Friday, July 20, 2012

Notes to a Transvestite--With Love

by Rev. Austin Miles

The pages of Christian Post are filled with interesting reader responses to the various stories posted there. A large number of LGBTQ folk keep check on all the stories, especially those dealing with same sex relationships, looking for any reason to be offended.

Offense can come automatically if any articles referencing 'gays'  strictly reports it without endorsing the gay lifestyle and indeed, promoting it. The journalism school I attended taught that news consists of information- facts. That is what journalists provide, while opinion is for editorials.

After the publication of my story, "Transgender Pastors Coming to a Church Near You,"  the response was immediate. That story is on this news site or it can be seen by clicking on:thislink

A reader named Christina Johnson flew to the keyboard and sent a string of responses of disapproval. After tirade after tirade, this response was added under my story:

Christina Johnson
1:49 PM on July 15, 2012
Rev. Austin Miles: I have a question for you. Have you ever met a trans person before? I don't mean just seeing a random drag queen in a pride parade. Have you actually sat down to have a discussion with a trans person of the Christian faith?
My response to Christiana followed:

Rev. Austin Miles
2:54 PM on July 16, 2012

Christina Johnson - Thank you for responding and for your question. Yes, I have indeed met many "trans-persons" whom I have been able to know when they have come to me for counseling (I am a certified chaplain), to battle the restlessness within themselves.

Every one is treated with love, respect and understanding. None of them, nor any of you out there, finds condemnation from me. And in my piece I did not state that all transgenders or gays are promiscuous. But many of all sexes are and I have found them to be consistently unsatisfied with any one partner.

Those individuals are constantly on the hunt, never feeling the full satisfaction of the grand climax with all consuming love and dedication of each partner to the other and then, with all-encompassing contentment, fall asleep in each others arms.

That is what I find lacking in those who are promiscuous. Love is commitment, devotion, dedication and love that will never die, or grow old. I love all of you and that is what I wish for you along with a total devotion and dedication to God.
Rev. Austin Miles

Still missing the point, Christina leaped to the keyboard:

Christina Johnson
12:36 AM on July 17, 2012

Rev. Miles –Thank you for responding. Most wouldn't have the intestinal fortitude to do so, and would simply delete my comment and ban me from commenting further.

Do you mean to suggest that the stories of those who don't fit what you've described don't matter? To say the very least, my partner and I have been through a lot in the three years we've been together. In that three years, we have helped each other to grow, and faced down a lot of each others' demons together.

Ironically enough, none of it had to do with the "restlessness" that you described, and I think that we have a much stronger relationship than we would have otherwise since we have faced so much together. I can faithfully say that the Lord God was with us every step of the way.

Back to the article: how is one to read it without inferring that all GLBT people are promiscuous? You talked about the “redefining” of marriage, and then write “Gays, this is not only about you.” I assume you are meaning to suggest that by saying “only” that you are also referring to trans people, and by the way in which you wrote it, you are talking about ALL gays and trans people. “Promiscuity is out. Period.” And I agree with that statement.

Many in the mental health field, the health care industry, and the ministries of various religions agree with it, too. However, the context that I find it in is disconcerting, to say the least. The things that have been suggested about GLBT people, and the flat out lies that have been told about us have been cause for a lot of misery in our lives.

 It can be no wonder why there are so many mental health problems in the GLBT community: we live in a world where people with authority use that authority to make us second-class citizens. We have been accused of being pedophiles, spreaders of disease, deceivers, and of being demon-possessed.

That is why you have so many people who you claim are “restless” and that they can't find meaningful romantic relationships, or healthy relationships of any other kind, for that matter. When you live in a world where people tell you that you're the epitome of all evil, and the worst kind of human (or less than human) that one can possibly be, how is that supposed to build people up?

Furthermore, how would you respond to a trans person who reported to you that they heard the call of God in their lives, but that they had never been convicted of sin when praying about their transition?

Such is the case with me. I don't feel called to ministry, but I have been called to serve God. I was called long before I even knew transition was possible. Through it, I was able to solidify my faith in God. So, as I said before, this has little to do with being politically correct, but it has to do with loving the least among us.
With a quick new thought, Christina, still missing the whole point, shot another response my way:

Christina Johnson
12:48 AM on July 17, 2012

Also, something else that comes to mind: I'm confused as to what you mean by speaking of keeping one's personal life personal? Are you meaning to suggest that GLBT people should never talk about our partners with the people in our lives that we trust? Or that we shouldn't attend services with the same congregation? That we shouldn't share the happiness in our homes with our friends? Or that PDAs normally shared by many heterosexual/cisgender couples is out of the question? Or that a trans person shouldn't disclose that fact to a prayer group to encourage honesty and integrity?

There are a lot of things in heterosexual cisgender* people take for granted when it comes to what they consider their “personal” lives. If it makes you feel any better, when a husband and wife walk into a room, GLBT people don't automatically start thinking about what sex acts they perform with each other. And we would like it if anti-GLBT people would stop doing that to us.

*The term cisgender refers to people who's sex and gender are the same.
Realizing that this dialogue was like trying to return a tattoo, I posted this final note:

Rev. Austin Miles
5:37 PM on July 17, 2012
Christina Johnson - First of all, stop trying to pick a fuss with me. I am NOT your enemy. On the contrary.  I must immediately address a question/statement  in your first response: :Did you mean to suggest that "the stories of those who don't fit what you've described don't matter" to me?

Never...have I ever stated or implied that any one "doesn't matter." Where did that come from? For me, EVERY life is valuable to God. Please do not attribute such a thought to me  that not everybody matters.

You write about my statement, "Gays, this is not ONLY about you,"  then you assume that  I mean this is about transgenders. It is clear that my statement referred to Gays and STRAIGHTS.

You are too defensive to be totally comfortable as to who you are. If you were,  you would not be so determined to start a fight with someone who has reached out to you in love.

You questioned my statement about keeping one's personal life personal. Revealing too much about yourself takes away the intrigue and mystery of a person.

The most fascinating people on earth are those with a mystique which makes a person more interesting.

The movie stars of old were such that they were treated like gods, with adulation surrounding them. BUT the talk shows came along where stars reveal all the intimate details of themselves, people watch, scratch their heads and say, "Hey, there's nothing special about them, they are just like us..

Now stars can no longer revel in the adulation and hero worship, but are subject to threats, stalkers and even hostility. If only they had kept their mystique.

Magicians are intriguing because nobody can figure out how they do their tricks. Most magicians wisely keep their secrets which is why they are so fascinating and draw crowds.

Heterosexual men get together to talk about their sexual conquests, who they had, how they did it and the reactions of their partners. I heard one even boast about 'golden showers.'

I have always refused to be a part of such conversations, in high school, college or in later life. Such conversations are crude, disrespectful and reduces my respect for the ones doing the talking. The mystique is preferable. I stand behind my statement: Personal things should remain personal. Keeping things personal dictates not to flaunt one's sexuality, choices and or methods in defiance of the dignity of life. It is the dignity displayed by ladies, and gentlemen. The most trusted people are those who maintain a bit of reserve.

This is where I am coming from, a position of respect for all, approachable to all,and with love for all, and that includes you.
Rev. Austin Miles