Are LGBT people pedophiles?

Have you ever been on the dirty end of bigoted prejudice—you know, because you are THIS you automatically are THAT?
• “I don’t trust that man. He’s a Jew. You know Jews. They will do anything to make a buck off you.”
• “That woman has worked in this McDonald’s as long as I can remember. She must not care about finding a real job.”
• “He’s German. He’s stubborn. Don’t waste your time trying to reason with him.”

I could write these all day. The one that prompted this essay takes me once again to Roger Jimenez, the Baptist minister who, after the Orlando massacre, preached the worst combination of bad theology and bigoted hatred: “Are you sad that fifty pedophiles were killed today? Um, no. I think that’s great. I think that helps society. I think Orlando, Florida, is a little safer tonight. The tragedy is that more of them didn’t die. The tragedy is I’m kind of upset he didn’t finish the job, because these people are predators. They are abusers.”

What is the easiest way to note stubborn prejudice? When anyone declares something about an individual or group, which has no basis in fact, and asserts it as if it is true, it is fair to make the assessment that the speaker harbors negative suppositions and, very likely, the hatred which so often accompanies them.

Pedophiles. Predators. Abusers. From where did Jimenez get his information to make these awful assertions? He certainly did not get them from any factual reporting, such as I found by reading a number of studies on the topic, searching “profile of a pedophile.”

Among the several studies, I found this one to best represent them:
https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20140916142130-238758622-characteristics-and-behavioral-indicators-of-a-pedophile

In this report, the US Department of Justice provides the list it developed of characteristics and behavioral indicators of a pedophile, of which these are the top five:
1. Most often an adult male.
2. Usually married.
3. Works in a wide range of occupations.
4. Relates better to children than adults.
5. Socializes with few adults unless they are pedophiles.

As one goes through the list of twenty-two items, none of them indicates that homosexuals are prone to being pedophiles, or that pedophiles are more likely to be gay than straight. Even more, since gay marriage is so new, item two—usually married—added to item one—most often an adult male—speaks volumes about who the majority of pedophiles are: Men who are married to women.

It is not only gay men whom people like Roger Jimenez unfairly target. I have previously related the story of a trans friend who suffers the same prejudice. I will refer to this person with male pronouns because he continues to live as a male.

When, several years ago, it was his intention to transition, he informed his family. One of his children’s spouses reacted this way: “You are a pedophile and you will have no contact with our children.” To this day, my friend has not been able to see those grandchildren. He has not transitioned, continues to be married to his wife/the grandmother, interacts with his other children, and by all accounts is a fine citizen.

What is it that makes some people react in the manner of my friend’s family member and Roger Jimenez? Is it not the exact same thing as is behind those white people who think all black men are a danger to them, and those Americans who think all Muslims’ motives are suspect, and on and on and on?

It is this: Not only are you not like me, but you are so different from me that you cannot possibly be respectable.

And it is this: I am so offended by what you are, in my mind you will be the worst version of that I can imagine.

And it is this: The hatred for you which I harbor I will make known wherever I can.

The essence of human trouble is self-centeredness. In the Christian faith, we know that this self-centeredness stems from our sinful nature. The entire world can vouch for it in the simplest example witnessed in every people group, everywhere, in every age: You never need to teach a young child how to do wrong, to steal a toy from another, to cry to get his way, but you do need to teach a young child how to do right, how to share, how to behave.

From this self-centeredness comes every form of evil, including bigotry and prejudice.

We really fight the urge to treat others the way we want them to treat us, and when a person or group offends us not only is the desire to fulfill the Golden Rule squelched but we easily and quickly give ourselves permission to put the worst construction on their lives.

That’s the way it is. It does not excuse it. It lets no one off the hook. It only explains it.

Hopefully, understanding it, we can combat it. As one of my trans friends says—this has quickly become my own mantra—when you get to know a trans person, it is hard to hate or be afraid of trans people.

