Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Transgender Blog Challenge Day 19: Religion

Today's question is a great one.  It's:
If you're religious, how do your views effect being trans? If you're not religious what about your family's religions?

I can almost see the people become immediately offended by my answer here.  Ah well.  So be it.  First, I should mention something about myself that should be obvious if you follow me long enough:  I have a special distaste for Christian exceptionalism and supremacy.  One of the main points of this essay I wrote last year is that Christianity is not special or inherently more important than any other religion, its values are not universal, and so forth.  I have a very strong and persistent belief that Christianity in my country is an oppressor faith.  I want God and I especially want Jesus booted the fuck out of my schools, my government, and my job.  A lot of even liberal Christians are intimidated by this.  If this is you, please recognize that a lot of the things you take as for-granted religious liberties (such as the right to wear religious symbols to work or the ability to talk about your church or a religious retreat or a Bible passage you like without suffering from repercussions from it) truly are things that are not granted to all faiths.  When it all boils down to it, I've experienced more direct shit over being Pagan than I have for being trans or queer.

But anyway, my family members vary in religiosity.  My father is agnostic (I suspect more on the atheist side but I'm not sure), but raised Lutheran.  My mother is a devout Catholic.  My brothers and I were raised Catholic, although I converted to Paganism in my early teens.  I'm not entirely sure about my brothers' current religious alignments.  One of them has "Deism" on his Facebook profile.  We don't really clash with it, though.

My family is reasonably religiously tolerant, at least for people who have next to no actual religious understanding. They're the kind of people who it's seemingly impossible to convince that Christianity has no business in the aforementioned schools and government even though they don't think they want other religions impeded.  So when I came out to them as trans, religion didn't factor into it a lot.

It didn't, anyway, until my mom's dipshit Christian co-workers learned about it and started going all ignorant-Bible-blaster on her.  Rather than just say "this is not the sort of conversation we should be having at work," my mom decided to start asking me about this shit.  And my mom isn't able to believe that I'm not actually a Christian anymore (despite all evidence), so she cloaked it in language like "Well, I don't believe you're going to hell, but what if..."

In the end I actually wound up giving her a passage from the Apocrypha, which are books of the Bible that were taken out because they either weren't contemporary or they were weird or had political things the church didn't like.  One of the weirder passages is in the book the Gospel of Thomas, passage 114, in which Simon Peter gets all super-misogyny on Mary Magdalene, saying she shouldn't be allowed with them because woman germs or something.  It goes like this:
114. Simon Peter said to them, "Make Mary leave us, for females don't deserve life." Jesus said, "Look, I will guide her to make her male, so that she too may become a living spirit resembling you males. For every female who makes herself male will enter the kingdom of Heaven."
Which I presented to her.

She hasn't really brought it up since, although (hopefully after I'm out of the house) we'll wind up having to really come clean about the fact that, no, I'm not a Christian and have no interest in being one.

As far as my own faith, I'm a solitary Eclectic Pagan, so on a personal level it's not a problem for me.  I'm devoted to the God Set, who is (based on the people worshiping him and his prominence in Kemetic circles) very fond of trans men.  And as a trans man, I don't really get that much flack for it in the Pagan community at large (there are a select few Pagan TERFs and cis-only men's mysteries assholes who specifically target trans men, but most of them are targeting trans women).

What I do get flack for is my practice, which is unashamedly queer-based.  That's not as much a trans thing as it is an internal problem with Wiccan beliefs being taken at face value as if they're "general Pagan" beliefs.  Which, by the way, they fucking aren't.