The image is that of Shiva in a dual-gender aspect.
This post is a reaction to the fundamentalists who run Texas who are again going after queer and trans people.
This hatred is being driven largely by the Christian obsessive need to micro-manage the lives of others, particularly in the areas of sexuality and gender. There is a lot to unpack here, but I will stick to one point: the idea that transgender people are unnatural.
Take a good look at the steadily growing body of evidence that we come out of the box with our brains wired to be trans, which looks pretty natural to me. Consider that there are clear descriptions of trans women in 2,500 year old Hindu texts, and that societies all over the planet that had no contact with each other were aware of us. That there are even major deities that have shifted gender.
We show up all the time in families where no one ever talks about anything even remotely related to trans issues, and even in subcultures that have completely cut themselves off from exposure to any kind of mass media (Hasidic Jewish communities, for example) where the subject might come up.
Meanwhile, our Southern Baptist friends in Texas must go to a great deal of trouble to systematically indoctrinate their children in their faith. If everyone stopped training children in Christianity, the faith would be extinct in a couple of generations because no kid spontaneously becomes Christian in the way that some children are just trans because they were born that way.
So which do you think is more natural, trans people or Christianity?
We live in a society where my right to exist–or even, for some Christians, whether I even DO exist because they take the position that I am lying about what I experience in my inner life because their god would not create an abomination like me–is considered a topic that is up for debate.
My cisgender friends, imagine that whether your neighbors might be entitled to slowly torture people like you (whatever demographic you happen to be included in) to death were considered a notion seriously worth considering by your state legislature and possibly acting upon. If you can get your head around that, you have some idea of how it feels to have tens of millions of your fellow citizens think of you as annoying, disposable garbage that should be made to vanish.
In other coverage I have seen some of the comments that were used to argue that lower courts had an anti-religious bias. Some of the people involved in those decisions noted that many evangelical Christians are strongly biased against queer folks. Apparently stating facts about the real, often hateful and ugly, behavior of Christians is considered bias. I have experienced up close and personal hostility from evangelicals. The intensity of that hatred was chilling. In a few days, where I live, there will almost certainly be the usual “God hates fags” protesters out in force at the Pride parade. This is not mere dislike, this is active hatred, and we are not imagining this.
“We lose when our rights are considered debatable. Even if the Supreme Court had ruled unanimously against the baker, in fact, L.G.B.T.Q. Americans would still be considered second-class citizens in many aspects of civic life.
We can still be legally fired or denied housing in 28 states. More than 300 anti-L.G.B.T.Q. bills have been introduced in the states in the past three years. In Oklahoma, gay and lesbian couples can be denied the ability to adopt children.
Masterpiece wouldn’t have changed any of that, just as Obergefell v. Hodges didn’t change any of that, just as rescinding the military’s “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy didn’t.
The only thing that will truly enshrine equal protection under the law for all Americans, including L.G.B.T.Q. people, is an amendment to the Constitution.”
Much of what the Christian right’s political activity is about is trying to make it impossible for LGBTQ people to live our lives in peace. I have had Christians of this ilk go out of their way to get in my face and to be as nasty as possible to me. Some of them, I have no doubt, would have assaulted me had we not been in a space where that could get them into legal trouble.
They want to see people like me fired, evicted, and denied medical care. Some of them are quite open about wanting people like me to die. They do not want us to exist. Period.
If you are not part of some marginalized minority group, try to image what it would feel like to watch a well-funded, politically formidable movement on the march with the intent of making you disappear from the face of the earth.
I can’t find the exact quote, but I think H. L. Mencken once observed that God must not be very powerful if he requires the protection of a state legislature.
“The idea behind Project Blitz is to overwhelm state legislatures with bills based on centrally manufactured legislation. “It’s kind of like whack-a-mole for the other side; it’ll drive ‘em crazy that they’ll have to divide their resources out in opposing this,” David Barton, the Christian nationalist historian and one of four members of Project Blitz’s “steering team,” said in a conference call with state legislators from around the country that was later made public.
According to research provided by Americans United for Separation of Church and State, more than 70 bills before state legislatures appear to be based on Project Blitz templates or have similar objectives. Some of the bills are progressing rapidly. An Oklahoma measure, which has passed the legislature and is awaiting the governor’s signature, allows adoption and foster care agencies to discriminate on the basis of their own religious beliefs. Others, such as a Minnesota bill that would allow public schools to post “In God We Trust” signs on their walls, have provoked hostile debates in local and national media, which is in many cases the point of the exercise.”
I wince when I realize that many millions of cisgender people think that Caitlyn Jenner is a spokesperson for my community.
If anyone doubts that having a celebrity-dominated society results in an appalling dumbing-down of how we treat important matters, I might offer that as exhibit B, exhibit A being the current resident of the White House.
However, I am chilled to my core when I realize that millions of cisgender people think they have the right to question whether I should be permitted to exist.
I am not a sample of the smallpox virus in a lab freezer somewhere. I am an utterly harmless older woman who likes music and art museums.
This piece by Jenny Boylan, as usual, is excellent. This is the sort of spokesperson that I want!
“I don’t know whether I have ever spoken or written a word about my identity that has had half the effect of simply living my life publicly and without shame. At long last, I have landed on a new strategy for refuting the ideas of people who think I don’t exist.
For many transgender Americans our passports are our only universally accepted form of ID that correctly shows our gender. (In many states the game is rigged so that we can’t get our driver’s licenses fixed.)
I had to jump through hoops to get my passport to reflect who I really am and how I present myself to the world–certified copies of my legal name change with a ton of other ID, a bunch of complicated forms, an interview with the passport guy at the post office that required me to out myself while standing there at the counter in a crowded public space (you never know who might be listening!) and a letter from my doctor on her office letterhead that had to be carefully crafted using very specific language that stated that I was undergoing medical transition for life-long gender dysphoria–but it was certainly doable. (God bless you, Hilary Clinton!)
Mike Pompeo’s earlier political career in Congress was partly funded by the Family Research Council, a Christian organization that is rabidly transphobic–its leaders are now frequent visitors to the White House– and whose founder James Dobson once made it clear to his followers that they ought to shoot trans women like me.