'll just have to wait until tomorrow to see the final post for yourself. ;)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13136739606859501801 Dave

    Sarah, why can you get men not baking? I'm a straight male (with nothing I have found so far in the closet, except for moldy lunches and smelly clothes when cleaning out my teenagers' rooms) married for 25 years, but I enjoy baking (and cooking) and don't consider it 'women's work', and I don't think most people who I know consider it women's work either – I know lots of guys who are a pretty dab hand at turning out a batch of scones or a banana cake.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04262012749524758120 Eamon Knight

    Basil: I take it you missed my "I tried it both ways" above?
    Yeah, religion can be an emotional trip — but it can also have costs. It's kind of like alcohol that way. And in the end, what matters most to me is what the evidence says really is true about the universe, not what head-games you can play to make yourself feel good.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06583242351453043902 Kelseigh

    Thinking about it, the attitude of "accept the world as it is" attitude I received largely from the Buddhists in Halifax was probably a big factor in my rather rapid acceptance of my own transsexuality. Admittedly I was in denial for a long, long time, but once I was exposed to real, factual information on the condition, that was pretty much that and I jumped into transition with both feet. I would personally believe that deference to a power creating humanity would hinder such a decision, because it's going against what they created in the first place, a sentiment I've seen from many religious people. An interesting thought, in any case.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16430430847669544406 Mad Gastronomer

    Congratulations, Sophia, and good luck to you!

  • http://equalsuf.wordpress.com Jaynn

    "Many times I found myself saying the old name while thinking the new one!"

    Heh. I went through the same thing with my totally hetero relationship. We met online, so initially I knew him under a pseudonym. I don't think I ever slipped up, but as we got to know each other better I had to start correcting myself, especially after we met in person.

    Now, after being married for 5 years, it's gotten to be the opposite–I have to remember when I'm online to use his handle rather than his real name.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00612950889549668702 shaed

    Funny, it was the warped image of God taught by Roman Catholicism that turned me off of religion for the longest time. The specific tenets of that religion I was raised with go against the sense of ethics that is carved into my bones.


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