Now Dear Reader, there's a phenomenon in my unit that I see every day, and while I have some theories, I remain honestly confused about.
Well Dear Reader, I have a confession. Since going off the hormones, it has become increasingly difficult for me to write. When I entered middle school all those years ago, when I was first entering male puberty, something very similar happened. I just couldn't make the connections when I was trying to describe the world. My grades went in the tank. I almost failed both sixth and seventh grade. I'd been doing great in school. knocking the shit out of the standardized tests, and then suddenly it was like I just couldn't hack it any more, even in the simplest of classes.
My parents freaked right out. They just couldn't understand why i was having so much trouble. They just couldn't figure out where their brainy, bookish son had gone. And the thing was, I didn't know what was going on either. I knew I could understand what I was learning, what I was reading about, but when I tried to put it down on paper or on a test, it just got mixed up and ugly. I felt like such a moron. There was always a great deal of anger and dissapointment directed at me.
Now, of course, I was aware that I wanted to be a girl. And yes, I know that's one of the big contradictions, one of the big paradoxes of being trans. On one hand I say that I am a woman, that I always have been, that I was created this way, but ah, ah, on the other hand I say that I want to be a female, that I have this awesome and terribly longing for womanhood. How can both be true? How can I not be liar?
I don't know, but that's the way it is. In the Episcopal Church we talk in much the same way about Christ's resurection, and his defeat of all evil and Death in the world. How can Christ have destroyed Death and Hell if we continue to suffer, if we continue to die?
Once again, I don't know, I don't know how, but I know that it is. We call it the “Already But Not Yet.” It's a wonderful concept, even if it only makes a tiny, tiny bit of sense.
But friends, I'm having so much trouble writing. I know what I want to talk about, but it jut doesn't come together. I end up with three or four bearly connected sentences after an hour or more of work. The frustation is like having eaten a piece of glass. I want to write so badly, I want to pt something down on paper, I want to trap this place and this experience on the page.
But it doesn't happen, or worse yet, I do write something and it is wholly insipid and worthless.
I've been rewatching the second season of Avatar: The Last Airbender. I want to discuss it episode by episode, explaining how it functions not only as action adventure cartoon, but also as a psuedo-scripture. How it functions in the ancient traditions of the god-man walking the Earth with his saints. Oh, there's so much to say, so much to dig into, but friends, but when I start to write there's a wall, and nothing comes, nothing happens.
I didn't realize at the time, but my writing really took off about three months after I started HRT. I didn't put it together that it had anything to do with the hormones until I went off them. It was like a facet being turn off. It was like concret being dumped into a creek. It's like the part of me that is the Combat Queer is going dormant, and all that's left is this shell that was built to serve in the military, that was built to survive the sandbox.
I don't want to just be a shell. I don't want to just be a soldier, doing my duty, resting, doing my duty, resting, doing my duty, resting, waiting for the rest of my life to start, waiting for something else to happen. I want to engage this experience as me, not as this created shell. I don't want to just sleep walk through the next year.
I'm so scared.
But even then, even now, and even in what's coming, I survive, I continue. It's hard, and it is almost certainly going to get harder. But, Christ help me, there's only one way to go, and that's forward. The time to consider giving up has past. The future must be grabbed moment by moment, pulled past the present. This time will not last. There is more, and I will have it through the goodness of the Lord.
This is not the end. This is barely even the beginning.
So, night shift again. The Fat Captain is prowling around, trying to figure out how to escape a day early for the up coming weekend. This will probably be weekend pass any of us get to spend with our families, so a lot of folks are flying their people out to the mob site. We aren't allowed to go back home, but it is Ok for us to bring people here.
Me, I don't have anyone coming. Oh, don't cry too hard Dear Reader, I've got some cool plans for the weekend. There's going to be beer, books, babes, everything a growing girl needs for a healthy progession into nirvana. I've managed to get a reasonable priced hotel in a cool area. I know a few locals who I want to hang out with, so I got no worries.
And I think I'm going to girl out. Gonna girl out hard. If my wacky, hair-brained scheme works, I may even be able to grab another round of laser hair removal for my face before the weekend's out.
