I haven’t written here in awhile, simply because nothing has really changed. As a “disfellowshipped” Christian, my former friends in the congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses continue to have nothing to do with me. As for my daughter, who for just about every reason other than this, I am pleased to say is a happy, active member of the Christian congregation, the only contact I have had with her since she moved out of our home last summer was a recent question about an insurance bill, which apparently was deemed sufficiently “necessary” communication that she could temporarily break her silence with me and not be somehow “sharing” in my “horrible” sin.
However, it occurred to me this morning, that this situation is really far, far simpler than even I have been viewing it in the past. With that in mind, I want to try for a very succinct summary of the problem with JWs view of transgender persons — a twisted and inaccurate view that is sadly shared by various “fundamentalist” Christian groups as well.
It simply comes down to this. As a transgender woman, I was born neither fully female nor fully male, but rather partially both. Yes, the sexual plumbing bits turned out to be more or less male — I was never going to be capable of giving birth to children (lamentably, from my point of view) — only of “fathering” them. That does not in any way diminish the significance of the female parts of me, which in fact turned out to be vastly predominant in pretty much every other way.
There is more and more evidence coming forth in recent years to substantiate the validity of such a claim, but for me personally, having lived the experience, I don’t need scientific studies to tell me it is the truth.
If you accept this truth, then it is plain that the transgender Christian who ultimately comes to terms with their condition by living in accord with the gender that is predominant within themselves is in no way disrespecting their creator, who from a Biblical point of view may not originally have purposed for children to be born with such a condition, but nonetheless has allowed such things to occur since the downfall of Adam and Eve.
The problem is, Jehovah’s Witnesses as an organization, along with various other so-called Christian groups, simply choose to disagree. There is no rationality to it, no basis in medical or scientific research, no credence given to the life experience of the transgender individual. There is not even any sound Biblical basis. The transgender person is simply seen as wrong — wrong about themselves — wrong about their birth condition and life experience — and therefore wrong about living in the way that works best for them, psychologically, emotionally and even physically, when that way happens not to match the Witnesses’ assumptions about the genitalia that person was born with.
For transgender persons who may eventually opt for genital reconstruction, as a means of further correcting what they see as an unpleasant birth defect, the Watchtower instead sides with various other fundamentalist groups who insist on calling such surgery “genital mutilation” instead.
Everyone is entitled to their opinion. I do not insist that everyone else grasp, accept, or even try to wrap their mind around what it means to be transgender. When opinions lead to seriously negative judgement, however, and potentially to action as adverse as cutting off all association for someone whom you previously claimed to have deep Christian love for, then unsubstantiated opinion alone won’t do anymore. Jehovah’s Witnesses and other Christian groups who take such a hard stand against transgender persons have absolutely no basis in fact and no right to say that their opinions are absolute truth, while discarding as irrelevant conclusions that persons like myself have painstakingly drawn based on a lifetime of experiences, available medical and other evidence, and for those Christians among us, even our own consideration of the scriptures.