Saturday, May 26, 2012

I left this reply on LDS.NET Transgender forum

A few days ago I left this reply on LDS.NET Transgender forum. We had been debating a number of things, one of which was whether it was wrong for a transgender to transition. Well I kind of lost my head a little until I took the time to step back, regroup and write what exactly I wanted to say. And this is the comment I left…

Thank you funky town, I did step back and you kind of hit a tender nerve with me.I am sensitive to this whole transgender thing. I have grown up as a transgender and gone through all the heartache of feeling out of place in my own body. There have been times when I have look at myself in the mirror and felt this overwhelming disgust with what I see. I have hated myself and loathed being in my own presence. I have been mistreated in school and in the church because I act different. People do not know that I am transgender, but they can see I am different in some way and they seem to think that gives them the right to treat me poorly.

When I found this forum I thought; great, I have found a place with people like me who have struggled like me. I saw this forum as a place to share stories and encourage others in their struggles. I read great stories from some of the authors on this forum as Perigon, Katie 77584, slamjet, Spartan117, and many others. They shared their ideas and I was encouraged and inspired by them. They helped me and I hope others who struggle, or those who do not understand. I then I started reading some of the responses, like the one I quoted, [I hate to say it, but I don't know why a transgendered person would want to join the LDS church, or a true hermaphodite for that matter. After all, the issue with transgendered is that their brains were wired differently, and no amount of therapy helps. For those who get the surgery, it's the only option other than suicide that helps. What those people need is real compassion, not judgment.] a lot of those statments made me feel like I was a sinner and the only way back was to simply stop feeling like this. Like I could just turn it off like a tap.
You asked; What if it won't make you happy? This is the very narrow minded and ignorant statement that I have been talking about. The stats contradict this statement you make, and even from the article you quoted in a previous post. Transgender Americans face high suicide risk- Health - Health care - More health news - msnbc.comstate that the suicide rate before surgery is 41%. And in two other articles.BBC NEWS | Health | Sex-change patients' opsuccess, Most Patients Who Have Male-To-Female Sex-Change Surgery Are Happy,Despite Complications, both state 88% art happy and in a follow up with 70 of the original 222, 80% where still happy. The stats say yes. I have read many accounts that say they are happier after surgery. SRS helps. I have also heard many say that even before surgery they feel better on hormone replacement therapy.

I would like to share a story of a friend, and this is what he said.
“I do not have gender identity dysphoria, but my daughter does. I raised her as my son for 19 years before she told me. She was the shining example in our ward, president of her priesthood quorums and fist assistant to the bishop. She attended an LDS Curriculum private high school and was active in the student body. I was looking forward to her attending a mission and raising my grandchildren.
“She first told me that she was attracted to other boys. My wife and I were devastated, but we made sure she knows that we loved her and that would never change. I was serving in a bishopric at the time so I got out my manual and tried to understand what the Lord had said about this. She quit coming to church, but has never lost her testimony.
“Then she told me that she was a girl trapped in a boy's body, but assured me that she didn't intend to actually do anything about it. (I think she thought this was what I wanted to hear.) A few months later, late one evening she came to me and said that she had just tried to hurt herself and that although she stopped she realized she needed professional help.
“I realized at that moment that I would rather have a transgender daughter who was healthy and happy, than a miserable son who was so tortured that he contemplated suicide. That evening I decided that if she needed to transition I would support her all the way.“

I would like you to take a few minutes to read the story of Alex Chrisholm - Riding the Gender Pendulum. He has an amazing story and he has been through hell and back. In spite of everything; his stake president supported him despite how he feels.  “With a heavy heart, I informed my local Church leaders of my decision. Fortunately, they cared a great deal for me and showed me nothing but love. In the end, I received well wishes from them all with a special commitment by the stake president that if I ever needed anything, he could be called day or night.”
This and the story of my friend is the kind of compassion I am talking about. This is compassion coming from our leaders who are setting the example for us.

