Archives for June 2009

operating procedure

It seems that it might be helpful for me to say a word about some of the assumptions I am writing under as I continue on with this blog. I am working on crafting some new essays and as I was doing that work I realized a word needed to be said about where I’m coming from and how I understand various things. Hopefully this post will begin to answer to that.

For transsexual people being seen as our true gender isn’t lying. If someone sees me as male, they are seeing me correctly. “Coming out” for transsexual people isn’t about telling people that we are trans, it is about telling people (initially, before medical transition) that who they have perceived us to be is incorrect. Once that has been corrected, then the “coming out” is different. If I never tell anyone that I am trans, I am not lying about my identity. This is an important point that needs to be made in the dialogue of the larger culture. Some people choose to be visibly transgender or genderqueer and that is a noble and valid choice. Some see transition as a stage and not as a destination. They do not see themselves as transgender but as simply male or female. That, too, is a valid and noble choice. The whole idea of transitioning is about being authentic to who you truly are. It’s not about buying into the binary or queering the binary (as an end in and of itself); all of the different manifestations of gender and gender identity are about being true to one’s sense of self. It is about knowing who you are and living into the fullness of your identity. For some that means being simply male or female, for others it means blurring the lines to be something in-between or something else entirely. There should be no shame or guilt about any of these paths.

My experience is such that I am most comfortable identifying as a man. For me, medical transition was necessary and good. Claiming my male identity has been life-saving. My process of doing theology through the lens of being a transsexual means that I see things from my particular point of view as someone for whom medical transition was necessary. As a result of that much of my writing surrounding trans theology has transition understood in this way at its root. I realize this is not a comprehensive study or understanding of trans experience, but I can only write from my own perspective. I will attempt to be as inclusive as possible, but there are times when that won’t happen. I apologize in advance and hope that in those moments it inspires you to approach theology from your own perspective as well.