Let's, uh, let's just take a quick second to discuss exactly why I want some more laser hair removal. Of all the nonsense that goes along with presenting as a dude, having hair growing out of your face? It might not be the single most lame part of it, but oh, oh, it's up there. Don't even get my started on the in-grown hairs. It's bad enough that because of the sharp different between the color of my skin and the color of my hair, no matter how carefully and completely I shave, it always looks like I'm sporting a five o'clock shadow.
Out side of the trans thing, outside of the layer upon layer of foundation I have to slather on to have the bearest hope of passing, the five o'clock shadow causes me trouble even here in the military. You see Dear Reader, in a given Army unit about a third of the personel are at any given moment doing nothing but looking for reasons to put somebody down. A great and easy way of attacking others is to louding and stupidly point out the ways in which they fail to meet the Army's standards of grooming. Basically, if somebody else's hair is a nanometer too long, if his beard is the least bit untamed, if his boots are less than mirrors(actually, now that we've moved to desert boots there's no more shining. It's the best thing in the world, but I worry about the sergeant majors. Bitching about the shiny-ness of boots seemed to give their lives such color and meaning. Now what do they have? Belts? Bitching about proper belts will never be as good as bitching about the shiny-ness of boots.) well, he's not as much of a soldier as the other fellow. That gives the other fellow power, which is usually immediately used to waste the first guy's time.
And it almost always looks like I forgot to shave. And that's real, real lame. Fortunately, I usually have about a month of freedom from facial hair after a session of laser hair removal. Hell, this might almost carry threw to July. I am psyced.
The only other thing standing between me and girling out hard this weekend is that I have no cloths or make-up with me. I could only carry stuff to the mob site that could safely be dumped out in front of other NCOs and officers. That means no lipstick, no eyeliner, no bras, no skirts, no tops, and no girl jeans. I have exactly two articles of civilian cloths, and both of them are decidedly made for the male wearer.
Now, I've been saving up my money, so there's no reason I can't buy a nice set of girl cloths and some lower end make-up and doll myself out nicely. The issue is, and I'm aware that this is going to sound silly, that I hate to buy cool cloths and then throw them away three or four days later. I just feel bad about it. Growing up I was always kept from owning the stuff that I actually wanted to wear, and now I have a hard time getting rid of anything I like.
I supposed I could solve this by buying ugly cloths, but somehow I just don't see any money getting spent on that course of action.
But I really want to girl out. I really want to be me for a little while instead of just participating in this role, this straight, friendly Christian, optumistic Army boy who I prentend to be. Oh, it'll be a relief to have a few days off from pretending to not be queer. It will probably even be enough of a relief to sacrifice a cool top(probably a black strappy thing of some description) and a hot pair of jeans, as much as it kills me to do so.
So, tonight one of my officers called President Obama an ape.
Yep, we were watching North By Northwest, and <Spoiler Alert> the climax of the film takes place at Mt. Rushmore. One of the other sergeants mentioned that there is a rocky outcropping right by the giant sculpted headed that looks like an ape. This officer, a captain, says “They can go ahead and start calling it 'Obama.'” And them, after a big laugh at his own joke, he reminded everyone that he was just kidding.
So just remember folks, just because I tend to focus on the sexism, homo and transphobia in these posts, there's still plenty of other stuff going on with the Army.
This captain, he's also regularly quite upset with the media for being so anti-soldier. How exactly are they anti-soldier? Well, the other day during one of his “the Media is oppressing me” rants, I said to him, “As they say in Pulp Fiction: Example.” The Captain could not think of a single specific news story in which soldiers were vilified. He did say that Adriana Huffington was behind a lot of these attacks on soldiers that he couldn't quite remember.
I don't know a lot about the woman, but from what the Captain tells me, she must be an awful, awful woman. She must have hit his dog with a car and laughed about(Seriously, the Captain has a three-legged dog. He's very proud of it. He regularly talks about how, once we get back from the sandbox, he's going to take it around to wounded soldiers in hospitals and use ol' Tripod to cheer them up. 'Cause a three legged dog, that's what recent amputees need.).
Anyway, here's the thing. It may have been said by someone else before, and if it has been it was probably said better, but Dear Reader, let's just talk a quick minute and talk about why someone would feel so victimized by the news. I suspect that on some level people like the Racist Captain(not to be confused with the Fat Captain from my earlier post. Those two are actually pretty good friends) has a lot in common with intelligent mildew. Intelligent mildew, were such a thing to exist, would be terrified of good strong sunlight. The intelligent mildew would know that if it were left out exposed in the sunlight, it would dry up and be destroyed. Intelligent mildew can only thrive in dark, damp places where is has lots of books or cloths to destroy and rot its way through.
