Giving birth, being adopted, becoming a “transphobe,” hating reality TV, and generally entertaining revelations against my will

For months now my posts here and at catholictrans have been building up to a new direction. I realize in retrospect that everything I’ve posted recently, original material or otherwise, have been the contractions leading up to massive labor pains. For many insomniac nights I’ve been squinting at my dark ceiling and seeing patterns of motion, webs of ideas, and clashing good n’ evil in such a large vista that my small human mind can’t actually piece it all together and I feel literally insane. But slowly, the different pieces that I feel to be interconnected are presenting themselves to me in an orderly queue.

I blame the intercession of the Virgin Mary. She has that way of simplifying things. Nazareth spirituality FTW. B)

Since Caitlyn Jenner emerged into the spotlight, I’ve experienced growing anxiety and frustration about the conversations on trans issues. On one hand a lot of the wrath from both conservatives and feminists is deliberately hurtful and cruel. On the other hand, the claims of the trans movement amount to essentially “don’t tell the Emperor he has no clothes” – hence the outrage from conservatives and feminists. We may be a minority, but I’ve seen trans people and liberal “allies” swarm to destroy anyone who doesn’t completely and utterly agree with them down to the letter. I wonder to myself: is this the movement I’m part of? What does transphobia even mean any more? Not when a man beats a trans woman’s head in because she’s trans. Apparently if you even want to discuss what the definitions of “sex” and “gender” are, you’re a transphobe.

Apparently I’m a transphobe. Well hell.

The word that comes to mind to describe the actions of the trans movement lately is pride. Other words would be presumption, aggression, and entitlement. We demand that you immediately recognize anyone who expresses the tiniest inkling of gender doubt to be an autonomous definer-of-all-gender-for-all-people. We protest violently when we’re even reminded of the predicament of our birth. Yes, it sucks that I was born male – it really, viscerally, awake-at-four-in-the-morning-feeling-stabbing-pains-in-my-non-womb sucks. And my closer girl friends won’t jab at me that I have no uterus because it upsets me. But me demanding that the word uterus is stricken from the dictionary because I don’t have one is as ridiculous coming from me as coming from a natal female who had a hysterectomy.

And believe me, I get it. There’s always a straw that breaks the camel’s back, and oppressed minorities can only handle so much. I mean, I really get it – I’m living it. I also get that us millennials don’t believe in natural justice or equity – our lack of faith in the older generation drives us to demand our needs. After all, if we don’t look out for ourselves, who will? Women didn’t get suffrage by politely asking men to hand them a ballot. I get it.

However, the mob mentality endemic in my little corner of the population is swelling into a rip tide. It’s actually sickening. It’s actually terrifying. Exactly two years ago I was praising God because it seemed a stroke of pure Fortune that just as I was coming out of the closet, trans people were getting the first positive visibility ever. Now, barely a smidgeon of history later, a swarm of what I call hiccup identities are trying to redefine literally all of philosophy and, well… the dictionary. I don’t get how we got from there to here. How did we get from cute little Youtube videos of trans girls coming clean about a lifetime of gender agony to bearded males waltzing into women’s restrooms in the name of their “infallible” flaccid gender identity? In the matter of a heartbeat I went from being a transgender activist to an inconvenient binary tranny on the outskirts, all because the tide’s water spread out over so much territory that anything hard and real like biological sex or crippling gender dysmorphia stand out of the shallows like ugly promontories.

And this isn’t a matter of “membership.” Anyone who struggles with the many-headed Hydra that is gender to the point of being substantially gender non-conforming needs a voice. But this whole remake-the-world-in-our-(transgender)-image thing is bizarre. Especially the part where putting on a dress for a day during an interview for a web journal makes you suddenly Eve, Mother of All Womanhood Herself.

