Protecting Your Spirit
Honestly, this has been the hardest page for me to create. I actually put it off until last because I really didn’t know what to write and how to get my point across. My intent here is not to offend anyone or degrade any form of religion. I respect people’s beliefs, and believe that everyone should have the right to practice any religion they want.
The only thing that all religions seem to have in common is that they believe we were created by a higher power. They just all have different interpretations of what that is. The universe, mother earth, God, Allah, Jehovah, etc. It’s all the same damn thing because the fact is, we all come from one entity. The same entity. Fighting over which version is right or wrong is completely pointless. They end up breaking their commandments and rules in order to fight for their beliefs, all while going against everything they believe in. It’s a mess, and I’m sure our true creator is not too thrilled with it.
The realities of religion and God have always been hard for me to grasp. Now, I say God because that is what I’ve grown use to referring to Him as, but I truly believe it’s all the same no matter what you refer to Him as. Anyway, we as a community, have been told, by many forms of religion, how horribly disgusting we are. They believe that what we are is what we choose to be, and that we could be “healed” if we were to really try. I’ve had many people try to “save” me. Back when I was in denial about who I was, I tried my hardest to comply with the rules of religion. Religion is supposed to guide you. It’s supposed to make you feel full, free, and close to God. It’s funny how I’ve only started truly feeling close to God when I started being honest with myself, and the world.
What Religion Does to a Trans-Child’s Spirit
I was born into a Catholic family. My family was not insanely religious, but we were taught to pray at night and we did go to church on Sundays. Church was boring to me as I’m sure it was for many other kids. I just didn’t get the point of going. A Catholic church isn’t very “kid friendly.” I never really understood what was going on. One thing that I was sure of was that there is a God.
I knew I was transgender since I was three years old. It’s one of the first memories I have. I always known that my body was a mistake, but with a three year old mind, I couldn’t fathom why. I knew I couldn’t tell anyone because I knew they wouldn’t believe me. Ok, yes obviously I’m a girl on the outside. Any one that has ever changed my diapers knew that, but how would I be able to prove that I wasn’t a girl on the inside?
As years past, I locked my truth within. Only two people knew my secret, me and God. I was taught about the power of prayer. That it’s the way you converse with God. Well I sure as hell had a lot to speak with Him about. I wanted Him to know he made a mistake, and begged Him to fix it. Nothing. I received no answers and no help what-so-ever. I was so confused. I was told that if I had a problem that I could pray and God would fix it. Why wasn’t he fixing me? It was around this time that I was taught about what an abomination was. The person who informed me of this didn’t know that I had fit the bill of what they were describing. Not in just one way, but a couple others. I was told that God doesn’t hear the prayers of a person that is deemed an abomination in his eyes.
There was my answer. The only other person that knew the truth about who I was, turned against me. I didn’t understand. Why did He make me like this then? I grew frustrated, angry and alone. I felt abandoned, and I stopped praying. Instead, I challenged Him. I wanted him to end it. At just 12 years old, I was begging God to end my life. When He wouldn’t even do that I started to believe that He really didn’t hear me. Either that, or He just didn’t care. I no longer wanted anything to do with this world, and it didn’t take long for me to go completely numb.
A Temporary Revival in Spirit
Years went by, and I drifted through them as if I was living on auto-pilot. I didn’t care about school, myself, or my life in general. I put on a smile and a brave face in order to disguise the reality that lived within me, and suppressed everything I was to the point that I actually didn’t know why I was so screwed up. It was around this time that I was brought to a Christian church by a family member.
Something resonated with me that day. I still don’t know what it was exactly, but I felt a sense of hope for the first time in a long time. It was as if someone had found me in the dark room I lived in and was trying to pry my ass back out of it and into the world, but my interpretation of it was all off.
Christianity taught me to fear God. They got me on that one. I was scared shit-less of Him. Any wrong move, and you’re getting sent down to Hell in a whirlwind of flames. The picture they painted in terms of Hell, haunted me. The thought that things could be worse than how they already were was something I wanted no part of. Christianity teaches you obedience through seer fear. I decided that I was going to follow the rules, even if it meant secluding who I was forever. I knew by continuing to live a lie was going to be unbearable, but it was better to suffer for the rest of my life than for all of eternity.
Again, I was miserable, but now I was miserable for a good reason. I was made to believe that my suffering was my cross to bear. By fighting my urges, and living the life I was born to, I was following God’s plan. This was all bullshit.
I started to drink very heavily, and discovered something amazing with alcohol. I found that if I drank enough, I wouldn’t feel it. For the first time in my life the pain that I had carried since I was three years old was gone. It was an amazing relief, and it became my goal to reach this point on a regular bases. While people around me were drinking to have a good time, I was drinking to reach the feeling of complete nothingness. Those few moments made the intense hangovers worth it, and I didn’t give a shit about who I was hurting in the process because I selfishly felt their pain was nothing compared to mine. I knew it was killing me, but I was trying to get myself to the finish line even faster.