In the same way, people like the Racist Captain know that if the truth of who they were was put on display, they were shrivel up and be destroyed. Despite all the pride they take in and effort they put into their racism, people like the Racist Captain are aware of how shameful their positions are. They feel bad about thinking the way they do but instead of turning those negative feelings into something positive(like, say, turning away from racism) they channel their negative feelings into a deep hatred of those who, the Racist Captain fears, might expose him for what he is.
I used to get angry, but these days I just feel sad for these people. It's really pretty pathetic the ways in which they are broken. Anger is too good for them. Anger suggests that they might be strong, worthy opponent. Pity is the answer. We should pity these poor wretches because they are simply too weak and stupid to do better. It's sad that they are damaged, but it doesn't mean that we should treat them like their opinions matter.
So, I'm working the night shift. And I got in a fight tonight. But, uh, it wasn't your normal fight. If fact, this one left me with slightly more to think about than how much I've scrapped my fists up or how much trouble I'll be in if the command finds out.
There are some civilian contractors working on this here Army base, and some of the folks from my unit got to talking to one of them. The contractor was an old guy. He had been in the infantry back in Vietnam, and was still very proud of that fact. This guy was spouting off with every sort of neocon talking point, and it was getting on my nerves.
Now, in this Army, I'm pretty used to stuff getting on my nerves, so I wasn't anywhere near fighting level yet. Old Dude, it turned out that he had once been an Episcopalian, but had left the church after Gene Robinson had been made a bishop.(For those of you with better things to do than follow Episcopal Church politics, Bishop Robinson was the first openly gay bishop. It caused all sorts of crying and carrying on, mainly from those outside the church who felt that the existence of a queer religious figure somehow threatened their own faith. Yeah, yeah, bitch bitch bitch moan.)
Now, normally when I deal with someone who is just in love with radical Right Wing bullshit who jumped ship from the church, well, normally I find my self thinking some variation of “Good Riddance,” but I don't know, this time I decided to consider the ways in which the division of the Church was detrimental to both sides.
Oh Dear Reader, let me tell you, I was feeling pretty darn loving and accepting of my Conservative brothers and sisters there for a second.
And then Old Dude started talking about how great it would be if that one state succeeded from the USA, and how much better things would be once that had happened and... well Dear Reader, there is something about the concept of people who think of themselves as “Real Americans” who also want to destroy this country that just flips a switch in my head. It just makes me incredibly angry. Maybe that has something to do with the double standard where, no matter how much I do for this nation, because I'm a damned queer I can never be as much of an American as Joe the Unlicensed Plumber. It just really pissed me off.
And, after another half hour of listening to Old Dude repeat Rush Limbaugh bullshit, I entered the conversation. And two minutes after that I pointed out that it was ridiculous for him to consider himself a patriot at the same time he wanted his home state to secede.
Now remember, this is a guy who fought in Vietnam in the Infantry, and has continued to work on Army bases ever sense.
How do you think he reacted to being called a traitor by someone a little more than a third his age?
Yeah, he reacted exactly that well. Old Dude exploded a little bit.
A while later I ran in to him again, and I apologized for insulting him. He apologized for going off on me. We actually ended up talking for about three hours. Now, this fellow really hates Obama, and wants to see most of congress hanged for treason, but here's the thing:
Once you get past the basic politics, this guy and I have a lot in common. We're both opinionated as hell, hot headed, and unable to back away from a fight. As the conversation wore on, Old Dude admitted that he gets along very well with lesbians, and really doesn't have anything against people so long as they do their jobs. We talked about family stuff, about how strange and confusing close interpersonal relationships can be.
It was really weird, but here's the thing. Old Dude and I will never agree, not in a billion years, on a lot of issues. That's just the way it is.
Despite that, I don't think we have to be enemies. I think that, maybe, if we stop acting like idiots for the moment, we might find value in each other. Or something.
I suck pretty hard at the whole “love you enemy” think, but I'm trying.
