Charissa and the Dementors (Part 2)

Back in late April I posted here about a book I wanted to recommend…

This book is by a woman named Stasi Eldridge and it was so challenging to me, so ministering to me, so full of life and hope.  It took me 5 months to read the whole thing, as I had to stop often to digest and even more?  I had to figure out how what she was writing translated to a transgender woman like me.  Many things she wrote about assumed riches and legacies that are part of the given riches that accompany a biologically female body, and may of the trials and resulting insights arose from dealing with the particular conditions that being biologically female present too.

I want to say right up front how I admire Stasi’s vulnerability and humility.  From years and years in leadership in various churches, and from some travelling ministry as well, I am all too familiar with the tendency of humanity to set people up on pedestals and elevate them improperly into lil demi-gods.  I continually resisted that effort, using self-deprecation and humble vulnerable openness about my own failings and issues as the ways to avoid being elevated into something I am not.  Stasi does this too, and does it well.

I read most of the book as “a colleague”, understanding a lot of subtext in technique and approach…but I received the book as a gigantic deposit of wealth into my bank account of womanhood…and then I got to thinking…about the other women like me, who could benefit so greatly from these kinds of ideas…which got me to thinking one step further:

What kinds of books is the church writing to christian trans-women, trans-men?  Stasi’s husband writes books to men (I have read them and taught from them, btw…they are very good too).  Are transgender women openly invited and welcome to christian women’s spaces and events?  If not why not?  Do transgender women have hearts that need touching from Jesus, from their Father, and from Mama…and sisters too…sisters who know how to do make-up, who know how to skillfully handle when men act like, well, men…would transgender women benefit from the fellowship of sisters who would receive them into corporate worship together as half of God’s Divine Image in humanity and thus help them to be more fruitful?

What about…what about…well, if you read here you know Charissa’s lil pea brain when it gets churning.

So I had the bright idea to write to Stasi, and short email telling her thanks for the book, a bit about myself, and my thoughts regarding trans-humans and the church.  Oh, I was so excited!  I checked in with Mama, and got a nod and a kiss on the forehead and She shooed me away on the  task, and I was so bubbly and excited as I sought to locate a means to communicate with Stasi.

A pretty thorough search was fruitless in obtaining an email address to write to.  Oh, I found plenty of Contact Us forms that are administered by others, but as the topic is delicate for most Christians because they assume a priori that being transgender is evidence of sexual sin somewhere, I was reluctant to use those forms.  I eventually did give it a shot, but was quite general in what I wrote in the desire for discretion and giving no occasion for someone to take offense.

It is important to know that I did do this, as you will see later…a dementor “knows” that I didn’t and “knows” that I ended up writing where I did for nefarious reasons that she lists…it is illustrative of the way of functioning that I alluded to in part one, and the deleterious effect of such way of being.  More on that later though.

I eventually found a blog that Stasi writes for and thought “Bingo!”  I can leave a comment and then she will contact me if she is interested, or merely not post the comment if she is not.  I did what Heather tells me is a great quality and a weakness:  I looked for and expected the best in people, and then foolishly expected they would act or speak in similar good faith.  See…that happens here at Grace Notes all the time.  People get in touch, want to correspond, and so I take it off the blog with them and we do our best to connect and build relationship or discuss concepts.  Right?

Obvi that is what would happen.

So…with Stasi alone in mind, not even thinking about anyone else who reads, I went ahead and wrote the message that leads the next post…and then in chronology I will copy the entire comment flow.

Why?

I will tell you why…I want to expose to a different audience the way of functioning that goes on in christendom…the insidious and hateful way that othering and policing operates and all in the name of love, or speaking the truth.  It is neither loving or truth telling…and often the perspective that the dementor type comes from is not even true in the first place, except to them in that it is their truth.

I wanted you here to see for yourselves the use of ad hominem attack, straw man arguments, and about as many other formal fallicies in argument and rhetoric as their are.  Sadly, the biblical truths that all souls are equal at the foot of the cross and that all biblical truth belongs to everyone and not just privileged clergy sets many people up for these errors.  They do not invest the time and study into the topic, or if they do, they do so in the effort to prove an already assumed point of view, which does not make one an expert on a topic but an expert on their own view of that topic.

Generally, when resisted or disagreed with the reaction is to other the disagreeing point of view with judgment…either of heart, of motive, or or status as “in the light” or “in deception”…and that othering is not based on any biblical teaching regarding ways of discerning truth and dealing with controversies but in the person’s own emotional investment in the topic.

And lastly, I share it here because it also is exemplary of the kind of comment that comes to my blog a lot and that I simply have kept to myself as part of the price to be paid in being transgender in a cisgender world that is being dragged into a paradigm shift kicking and screaming…Some trans people have a different style:  they post every hateful comment and nuke it with their own emotion and experience.  I have a different sense of what is effective and what I am called to.  But know that I deal with the bullying and trolling and threats mostly by just trying to be above it.

