This is an installment of the Religious Fundamentalism and Sexuality Project. You can read the full list of questions here and the posting plan here. The first six participants whose stories I’ll be posting are Melissa and Haley, Lina and V, Latebloomer and Katy-Anne.
Life Outside the Bubble
1. What is your relationship with your family and/or fundamentalist friends like now?
Melissa and Haley
It is either non-existent or strained. I’ve had long phone conversations with people trying to tell me why I am wrong and how god wants me to live his way. I have had people tell me that they are not sure that they ever want to see me again, or tell me that they are not ready to see me yet.
I have a very strained relationship. I lost my job as a minister because someone accused me of dressing too femininely. Many of the fundamentalists whose relationships I once valued are essentially over. It hurts so much having people you loved tell you that you are perverted, deviant, wicked, disturbing, and demon possessed. The pain of the process reminds me of why I stayed closeted to preserve my safety and well being. Sometimes I am mad that I was raised in a community that hates people because of who they were born to be. I didn’t choose to be transgender; it just is. I wish I could have come to grips with my identity sooner and in a loving enviroment. But their mean treatment of me just confirms that coming out sooner wasn’t possible.
Lina and V
Lina:I don’t have any more fundamentalist friends. I just can’t handle it. The urge to smack people in the face is too strong. Family is getting better every month, every visit home, etc. I think in the long run we’ll be okay. There have definitely been some rough spots, but I’ve never been kicked out of the family or anything close.
Relations with my family have improved slightly. Things are not nearly as tense as they used to be, but they did perform a 21 day Daniel fast when they found out we were going to be getting married.
As for fundamentalist friends, I can’t say that I have any anymore.
My relationships with my dad and siblings are the best they’ve ever been. We actually discuss things now, have more real respect for each other, and have more understanding for each other’s quirks. Even though some of us are Christians and some of us are agnostics or atheists, we are able to interact with each other without having an agenda in mind.
My mom, on the other hand, is struggling to relate to everyone while remaining the only fundamentalist in the family. Things can be uncomfortable between us because she still tries to have a spiritual influence on our lives through spiritual platitudes rather than discussion. I don’t think she likes me or accepts me as I am.
Relationships are strained with family and strained with the one couple of fundamentalist friends I have left. Because the relationships are strained and because I love these people, I try to focus on talking about the weather or other things that are trivial rather than get into a religious debate.