Pastiche Foundation

Gender Variance made Simple

Bryan Fischer disses Autumn Sandeen

Browsing what’s fun and new this morning, I found yet another verbal (textual?) assault on the trans issues front. Bryan Fischer, formerly the executive director of the Idaho Values Alliance (position papers here), starts his article by personally insulting Autumn Sandeen, a veteran and a hero of mine. Not only does he straw man her refreshing discussion on the realities of ObamaCare’s relation to Gender Confirmation Treatment, he goes on to refer to everyone undertaking this difficult journey as

“confused Americans who want to surgically mutilate themselves…the attempted suicide rate among transgendered individuals is many times higher than among the heterosexual [sic] population, certainly a reflection that the inner dissonance they live with is terribly self-destructive.”

Right and wrong in one: suicidality in transfolks is an unfortunate reality, but the APA knows reparative therapy isn’t the answer. So does the AMA–who say coverage for treatment is medically necessary.  So Fischer harasses people, and makes the wrong recommendation–which is to be expected–but he’s categorically insulting all of us–gender-matched folks too. After all, if you’re not transphobic, you’re enabling.

So here’s how you can speak up on the issue: Get yourself a Reality Check from Whitehouse.gov. Then Contact Renew America, the blog on which he posted this opinion piece, and share this article with others. Talk talk!

(thanks to [transgendernews] for the tip)

August 10, 2009 Posted by | constitution, Gay LGBT GLBT Christian Jesus God Equality Compassion Diversity Respect Conscious Conversation, LGBT GLBT Christian Jesus God Equality Compassion Diversity, Transition Ftm Transmen Transman Transgender Transsexual, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Why the Government has no right to deny gay marriage

This is a response to an article Josh Bull shared with me called Why the Government has no Constitutional right to allow Gay Marriages!

The author of this essay included a note that expressed that he expected to be flamed for his opinion. I am not here to do that, but to speak my peace in the conversation about this cultural breakdown. He clearly spent time and effort on it, so it is only fair that I take him seriously and do the same.

First, to the definition of ‘Marriage’ as used in the article to which I’m responding: I don’t believe the author is referring to the relationship itself between persons of any gender… I am uncertain whether he objects to the relationship itself. I believe he is referring to Nuptual vows being a state-sponsored contract.

For what it’s worth, I agree absolutely that the government should get out of people’s bedrooms (provided what is happening there is consensual and between adults)… however, sometimes we have to play the cards we’re dealt. One of those cards is state-sponsored marriage, with benefits like tax relief, spousal social security, hospital visitation, and more.

Since we do have state-sponsored marriage, let’s start with this famous line from the Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

This quote alone, taken literally, pretty much blows any opposition to same-gender marriage out of the water. It says we are all equal and thus should all have the same rights. With that, let’s turn to the Constitution just as the author did–after all, there are a surprisingly small number of people who realise that the Constitution is intended to protect the people, not control them. Here is an excerpt from Section 10 of the Constitution:

No State shall … pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts …

That last bit is the most important. “Obligation of Contracts” can be simplified as the ability to enter contracts (provided the actors are adults of sound mind) and the requirement that, once entered, the contract must be fulfilled. Expanding that into the Constitutional context, that means it is illegal for any state to prevent adults of sound mind from entering contracts. Nuptual vows being a state-sponsored contract is ridiculous but true.

So I can think of two solutions: either anyone in our country can be legally unified to anyone they want, provided those persons are adults capable of consent; or we completely destroy State Marriage. All men (and women) in the United States are equal, their rights must be the same. Make it real. Make it true. Make our Founding Fathers proud.

I have trouble believing that heterosexual couples would willingly hand over the privileges they gain in being legally wed. Pragmatically speaking, then, I think the best thing to do bases itself on the lovely line with which I started… the one from the Declaration.

I don’t want someone else’s nonexegetic interpretation of the book I hold most dear and study most deeply to permit them to dehumanise me, to take away my rights, to compare me to a child molester or animal abuser. I want this fight to end. I want peace.

Most of all, I don’t want our country divided anymore. If we can get together across these supposed lines, we can then fulfill the Responsibilities we have in response to the Rights we are promised in the Constitution and Declaration: To hold the government accountable for what it does.

May 7, 2009 Posted by | civil unions, constitution, declaration of independence, Gay LGBT GLBT Christian Jesus God Equality Compassion Diversity Respect Conscious Conversation, government, marriage, rights | 6 Comments

The Open Letter, part 2

I said I was only going to post once a week, but the contents of this letter were too good not to share. Incidentally, my pastor acknowledged my letter and told me he’s absolutely buried right now (which happens often to him), but he’d get back to me (he always does).

With no further ado:

I have been blocked by a lack of downtime, but yesterday I found myself with a lot of it. Fortunately, I had brought Blue Like Jazz and read through all of it in a state of meditation brought on by accidental fasting (hey, the effect is the same right?). It was a spiritual feast like I’ve never had before!

I spent the rest of the day reaching out and engaging with strangers, listening to them rather than talking about myself… and I couldn’t stop smiling!

Incidentally, K– shared 2 Corinthians 6:3-10 with me (editor’s note: Passage included below), which combined with Blue Like Jazz, taught me that I need to stop expressing the hurt that people’s limitations cause me and simply be present, kind, relational and loving. I need to stop fighting and be there instead.

Thank you so much for your patience and grace in the face of my anger; I’m sorry for it and I’d like to rephrase something I said in the last email:

I humbly offer myself for service in a diversity project. I know a lot about Privilege issues and cultural competence. Working with someone who’s spiritually older and knows the Bible well, I could be instrumental in constructing a wise, efficient and simple program… and with the changes in heart I’ve been experiencing, I can do it from the right place now 🙂 If that takes place now, in the future, or never, doesn’t matter, but if wanted, I’m there.

