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Posts Tagged ‘strength’

A while ago, someone made the following comment on this blog.  It is not a nice comment, so be warned: It may upset you to read it.

It didn’t upset me, however, and here’s why.  I am fully cognizant of the fact that some people see what we (the transgender or crossdressers) are or do as unnatural. I expect some comments like these.  I welcomed this one, because I saw it as a chance to refute some of the commenter’s claims.  I emailed the person back, asking him (I assume it is a “he”, only because natal males seem to have more of a problem with trans folk than natal females by a large degree) to explain his several comments.

To date, he has not answered me.

I leave his comment here intact, as he wrote it–spelling errors and all–so that I can not be accused of editing it to fit my desires.  Such is propaganda, and that’s not my point here.  My point in making this available is so that *I* can address his various opinions from my own perspective.

Here is what he posted to me. Again, what he says is offensive to many, so please read no further if you are easily upset.

“Transgendered people need help. There is something wrong with them. They need to see a doctor. Gay people are sick also. They are not normal. Don’t get into the semantics of what is mormal you know what I mean. Being transgendered or gay ruins people’s lives. Even their own. So do us all a favor and get fixed!”

He put many words here, but he doesn’t actually *say* anything with them. There is “something wrong” with us…okay, what exactly do you mean by that, sir?  There IS something wrong with us. It’s called “lacking acceptance”.  It’s called “feeling forced to hide ourselves away”.  What’s wrong with us, in a nutshell, is people like you, sir. It is not a thing within us that is wrong.  “Out of place” may a better term for the thing within us. “Mis-matched” is so much more descriptive and accurate. It is a dichotomy between how we feel inside and how we appear outside.

I asked him what he thought the “something wrong” was with us.  No reply.

He says we should have a doctor fix us.  But we often do, sir!  There is a term for it: Gender Reassignment Surgery. Another term applies: Hormone Replacement. Yet another term fits: Gender Identity Therapy.  There are many more terms. In effect. they all work toward helping us become the person we are meant to be–physically, mentally, emotionally, even spiritually. They help us bridge the gap between who we are inside and who we appear to be outside. They help us cope when people around us call us names, or say we are not welcome in their restaurants, or refuse to acknowledge our humanity.

Oh, wait, I get it…you meant that you wish a doctor would remove the thing within us which makes you uncomfortable.  Would you also change the skin color of the person with whom you are conversing? Would you shorten the hair of the gentleman playing the guitar over there? Would you remove that which allows your mother to speak her mind or enables her to move to another room besides the kitchen? In short, sir, would you make all people into those of your own choosing? My guess is that you would. How disappointed you must be with these annoying people constantly intruding on your life! Why can’t they all just disappear and leave you alone?

I feel so sorry for you. You must be in constant and neverending misery.

I hate to be the one to tell you this, but we cannot be fixed that way any more than colored skin can, or the guitar player can, or any woman or man can.

“Gay people are sick also. They are not normal. Don’t get into the semantics of what is mormal you know what I mean.”  (Well, I had to take a guess at “mormal”, but I believe I was able to pull the meaning of the word out of the context of the sentence.)

Why yes, gay people *are* often sick. They catch colds and contract the flu just like you do. They suffer from illness and disease, because–and I realize this may be a shock to you and you will have a hard time understanding the words–because they are human.

It’s okay, sir…breathe.  The confusion and nausea will pass if you relax and open your mind.

Yes, Gay people are human. Lesbian women are human. Transgender people are–as bizarre as you may find this–human. Just like you.

Welllll…perhaps not *just* like you. The overwhelming majority of trans, gay, lesbian or bi people I know are more open-minded and accepting than you are. For that reason–yes, I’m saying this–they are better than you.  Healthier, anyway. Hmmm…perhaps the sick ones are not we, but you, sir?

I know! You should see a doctor! Have her fix you!

“Being transgendered or gay ruins people’s lives. Even their own.”  I specifically wanted to know what sir meant by this statement. I admit it perplexes me.  In my experience and based on the stories I’ve read and heard, it is the other way around. Family members, supposed “friends”, complete strangers…many of these cause problems for those of us who identify with one or more of the letters in “LGBT”. Many who purport to love us instead reject us…do you know the pain that can cause? Oh that’s right…you’ve never been rejected, have you? You’ve never walked down a street and been taunted or sword at–or attacked and brutally beaten or even killed–because of who you are. No, because you’re perfect, I forgot. Nobody has anything bad to say about you.