I’ve been thinking and praying a lot about trans identity lately. And the truth is, I can still praise God at the Fortune of when I was born. Even as the movement I thought was there to liberate me moves farther away and teeters on the edge of some incalculable abyss, it makes all the more clear where the real movement is. The stirrings of the Spirit are making themselves felt, and I do believe God has elected this moment in history to bring transgender people into His family. The thing is, being part of a family looks different than being a postmodern individualistic monad. My gender identity will look different as a communal participation in Church life than a transgenderist activists will look like as the sole new definer of all gender.

In a recent post I wrote (addressing womyn-born-womyn, or really any natal female):

I recognize that as a transsexual, I’m something of a gender orphan. I hope for adoption, but I’m not about to demand it.

After I published that post, I found myself rereading that line over and over again. Narcissistic? Perhaps. But like Narcissus, this self-devotion was innocent because it was like seeing someone else for the first time. In that throwaway “catchy” phrase I realized I might have accidentally stumbled onto something huge! Or rather (I can only ever hope), the Holy Spirit elected to work through the imperfect medium of my socially-conditioned ramblings.

And then, the other night after tossing and turning with the aforementioned knives of dysmorphia stabbing my not-womb, amidst the labor pains of giving birth to death, with my vaginal cavity un-tearing and sealing up into nothingness, with blood flowing from my soul in fountains, I tiredly opened the Word for a moment and peered in. And there I read:

We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. – Romans 8:22-24

I sobbed. I really sobbed. My heart felt pierced by the Sword of Truth. Suddenly the foundations of the world shifted, for a Savior was pushing aside the pillars of the Earth like so many decorative vases. And the land was barren and stricken and simple and the Breath of the Spirit hovered over it.

Maternal arms wrapped themselves around my shoulder from Heaven, and a celestial Mother – she who I neglect too often – made a sign of adoption.

Like Jacob in the stead of Esau, I have no birthright. I’m like the Samaritan woman who begs for the scraps at the Lord’s table. “Lord, even the dogs get the scraps.” I’m an orphan, a sexual misfit, a ritually unclean woman-man-woman-man-abomination. Or I was. But then those maternal arms wrapped me up while those paternal arms pushed aside Heaven and Earth, and I was adopted.

Like Jacob, the thing I have going for me is a Jewish Mother who’s got my back.

I’m a Daughter of the King. It’s not my birthright, or in my blood. I was not born a Daughter of the King; I wasn’t a Daughter of the King in my mother’s womb. But my Abba has elected to adopt me, bring me into His intentional family. I am a Daughter of the King, because He took in the child that didn’t belong.

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11 thoughts on “Giving birth, being adopted, becoming a “transphobe,” hating reality TV, and generally entertaining revelations against my will

  1. Sister Shadow says:

    Beautiful! Absolutely beautiful! Thank you for allowing us to share in the birth to this revelation our gracious God has given you!

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  2. Powerful. I really feel your conflict. I expect to be labelled as “truscum” myself eventually, although (while I detest the name-calling) I myself have reason to be sceptical of that subset of thinking. It is certainly not for me, as a yet-to-be diagnosed trans woman, to casts doubts or aspersions on the authenticity of anyone else’s “transness”. But the sheer insufferableness of some activists (such as those you mention trying to axe perfectly good words as transphobic) makes one equally reluctant to commit to their camp. Thankfully, I have only encountered this horrible polarisation online. In real life, my coming out has been met with reason and civilised acceptance from pretty much everyone in my life. Makes me wonder why anyone ever thought the Internet was a good idea… though one occasionally meets a nice soul on there. 😉

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    • I feel ya. I’m also bracing myself for that lovely “truscum” – it’s already been implied a few times. I know several transgenderist or genderqueer people who have considerable gender dysphoria but choose to navigate it differently than me as a transsexual woman, so I certainly don’t want to police identities. But I’m concerned that as much as trans is a legitimate condition, it’s also a trend that doesn’t necessarily correlate to that condition. And the transgender movement seems to be more and more about that trend and less about actual gender suffering that people endure.