-Pastiche

I haven’t mentioned this before, but The Message is my favorite translation of the Bible, and the passage below is quoted from it:

2 Corinthians 6:3-10 (The Message)

2 Corinthians 6

Staying at Our Post

 1-10Companions as we are in this work with you, we beg you, please don’t squander one bit of this marvelous life God has given us. God reminds us,
   I heard your call in the nick of time;
   The day you needed me, I was there to help.
Well, now is the right time to listen, the day to be helped. Don’t put it off; don’t frustrate God’s work by showing up late, throwing a question mark over everything we’re doing. Our work as God’s servants gets validated—or not—in the details. People are watching us as we stay at our post, alertly, unswervingly . . . in hard times, tough times, bad times; when we’re beaten up, jailed, and mobbed; working hard, working late, working without eating; with pure heart, clear head, steady hand; in gentleness, holiness, and honest love; when we’re telling the truth, and when God’s showing his power; when we’re doing our best setting things right; when we’re praised, and when we’re blamed; slandered, and honored; true to our word, though distrusted; ignored by the world, but recognized by God; terrifically alive, though rumored to be dead; beaten within an inch of our lives, but refusing to die; immersed in tears, yet always filled with deep joy; living on handouts, yet enriching many; having nothing, having it all.

 

This passage reprinted without permission from Bible Gateway. Incidentally, if you’re interested in The Message, here is one of its faces (I prefer the Large Print, myself):

May 3, 2009 Posted by | Gay LGBT GLBT Christian Jesus God Equality Compassion Diversity Respect Conscious Conversation | Leave a comment

An Open Letter To My Pastor

This post is a continuation of some difficult conversations I’m having with my pastor. I love my church–I see God transforming hearts and minds, but the  plaque “Be Patient–God isn’t finished with me yet” would be a gift I would give to many members of the congregation. I am proud of this email, and felt it might be helpful to other Trans/Gay Christians.

Awhile back, I misstated that god wants us to be happy. What I was attempting to reference was this:

John 10:10 (The Message)

6-10Jesus told this simple story, but they had no idea what he was talking about. So he tried again. “I’ll be explicit, then. I am the Gate for the sheep. All those others are up to no good—sheep stealers, every one of them. But the sheep didn’t listen to them. I am the Gate. Anyone who goes through me will be cared for—will freely go in and out, and find pasture. A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.

God wants us to have ‘more and better life than we’ve dreamed of.’ Jesus said so. He said that his death and resurrection made a new covenant:

Luke 22:20 (The Message)

20He [Jesus] did the same with the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant written in my blood, blood poured out for you.

So we’ve got this new deal. What does that mean?

Galatians 3:28 (The Message)

In Christ’s Family
28-29In 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 “descendant,” heirs according to the covenant promises.

With me so far? Good.

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trajectory_Hermeneutics :

Trajectory hermeneutics or redemptive-movement hermeneutics is a liberal teaching in postmodern Christianity that parts of the Bible can have progressive, different meanings as a culture unfolds, advances, and matures.”

One teaching under this view is that homosexuality was once a sin but has become acceptable due to cultural changes and advances in understanding of psychology and the social sciences. Proponents of trajectory hermeneutics may point to Romans 1:18-32 [1] and explain that Paul has always been speaking to those who violate their sexual orientation, those that go against their natural desire. But a homosexual’s natural desire is for the same sex, which is now defended as natural.

I should point out the above was written by a personal friend years ago… he’s a heterosexual Christian man who is neither a proponent of Trajectory Hermeneutics nor has personal comfort with homosexuality and Christianity going together…. however he’s rather a scholar and I go to him often because he’s able to discuss things from a fact perspective without getting too heated.

I do support Trajectory Hermeneutics, at least as I understand it. Consider the Leviticus controversy: Shrimp cocktail, polyester, casserole, touching menstruating women. We know that these things are perfectly safe with modern hygiene and food safety, and that polyester’s a crime against fashion, not against god–I KID! Seriously, though, God wants us to have life in abundance and logic dictates that the ‘abominations’ were primarily health-related (except for meat of idols, which was also undone due to famine) in nature.

Referencing the Trajectory Hermeneutics reference: if I understand my biblical anthropology correctly, the only reason a man would sleep with a man or boy ‘against their natural desire’ would be to please the Romans, which is contrary to:

Romans 12:2 (The Message)

Romans 12

Place Your Life Before God
1-2 So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

Well, the only reason I can see for homosexuality being an abomination (besides the example above), is hygiene. We now have condoms that help to prevent disease, hygiene and medicine that reduce infection, and ease of monogamy (assuming this is a defining characteristic of God-led relationships). Success of long-term monogamous relationships is increased by acceptance and equality–after all, if enough people tell you you’re bad to feel the way you do, you’re only going to act on it in secret, am I right?

Anyway, my point–and I do have one–is that biblically speaking, no one may consider me inferior in the church by virtue of either my gender or sexuality. Therefore I deserve equal protection, access, and dignity in the church. I am not asking to be set above, and as I said, I will use the unisex loo for now… but I do feel that there needs to be some conscious conversation about respect for diversity of all sorts as well as, perhaps, some sort of ‘comprehending diversity within the Church’ initiative as part of the love and compassion we must develop as followers of Christ.

May 1, 2009 Posted by | Gay LGBT GLBT Christian Jesus God Equality Compassion Diversity Respect Conscious Conversation, Transition Ftm Transmen Transman Transgender Transsexual | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment