The authoress expressly gives the right for anyone to freely reproduce and distribute this essay verbatim.
I do want to offer a framework view on the question "Why do some people -- Christian or non-Christian -- hate the transgendered?"
Let’s first develop a framework for an argument consisting of four levels: (1) belief systems, (2) definitions, (3) logic, and (4) evidence. Most often, I work with those levels in the order just shown.
Let's play with an example, just to better understand the four levels of argumentation:
- Let's say I wanted to create a written argument against the death penalty. I would probably begin with discussing the ability of mankind to change for the better, and how the death of the perpetrator does not allow society to welcome back the repentant (my belief system). I may define "murder" as only serial killing (murder 1, multiple killings, only), and all other forms of murder as "manslaughter". I may offer a logic that is inductive (working from a small sample population out into the general population) that shows those men that were executed by mistake. I may also point out that being found "guilty of murder" by jury is questionable, given the number of cases overturned by DNA evidence.
- Oh, I could reverse all the above. My belief system could be that mankind never changes and only grows worse with time, and that society needs the death of the criminal to confirm that the constraints of society are valid (and will be upheld). I may define murder as including even manslaughter while under the influence of alcohol. I may offer a deductive logic (working from a broad classification downward). I may cite evidence of chaotic societies where "avengers of blood" are used, instead of a valid court system, as proof that the death penalty, as used by a court system, is stabilizing to a society.
What does all this have to do with the question – "Why do some people -- Christian or non- Christian -- hate the transgendered?"
In my opinion, when someone hates us it is because we, that are observably within the TG spectrum, violate someone's (1) belief system. We seldom get to debate the other levels of argumentation: (2) definitions, (3) logic and (4) evidence.
In short, the world hates the visibly transgendered because of the first level of argumentation -- that is, we violate their belief system.
Here are three case studies to consider:
1. My Philippine neighbor recently spoke to me. She's observed me for months. She called me over just this weekend, as we were working in our yards at the same time, and chatted with me. "My husband told me 'Yes! That is or was Jim. And he looks good in a skirt!' " She laughed, and then said, "So long as you are happy, that is all that matters. By the way, what is your new name?"
Why such a positive reaction? Most likely, her reaction came about because I did not violate her belief system at all. The "so long as you are happy" belief system allows enormous variation in definitions, logic, and normally doesn't care about any evidence, let alone arguments of validity for evidence. My chat with my neighbor was an easy and very friendly meeting.
2. One of my sisters met with a pastor, and they both decided to "Turn me over to Satan". If I debate level 3 (logic), then I would argue that "turning someone over to Satan" is the third step of the four-step process of excommunication in Matthew 18 (that is, meet alone, meet with witnesses, meet with witnesses and church authorities, and extend forgiveness). I have not been allowed a defense (as required in step 1, 2, and 3 of Matthew 18) and therefore "Turning me over to Satan" is inappropriate and invalid. But again, if I am debating level 3 (logical order of excommunication), it is good to ask myself, 'what level of argument is my sister experiencing'?
When I look at level 1 (belief systems), then, I understand my sister's motive -- she is still in mourning for the loss of her brother, and desperately needed closure. Her belief system (towards me) is one of mourning. The pastor understood her need, and within his belief system, tried to meet her need. Yes, I received a piece of hate mail from her, and read it. But I read it in context of her pain within her belief system (level 1 of argumentation), and decided to continue to live by her edict: "Never contact me again. Not even at my funeral." In this manner, hopefully, my sister will have the distance she needs to heal.
3. Those that have read "Letter To My Rapist" (which is on this website) have encountered a not-so-nice view of a pastor that verbally attempted to rape my mind into conformity to his (that is, the pastor's) belief system. His belief system is simple, "I must protect the flock at all costs, even if it means destroying Caryn.". Since I visited his church, quietly, and without even conversing with him, you might think his response and attack to my visit is extremely over-the-top.