For just a moment, I want you to call to mind the person you love most in the world–besides yourself, if you can.  Picture their face, feel the warmth of their smile as they caress your cheek. Now imagine them telling you you’re worthless, that they wish they’d never met you, that they want you to have never been born. In short, picture them ripping your heart apart with their words.

You *begin* to know that through which we sometimes have to go.

We ruin people’s lives? No. More often, the ones who reject us usually go on living their lives in peace, while we are forced to pick up the shattered remains of our souls and *try* to live our own lives.

We live in pain, too often, and for too long. We shed tears over lost loved ones–who are still alive, but with whom we can never again be. *Our* lives are ruined far more often and in far more permanent ways than those with whom we interact, and it is not we who are ruining them.

If I am ruining your life just by being, sir, it speaks volumes about the fragility of your existence.

Ruining our own lives? Sir, we are trying to simply live those lives. We are trying to heal from being broken by people around us. Often we are doing this alone, because we cannot ask for your help. We help each other. We strengthen our sisters, heal our brothers, because you will not. And no matter how hard you try to keep breaking us, you never will. We are stronger than you, sir. We are healthier than you. I’ll go out on a limb and guess that even in our oft-time misery, we are nonetheless happier than you.

Your last comment is the most disturbing. You tell us to “get fixed”, and I sincerely hope you do not mean that in the veterinary sense. Because that would be indicative of a very sick mind. It borders on a threat to our lives–to my life–which is an offense to both sensibility and law. So I will assume you mean it in the medical sense…which I have addressed above.

Sir, I gave you a chance to explain your words, to make your case. I offered to post your comments and explanations here on my site, to give voice to your ideas. I invited you to do so. You ignored my invitation to dialogue. Are you so unsure of your own mind that you are afraid I might sway it with mere words?

You should know that we are strong–stronger than you realize. You should know that your words do not sting us as you wish they would. We have heard them before, we have processed them, we have found ways to draw upon them for our strength. In short, sir, your words make us stronger. We know ourselves, sir…or we are learning who we are, and it is a wonderful journey!  In discovering ourselves, we see the good in those around us, and we build and encourage and strengthen that good! We polish it, make it shine, turn it into a mirror to reflect God’s light into dark corners like yours. It burns, that Light, does it not? But it only burns because you have wrapped the cold darkness around you like a cloak.

You should know that cloak is thin and weak–its threads will fray and unravel under the onslaught of the Light. It will be easier on you if you open your mind to it, and allow it in. Oh I know, sweetie! It is so hard to do that! You are so afraid of the Light, but the Light WILL NOT HURT YOU! The pain comes from the darkness, and your vice-grip on it. Once you let go of it, the pain will disappear. How can I prove that to you?  I can’t. You must take a leap of faith before you can feel it. You must trust that it will happen.

Yes, transgender people need help. We need need it desperately and constantly and fully.  We need acceptance, we need employment, we need insurance. We need love. We need life.

But we *have* help. We help each other, we accept each other, we support each other, we love each other and we allow each other to live. Non-trans people give us those things, too, sir, believe it or not–many, many of them. And more are accepting us every day. Your corner is getting smaller, I’m afraid.

We have life, we have acceptance, we have love, we have support.  And your words, sir, can never change that.

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Today’s post is a long one. Take it in small doses, if you need to, but stick with me until the end.

I’m going to tell you a story. Those of you familiar with your bible will recognize it. Those of you who haven’t picked up a bible in a while (or perhaps not at all), stick around. This is a pretty good story.

Meshach, Shadrach and Abednego were the king’s subjects. The king ordered a huge statue built, and command all his subjects to bow down and worship it. Meshach, Shadrach and Abednego remembered the Law, written in stone generations before they were born: “I AM THE LORD, YOUR GOD. YOU SHALL WORSHIP NO OTHER GOD BEFORE ME””, and they refused to bow to the King’s statue.

Furious, the king commanded his servants to throw Meshach, Shadrach and Abednego into the fiery furnace. Still the three refused to worship the king’s statue.

“It is better to die in the fire than to bend knee to a god that is not God,” they said, accepting the sentence of gruesome death rather than deny God.