All christianity taught me was that you’re not allowed to be happy in your life. That you need to take the cards you were given and ride it out until the game was over. This is easy for the straight, and “normal” christians to say. They have no idea what it’s like to live the way we have. They have no idea what we’re giving up when we tuck ourselves into the closet. For some reason, they don’t believe that their sins are as bad as ours. They say all sins are the same, but they trash us the most. While others cheat, steal, lie, murder, rape, and torment others, somehow we’re still the true criminals. How can you point out my flaws when your hands are far from clean?
Religion almost killed me. I remember when I had reached my bottom. It was 11am and I had just gotten out of bed. I was in the dining room with my uncle and I was shaking. I’ve noticed this before, but it was always so random. I didn’t understand it. My uncle asked me if I had a drink at all yet. I said no and that I just woke up. The look on his face killed me. He looked both disappointed and a guilty. He told me I was going through withdrawal. This hit me, hard. I grew up around addicts and alcoholics, and I always promised that I would never turn out like that. But, here I was.
I worked hard, and got my shit together. I prayed a lot during this time because I was struggling with what I had been told, what I felt, and what made sense. By gaining a new grasp on reality, I started to be a little more honest with myself. I always knew I liked women and I finally allowed myself to date. I started to become more open and honest with who I was, and this felt amazing. When I came out as being transgender, I finally felt like I was actually living my life instead of just locking myself away.
What I’ve Learned
Religion became a thing of the past for me. I do believe in God, and I have a good relationship with Him, but I do not identify as having a specific belief. Honestly, I feel like they’re all full of shit. I think that all they have really done is given God a bad image, and have taken Him away from people who truly need Him by telling us that we’re not good enough and never will be. They contradict themselves all the time. They say God is all loving, merciful, and forgiving except when it comes to us. Love for us comes with conditions. I truly believe that the bible is just used as a means for people to fight what they fear and don’t understand. They sift through it as pick out scriptures that give a small amount of foundation to their arguments. All while ignoring the ones that counter them.
God isn’t what they all make him out to be, and He doesn’t make mistakes. They said if I prayed hard enough He would change me, and they were actually right about that. He gave me the balls to ignore them and live the life He laid out for me. We all have a purpose. Maybe that purpose is to get the world to start seeing us as the human beings we are. To stop trying to keep us locked away in a closet, through use of fear, for their benefit and comfort.
I was truly lucky when it came to my family. They all stuck with me and have stood up for me when it came to religious issues. I know some of you are not that lucky. I know some of you are struggling with your own stance in God’s eyes. That’s why I wrote this. You’re not a mistake. You’re not an abomination. God does not hate you. He is not malicious, or vindictive. You were made the way you are for a reason and that reason does not involve you being locked away for the rest of your life. It doesn’t involve you taking your own life. It involves you embracing the person you are and saying “F*** you!” to any one that has a problem with it because He sure as hell doesn’t.
You are not hurting any one by being who you are. Any one that says they are hurt by any changes you want to make, don’t belong in your life. If they love you they would only want you to be happy. If they don’t, screw them because there are plenty of people out there who will want to take there place.
One Last Thing to Leave You With
We are all equal in God’s eyes. That’s one of the things that religion has taught me and one that they shouldn’t have. I say that because, if their plan was to keep me in a box, that was the key that let me out. By being equal in His eyes, that means you can talk to Him whenever the hell you want. You don’t need a priest, pastor, reverend, rabbi, or anyone else. If you have a question, ask it. Trying to ask through a big religious filter is only going to give you a big religious answer.
My uncle once told me that when he wants to ask a question he holds his bible between his hands, closes his eyes, asks and opens it up. He flips through the pages, with his eyes still closed, until he feels he should stop. He runs his fingers down the page and places it where he feels is right. He opens his eyes and reads what he landed on. He told me he always gets his answer that way. So, I tried it.
Back when I was struggling with what they told me and what I felt to be real. I did it. I landed on Psalm 118.5
“I called upon the lord in distress. The Lord answered me and set me in a broad place. The Lord is on my side. I will not fear. What can man do to me? The Lord is among those who help me; therefore I shall see my desire on those who hate me. It is better to put trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.”
This was my answer. This ended up being my release from religion and my pass to happiness. You can’t put confidence in this world. You can’t listen to what they tell you about who God is, and what He believes. Ask him yourself.
Now, I know this might offend some people, and a lot may disagree. This isn’t for you. This is for the people who have struggled with their identity and their own relationship with God. It isn’t meant to spark an argument or religious debate. This is just my story and my personal experiences that I only chose to share in an attempt to help others who might be in a similar situation. I am not an expert in this field by any means, no one really is. I am a flawed individual who is figuring life out, one step at a time, just like the rest of us. Your life is your own to master.