You can change “trans” to whatever you want, whomever it is in your life which drives your own xenophobia, which is the fear of the unknown.

Finally, if you are a Christian and are espousing bigoted hatred, you are giving a bad name both to Jesus Christ and to every Christian who works hard to live the Golden Rule. If this is you, you are a hypocrite who is in need of looking into the mirror and repenting of your sin.

The Good News is that Jesus Christ has taken and borne your sin and given you His Holy Spirit that you know the Lord’s love AND possess the ability to practice it.

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Bathroom liberty for all

Enough arguing. Enough posturing. Enough beating up each other. It’s time for a resolution which serves all. In this essay, I propose the solution.

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I care about the needs and rights of our trans youth, but I also care equally about the needs and rights of our youth who have been sexually assaulted. And our youth who are socially awkward or overly shy. And our youth whose family or religious upbringing is more strict than the general culture’s. And any other category one might imagine, and let us imagine them so that we understand that all youth potentially have serious challenges in the many facets of social life.

Regarding our nation’s youth, President Obama’s administration last week brought the bathroom debate to the entire nation. While no new law was fashioned, plenty of excitement was created.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch said, “There is no room in our schools for discrimination of any kind, including discrimination against transgender students on the basis of their sex. This guidance gives administrators, teachers and parents the tools they need to protect transgender students from peer harassment and to identify and address unjust school policies.”

One reaction to this informed me that both the Fourteen Amendment and the Civil Rights Act provide for the full rights of all Americans, which would mean that all people are allowed to use the bathroom which is right for them.

These bathroom concerns are only about discrimination, right?

Not so fast.

As a transgender person, I long to be protected, I desire full civil rights, and I appreciate every privilege the average American enjoys. Equally, I strive to care for all persons affected by any situation.

I long for this to be the attitude of every American.

Life provides us with countless opportunities to practice the Golden Rule, to treat others the way we want them to treat us. Sadly, this flies in the face of our selfish nature, which wants the other guy to think of my needs first.

And so we hear the trans community screaming for its rights, while forgetting the needs of others. And so we hear from every other sector screaming for its rights, while not giving a hoot about trans people.

Some equate these days with those of African Americans’ fight for their deserved rights. Where I find many comparisons, this is not entirely the same. The similarities end when there are honest sensitivities.

When whites got the heebie-jeebies over things like using the same water fountain or dining at tables next to blacks, their anxieties, fears, even hatred, were borne of prejudice, of deep-seated biases which were not based on facts. Thus, they were dishonest.

In the bathroom debate, there certainly are dishonest feelings, prejudices held by many. They are heard plenty. Once again last week, the popular blogger, Matt Walsh, wrote on the topic and he continues to refer to us as “transgendered”—always in quotes, as if we are not real—and calls us “confused.” The conservative The Federalist posted this piece in light of last week’s government letter to schools: “Obama Threatens Schools: Let Men in Little Girls’ Room or Else.” The readers of both of these have added their “hear, hear” affirmations.

There are plenty of people who are transphobic. There also are plenty of people who have honest concerns, real sensitivities, even true fears, which have nothing to do with trans folks.

As I have been debating this heavily, I have been given a lesson in not having grown up female, a person who never was abused just because she was there. I have heard from several women who have been sexually assaulted. It is not uncommon for these women to carry a phobia for spaces where they might be prone to a man who has harmful desires.

I checked several sources for statistics. I find these two numbers to be accurate and eye-opening:
• Nearly 1 in 5 women have experienced a completed or attempted rape.
• Nearly 1 in 2 women have experienced some form of sexual violence.

This simply is unacceptable.

I really am not a fan of comparing numbers, but many are, so here goes: The number of women who have been sexually assaulted or had sexual violence carried out against them dwarfs the number of transgender people. While this shall not be cause for any lessening of the concerns for we trans folks, I take very seriously how many others are holding cards at this table.