“Throw them into the fire!” demanded the King. The servants thrust Meshach, Shadrach and Abednego into the furnace.

But, listening, the king heard neither screams of pain nor cries of fear nor pleas for mercy. In fact, no sound emerged from the furnace.

Thinking they must be dead, the king commanded a servant, “Go, look in the furnace and describe to me how their bodies burn.”

The servant looked in the fire. His eyes widened.

“Tell me how they burn!” demanded the king.

“They do not burn,” the servant reported. “They are alive, and there is a fourth person in there with them, whose light dims even the fire itself!”

Instantly, the King understood, and commanded that the furnace be opened.

Meshach, Shadrach and Abednego stepped out, un-burnt and un-harmed. The king, eyes wide with fear and wonder, knelt before them.

“Your God has saved you from the fire,” he said. “Truly He is the God of all!” And he had the statue destroyed, commanding his subjects thenceforward to worship only the God of Meshach, Shadrach and Abednego.

Pretty amazing stuff, isn’t it?

The story has relevance in today’s world. It has amazing relevance for me. This fire—the same fire our three humble heroes endured—enfolds *us* at times. No, it’s not a physical flame for us…it’s a spiritual one.

During my journey to accept what I am, to want to explore my feminine side, to let Dianna out, so to speak, I went through an amazingly difficult time. Concurrent with my own admittance of “yes, I am a crossdresser, and okay, I’m going to just have to live with that”, my wife was going through her own very stressful time. Between the two, I was a hurting unit. I felt lost, and hopeless, and at the end of my rope. Would I ever be able to express my feminine side? I burned to be able to. I needed to, in a way that went far, far deeper than merely wanting to enjoy the feel of a pair of pantyhose, or the swish of a skirt. Yes, those things were part of it, but it went beyond that. It was such a deep-seated need that I felt I’d go crazy if I couldn’t express it. And, being lost in my own fire, I couldn’t help my wife through hers as well as I wanted to, which only added to my despair. (I think now I couldn’t have helped her more than I did, but at the time, of course I wanted to eliminate her own stress and despair).

I prayed constantly for God to help me, to either allow me to be fully what I am, or take away the need to…or to take my life. Yes, the pain was so great I even begged him to take my life. How hot must the fire be for you to ask your Parent to end your life?

Clearly He didn’t do that, or you wouldn’t be reading this. (Are you still with me?) But over time, I began to feel a lessening of the pain of the fire as I began trusting God to get me through it, as I began to let go of *my* desires, and ask Him to lead me where He clearly was taking me. Many was the time He had to carry me, because my own spiritual legs were too weak to move another step. My fingers were raw from hanging onto the frayed end of my rope. My flesh went numb from the flame. I drowned in the flood.

He carried me, without question, without shame, without worry. He took me through the fire, and set my feet once again upon the ground. I was little more than ash and fragments of bone, but He began to re-make me, to grow me like a phoenix out of my own ashes. He is still building me…I will never be finished, but my spiritual legs are stronger than they ever were before. My faith—I had thought it strong before—is stronger than it ever was before. He had burned away my selfishness and my doubt, my fear and anxiety, and polished my faith to a shine that can reflect His Light. I chose the middle name “Faith” as a reminder to me (and you, if you choose) that faith is the only thing that will get us through the flame.

Am I perfect? Not by a long shot! Am I still weak? Of course! We are all weak, especially compared to God. Do I still need him to carry me like an infant sometimes? Absolutely! Am I ashamed to admit that I am so weak? Not on your life. Any strength I have is not my own. Any courage or wisdom I show comes from Him, not me. I know I am weak, so I rely on Him to be strong for me. This is what he wants of us—to trust Him, to rely on Him, to allow Him to carry us where He wills.

Make no mistake, we *will* pass through fire and flood on our journey. They are unavoidable, but not impassible. Will we feel the heat of the fire, the crush of the flood? Yes. I wish I could say it were otherwise, but we cannot avoid feeling pain.

Will we be forever marked by the flame? You bet, but not in the way you would think. The scars we carry are not disfiguring, because they are each formed the shape of a cross.

Psalm 46: 1-3: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof.”

Psalm 62: 1-2:”My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.”

In Faith, and in His name,

-Dianna

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