So…at last I think I can comment about the tragic death of Leelah Alcorn. There has been a maelstrom of emotions inside me over this.
I won’t list them here, because some of them may shock, outrage, or worry some of you. Suffice to say that I absolutely and completely understand in my marrow the very heart-fire of what she wrote in her note.
But what is more interesting to me is this: her parents had a choice to make…a choice about gender, gender orientation, and even a choice about Who God Is in light of Gender. They had to either choose to reach out to their child in spite of their own feelings about gender and what it is and how it is derived, or to slap her down in the name of the binary. They had to either love their child in spite of anything, everything that she had done or failed to do, and love her just because she was here and gifted to them…or to repudiate her in the name of who they conceive God to be in their own small and stony hearts…
Well, actually let’s boil it down further: they either had to choose to love Leelah, or love themselves.
That is the bottom line. Let me unpack this a bit for you.
First, let’s start with gender, and the crucial thing here is to really feel the distate and horror they had for a transgender person, the visceral reaction they had to what they felt was wrong wrong WRONG! Oh Constance, how is it not more clear, the strong and unchangeable thing that gender orientation is!!? Because their rejection of who Leelah was and the feelings that they had? They are the same feelings and depth and strength and absolute that transgender people feel inside about who we are gendered as!
They would rather see her die than to see her live as a gender they thought she was not…and I will confess that I would rather die than live any longer as who and what I am not. That is not a life anyway, and never was, not at its core.
They imagined that it would be torture for them, to see Leelah dressed properly female but to their eyes looking like a clown (one of my former best friends told me that I look like a clown, by the way, thanks for that, former 33 year friend)! They pictured a life of seeing her over years and that making them uncomfortable.
Constance…this is how we feel…transgender people…when we live in a world where our very breathing is transgressive! And to walk around being in such a way to reduce the absolute hatred we face from others when we are ourselves is to choose to be something that is indescribable agony inside ourselves to be! We get treated “fine” (and that means with indifference and left alone)…but it is an abattoir inside our hearts as our own life blood is spattered on the walls of our souls as we claw at our chests trying to tear the pain out of our hearts!
But wait!! We can take hormones! We can dress properly…and even better, we can actually have medical attention that literally transforms that pain into joy, and fills that horrible void with presence! The statistical evidence is overwhelming on this point, by the way. But it comes with a price: we exchange our inner torment for torment and rejection from our social groups and culture. The torment just changes location…sadly, most people in our society are just like Leelah’s parents and they begin to exercise the dominance of the binary. They want to avoid their own discomfort and are willing for us to die, whether it be by our own hand or theirs.
That is the choice we have: suffer in how we are made…or suffer at our own hand…or suffer from the hands of other people.
Because God forbid that my choice of clothing and presentation make anyone uncomfortable or antsy, right? Better that I just go away, or even better, change back…I am blood guilty, after all, of “wasting a perfectly good man” as another 3 decade long friend said to me in utter seriousness after 3 and a half hours of me trying to explain to him what it is like.
But that brings us to the next point in regards to the Leelah Alcorn tragedy: Who is this God that Leelah’s parents supposedly worship and live for? What is this God like?
Well, if we look honestly at this situation, Leelah’s parents believed that they themselves would be guilty of sin if they reached out to Leelah and did whatever it took to be sure she was mentally stable, healthy and able to actually live everyday without being bullied, othered or policed. They literally believe that God would call them unfaithful sinners and accuse them of enabling their child to be in sin, and then remove all blessing or protection or support from their lives.
They see God being who they themselves are! To their way of looking at it, Leelah’s suicide was the lesser of two evils, and really they actually are implying that God would say to them “Well Done, Good and Faithful Servants! You held the line against immorality and sin, even at the cost of your own child! You sacrificed your own flesh and blood for your own standing as righteous and defending My Honor!”
That’s essentially what happens inside their heart…they were willing to endure the death of their child in a horrific way, and live with that their entire lives, her blood crying out in every sunrise and sunset…because they think that brings God pleasure.