So Dear Reader, remember a few weeks ago when I posted something about how one of the great things about being a godsdamned queer is that it sets you free of many of the oppressive systems of the world? And, at least as a Christian in today's America, it frees you from the heresy of believing yourself to be a perfectly morally righteous person? Remember?
Well, I may not have said it that clearly, but that's what I was going for.
Here's an article that a friend laughingly sent me:
The author Sam Schulman argues that it's just fine to be anti-gay marriage because it's not just the bigots and the Bible-thumpers who believe that one group should be excluded from a set of rights enjoyed by others. Sam says that the real problem people have with gay marriage has nothing to with morals and ethics, but is rather a question of kinship.
Now friends, you might be saying, “Kinship? Really? What is this, Freshman year anthro class? ... And if it is Freshman year again, why I aren't I more hungover?”
Well Dear Reader, we for better or worse are here in the present, as we always tend to be. What's going on here, I suspect, is that it has started to penetrate many Conservatives mental shields that there's something wrong with discriminating against queers solely on the basis of who they develop sexual and romantic feelings for. They are, Lord help them, starting to feel guilty about their bigotry.
And that's a good thing. I firmly believe that it's possible for people to get along. We can love each other, make things work. The world doesn't absolutely need to be in the state that it is. A new world, a better world is possible. That, friends, that is the world that I believe Christ was calling us to.
But let's not get ahead of ourselves. Real quick, let's take a look at Schulman's four ridiculous reasons for claiming that homosexuals will never be able to fully participate in systems of kinship:
Here's the core of his first argument:
Marriage, whatever its particular manifestation in a particular culture or epoch, is essentially about who may and who may not have sexual access to a woman when she becomes an adult, and is also about how her adulthood--and sexual accessibility--is defined.
This most profound aspect of marriage--protecting and controlling the sexuality of the child-bearing sex--is its only true reason for being, and it has no equivalent in same-sex marriage.
Without systems of kinship, Schulman says, no one has “a duty to protect her virginity until the time came when marriage was permitted or, more frequently, insisted upon.”
So basically, women need not only protection, but also a clear outside force telling them when or when not they can have sexual relations. With homosexuals, there's no one telling women what to do with their bodies. And God only knows what a woman will get up to with out a powerful force regulating her body.
Schulman seems vaguely aware that this is a stupid and horrible thing to say, but he comforts himself and his readers with the following statement:
But the duty of virginity can seem like a privilege, even a luxury, if you contrast it with the fate of child-prostitutes in brothels around the world.
Yeah, see? If it weren't for men telling women what to do with their bodies, it'd be nothing but horizon to horizon child-prostitute brothels.
He is saying that the only two choices for women is to hand over control of their bodies and their virginity to powerful men or to be whores. The system is what keeps women safe, and nothing else. If women do not submit themselves to the system, then, says Schulman, they are doomed.
Moving on to argument #2:
Second, kinship modifies marriage by imposing a set of rules that determines not only whom one may marry (someone from the right clan or family, of the right age, with proper abilities, wealth, or an adjoining vineyard), but, more important, whom one may not marry. Incest prohibition and other kinship rules that dictate one's few permissible and many impermissible sweethearts are part of traditional marriage. Gay marriage is blissfully free of these constraints. There is no particular reason to ban sexual intercourse between brothers, a father and a son of consenting age, or mother and daughter. There are no questions of ritual pollution: Will a hip Rabbi refuse to marry a Jewish man--even a Cohen--to a Gentile man? Do Irish women avoid Italian women? A same-sex marriage fails utterly to create forbidden relationships. If Tommy marries Bill, and they divorce, and Bill later marries a woman and has a daughter, no incest prohibition prevents Bill's daughter from marrying Tommy. The relationship between Bill and Tommy is a romantic fact, but it can't be fitted into the kinship system.
(I swear, I was going to dig out the most telling bit of that paragraph but the whole thing is evidence of the ridiculousness of this argument)
To restate Schulman's claim, because homosexual relationships violate one part of Schulman's idea of kinship, he sees no reason by they shouldn't transgress every taboo, law, ethic and moral known to man. It is somehow unimaginable to Schulman that all the same societal rules would remain in place with the exception of the gender of the two participants in the relationship. This assumption of the utter depravity of a homosexual relationship only makes sense it one can imagine homosexuals to be entirely incapable of good.