OK…read on for the comment flow…

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Every Transsexual’s Right to Gender Confirmation Surgery – Dara Hoffman-Fox

Every Transsexual’s Right to Gender Confirmation Surgery – Dara Hoffman-Fox.

Hi Constance!  Please check out this great and informative article about transgender people’s right and need for surgery…there is a measurable and documentable positive effect and outcome in the vast majority of cases.

I post these sorts of things, because I remember when I was ignorant, uninformed, and afraid of my own self without knowing it, and I conflated “Drag Culture” with trans-reality.

I figure if I can help you to avoid my mistakes, you can be part of a solution of kindness, acceptance, and encouragement.

Blessings!

Charissa

WAVES

Set her on fire…AFTER Killing her FIRST!

Trans Woman of Color Murdered, Set on Fire, Then Dumped in Trash

Constance…

I have been sitting on any comment on this murder and mutilation of a human being.  One of God’s Creatures, made in Their Image, and loved with unending love.

She was born into this world that we are all in…black, poor, and transgender.

I think the thing that just wracks my guts the most, that pours sorrow over my soul in Niagara-like forces, is that it seems so common in the murder of transgender women that there is post-death mutilation as well.  There is a rage, a wallowing in destruction as if the perp wants to baptize himself (and yes, I will say him…the incidence of transgender women being murdered by cis-gendered women is so small as to be nearly non-existent, and statistically doesn’t exist at all) in the suffering and dehumanization of his chosen victim…dare I say even to feed on her?

I waited, hoping that there would be some outrage, some stirring of effort, some valuing of her as unique and precious…but no…the response has been tepid at best, and at worst, well the usual tropes and defenses of the ruling paradigm beat her life and history into its stereotype.

This essay, posted in its entirety, does a good job of articulating outrage over this horrific act.  While my vernacular might have taken a wee bit different form, my emotions over this run no less high.

What would you think if a child’s body was discovered behind a dumpster, having first been murdered and then set on fire after she was dead?  Or a teen-age youth group president and cheer queen?

Yeah…I thought so.

Until we feel the same sense of justice on behalf of the least, we will never have the eyes and ears we so desperately need to become true Children of God.

In sorrow and tears, with no joy…Charissa Grace

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Trans Woman of Color Murdered, Set on Fire, Then Dumped in Trash

Trans Woman of Color Murdered, Set on Fire, Then Dumped in Trash

In horrific news out of Fort Myers, Florida, a trans woman of color has been murdered, and her body set on fire, then dumped in a garbage bin. I just can’t right now, I just can’t even.

According to a local media outlet, the victim was identified as Yazmin or Yaz’min Shancez, which was the woman’s preferred name according to her family, although the police reported that her documents had not yet been changed to reflect this. The same report quoted Fort Myers Police Lt. Jay Rodriguez as saying the police have not determined a cause of death, and are not investigating the homicide as a hate crime.

We have no indication at this time to say this was specifically done because it was a male living as a female or anything like that. If you really think about it, a hate crime is killing someone for a specific reason, being black, Hispanic, gay. We’re investigating as we would any other homicide.

…I’m sorry, Officer Rodriguez, but are you trying to suggest here that killing someone because they’re transgender isn’t a specific enough reason? Or maybe that the reason doesn’t count because it’s not on your official “hate crime” cheat sheet? If I really think about it? Jesus fucking Christ, sir, I think about it constantly. Do you typically see non-hate crime related homicides that end with burning the already dead body and then dumping it like worthless refuse in a garbage bin? Is this a pattern in Fort Myers which makes it like “every other homicide?”

Her father, identified as Harvey Loggins, said that he and his family left balloons and stuffed animals in the small private drive in an industrial area of the city where the garbage bin was located.

With the exception of her father (who continued to use male pronouns, despite his daughter’s identity), the majority of her family appears to have accepted her decision to live as a woman, which she apparently began to do in 2004. Her aunt, Beatrice Loggins, spoke lovingly of Shancez, citing her uniqueness as a person.

Nobody deserves that. Straight, gay, purple, pink, white, black. Nobody…There will never be another T, you couldn’t clone her, couldn’t mold her.

Cousin Jasmine Weaver seemed at a loss to understand the crime (you and me, both, Jasmine, you and me both).

We don’t know of any person who would do something like that to T. It’s mind-boggling. You’d never think that would happen to your family.

Mind-boggling? Horrific. Abhorrent. And an altogether too common reality for transgender people, especially trans women of color. I’d love to shout from the rooftops that this is so horrible because it is incredibly rare. Well, it’s not. It happens all the goddamned time.

And if this story could get any worse, if that’s at all possible when dealing with such a terrible crime, this is a second heartbreak for the family. They have already lost one child, as Shancez’s 15-year-old little sister was also murdered, gunned down in a drive-by shooting almost exactly two years before.

I hate everything right now.

Image via NBC-2 Broadcast.

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