Where did they get this picture of God? I really want to know this! Because they certainly did not get this from the Bible, a book that I have read countless times and studied for years at various stages of life and maturity.
Here is who the Bible says God is…the Father who had children who chose selfishness, self-worship, hatred, strife, murder, envy, greed, malice, war, slaughter, wantonness, foolishness and darkness instead of simple fellowship with Him. So THIS Father did something completely other than what Leelah’s parents did. This Father instead searched out His children, went where they were, and gave a manifestation of His Heart on their behalf. He didn’t require them to die for their deeds and lives…instead He had His own Heart die for us instead, as a transaction of love which covers everything.
When you love your children regardless of their actions, reactions, deeds, words, silences…well you are imitating God that that finds great favor…when you put your children to death with your own words, deeds, actions and reactions…well flat out you are imitating the devil and worshiping yourself…because the only spiritual beings who take pleasure in evil are satanic and people who put themselves above everything else.
So this post is a very emotional and very crappy piece of writing. I am too close to it to not be all over the map…but just try to grasp these things:
The horror that cis-gender people feel when they are around us is nothing compared to the primary horror we are inside ourselves waking up and finding our heart/soul/mind/spirit at complete odds with the body we walk around in and are consigned to for everyday of our lives, and the secondary horror we will cause ourselves if we dare to give away who and what we are or even worse if we avail ourselves of the medical miracles there are which will almost entirely cure us.
It is the same absolute for us that we are not congruent inside and outside as it is for cis-gendered people that we are just mentally ill and can be fixed so we are just like them.
These two points illustrate the lie that has so long deceived us all…that gender is derived from plumbing…because if that all it is why do they freak out so bad if they even think about dressing or acting different? Wouldn’t it be as inconsequential as being in costume for a play? That it is NOT that inconsequential proves absolutely that gender is something inside and it is what it is!!
I mean, I truly think they would rather us kill ourselves than let us live and move and have our beings just like them! But if we are too stubborn to kill ourselves, there are plenty of brutes every year who are happy to execute us for the sin of breaking the binary.
It is so strong that they will even remake who God is to justify it…well, sadly, God gets remade all the time to justify the evil that people do.
I hurt and suffer as a human being, in common with everyone else…but I hurt and suffer as a transgender person in addition to that…and I hurt and suffer additional burdens because of what others do and say, fail to do and say…and I hurt and suffer at the lies that people live out as testimony of who they think God is.
Because that is not who They are.
Now the confession that I have been avoiding: in all truth, I am envious of Leelah, because in the midst of all the sorrow and horror and grief, her own torment has ended…and that prospect, of that low grade fever buzz of wrong being gone finally and there being blessed silence, sweetness, and rest…well that is something that I wish I could have.
And I feel a huge amount of guilt over that envy…because it is very clear to me that were I to seek relief it would be at the lifelong expense of many people I am connected to, and I would buy my own release with their pain…and that is unacceptable to me…so I sit…and mourn Leelah even while I am longing for what she now has…and feeling this awful mix of guilt and cowardice and bleakness…and thank God for Them, and They do bring comfort and joy and security even in the midst…no, especially in the midst.
I have many blessings…I have inner peace in terms of the Ultimate End of things…but I struggle, oh I struggle so hard, and I truly fear at times that I am not up to the task of being. I try to be honest with myself, and that means feelings…but then again I am not like other people and able to just rise above them. And that adds to the guilt and shame of not being good enough.
I wish I knew if Leelah would want me to live…I think she would, actually, because I think she wanted to live…it just got too hard, too heavy.
Hey Constance…regardless of your feelings about gender…if you have any feelings what so ever about being a good person? Try making the burden lighter for people…with compassion, kindness, tender heartedness and smiles, instead of heavier with judgment and rejection. You would be amazed to know what one kind word can do.
Confused rambly Charissa is now done gushing and vomiting.
Sorry for the succumbing to the passion and letting it produce a big messy dump of a post…I just could not live with all this inside me any longer.