Here's another way of looking at it: Let's imagine that I enjoy drinking Coca Cola and you enjoy drinking Pepsi. More than enjoying Pepsi, you believe that Pepsi is the only thing worth drinking, and that it is terribly wrong to drink anything that isn't Pepsi. If someone's not drinking Pepsi, you say, why wouldn't they be slaughtering children and drinking the blood? If someone doesn't like Pepsi, you say, well then you just better not drink anything, no matter how thirsty you are.
It has nothing to do with the benefits of drinking the Coke or the Pepsi, is all about the sanctity of the system, the sanctity of the idea that Pepsi is the best product. It is madness.
Also, oddly, a lot of Schulman's big questions seem to be less about incest and pedophilia, and more to do with whether or not it's ok for homosexuals to cross race norm, leading of course to “ritual pollution.” Can a Jewish marry a Gentile? An Irish woman marry an Italian woman? It seems that Schulman puts inter-racial relationships on the same level as a father having a sexual relationship with his son.
I don't know if anyone has told Schulman, but it's ok for folks to have inter-racial relationships. Most folks no longer consider that as bad as incest and pedophilia.
But, leaving that alone, let's move on to #3:
Third, marriage changes the nature of sexual relations between a man and a woman. Sexual intercourse between a married couple is licit; sexual intercourse before marriage, or adulterous sex during marriage, is not. Illicit sex is not necessarily a crime, but licit sexual intercourse enjoys a sanction in the moral universe, however we understand it, from which premarital and extramarital copulation is excluded. More important, the illicit or licit nature of heterosexual copulation is transmitted to the child, who is deemed legitimate or illegitimate based on the metaphysical category of its parents' coition.
Gay lovers live merrily free of this system. Can we imagine Frank's family and friends warning him that "If Joe were serious, he would put a ring on your finger"? Do we ask Vera to stop stringing Sally along? Gay sexual practice is not sortable into these categories--licit-if-married but illicit-if-not (children adopted by a gay man or hygienically conceived by a lesbian mom can never be regarded as illegitimate). Neither does gay copulation become in any way more permissible, more noble after marriage.
So basically, straight folks can have both licit and illicit sex, which is important because it determines whether or not their child is a valid member of society. Homosexuals, though, homosexuals are incapable of licit sex. While Schulman does admit that the children of homosexuals don't count as “illegitimate,” as he never goes so far as to say that they are “legitimate) The idea here is that since everything homosexuals do is immoral, there is no reason to sanctify it in marriage.
One of the problems here is that once again Schulman can only imagine a coercive, dominating societal rule in which people must be placed into neat, clean categories from which they may near escape. For Schulman, a child must be either legitimate or illegitimate. A woman must either be a virgin or a whore. If we start dismantling the systems by which we define people and assign them their proper place in society, asks Schulman, how will they be properly controlled?
The other problem, and this is the big one, is that Schulman can not imagine a real, beautiful, spark of divine love existing between two people of the same gender. Love is notoriously hard to define with hard and fast logic. If Plato, Omar Khayyam, and Augustine couldn't nail down what love is, well the ol' Combat Queer probably isn't going to do much better. All I know is that the God I follow, the one I search after, He was tortured to death because of His love for us. He defined Himself by His love for us. If we poor humans can find some love, if we can find someone with whom to try to build a shelter against the storms of the world with, and build that shelter in love, then it seems to me that that love, that relation is worthy of honor.
Schulman isn't worried about love. He only cares about the system, and making sure that everyone from illegitimate child to
Moving on to #4:
Fourth, marriage defines the end of childhood, sets a boundary between generations within the same family and between families, and establishes the rules in any given society for crossing those boundaries. Marriage usually takes place at the beginning of adulthood; it changes the status of bride and groom from child in the birth family to adult in a new family.
A wedding between same-sex lovers does not create the fact (or even the feeling) of kinship between a man and his husband's family; a woman and her wife's kin. It will be nothing like the new kinship structure that a marriage imposes willy-nilly on two families who would otherwise loathe each other.
Now, the only way that I can imagine someone making this argument is if they have never spent time which the family of a homosexual whose family loved and welcomed her or his same-sex significant other. I've know several such families. I've heard a friend's mother regularly refer to her son's long term boyfriend as her son-in-law, wholly without irony. Family's who love their children, a lot of them will eventually accept the fact of their kids' homosexuality. It just happens. Marriage does not magically bind the fates and fortunes of two families. We're not royalty tying together two warring nations. The idea that straight marriage somehow magically makes two families get along is ridiculous. I have lived through many, many fights among in-laws. It's just a part of the world.
