This article is point by point exactly what I’ve experienced.
I had a group moderator (a transgender woman in her 60s) tell all us fledgeling trans girls that if people don’t like us, it’s our fault for not being perfect images of 1950s femme housewifedom. It’s the only time I’ve wanted to punch an elder square in the nose, and a trans* woman to boot.
I managed to restrain even my sarcasm because I remembered that if she’s bought into these lies about womanhood, then it’s only because society has placed such crippling conditions of normalcy on her.
I’ve always found it ironic that our contemporary culture embraces my transgender identity. You see, contemporary culture tells me to “be whoever you want to be” and “respect all lifestyle choices.” I’ve had more people than I can count come up to me and tell me: “I’m okay with whatever lifestyle you choose to live.”
The thing is I barely ever made a choice. Sure, I chose to transition. Sure, that choice was mine to make and mine alone, and I made it. But I also choose to get out of bed (nearly) every morning, and people don’t make a fuss. Why? Because getting out of bed is perceived as natural. If only people could see how transitioning – just living my life (with medical aid) – is really the only natural thing to do.
As to the idea that you can be whoever you want to be, as far as my life experience is concerned: it’s absolute bullshit.
I tried to be who I wanted to be. I tried to be a straight cisgender male. I tried to feel like a guy. I tried to embrace my big muscles and chin-strap beard. I tried to be exactly what was expected of me. I tried to be the person I wanted to become. And guess what? After 22 years of effort, I discovered I could only ever be who I was.
I think we make choices, choose paths, and path-find for ourselves. I think God gives us radical free will. But I also think there is one us, one true being that we are whether we like it or not. I think our souls stand bare before the mind of God, and He sees them for what they are, and He loves them into sustained existence. And I think no matter how much we try, we cannot be anything else than what we are, simply because God loves what we are too much to let it go.
There’s nothing small or inconsequential about our stories. There is, in fact, nothing bigger. And when we tell the truth about our lives—the broken parts, the secret parts, the beautiful parts—then the Gospel comes to life, an actual story about redemption, instead of abstraction and theory and things you learn in Sunday school.
– Shauna Niequist