Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Who’s doing the bullying?

A while back I wrote a blog article called "Shame on You". It was in response to the opinion commonly shared by religious people that transgender people are abnormal deviant sinners. I quoted one religious guy in particular, a guy named Robert Gagnon who is the Associate Professor of New Testament at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. Strangely, a few times per month someone does a Google search for this guy and ends up on my blog. This week it happened twice, and it made me curious. I was surprised that my little site would rank anywhere near the top search results for this guy, so I did a search of my own.

I never did find my page in the search. I gave up after reading ten pages of the results, but I did find a quote that looked interesting so I checked it out. I ended up jumping from site to site skimming article after article. After quite a few site hops I ended up at this poorly named site: where I saw something that made me sad.

It is about some Day of Silence in some school where students in support of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender people can choose to stay silent for 24 hours to show that support. The author of the article wrote this:

Consider that during DOS, many kids who hold time-honored traditional values relative to sexual morality (i.e., that human sexuality is a gift from God to be shared between husband and wife within the bonds of marriage) are frequently and ironically tagged as "hateful," "bigoted," and "homophobic." (Who’s doing the bullying?)

"Who’s doing the bullying?"
- Matt Barber, Anglicans United & Latimer Press

Yeah he really said that. He really asked who was doing the bullying. I have to say from firsthand experience that the level of negativity from the religious side of the fence compared to the transsexual side is like comparing an erupting volcano to a pimple. It's true. On one side we have an unstoppable torrent of deadly material flowing over us with affects that last a lifetime, and on the other side we have a slightly irritating little red bump that goes away in a couple days.

There are some religious people out there who don't seem to get that when someone grows up different like I did, we spend so much thought about what others think. We are so very scared. We don't want to be different. Life would be so much easier if we were 'normal'. I can't tell you how many times I prayed to be normal as a kid. While all this is going on we have to listen to people of faith standing on every corner telling us that we have no morals and no values, that we are sinners, and that we deserve to go to hell.

In our hearts and minds we know we have done nothing wrong. If there is a god* then we know that we are just as god made us. We eventually begin to realize that this is who we are and there is nothing wrong with it, but we have nothing to base this on but our own feelings and experiences, so convincing others is difficult.

Not only that, but people who believe it is their faith to condemn us will not accept our feelings as the truth. These people somehow believe they are able to trump the reality of our words with the fiction of their faith. Say I am talking to a man who subscribes to a faith-based opinion that I, as a transsexual, have no morals and deserve to go to hell. I can tell him it has nothing to do with morals, that I was born transgendered. I can tell him I spent years as a child wishing I wasn't transgendered. I can tell him I fought it for thirty years until I couldn't take it anymore. I can tell him that finally confronting my feelings of being transgendered was the hardest thing I have ever done, and I only did so when I was at the absolute end of my rope. This person will turn around and tell me that none of what I said is true and that I've actually just chosen an immoral lifestyle of sin and I am lying to cover that up.

Unfortunately the believers of this fiction are united. Most of them have been banded together for all their lives into their various Christian and Catholic religions and offshoots. I know that for every person who speaks out against transsexuals based on religious reasons that there are many many more who share that same belief. Suddenly I don't have just one guy telling me that I'm an immoral waste of skin, I have millions of them. Even when they don't say that I am awful they are quick to say things like they are people "who hold time-honored traditional values relative to sexual morality (i.e., that human sexuality is a gift from God to be shared between husband and wife within the bonds of marriage)" Yeah that isn't condescending. Way to steal words like 'moral' and 'values' and make them only belong to the religious.

For a transsexual growing up in this world it is hard. We feel that we can't trust anyone with our secret. We go through life alone. We don't go through life deaf though, we silently digest the words we hear about us, and trust me, we hear everything said. We hear it over and over again all throughout our lives, and it hurts. It weighs down on us, and it depletes our sense of worth and our self-esteem. It kills us inside because there is nothing we can do about it. We are scared of ridicule if we open our mouths in defense. In our private existance we are but one person listening to the cruel comments believed by millions of people. It is like David and Goliath, only there are a million Goliaths. We'd never survive a fight, so we don't fight. We just take the cruelty over and over all our lives.

Consider millions of religious people who year after year have no reservations about airing their negative opinions of transsexuals and compare that to one lone scared transsexual who silently takes it. This is the reality of what happens. We are helpless against religion, and religion won't let up. Since there is strength in numbers, this is clearly a case of the strong repeatedly oppressing the weak and defenseless. Wait... isn't that the definition of bullying?
It certainly is.

Now I guess we can answer Matt Barber's question as to who is does the bullying. Organized religion is doing the fucking bullying, Matt. To suggest that it is possible for gays, lesbians and transsexuals to bully a religion simply means that you don't know the definition of the word. Bullying is long term, repeated, habitual, cruelty from the strong towards the weak, and that is what religion does to people like me all our lives. Organized religion is the biggest bully there is and ever has been.

"Organized religion is the biggest bully there is and ever has been."
- Sarah JM, Sarahs Adventures

* There isn't

1 comment:

Ariia said...

I totally agree with you Sarah.

Not only are they bully's they are hypocrites as well. Everything that is done in the name of "religion" is nothing but a load of crap. More people have died in the name of "religion" than anything else. Every religion thinks they the one true religion, every religion looks down upon those who don't belong to their chosen faith, and every religion has major discrimination issues with people who aren't robotic blind conformists like themselves. All religion is a sham.

Religious people preach about acceptance, equality and tolerance, etc and yet they can't seem to practice what they preach. It seems to me, that those who demonstrate those qualities are those who choose not conform to a religion.

You want to be religious, fine. Go be religious, but leave those of us who choose not to, alone. I mean really what gives them the right to tell everyone else how they 'should' be? And when you're not how they 'think' you 'should' be, they are the first to label you as 'sinner' and throw rocks. They get to run their mouths off whenever they want in the name of 'religion' but those who are not religious get no say? Or if they do speak out they are always told "right to free association, free speech, free from religious persecution, etc etc" Religion is a crutch, something for them to hide behind, something for them to cling to when things are to difficult for them to understand.

Religion, not money is the root of all evil.