Good Morning Constance…if you would, please check out this link and read the article it goes to. It is the smartest and most context-giving thing I have read in the latest uproar-media-storm about a high profile case…on something that has been going on so long and so much that probably most of you are not even aware that things like this and worse are happening right under your noses in your very own communities.
It is important to attempt to get a grasp of the scope of this issue…so that you, Constance, can begin to consider and weigh how you yourself think! It is mindblowing, really, when you consider how language and the way you think affect your position on issues, your understanding of them…at least, that is what happens with me, so I assume that it is the same for others.
When you are done reading the article, take it a step further…the rate of the abuse and attack of transgender women as a subset of women happens at a rate so much higher per thousand, that in order to maintain the same ratio of attacks on women compared to attacks on trans-women there would need to be over 2 million assaults on biological women annually that ended up in serious hospitalization and/or death!
Trans-women of color are even at greater risk.
Constance, everyday I am out further and further. I am having wonderful experiences and meeting so many great people…but I actually consider the wisdom of places and events before I go…and avoid places that I am likely to be assaulted!! ME!!! Charissa, the one that is dedicated to Grace and kindness! Why? Because there will be men there, intoxicated, and they will resent me for becoming myself and shunning male roles and all the privileges accorded them for the subservient place and role that women are consigned to…or, they may find themselves attracted to me in some way (though I dress very modest and am quite unassuming in the presence of strangers), and they attraction is likely to be accompanied by feelings of self-loathing, as they will assume that it implies they are gay
(which is foolish on so many levels and indicative of how our binary has stigmatized all orientations but male/female/hetero, and sadly the church has given its seal of approval on this approach and empowered this hate by not realizing the bible’s most basic teaching regarding sexuality is character teaching in areas of fidelity and faithfulness and the true loving and serving of one another).
For instance…my baby and I want to go to our city and attend the Octoberfest celebration…drink a few beers together, share a sausage or two, wallow in bad oompa music, and then walk along the waterfront holding hands and laughing…and if we do? And if there is a drunken belligerent there? And if he decides to “grace me” with his attentions, and then decides to force me into his world view…or worse? No thanks.
Or, Constance…what if you and I were out one night as friends, having dinner, say at a sports pub or someplace where there was nightlife…and we had a grand time and were walking happily back to our car, when 4 or 5 drunks appear who had noticed us…and started to verbally batter us, insult us, sully us…and then worse…
In the same way that I exhort you cis-gender readers to make a way, Abraham Lincoln style for we trans-gender human beings, I am exhorting you men to do the same for women. Flat out fact: until you men cease from viewing we women as “the weaker vessel” and that meaning anything other than finer, more intricate, delicately formed and less robust in the same way that a computer is more delicate than a sawhorse, you will yourself remain an oppressor of women and not even realize it!
Gentleman Reader: when you first read of me being transgender…and leaving the shipwreck of manhood (for me it is just that) for the homeland of womanhood, did you recoil inside? Think it odd? Strange? Feel a sense of derision or something similar? And casting the net broader…have you ever teased or ribbed a male friend or associate by telling him he is “acting like a girl”? Or “you are such a chick!” (use of the word chick, and then even deeper why is that insulting to a man).
These things dehumanize women! They undercut the very love and commitment you profess to wives and daughters! They reveal that at the core, you see us as less than, and thus will without thought manifest ownership and objectify us…your own wives and daughters!
There is a bible verse that says that a good wife is a crown to her husband, and a crown is something that confers royalty, authority, regalness. A crown separates royalty from commonness and is worn on the head…higher than the head!
Well…I once had a dream (when I was still forcing myself to adhere to the role I was consigned to and blind to my own soul) and in the dream I saw a bunch of men from my church dressed in overcoats…they looked like flashers…and they were furtive and surreptitious…in a group like a bunch of adolescents gathered round a porn mag…and then, when I got close enough I could hear the conversation “…Hey, check out the crown I own!” and “Hey, ya wanna see my crown? It’s amazing…” and they would pull open their overcoats and “flash” one another with this crown they had attached to their body and dangling off like a careless canteen half full of water. It was sickening, actually, because they imagined that this was honoring to their crown!
Of course, the symbolism here is men who subjugate women and then call it protection, or covering, or shielding…instead of having the confidence and faith to actually place women in that place that a crown belongs!
I woke up, and that verse was ringing in my ears, and I could see it against the darkened ceiling in flaming letters…and I began to cry…and my baby woke up and asked what was wrong, and I told her…and lamented all the times I had unwittingly done that…she graciously assured me this was not one of my flaws (thank god!), but that she experienced this sort of treatment so regularly it was shocking to her to have this view of the phenomenon!
We have a long way to go, Constance…
I have friends who have loving spouses who are so blind to this that they see my friends as extensions of themself, and thus will not allow them to do or be anything that is threatening to them! Oh, they are blind to it, and that is all the more tragic, it is that deep.
Anyway…read the article…and then, think about it…your language (what you say if you are male, and how you just take it if you are female), your assumptions…the next time you want to compliment a woman and she is “a wonderful little lady” (instead of an intelligent human being) “…such a sweet thing” (rather than committed to servant-living).
This is Charissa…and I want to actually be!
Full of grace and mercy
May Mama grant it be so, to Their glory forever and the benefit of Their world, Amen.