June 26: The Silent “T” in LGBT: Transgender

Posted on : Jun 23rd, 2016 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

This Sunday we begin a two-part series on Transgender awareness. For many years the “T” in LGBT was often called “the silent T.” In other words, we didn’t talk much about Transgender experience. Not anymore! Transgender experience is suddenly a major “target” in what has often been called the culture wars. Just as gay and lesbian people were targeted in the previous culture war, now transgender people are. And sadly, the current “target” in this culture war are trans children and youth.

Growing up Trans is even more difficult than growing up gay or lesbian. A tremendous identity crisis happens for trans kids as they begin puberty. For any young person, puberty is often one of the most difficult social and personal experiences in their lifetime. But for trans kids, they not only have the normal stresses of puberty, they have the horror of their own bodies beginning to develop into the gender that is already causing them conflict.

The current culture war targeting transgender kids and youth centers around use of bathrooms and locker rooms. Not surprisingly, the same states that had the most anti-lesbian and gay voices are back at it again. Even in extremely progressive transgender affirming states such as California, the pressure of being a trans youth is horrific.

Most of us don’t really know much about transgender experience and even in the lesbian and gay community, much of what many lesbian and gay people think they know about transgender people is wrong. Gender and sexual orientation are two totally opposite things. The only reason we’ve all been lumped together – including LGBTQQIA (and the collection is ever growing) – is that we are, for lack of a better term, “sexual minorities.” A more accurate statement of similarity is we do not fit or fall within traditional patriarchal heterosexual roles.

The simplest difference between Gender and Sexual Orientation is that gender is that one’s self identification as female or male and sexual orientation is about who you are attracted to. The majority of us are born “Cisgender.” Cisgender (also abbreviated “Cis”) is someone whose internal sense of gender corresponds with the sex the person was identified as having at birth. If your birth announcement still feels accurate to your gender, then you’re cis.

But not everyone is born that way. Some people are born knowing/feeling that their gender is not the gender they were assigned at birth. The process of transitioning gender (“male to female” or “female to male”) is called transgender.

One of the biggest mistakes many gay and lesbian people make is thinking that Transgender persons are gay. Transgender has nothing to do with who you are attracted to or who you wish to love. It is about the gender you perceive yourself to be: male or female.

This Sunday we will focus on some of the basic information about gender and how “assignment” of gender has changed – and even been proven wrong! Then, the following Sunday (July 3) we are going to focus on Trans YOUTH and their stories.

Not surprisingly, some of the loudest voices in the anti-Trans culture war come from very conservative and not so conservative, yet primarily patriarchal religious traditions. Sound familiar? Same folks that were/are the most anti-gay. The more patriarchal a religion or society is, the more threatened its followers feel by those who challenge gender roles and gender assignment. Religions that devalue women or insist on granting power and privilege only to males have a much harder time accepting transgender people. This is especially true among religions that define God as Male, and more so among those who attribute “Super, Testosterone-enhanced” powers to their male God.

The issue of male spiritual superiority has always been a challenge in Christianity, as well as most religions. Our religious ancestors observed a very patriarchal, gender-separatist religious tradition. But Jesus, as you’ve heard me say a million times, was the first major feminist of the ancient world. Jesus was an absolutely egalitarian man. He debunked all the separatist and patriarchal traditions of religious practice. He welcomed everyone as equals and taught a gospel of universal love and equal value for all. The early church followed those teachings sometimes – and sometimes they reverted back to practices of gender separatism and submission of women to men as “head of the household.”

One of the earliest statements of belief that was used at Baptism – which is the sacrament of coming into and belonging to the Christian family – were these words:

In Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek,

neither male nor female;

neither slave nor free,

for we are all one in Christ Jesus.

(Galatians 3:28)

Over the centuries these ancient words have spoken of the inclusive nature of Christ’s love for everyone. No exceptions, including Transgender people. More on Sunday.




 ~ This Sunday’s Scriptures ~

Galatians 3: 23-29

Gal 3: 23-27 from “The Revised Standard version”

Trust in Christ, Not the Law of Moses

Now before faith came, we were confined under the Mosaic law, kept under restraint until faith should be revealed. So, the Mosaic law was our custodian until Christ came, that we might be justified by faith.

But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a custodian; for in Christ Jesus we are all sons and daughters of God, through faith.

For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

Gal. 3: 28-29 from “The Message”

In Christ’s Family

In Christ’s family there can be no division into Jew and non-Jew, slave and free, male and female. Among us you are all equal. That is, we are all in a common relationship with Jesus Christ. Also, since you are Christ’s family, then you are Abraham’s famous “descendants,” heirs according to the covenant promises.

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