Deuteronomy 22:5, King James Version states: “The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.”
That sounds pretty serious! What exactly is an abomination? Aside from that creep who fights the Hulk in the second movie, to whom I’m reasonably sure the good folks who brought us KJV were not referencing.
Webster’s Dictionary defines an ‘abomination’ as “something abominable”. That isn’t such a help. It then defines ‘abominable’ as “worthy of or causing disgust or hatred”. Ouch. I hate to add to my woes, but the example Webster’s Dictionary gives for ‘sophomoric’ is, “Any point made by utilizing ‘Webster’s Dictionary defines…” in the introduction. Bear with me your honor, I’m going somewhere with this.
No no, I’m not using your precious time to reiterate the already well argued case that even were we in the transgendered community to assume that true, it would not apply to us anyway since we do adopt the right clothing for our gender. Instead I’m going to zag left here and speak to the underlying problem. There is a fundamental difference in root languages and bases of logic that is making it a real pickle to find common ground to even have a meaningful discussion. Because of this, the struggle for those little things, like basic rights, is fought on the battlefield of public political opinion and the comments section of CNN.com. Can we hope for more? Honestly, I don’t know, but let’s get at least a picture of things.
I used to spend a great deal of time arguing the greater and lesser points of issues by attempting to drill down to some final authority. There are too many final authorities I’ve come to find. Imagine several lawyers attempting to make a case, each articulating a fundamental truth of the Korean, Japanese, and Malaysian constitutions respectively. (My original example had the US and Iranian constitution, but I quickly realized that both sides automatically assumed themselves to be the US and thereby the moral high ground). “It’s all well and good you cited Document X Section Y Passage Z, but I simply don’t recognize that.” This is inevitably followed by a lot of snarky name calling, belittlement, and esoteric threats.
So where do we find common ground to communicate? If a proportion of the population believes in a faith based core truth that maintains transition or other transgendered actions are aberrant behaviors that clearly contradict a decisively communicated divine will, how do we answer that? Medical and other scientific evidence is routinely discounted as inherently erroneous. The methodology must be inherently flawed if it doesn’t align with scripture. Incredibly, the pissy approach of disproving the holy word by labeling it the ignorant ramblings of bronze age nomads and their mercurial sky god doesn’t seem to be making much of a dent either. I know, right? Hard to believe someone wouldn’t immediately drop decades of emotional investment in a paradigm when you put it that way.
Here we are. On one hand there are those of us who are transgendered, part of the larger LGBTQ community, and allies who recognize we were born this way and there isn’t much to be done about it. On the other, there are those who are certain that is not the case because various forms of scripture say it isn’t so, and that trumps all. While there are exceptions on either side such as alleged ‘ex-gays’ who purport to have prayed it away, or believers turned skeptic for one reason or another, on the whole no amount of crafty logic, clever jabs, or recitation of quotes seems to be swaying any appreciable number of folks. Nothing so frustrating as an impasse in rhetoric. From the trans point of view, it’s not enough to agree to disagree; we have rights and liberties at stake.
If we can’t beat them and don’t want to join them, the best bet is to get to know them. Hold on now before you demonize the idea as ‘consorting with the enemy’. When Ellen DeGeneres came out and “Will and Grace” was on the air, there was almost a deafening din of cries, “I don’t want homosexuality in my face!” It’s true, some are still sticking to their guns with that and we have to accept some people are never going to change. The important thing though, is that enough did. Now having gay media personalities is hardly even a thing, and the vast majority of characters are viewed as likable. It may be a chicken and egg argument regarding the very positive trends such as SONDA, gay marriage, and DADT repeal following relatively soon after. The point is that once something viewed as strange and suspicious is linked to real people, or at least likable characters, it becomes much harder to outright reject. “Much harder to hate you to your face”, as the old marketing saying goes.
I’ll go into the current panicky political backlash in another post, but my main point is that the road to becoming normalized parts of a society, especially one that contains diametrically opposed belief systems, is visibility. The more we put ourselves out there, especially in a positive manner, no matter how much head-in-the-sand resistance is encountered, so many more will come to see us as people. The level below base belief faith and base belief science is Base Human, our one fundamentally common language.