We trans folks are far from the only people who long for peace and comfort in using our desired restrooms.

Since the government’s letter focused on schools, I will now do that. School culture varies by size and type of school, size of town, area of the nation. This is not a one-size-fits-all situation because we do not live in a one-size-fits-all world.

Many school districts have been dealing with this issue for years. I have read some marvelous success stories where concerned people, with helpful spirits, acted wisely and resolved their issues. For the most part, you and I were never aware of these because they were handled discreetly.

As with the need to remember the adult women who are vulnerable, how much more children? Too many children have been sexually, physically, or emotionally abused by adults and peers. But, a child need never have been sexually hurt to experience honest anxiety over these bathroom issues. Children do not have the benefit of maturity, of experience. If they are very young, they might know little about the sexes. If they are teens, they very possibly experience plenty of awkwardness regarding their changing body, sex, the opposite sex, and peers. Add into the mix those who are socially awkward, reared in stricter homes and churches, or are just plain shy. And one never knows when terribly challenging gender identity issues are brewing, or a young person already identities outside of the male/female standard.

I was so shy in high school, with my own gender identity issues always simmering under the surface, that I never once used a regular restroom while in high school.

I loathe the forcing of anything on anyone when concerns are honest. I find the concerns of parents, of women, of children to be genuine.

The cry we hear is “children’s safety.” “Safety” is more than concern for things physical. “Safety” includes emotional well-being.

Last week, a friend wrote, “How come Americans always argue with each other instead of working together to find solutions?” I believe I have fallen upon a solution when I remembered the Americans With Disabilities Act.

When this act was made law, it put the vast majority of American stores, schools, hospitals, churches, and workplaces into the spot of having to change or add to bathrooms, not to mention some entrances, sidewalks, and parking places. This law cost many establishments a lot of money to come into compliance.

But they did it.

And the USA is better for it.

And the number of people with disabilities who use these bathrooms, these good parking places that often remain empty, these . . . is how many? It doesn’t matter. Americans with disabilities matter, and so the law was wise and just and necessary.

All-Gender-Restroom-Sign

Plenty of other countries already have figured out what we are arguing, but if we must do things The American Way then let us commission some creative designers, builders, and architects to draw up plans to make our bathrooms and locker rooms safe for all, with privacy levels which meets everyone’s needs and standards that span the spectrum of public places.

As several have said, all of the hullabaloo around bathrooms have been a solution in search of a problem. What had been a non-issue to almost the entire population now is being talked about as much as The Donald and The Hillary. Now that it is this huge issue, it must be addressed.

Echoing the Americans With Disabilities Act, I call for the Bathroom Liberty for All Act, which would address both restrooms and locker rooms, and set standards for every setting as affected by the Disabilities Act.

Every American deserves to know that wherever he, she, or they might be, the law is the same, so they don’t have to question whether there is a safe place or what the law is in that place, so their expectations are always the same, just as with disabled Americans.

What do we do in the interim? Well, what did we do for our Americans with disabilities before we made the many required updates?

Until we can sort this out and remodel our bathrooms and locker rooms, let us be honest with our concerns and fair with our neighbor. Drop the propaganda pieces. Stop the shock videos. Cite statistics accurately. Cease with unfairly portraying trans folks AND care for the weak and vulnerable and sensitive of every age and situation in life.

I promise that I will practice the Golden Rule toward you. Will you promise the same toward me?

Let us make into law the Bathroom Liberty for All Act. Let us do it now. Let us quell all concerns so that we can move on and once again provide all Americans what our great land of freedom has always offered.

Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

To a concerned mother

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Yesterday, on a Facebook thread regarding transgender folks and bathrooms, a newer friend of mine posted the following, which I have abridged only for length.

~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~

As you know Gina, I am new to the understanding of the transgender world as far as understanding what all you go through. Because of you and others I have reached out to for real life experiences and what a transgender person goes through I am looking at this bathroom issue from both sides.

