Guest post: Growing up to be a woman

I’m participating in National Blog Posting Month – which means I’m aiming to post at least once a day for the month of November. Most of these will be my posts, but there’ll also be a few guest bloggers, which I’m really excited about!

AWH Reader Faith has generously shared some of her writing on growing up trans and Christian, and her Christian faith now as a transsexual woman. This is the first of two posts. – Grace


Like most of these notes, this one was triggered by a question.  “Why didn’t you transition sooner?”  There are all kinds of reasons (excuses) I could give, but here’s the real reason:  I wasn’t a woman until recently.  OMG!  Did she just say that out loud?  Transsexual heresy!  o_0

OK, pick your jaw up off the floor and listen for a few minutes.  I wasn’t able to be a woman until I grew up.  Long before I was a woman I was a little girl.  I craved approval, others’ opinions of me were much more important to me than what I  thought of myself.  Actually I didn’t have much of an opinion about  me apart from what others said about me.  My self worth was mostly controlled by my parents, teachers, and peers.  I was terrified of conflict, I never wanted to disagree with anyone or have them feel that I was in the wrong.  I learned fairly young that being a girl was something that I should only do secretly.  Playing the boy everybody told me I was kept me out of conflict and  sheltered me from at least some disapproval.

But the little girl kept dreaming and praying and wishing she would grow up to be a woman.  As her body changed and betrayed her, she retreated into a fantasy world where she was somehow magically transformed into a beautiful woman (who, crazy as it sounds, could build a mean racing engine).  On the outside, she tried to fit into the role that was expected but she wasn’t very good at it.  And how could she be?  A little girl is not able to be a man, even if she can grow a foot-long beard.

Years went by, and the little girl told her secret to her brother who she trusted more than anyone else in the world.  Rejected!  God, how that hurt!  But we don’t grow without pain, and even though I didn’t know it at the time I was starting to grow up.  The hurt healed, and I grew into the new freedom and responsibility I had thrust upon me.  At 35, it was way past time for this girl to grow up!

Like kittens always grow up to be cats, when little girls grow up they become women.  This woman didn’t care what people thought about her, she cared what God thought about her.  She learned that with God’s help she was able to do anything God called her to do.  This woman was no longer willing to live a lie in order to win approval and avoid conflict.

Growing up to be a woman was painful at times, but now that I’m grown up I can see that it had to be this way.  Without that pain the little girl would have been a desperate fantasy in a dark basement instead of growing up to be a real live woman with the sun on her shoulders, the wind in her hair, and joy in her soul.

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Sunday round up (late night version)

Some of this week’s religion and gender news, short and sweet this time!

Sign a petition asking CA Gov. Schwarzenegger to end the shackling of pregnant inmates. (CA residents only)

Presbyterian (PCUSA) clergy and elders can sign the Minneapolis Declaration of Conscience, a petition supporting marriage equality in the church.

Catholics for Equality, an LGBT rights Catholic group, just launched.  Some non-Catholic LGBT activists are skeptical.

An ad campaign urging the Catholic Church to ordain women will run during the Pope’s visit to London next month. (ht TheSliverParty).

A columnist at the Catholic Exchange “advises” a trans woman: “It is better to die than to offend God.” What happened to sanctity of life? (ht knitmeapony)

The National Organization for Marriage’s Rhode Island Director compares gay parents to dead parents.  Very Classy.  Also super Christ-like.

Like the debate over gender roles, the debate over gay marriage has parallels to the 19th-century debat e in the States over slavery. (ht KidCharlemgn/Outside of Eden).

Ecclesia de Lange, a South African Methodist Minister, has been suspended for performing a same sex marriage.

This series of articles by Juliet Jacques on her gender reassignment journey is very worth reading.

GLAAD has their weekly LGBT religion news roundup here.


Sunday Roundup

This week in God and Gender:

A San Diego Catholic congregation ordained a female pastor.   More power to them!

Information from the TransGriot on an upcoming October TransFaith in Color Summit in Culver City, CA.

Also via the TransGriot, sobering reminders that transphobia kills people: yesterday was the 15th anniversary of the death of Tyra Hunter due to medical transphobia.  Last Thursday would have been Angie Zapata’s 21st birthday.

Heteronormativity kills, too: A 17 month old boy was beaten to death by his mother’s boyfriend for “acting like a girl.” Heart-wrenching, difficult article to read, but important.

Ta-Nehisi Coates on why abortion is not comparable to black slavery: “This is not a matter of being pro-choice or pro-life. This is a matter of living in a country that is more fascinated with the machinations of Stonewall Jackson, than Sojourner Truth. One reason that black people grimace at invocations of their history to justify the struggle du jour, is because, very often, the invokers really don’t know what the fuck they are talking about. Put bluntly they have no deep knowledge of the black struggle, and are not seeking any. For them, black history is a rhetorical device, employed to pummel their ideological foes, and then promptly discarded for more appropriate instruments.”

Anne Rice discusses her decision to leave Christianity: “It’s a matter of rejecting what I’ve discovered about the persecution of gays, the persecution and oppression of women and the actions of the churches on many different levels . . . all of this finally created a pressure in me, a kind of confusion, a toxic anger at times, and I felt I had to step aside.”

From No Quivering,When Bad Things Happen to Quiverfull Moms – A sad example of how common dissociation (especially psychological numbing and disengagement) is as a coping mechanism for suffering and abuse in these communities.  AKA, how a quiverfull mom excuses having no running water, a smoke-filled living room, a freezing family, and a first floor that’s flooded for months, all because her irresponsible husband refuses to fulfill his responsibilities to the family that he’s forced into a prairie frontier lifestyle.

Some international news, via AWH reader Jordan: A Malaysian state is to allow Muslim girls under the age of consent of 16 years to wed in a bid to stem unwed pregnancies, angering the country’s women’s activists and politicians.