Schulman, for whatever reason, really hates the idea of people being free. More than anything else Schulman wants people bound up in chains of tradition and worldly bullshit. In the Gospel of Luke, Christ called us out of exactly this kind of thing. (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=luke%2014:25-33;&version=31;)
Christ calls us to throw away the systems of the world. Why? Because these systems are bullshit.
These systems of control only exist to turn human being into products, into commodities. These systems only exist to prevent us for understanding each other as being equally human. These systems that Christ freed us from only exist to let us know who we can kill, who we can use, who we can treat as things. These systems tell s that we are Americans and they are Iraqis, and that makes it ok that we've killed a million of them for no good reason.
It's absolute bullshit, but some folks want to keep us in those chains. The strange freedom is somehow far more frightening than that familiar entrapment.
So, I've been reading Shane Claiborne's Irresistible Revolution. It's a really interesting book, one of the finest examples of Evangelical writing I've ever read. Here's a guy who is definitely advocating a form of fundamentalism, but one why I'm not diametrically opposed to.
Claiborne is obsessed with the idea of radical love for all people, nonviolence, and fighting for justice for those in poverty. Not so shockingly, that old book the Bible has an incredible amount of support for a faith like Claiborne's, you know, what with the thrust of the prophets and the Gospels being largely about the need for humanity to “walk humbly, love justice, and do mercy.”
He, like me, is a failed protestant in a lot of ways. Reading his story about how he became disenchanted with the self-righteous, in-looking, materialist bullshit of American Christianity, well, it all rings true. Far too often American Christianity is about becoming the greatest, the best, the strongest. American Christianity loves to jump in bed with the ideas and ideals of the Military-Industrial Complex. American Christianity loves to worship our nation and the power of our nation as a god instead of that homeless rabbi, the one who got lynched for speaking the truth in love so much that it pissed the whole world off.
American Christianity's got some problems, and Claiborne sees those. What I really like about this book, though, is that it isn't simple a critique of the problems. Dude actually takes the time to suggest alternatives to the current system, alternatives based on the teachings of Christ and the prophets.
But now, before we go too crazy talking about how awesome this book is, I want to talk to you for a minute about the reasons that it really scares me. Dear reader, I am afraid of Evangelicals. There, I've said it.
Evangelicals, not all of them certainly, not Fred Clark, not Jim Wallis, not my dear friend who introduced me to this, but many, maybe most, legitimized the politics that lead to the deaths of a million innocent Iraqis. Many Evangelicals work every to reinforce systems of oppression that lead to the rape of murder of folks like me. Many Evangelicals spend their time trying to rebuild all those chains that Christ broke that day up on the cross.
They scare the shit out of me.
And I know, I know that it is probably a sin that I have not yet been able to forgive that body of American Evangelicals for what they've done, what they continue to do. I know that in some ways I let them continue to do harm in the world, do harm to me by not find forgiveness for them. But friends, I'm sorry. The things I've seen, the ways in which I've seen people treated. It has hurt me, it has hurt my family, it's hurt this world.
I want to find more love and forgiveness for them, but it's hard. There are so many American Evangelicals who I do love, who fine and wonderful people. They give me so much hope, but when I think about that wider group, all those folks who fought for Prop 8, who spread rumors about Obama being a Muslim, who put out letters accusing trans folks of wanting nothing more than to get into women's bathrooms for the purpose of rape, sometimes I don't know how I can love and forgive all of them, the idea of all of them.
I keep trying to love and forgive Evangelicals one at a time, but I don't know if that's enough.
So when I read a book like this, no matter how smart and cool it seems, I don't entirely trust it. That's just the truth. I keep looking for the razor blade in the apple. I keep waiting for Claiborne to admit that despite his ideas about radical love, radical welcome, the God of losers (Man, I really like that term), I keep wait for him to say, “But you know what? Gays and queers? God still hates them. I'm not talking about God being the Lord of those kind of losers. I meant the other ones, the ones who are just too righteous for this terrible materialist, queer-infested planet.”
