Skip to main content

Today’s Lament (on trans equality)



At times I feel like weary, bitchy and annoyed at my world.

It’s easier, if not safer and less painful, to keep it vague and generalized than to think of actual persons in my life. It’s like looking at a large, indifferent audience without trying to make out individual faces for fear I might see my friends in the crowd.

This is what evokes my lament today:

What brought it on was a friend’s innocent question of his Facebook post this morning. He shared an article from The Guardian entitled Church of England to consider transgender naming ceremony  and asked if I had any thoughts.

I was going to start out by saying, “Wow, that is amazing!” Then I remembered this idea is not really new. In fact, it’s been suggested for at least a dozen years. Why has it taken this long? Consequently, my response became more somber—and longer. This is what I said:
In 2003 Justin Tanis published "Trans-Gendered Faith: Theology Ministry and Communities of Faith." In the Appendix, he offers liturgical resources which include Baptism and a Service of Renaming for trans persons who transition. 
I agree with you, this is a beautiful idea, and I've heard of this being done in a few places. That the Church of England is considering this is also beautiful, but the reality is that trans people are, for the most part, non-church goers, only 1 out of 14 trans persons attend a church or remain in a church and less than 2 out of 5 identify as Christian, which is less than half of that in the North American general population. 
Let’s put this in perspective, when only .3% of the population is trans, and only 7% of them are in a church or hope to be in a church, they are only 1 out of 5,000 persons. But this .3% includes trans people who have yet to come out; so then the question is, how many trans people have come out and transitioned? That is a number that no one knows for sure, but even if we use 50% optimistically, then only 1 in 10,000 persons is 1) trans, 2) has transitioned, 3) attends or hopes to attend church. 
Yes, we are a pretty insignificant number to be sure, and perhaps that is why our voices are not heard enough. That is also why it becomes more important for non-trans persons—especially in the church—to speak out on our behalf. 
Yet, I wonder how comfortable non-trans persons are in speaking out in defense and support of trans equality? A good test is the "Trans Equality Now" pledge/petition that is circulating on Facebook since yesterday (May 11, 2015). It is meant to be signed and shared. How many of my non-trans friends on Facebook who saw my post have shied away from signing and sharing this pledge/petition because having it on their own wall may offend some of their friends, or they'll have some explaining to do? I'm grateful that as of this writing 22 persons have liked, 13 have commented on my post from 20 hours ago, but only 4 have shared it. 
So my point is this: we have a long ways to go before trans inclusion in church and society actually takes hold and becomes the new normal. What the Church of England is considering is pittance, but even that is better than nothing—it expands the conversation. What we need if for it to be shouted from the rooftops.
I fear I’m beginning to sound like a broken record. In my May 13, 2015 blog post I wrote about how trans people are not likely to attend church and explained why. That was preceded by a similar sounding blog post on January 13, 2015. Maybe I need to change my tone. How can I recruit non-transgender persons to join the battle? Would it make it more palatable if I called it “the chorus,” or “the party” instead of “the battle?” No. Unfortunately, it is a battle, lamentably. I won't bore you with examples and all the stats. Only one story: two days ago in “progressive” Vancouver, a transgender woman—a friend of mine—was spat on and elbowed as she walk down the sidewalk minding her own business. It appears the instigator hoped she would fight back, she didn’t. She walked away.

An afterthought three hours after the original post:
We all have down days. This is one of mine. But reading and thinking about all of this in a sad fog, I guess that what I look for is all kinds of change and recognition for trans persons that doesn’t come quickly enough. Like the Green Party wanting to immediately be the next government. It ain’t going to happen. A seat here and there, but a long wait for Big Change. This is not a copout, but you have seen the TG statistics and it’s not that there is a big ‘anti’ movement out there, it’s simply not big on the radar of interest. And I can appreciate that for most people this may be one of many causes nagging at them today. 


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

“You can ride on my lap.”

Added a Postscript at 8:00 p.m. PDT on April 25, 2018 Five years ago I spent a week in Fort Lauderdale to attend a trans-related medical symposium. One of the highlights of the event was meeting Jazz Jenning and her mother in person. Jazz is the well-known trans girl who became famous when Barbara Walters interviewed her in  2008 at the age of five. The other highlight was spending each night with my first cousin, Carlos, and his wife, who live in Ft. Lauderdale. Carlos drove me to the airport on Tuesday for my return trip to Vancouver, via Chicago. Seconds after he drove away my phone vibrated. It was a text message from United Airlines telling me my 4:15 flight to Chicago was delayed until after 7:00 p.m. I entered the airport and went to the United counter. I told them I had a problem. I was scheduled to catch a connecting flight to Chicago for Vancouver about the same time I would be boarding my plane in Ft. Lauderdale.  There were no later flights from Chicago to Vanco

Paradox = Father’s Day for a trans woman.

It seems innocent enough, to have a day to celebrate fatherhood, paternal bonds, and the influence of fathers in society. The Salazar family, summer 2002. If one’s relationship with their father was a good one, this day of honor will seem completely appropriate and welcomed. If your dad was not deserving of this kind of respect, then this yearly reminder could be extremely painful. Equally, if you’re a trans woman who fathered children, this day can either be a good or a bad—if not surreal—experience. It all depends on the kind of relationship you now have with your children. Father’s Day is extremely painful when your children have rejected you and want nothing to do with you. As far as they are concerned, you might as well be dead. It hurts. However, If your relationship has survived, then you can count yourself extremely lucky. I was fortunate on two counts. On one hand, I had a dad who was loving and, best of all despite his relative old age when I came ou

Me too. But some of you already knew that.

Coincidental with my Class of 68’ 50th high school reunion, the reports of Republicans bullying Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, who question her memory of the attempted rape by Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, it has thrown me into a bit of depression. I’ve been triggered. I am here, in a motel room in San Jose, California, where in an hour my high school reunion is to take place. Earlier this afternoon I drove to the two location where I was sexually abused and raped. I  remember all the details. I may not know the name of my attackers, but my body and brain remember how it felt to be force to masturbate a man who was one of my paper route customers. I was 12 years old. I resist to compulsion to go wash my hands for, God only knows, the millionth time. Then there was the rape when I was 15 years old. Someone who purported to want to help me audition as a rhythm-guitar player in a garage band and had offered to drive me to a house in Willow Glen, a neighborhood in San Jos