Sometimes I don’t write because it seems there’s nothing new happening. And then suddenly it seems as if too much is happening and I just can’t find the time to reflect and write. MJ hasn’t been so busy since her last internship ended. But the past couple of weeks were busy with appointments for both of us. MJ had appointments with Pathways, Whitman Walker, and her psychologist.
The Pathways team, MJ’s psychologist, and I have been stressing to her, the importance of getting on a more regular schedule. We want her to wake up at a reasonable hour and work at her desk for the better part of each day, whether she works on paying work or not. She’s agreed to do it, but so far she’s been struggling with insomnia at night and ends up sleeping much of the day. We’ve set up call to let her freelance employer know that she is recommitting to getting up and being available for more projects and projects that may require quicker turnaround times. Pathways is also still searching for a permanent job. I’ll have to let you know how all of that goes.
In high school she had a hard time getting to school on time but she never had this much trouble waking up before. Alarm clocks and all the tricks we’ve tried just don’t work. I’m tired from trying to get her up each day. It seems to me that as gender dysphoria has gripped her tighter, the less she wants to be up and out in the world. It’s been debilitating. She is reclusive and I think she would rather sleep all day than have to show up as a person she isn’t comfortable with.
MJ came out to me about 7 years ago. It’s taken me this long to understand and accept that she’s transgender. When she first told me, I thought it was possible that it was another obsession of hers. She’s had many obsessions, typical for people with Asperger’s Syndrome. But gender dysphoria isn’t going away. It’s hold on her is getting worse.
Like most of us, I had just started to wrap my head around what happened as I checked my emails and social media the other day. And then I received an email message from a dear friend, addressed to a pretty large group of her friends and family, that really disturbed me. She had crossed a line and I had to respond before all of the people on her list started to think she might be right. She is a wonderful, loving person who means well, but she
is not a believer does not believe the Bible to be true. I think that will be pretty clear. Below is the string.
“The Islamic extremist in Orlando, Florida who killed so many people on Saturday thought he was following God’s will. It is so sad. Hitler was so devout that he had bible verses inscribed on the belt buckles of every soldier. The point is that it is a person’s belief of ‘doing God’s will’ that gives religious extremists permission. They actually believe they are doing ‘right’. They believe they are following God’s instruction. For example they will take a concept/section from a holy book where it describes how God condemns homosexuality or God promotes slavery or God promotes sexism and they try to promote the concept because this is what God instructed in the book. They believe they are being good because they are the ones following God’s instruction. They believe they are just following orders. And this is why teaching religion using these books is so detrimental. Because these extremists are just reading and following the instructions which other humans have taught them, usually from a young age, are the instructions directly from God. So they believe if they follow the instructions ‘they are good’ and if they do not follow the instructions ‘they are bad’. It is the continual teaching that these books are actually God’s words/God’s will/instructions that causes the problem combined with a person who really wants to do what is ‘right’ by following God’s orders exactly that leads to all this inhumanity. We have to stop teaching people that these books are God’s words. Otherwise there will be people who will want to follow the instructions to the extreme thinking they are doing good.”
Wait…What??? Are you kidding me?? Unfortunately, I can see that a lot of people think this way… that “religion” is the cause of war, “religion” is what is wrong with the world.
Here was my carefully worded response.
I follow your train of thought but I have so many issues with this message. And this is not a conversation to be had in a short email (with no paragraph breaks). With all due love and respect, I have to respond.
I’ve always said that parenting my genius is a roller coaster ride… like when MJ was struggling with grades, was kind of miserable in high school, and then her science fair project on the thrust of rocket engines was chosen to compete regionally and then statewide. Last time I wrote, I was so excited about MJ’s internship. And while it was a fantastic and life changing experience it came to an unexpectedly difficult and sort of abrupt end.
In the beginning, they seemed so enamored with MJ and talked about the possibility of hiring her or at least extending the internship. She was feeling confident and great about her future prospects. But in the 11th week they decided that because there were some previously scheduled interns coming in, they didn’t have room for her. And, I’m not exactly sure what happened but it seems that the lack of structure and some blurred lines of expectations became issues. Yup, up and down and around we go.
It has taken me a long time to write this post because I don’t want to offend anyone. I like to think of myself as a peacekeeper. So, I took my time with it and chose my words carefully. Also, as we got closer to Thanksgiving, I wanted to be sensitive to the timing of this message. Let me just say that this is written in the spirit of me trying to think things through. Let’s work this out together.
I had originally planned to write this post as a one-sided bashing of the church for its failure to include and minister to transgender people and the people that love them. But, a few weekends ago I went on a retreat with some of the most godly women I know. While there, God showed me a few things that softened my heart. I still feel “the church” needs to change but the church is made up of people. Some of those people, like the women I joined on the retreat, are individuals who radiate Jesus’ love so brightly. Some people are just like me, who love the Lord and are questioning things. If you wonder how you might better serve the LGBTQ community, this message is for you. If you have been rallying against “the church” this message is for you too.
You might notice the gap in dates from my first posts to this one. I guess I got cold feet. Even though I’m writing anonymously, this is scary to put myself out there. But the other gap I wanted to address in this post is the one that currently cradles my thoughts and feelings on gender dysphoria. Oh yeah, I’m afraid to go there, to that chasm that lies between my intellect and my heart. And the gap between me and my child.