Prejudice

I perceive that a large segment of society finds transsexuals to be immoral, perverted, and promiscuous; that, just because they are not “normal,” they must be “abnormal.” As I have learned over the past three weeks, very few average Americans know anything—not a thing—about gender dysphoria or transgenderism. Knowing nothing, if they have formed opinions about these folks, on what have they based their opinions?

When heterosexuals cast aspersions on anyone who falls under the LGBT umbrella—assuming things like: all who are an L, a G, a B, or a T, want to convert the world to their “queer” state—they are practicing prejudice.

I am so thankful that no heterosexuals are promiscuous, ever fornicate, never harm children, aren’t drunks and abusers of other substances, cheat on their taxes, shoplift, and have no beliefs that would horrify anyone if his or her child were taught those things.

I have a friend who identifies as trans, but still lives as a man. He told his family about his condition. Transitioning would mean that his wife would have divorced him and he would have been estranged from his children and grandchildren.

He could not stop the estrangement. Even though he never does anything but be husband and dad and grandfather in front of any family member, his son-in-law assumed he was a pedophile. Since that happened, several years ago, he has not seen those grandchildren. He is heartbroken. He is powerless to do anything about it.

Simply because he identifies as transgender, he’s a pedophile? If it is okay for some to make that leap about any trans person, it must be okay for me to make the leap that
– if you are German, you are stubborn;
– if you are a Jew, you are a businessman who cheats his customers;
– if you are a politician, you are a liar;
– if you are serious about being a Christian, you must be a hyper-conservative, Fox News-watching jerk;
– if you are white, you hate blacks.

Since moving to Indianapolis, I have attended three support groups. I never before had the opportunity to meet gender dysphoric and trans folks. Among the several dozen I have met, I have found them to be no different from any other group of people. I like many of them. Some have become friends, because we have similar personalities. And, some of them, their personalities turn me off.

Funny, but I just described the group of men with whom I went through seminary.

One of my goals, by making public my gender dysphoria, is to show that the diagnosis which is the basis for one to be a transsexual can affect anyone, that whether a person strives to remain in his birth sex or transition, he is the same person you always knew.

If you knew him to be moral, he’s still moral. If you knew him to be silly, he’s still silly. If he or she had always been a faithful husband, he or she remains a faithful spouse. And, yes, if you knew him to be unethical, or prone to a bad temper, or whatever less-than-becoming attribute, then he’s most likely to still be that person.

It is easy to dismiss a person when he is different. Despite our thinking we are a more enlightened world, judging books by their covers—prejudice, which leads to every sort of social ill—is alive and kicking.

Last evening, Julie and I were checking on the repairs that were made to the house that we are buying. I arrived first. Across the street were our new neighbors; him, sitting on the porch, looking over his well-manicured front lawn and newly planted flowers; her, busying with things in the car.

Soon after we move in a couple of weeks, I intend to introduce myself. I hope they find me to be a nice neighbor, maybe even a friend. But, who knows what will happen? Maybe it will be the first time this African American couple will have a Caucasian, Christian, retired traditional pastor, conservative, gender dysphoric guy living across the street.

Have you ever experienced unfair prejudice? What was the situation? How did you affect you? What did you do about it?

1 Peter 3:16-17: “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.”

While this refers to defending one’s faith in Christ, I apply it to every aspect of my life. For me, it is an expansion of the Golden Rule. Since I do not want anyone to have reason to malign me, I will not give them reason. Since I want no one to practice unfair prejudice against me, I will not do so against anyone. With gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, I talk to folks, I write these posts, I think about situations in the world.

I hate prejudice. I refuse to practice it. How about you?

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2 thoughts on “Prejudice

  1. You are a bigger man than I, Greg. As much as I like to think that I am not prejudice, I have no doubt that moments come up when it happens. It’s why I often don’t speak until I understand more about something. Speaking without knowledge is in fact the definition of prejudice; or more precisely, “preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience”.

    Speaking without knowledge is a good way to be perceived as prejudice. I think one of the problems in this country that we have though, is people who speak their beliefs are perceived as prejudice and bigoted. You are in a unique position where you can see both sides of the field. In a way, as stressful as it must be to you, you are a blessing in this world. You can sympathize in a way that most pastors cannot and at the same time, defend the gospel against those who would do violence to it in a way that most pastors cannot.

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  2. I don’t know that I am a bigger man that you, my friend, but I do know that I have had to work through prejudice, to understand people, to humble myself as one who is better than no one else, so that I might be an honorable person and Christlike.

    I hope I discuss things in a way which helps people see themselves, see others, and grow as humans. I am continuing to grow and, I pray, will do so!

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