Port Hope, where I served as pastor from 2001 to 2014, is in Huron County, Michigan. The Huron Daily Tribune, out of the county seat of Bad Axe, is the local, daily newspaper. I check it online every day for news and, especially, deaths.
On January 6, the Tribune printed this column—
—in which the author reflected on various things she thought she would never see. In the column, among the things she thought she would never see was “Have people deciding for themselves if they want to be male or female. Hmmm, I always thought God did that. I guess I just don’t understand it. God forgive me.”
I did not see the column; a friend made me aware of it. I located it on the Tribune’s Facebook page, where I posted the following. I was not able to isolate their Facebook post of this so, if you go to their Facebook page, you have to scroll to January 6.
My intention, as with everything I write, was to enlighten and educate.
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Traci, I write regarding your item #5: “Have people deciding for themselves if they want to be male or female. Hmmm, I always thought God did that. I guess I just don’t understand it. God forgive me.”
Traci, please know that this is far too serious an issue for such a short comment, which, for folks like me, feels flippant, even if that was not your intent. We, who suffer gender dysphoria, including we who have transitioned, never wanted to be in this terrible situation, suffering this confounding malady which is so misunderstood, in which so many judge us as some instantly and unfairly judge books by their covers, which leaves many of us torn from families and fired from jobs and out on the street, and in which 41% of us will attempt suicide.
Yes, God made humans male and female. Before Adam fell into sin, there would be no problem. But, after the fall into sin, human beings have suffered every possible malady, disease, ailment, and so on, including ill effects to our sexual being, which attack our self-identity.
There are many intersex conditions—those of the genitals, of the chromosomes, and of the hormones. People, like me, who suffer one of them, often experience a fierce internal battle, which is exacerbated by the way so many in the world speak and act toward us. We typically feel as if we have two people living inside of us, because we have both male and female components to our being, or we simply feel as though our body and brain is a complete sex and gender mismatch. When we have been brought up as one sex and gender, the natural thing is to work to conform to that sex and gender, not to freak out anyone by telling them we experience life so much differently. This creates excruciating internal tension. Because many of us live in families which are openly anti anything that does not match their worldview, killing ourselves comes to feel like a viable option. (If you do not know of Leelah Alcorn, her short life is highly informative.)
Not only do we suffer suicidal thoughts, the fear of losing our sanity is not an uncommon visitor. From 2013, when I still lived in Port Hope, until I began transitioning in 2015, I thought that, at any time, I was going to lose my mind.
We strive to figure out how to be healthy so that we might live productive lives with some measure of comfort. For many of us, transitioning provides that. Now in my third year, it has helped me tremendously.
Huron County is not exempt from this. I lived there for thirteen years and, because I went public and blog about this I have heard from many back home. Indeed, I wrote about those who don’t understand: https://eilerspizza.wordpress.com/2017/06/01/i-dont-understand/
In Huron County, you have folks who either battle gender dysphoria or who have transitioned. Their families are also profoundly affected. Some have reached out to me. It never helps to make statements which only serve to get those who agree with you to say, “Right on! That’ll teach ‘em!” while those who suffer only have their battle for understanding made worse.
Please know that I do not assume that you meant to harm anyone. I wrote this to inform you, to help you where you have admitted that you don’t understand. Perhaps, you know someone who is transgender, maybe even a family member, and this has created a stir for you. I understand the challenge, having been through every twist and turn with my family and friends, and with my Christian brothers and sisters.
In the spirit of Christ, we would have compassion for all. We would refrain from simplistic comments regarding complex issues. We would be mindful of the least of our brothers and sisters. We would listen and learn and love, even if we might never agree.
I wish you well. I hold Huron County dear in my heart.