But now, Claiborne never comes out and attacks queers. He attacks the rich, the powerful. That's fine and good, and I'm down with that. He had beautiful, wise things to say to about poverty, the ways in which society separates people so that systems of oppression can continue without burdening the consciences of the powerful. His talk about the One Church, the Universal Church is moving and lovely. I share many of the same dreams of over coming the silly, petty barriers that separate us. He has many, many good ideas and ideals.
But, it scares me. He mentions transsexuals once in this book. He uses us as an extreme example of how everyone from transsexuals to SUV drivers are welcome in the body of Christ. It's a positive welcome, but at the same time, I don't know how I feel about being used as an end marker for the bottom side of the scale of weird.
I don't know. This book really is about the love God has for people on the bottom, and transsexuals tend to find our way there are some time or another. Like I talked about in an earlier post, I know that being trans knocks me out of, or at least down in, the game of the world, the constant ratty mission to become the greatest or the best. I think that that, for me at least, can be a blessing. And I think that from what is written here, Claiborne might seem to go along with it, but...
Look, I just wish he had come out clearly and voiced his support for queers. I know that this book was aimed at the Evangelical establishment, that the idea here was to offer all those bright beautiful young Evangelical kids a chance to follow God in ways that weren't just worshiping their own power or the power of their country, and I know that if this book took too much time to support queers those young Evangelicals would far, far too scared to read it, but...
Still, I wish Claiborne would say that he didn't hate me. It's hard to listen to someone talk about the love of God, but know that no matter how fine their words about forgiveness and welcome are, that they might still be willing to turn on you. I just wish he was clearer on that point.
So, let's talk about rape for a minute. I know it's not a pleasant topic, but it's one that is often ignored around trans issues. Trans folks are far more likely than straights to be victims of sexual assault. And that's really awful.
As I've said to a few people, I can't say that I really understand what goes on in straight guys heads a lot of the time. The reasoning just seems alien. For some reason, though, when Mr. Alpha Straight Dude realizes that he has been “tricked” into being attacked to an individual with similar chromosomes to his, he often responds with violence. And not just violence, but sexual violence.
Now, I could toss up some theories like, dude is trying to prove that he's still sexually dominate even though he became aroused by another individual with a wang, something along those lines, but seriously, I don't get it.
But it happens. Big, strong girl that I am, I get scared of rape sometimes. Yeah, laugh it up, but you trying showering with a bunch of tired, angry, bored young men after you've been on hormones for me than year. Yeah, I have little trouble passing as male, but I have little trouble passing as female either. I have breasts. I have hips. My curves certainly aren't anything like some women's out there, but hey, they exist. It's not something that I can hide, especially in the shower. My main defense is the taboo against male on male arousal. is simply to never put myself in a position where my comrades could see me a female.
But yeah, it can be scary.
But see, it's not just about me. Focus On The Family, that pseudo-scientific, pseudo-christian bullshit factory, the one constantly pumping out it's offal from Colorado, last week they sent out a letter warning of Obama's plans to push laws through that would allow men to use women's bathroom.
“OMG,” says stupid Evangelicals, “Men are going to try to rape women in those bathroom!” they said in terrified voices, “When did Obama become so pro-bath room rape? Why doesn't he have women's best interests in mind? Is it the Muslim thing? Oh God!”
You see, the legislation that Focus On The Family's letter is talking about? It isn't talking about men. It's talking about letting trans people use the bathroom correct for their gender.
Now, dear reader, you might be saying, “But Combat Queer, what does it matter what bathroom trans folks use?”
Going back to the beginning, trans folks are at risk of being raped. It isn't fair for them to be forced into situations where they are a) forced to out themselves by going into the gender-incorrect bathroom, b) forced to trespass in a “man's area,” thereby increasing the chances of pissing off some Alpha Straight Dude, and c) forcing them into a small, enclosed area with potential pissed-off Alpha Straight Dudes. It isn't healthy, it isn't safe, it isn't fair.
Now, I first heard of Focus On The Family's letter threw one of my officers. He was making a big joke of the idea of trans people. According to this officer, the only reason trans people exist is so that they can disguise themselves as women, sneak into women's bathrooms, and rape the young women within.
So yeah, this is bullshit. It's all based on the idea that trans women aren't really women, that trans women are rapists, and that trans women have rights to safety or protection.