But... that pastor sleeps well at night, because his written attack and un-Christ- like actions towards me were all within his belief system. After all, his belief system allows the shepherd to defend the helpless 'sheep' of his flock. Does the shepherd weep over the bear or lion he killed? No, not at all. Instead, the shepherd rejoices over the dead body, brags about the exploit in church meetings, and points to the 'head' mounted on the wall as proof of his manhood.
So, now you've been exposed to level 1 of argumentation -- belief systems. And, I hope I've shown you how that belief systems can be so foundational, that the other levels of argumentation -- definitions, logic, and evidence -- are often filtered or even thrown aside.
Can we sum up the belief system of Christ? What is His foundational level of argument that filters all His actions while on this Earth? From what belief system did the greatest Rabbi further build His arguments of definitions, logic, and evidence?
I think we can sum up the belief system of the Christ, and it is this: "Bear one another's burdens, and thus fulfill the Law of Christ" [Galatians 6:2]
How have my neighbor, sister, and the pastor helped to “fulfill the Law of Christ”? My Philippine neighbor accepts me, but she did not offer to help bear my burdens, yes? My sister is in mourning, and will not be able to help bear my burdens perhaps for a few years. The pastor that attacked me has forsaken imitating all of Christ, and only wishes to imitate the parts of Christ that appeal to his personality and need to verify his ability to protect his small flock.
What should I do? After all, they have forsaken the Law of Christ, shouldn't I do the same?
As time has passed on, I've decided that I should fulfill the Law of Christ:
- To the neighbor that accepts me, we discussed a large bush that overlaps the property lines. Soon thereafter, I trimmed much of it, and a few days later, she finished the trimming herself. - To my sister in mourning, I shall pray for her healing, and watch for a door to open in the future, but I will not contact her without her permission, as she requested. I will give her the distance she needs to heal. - To the pastor, I sent a letter of encouragement when I learned that he was emotionally suffering because his church is approaching financial and spiritual bankruptcy.
Do I like the furnace of belief systems that are not according to the Law of Christ? No, not at all, really.
But the fires of their belief systems have given me incredible privileges of living Matthew chapter 5:
- I know what it is like to turn the other cheek, only to be slapped again; - I know what it is like to carry someone's burden further than is appropriate by reason of justice or custom; - I know what it is like to be 'sued' for excommunication in a mockery court of a pastor and his assistant, given no chance for presenting a defense, and reviled... and I know what it is like to have given them the tunic of avoiding their church, and the cloak of encouragement as well.
Can you hear the Master's voice in Matthew chapter 5? How about hearing His voice with these benefits of being hated:
- I've learned so slowly to bless those that curse me; - I've begun to love my enemies, and to give them the soothing oil of comfort and good wine of God's encouragement; - I'm learning to make my sun rise on the evil and the good, and to make my rain to fall upon the just and the unjust; and - I'm becoming a daughter of God, because the furnace is teaching me to live by the Law of Christ.
I am learning to "count it all joy" in the midst of "diverse trials" that act like a furnace on my faith because my faith is being purified.
And as the furnace heats up, I know that the 'fourth man' will appear in the furnace with me (as He did for Daniel's companions), and instruct me how to better ascertain and bear the burdens of those that hate us, even as the 'fourth man' centuries later, ascertained that all mankind was overcome by sin, and bore the burdens of all mankind on Calvary's cross.
"The God we worship can save us from the fiery furnace. But even if our God does not, we still will not worship the idols you have established." Said Daniel's companions to the King. [Daniel 3] I like their attitude. After all, the furnace of belief systems have hated and even killed for thousands of years. And one day, the hatred generated by belief systems may one day kill my body.
Yes, in their hatred, I may die. My physical body would then cease to live. But why should I bow down to the idol of living by anything less than the Law of Christ – which is to carry their burdens?
Their burdens -- not mine.
In my opinion, we are terribly privileged to be hated, for their belief systems have become the furnace that purifies our faith.