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      • What I do feel I need to bear in mind is that I may never be allowed to transition. Hideous thought, but still possible. Oh, I can go on as I have, taking my hormones, zapping my hairs, changing my IDs, etc, but it is still possible that the psychiatrist in London will tell me that transition is wrong for me and that I should seek alternative therapy to reconcile me to living as a man.

        And would I do that? Hell no… If that turns out to be the word from the system, I will completely ignore the system and continue to identify as Eleanor. Even my transition so far has totally confirmed to my satisfaction that this is who I am. However, in that case, I will certainly not be in a position to call myself a transsexual woman any more (even in-waiting). Quite what that would make me, I don’t like to think. Transgender, I guess, in which case I can’t deny I would be grateful to have some people sticking up for my right not to have to navigate society as a man.

        However, it certainly only wounds the cause for activists to take the argument into dimensions which, alas, can sometimes only be described as “piss-taking”, pardon my French.

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  3. Actually sad to see I had already commented on this article. It it is so honest, eloquent, and downright emotional I would hate to overwhelm the page in my effusive waffle, but no help for it now. 😉

    I have had my share of scrapes with both RFs and Transmedicalists. I have encountered horrible, snide, gleefully cruel attitudes from those claiming to be all love and light. And I have seen that from both camps. There is no justification for it, and rhetorical force so sickeningly misapplied does nothing but weaken arguments in the eyes of intelligent and decent people. Your attitude is not transphobic, and if it is then I will have to stand by you as a fellow self-hating transwoman (which is ironic, as I feel I am loving myself a lot more these days).

    One thing I am quickly learning is that nothing in life is as simple as (any) activists would ever like it. To the chagrin of RF activists, yes, transpeople do exist. To the chagrin of transmedical activists, yes, non-binary transpeople exist (I am married to one). And to the chagrin of uncritical transactivists, no, this does not mean it is a good idea to completely explode the concept of safe spaces for women. As a semi-mutated pseudo-women of sorts, I am scarcely a tempting target for ill-intentioned men, but this has not deterred them from hurling the odd threatening and demeaning comment on the streets. I certainly hope to win the trust of the women with whom I work, but if I need to be quarantined to the disabled washroom pro tem, I understand the wariness. As long as I’m out of that festering sty that passes for the men’s room, I’m not complaining…

    All politics aside, though, your closing passage moved me spiritually…

    “I am a Daughter of the King, because He took in the child that didn’t belong.”

    Early this year, I prayed in despair that God would accept me as his daughter. It seemed at the time like hopeless blasphemy. I still have doubts, but as loved ones, friends, and Christians (including ordained clergy) rush to validate and welcome me, it is only those doubts that seem blasphemous now…

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  4. Reblogged this on A Belated Existence and commented:
    What a year it’s been. If you’d said the syllable “turf” to me last September, I’d have only envisaged large squares of grass. Being married to Cal, himself a non-binary transman, I was vaguely aware of the concept that transgenderism involved a spectrum of identities, not all of whom wanted to fully transition, but I had no idea that this was a matter of controversy. I certainly had no idea it was a controversy even among trans people themselves, but you live and learn…

    Being myself a downright uninteresting binary MtF transsexual, I’d be lying if I said part of me didn’t have anxieties about the wider trans activist movement (especially its shoutiest social media exponents) and how it represents me as a gender-dysphoric person rather than gender revolutionary (I would gladly “go stealth”, if that were a realistic option). I have now written at too much length about the many gender-dysphoric and transitioned transpeople who have turned their backs on the trans community altogether, but their social media activities are, alas, no more inspiring than those of the trans and Radfem SJWs.

    I see nothing wrong, at any rate, with the trans community being honest enough to be self-critical, and accepting that while our concerns are just, the situations we find ourselves in are rarely easy for anyone, and a bit of empathy never goes amiss. But if we cannot have empathy among ourselves, I doubt anyone else will think much of us. On that note, I will leave the last word on this topic to trans blogger Anna Magdelena (@annamagda4xt ), who comes probably closer than anyone else to expressing my own conflicted feelings but in a less waffly way, and with some seriously moving spiritual bits thrown in for good measure…

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