Seventeen years ago I went out with my mother-in-law for lunch with my newborn. I got up from the table and went to a family bathroom to breast feed my baby. I didn’t want others to be uncomfortable with me feeding my baby in the most natural, healthy way.

As a victim of assault as a young teenager, I am still very sensitive of potential danger. I have raised three girls and have done everything in my power to keep them safe, as I would have with boys. While I have said to you before with the school situation that brought me to you for understanding and information, I don’t want anyone to be put at risk for any harm for being their true self. While I don’t fear someone whom is transgender, I don’t agree with the gender specific areas being open for anyone male or female to enter them, Those out to cause harm to another are always looking for easy prey and I believe this makes it easier for them.

Most areas have family restrooms for many reasons, fathers out with their young daughters, etc., to give them a safe place to do their business without sending them into a bathroom alone or taking their daughter into a men’s bathroom where they stand against the wall. Am I being insensitive by wanting the gender specific areas to remain and the family/gender neutral areas to be single occupancy? For the potential of being a little safer I have a hard time believing that I am.

~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~

Dear friend ~

You betcha you are on guard for your children, just as I was with my four kids.

I totally understand the desire for privacy, such as you describe, and those who have experienced terrible personal assaults as you have. I admire you for not wanting to make others uncomfortable, and feel the same way about myself.

One never knows the history or current mind-set of the many strangers which might be encountered at any given time. Everyone has baggage, and some folks out in the world have great personal struggles, fears, concerns, and needs which are impossible to see simply by observing the person.

One also hopes that people will simply not be paranoid. Yes, our guard goes up in the situations and aftermaths you describe. Even so, that does not make the risk go up, only the sense of risk. I am reminded of a friend who is extremely afraid of bridges. With her one time as she drove over one, she kept saying, “It’s only a bridge. It’s only a bridge.” The danger for her was no greater than for anyone else crossing that span. It wasn’t the bridge that needed mending, but her perception of it.

When you say, “I don’t agree with the gender specific areas being open for anyone male or female to enter them,” what does this mean? Look at my profile picture. Am I male or female? The fact is, I am intersex. Who gets to decide which one, male or female, rules me? Are my hormones, which tell me I am female, to take second to my body, which is male? Who decides?

Which bathroom should I use? If I go into the men’s room, I am going to face trouble, or laughter, or worse. I truly fear being beaten in a men’s room when presenting as a female.

I, and all my trans women friends, use the women’s rooms, we do so the same as all women do, and we blend in. Rarely do trans women go out in public who are dressed, as one keeps hearing from those against us, as “a man in a dress,” with five o’clock shadow, ill-fitting wigs, and clothes and makeup that are not appropriate to the location. No, we blend in because we want and need to blend in. We are just regular people, who dress and act like regular people.

I personally am okay with there being special bathrooms open to anyone who wants a personal space—where a dad can take a daughter, where a trans person can feel more comfortable, whatever the situation. Let’s have men’s rooms, women’s rooms, and unisex rooms everywhere. I would gladly use them equally for MY comfort, though I navigate women’s restrooms just fine. But, you have those trans folks who don’t want to be singled out because the singling out is a signal that “freaks need to be kept separate.” And, when that is the reason, I stand in opposition to the haters and shoulder-to-shoulder with my trans friends.

I don’t see you as insensitive. Perhaps, you have been hearing some of the scare tactics and they have played on your mind, and you are more sensitive because of the situations you described. Look up the statistics. You will find extremely few instances of trans people sexually assaulting others. No, the rapists and pedophiles are almost always males, who purport to be heterosexual, who blend in with society as regular-looking guys, who often are married and have kids, who don’t have to stoop to dressing as women because they already know how to make their opportunities. THESE are the ones who are predators.

The argument is always brought up about children in bathrooms who would be at risk of men dressed as women who are out to harm them. But, what about boys in men’s rooms and the male predators that have always been out there? The present situation is ignored and scenarios are created that are highly unlikely.

The people who are against us have set up a false argument in order to scare people. They should be ashamed of themselves.

We trans folks might actually be better behaving in public than the general population for the sole purpose that we do not want trouble, because, if we wind up in trouble, our problems are going to be multiplied because we are trans. So, we shop and eat out and do everything else with very good behavior. We use restrooms quietly, get in and out, because we just want to pee and get safely back to living.

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For people out in the public to be a little safer, transgender people are not the issue. We never have been. We are not now. We are being unfairly picked on by those who hate us. This really is no different than when, fifty years ago, whites were disgusted at the thought of sitting next to a person of color, or attending the same school, or sharing a seat on a bus or the same water fountain. Those whites could not imagine black people being equal to their bigoted idea of who they were in American society.

Many people think that, because I am transgender, I am less than them. I am mentally ill. I am a kook. A freak. They are superior for no more of a reason than they supposedly have their act together. They are not weaklings as I am. They are not perverts, sexual fetishists, trying to be someone they are not.

Their shit doesn’t stink.

It is the same mind-set that so many whites had for blacks, and one which many whites still have for blacks—I’ve heard it plenty in my lifetime—and for anyone who doesn’t meet their personal standard, and I am not even going to get into the hatred many have for Muslims, Jews, and others not like these bigots. Because we transgender folks finally have a voice in American society, we now are the whipping girl and boy for the prejudiced class which believes it is superior.

We are a threat to their sense of what is “normal.” They are either too lazy, or too prejudiced, or too bent on whatever their ideology is to learn why we are transgender and what kind of people we are.

They are people who do not want to learn that people like me are just as upstanding as the most upstanding, just as much of a contributor to good in the USA as the best of contributors, highly educated, very successful, hardworking blue collar laborers, health care workers, teachers, serving in the armed forces, faithful spouses, caring parents and grandparents, good neighbors, volunteers, loyal friends—in every way people which make our neighborhoods and towns and churches and schools and workplaces—and the USA—better for our being in them.

What we need is balance. We need calm. We need people speaking with care and listening with patience. We need everyone, on every side of any serious issue, to have compassion for their fellow man. We need honest discussion, not lies and scare tactics.

When we do things right, we can do this successfully for the good of the USA. When we don’t, well, we have good people like you who are properly concerned about what is going on around them, and yet needlessly concerned about things which will never be a problem for them.

Peace,
Gina

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Happy to be transgender?

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No, I am not happy that I am transgender.

I know folks who are okay with their being trans. The following strictly belongs to me, though almost all trans folks share some or a lot of it.

I continually get the impression that people like Matt Walsh, the blogger with whom I took exception last week, think that all of us trans women and men are happy to be this way. To quote him, we are fulfilling sexual proclivities or fetishes (or are mentally ill), the driving forces behind our living in a gender with which we were not identified at birth, which does not correspond with our DNA.

I was foolish enough to post my blog link to Walsh’s column, one among over 300 comments. Did anyone ask a question, to learn more? Did anyone demonstrate concern that this is a terrible burden? Did anyone recognize what a horrible thing it has been never to be able to escape this a single day of my life?

No, of those who commented—all of which appear to be Christians—all I got was condemnation.

There is a mindset that people get when confronted with people of whom they know nothing, and the proclivity (!) for hardening their hearts and digging in bigoted heals rears its ugly head.
• For them, all inner city African American males only care to cultivate criminal behavior.
• For them, all Muslims are terrorists.
• For them, all people out of work or on disability are lazy and only want to suck off the system.
• For them, all gays and lesbians are immoral, unethical people seeking to wickedly influence young people.
• For them, all transgender people love getting their jollies by masquerading as, to use Walsh’s term, people they are not.

Because trans-haters harden their hearts, they do not have a clue how hard people like me worked not to transition, how desperate we were to remain in the sex with which we were identified at birth, how suicide was a very real and present danger, and the many reasons we fought not to transition.
• For Christians like me, having serious concern that transitioning might be sinning, and not wanting to offend fellow Christians.
• Not wanting to upset or possibly lose a marriage.
• Fearing how bad you will freak out your children and siblings and parents and others, and losing them from your life.
• Losing a job. (I had to retire from the job of my life, and it crushed me.)
• Losing income.
• Losing housing.
• Losing your good name.
• Adding discrimination.
• Adding the serious possibility of being physically harmed.
• Adding the absolute possibility of being ridiculed, mocked, and hated.
• Adding many doctors and specialists to your life.
• Adding huge expenses.

I said to Julie last week, as I have said to her so many times, “I hate being transgender.”

If I hate being this way, then why am I transitioning? Ask a cancer patient why she undergoes chemotherapy. Our answers will sounds strikingly similar.

I am transitioning because I want to feel better, and I am feeling better. I finally do not have two people battling for my brain. For the first time in my life, the dis-ease aspect of my gender dysphoria is gone and my mind is at peace.

But the cost!

If I could just be a regular guy, how easy my life would be. If I could just be a regular gal, how easy my life would be. If I could just be regular . . .

If I had a pizza for every time, the past three years, that I said, “I don’t want to hurt anyone. I don’t want anyone to hate me.” I always spoke those two sentences together. Always in that order. Always with bitter tears. Always followed by, “But I need to be only one person. Being two people doesn’t work. I don’t care which I am—a man or a woman—just let me be only one person.”

I have never been a trouble-maker. I always was the happy-go-lucky one, the one who got along with everyone, the one who was the life of the party, the one with a quick joke, the one with a big smile for everyone.

I’m still that person, but now I can’t be that person for everyone because of the ones I’ve hurt and the ones who hate me—well, perhaps they don’t hate me, but they don’t know how to deal with me so they no longer are in my life. And I wonder how many feel the way Matt Walsh speaks, considering the likes of me a non-person, a sexual fetishist, a nut case.

I hate being transgender. I did not choose this. This is not a “lifestyle,” as detractors love to throw at us trans folks. Because of the disruption to my endocrine system, which I experienced in the womb, I am an intersex person. As I cannot alter my being Caucasian, or of German heritage, or an American, or left handed, or an Eilers, I cannot alter that I am intersex.

And, now I have to admit, I wouldn’t.

I know, that sounds like a non sequitur. It doesn’t follow that I hate being transgender but I would not change it. Here is why I would not change it.

With all of the other things of which I am made that I cannot change, I cannot arbitrarily decide to change one of them without upsetting the entire cart of my life.

To quote that great philosopher, Popeye, I yam what I yam. To change one thing would squash what I yam. And, do you want to know the neatest thing? I am tremendously, marvelously pleased with what I yam.

I cannot locate another person on earth, not in the history of the world, who can claim a more rich, more blessed life than I have experienced in my first nearly fifty-nine years. Every good thing that life has to offer, I have enjoyed. Some of the unique, challenging, wonderful things in life, which few get to enjoy, or by which they have the opportunity to grow as a person, I have enjoyed.

I sit here, often troubled at my being transgender, and ponder my life, and I am dazzled.

I am dazzled at what the Lord Jesus has done for me, has given me, through which He has blessed and strengthened me. The things He has put into my hands that I might have use of them, to mold and shape them, and utilize them to show my love for Him and to serve my neighbor in His name.

If I were not the sum total of these parts, I would not be what I yam, and I don’t know what yam that different person would be.

So, I will continue to hate that I am transgender, just as I hate that I sin daily and fall short of the mark the Lord has set for me, and I will continue to use the many gifts with which He has blessed me so that I might enjoy this marvelous gift of life, serve my family and community, and work for good in this world.