Now speaking of myself; at around the age of ten or eleven my bottle had broken (that I kept my transgender feeling in) so to speak. I had spiralled into the darkest depth of my emotions. I hated myself for feeling this way. I felt so evil and there was nothing I could do to change it. I did not know how to deal with these feelings. I was so terrified to tell anyone for fear that I would be ladled a sinner for feeling this way and the only way to save myself was to STOP!!! But I did not know how. I loathed myself and wanted to die. As I sat all alone at home that night, I wallowed in the darkest dreary depth of despair. I went into the kitchen and took the biggest knife I could find and held it to my chest. I did not want to live like this any longer. And the saddest part of it all was my family would not have seen it coming. At the time I did not know what stayed my hand, but it was the darkest time in my life. I placed the knife back in the drawer and went to my room. I threw myself to my bed and howled bitter tears. I cried myself to sleep thinking; “I can’t do it, I can’t even kill myself. I would always be trapped in this wretched despondent existence I called life.” And my hatred for myself grew. I did not know what I had at the tome, but if I could not be a girl, I wanted to die. On so many occasions that I can not count; I would whish and pray that god would make me a normal happy boy.That is all I wanted to be, was to be happy as a male and feel comfortable in my own body.
So what do you tell someone who you love or care for deeply comes to you and says that they would rather die than endure anymore of the emotional torment they feel? These feeling are not a lifestyle choice.These feeling are not a result of a bad diction; they come from birth. Who would choose that kind if persecution if they had the choice.
I am not going to transition; it is not the right choice for me. For the same reasons as Alex chose to retune to being male, and I fear that one day I will not be able to withstand.

Now I ask another question; what about Hermaphrodite (the proper term is Intersex)? Is it considered mutilating their genitals when they chose a sex?  Or if the parents chose the sex at birth of the Intersexed child, and the child identifies with the other sex? It is changing their physical body.
Also I want you to consider Androgen insensitivity. You take some one who is genetically male but is borne with complete Androgen insensitivity. They are born looking like a girl; they grow up believing and being happy as a girl. It isn’t until later in life when complications arise that they find out. What where they suppose to be; Boy or Girl?This is just two examples of the gray area around this whole gender thing, and the more you contemplate it the grayer it becomes. Many say that Intersex is another form of Transgender.
The lord does not judge us all as a whole. He does not hold everyone to the same standards. He judges us individually. In the address By Elder M. Russell Ballard: Suicide: Some Things We Know, and Some We Do Not he talks by the judgement of Christ.

When he does judge us, I feel he will take all things into consideration: our genetic and chemical makeup, our mental state, our intellectual capacity, the teachings we have received, the traditions of our fathers, our health, and so forth.
We learn in the scriptures that the blood of Christ will atone for the sins of men “who have died not knowing the will of God concerning them, or who have ignorantly sinned.” (Mosiah 3:11.)
I want you to learn about us transgendered people before you pass judgment whether it is right or wrong. Go to my Blog - All of Me: The Transgender Woman Inside and read about me, my experiences, and my beliefs. Then follow some of the other blogs that I follow. Transition may not be right for all, but maybe right for some. So I give you the same challenge. Consider what I have said here. A lot of what I say is not modern society talking; it comes from deep personal experience. I have been there in those bad experiences, I have done a lot of things I am not proud of, and I have attempted Suicide. I agree with most of what you are saying. I just don’t agree with how you are saying it. For that reason I have been preaching compassion.


  1. Very nicely said. Thanks for standing up for us : )

    I have to say that I couldn't read the black text on your red background without highlighting it. So, I would recommend you use white for all the text.

    1. I fixed it. That is what I get for copy & pasting it from Microsoft Word with out checking it first.

  2. GiantCplus, thank you for you clarion call for compassion and this thoughtful, and broadly researched post. So well written, I think inspired!

    Regarding compassion, I relate it to charity which is defined as the pure love of Christ. Mormon teaches that this penultimate of spiritual gifts does not flow to us automatically but requires substantial and sincere effort. (see Moroni 7:39-48, I wanted to link it but still don't know how).

    I know we all have not yet obtained the fullness of this gift, but let me share a personal note. In the years since my mission (28), 18 of those years including presently I have held priesthood keys, I do not say this to place myself above another, but only to create context for my point, throughout that entire time I have struggled with dysphoria and denial, only now recently to begin to feel understanding and personal acceptance. While serving in my various callings, I have been blessed to experience many times the pure love of Christ for those He has ministered to through me, and I have felt that love for me personally. Because I know how He feels for each and every soul, it has become easier for me to feel and extend charity too, though I am not perfect in this yet either.
    I took time in reading your post to go back through your link to the LDS.NET thread and read the whole discussion. I admit I was not familiar with that level of debate before in the LDS setting. I am naive, but it made me sad.

  3. Unfortunately my computer locked up,obviously operator error before I finished my last thought, so now I will finish.

    As I said the debate made me sad. I did not feel the Spirit in it. I did not feel edified nor instructed. I have so enjoyed the way I have felt in our four associated posts where I have felt uplifted and strengthened. I have seen the Lord's hand here and felt His divine guidance. (see Moroni 7:11-19) In this we know how to judge.

    May we all be inclined to greater love, compassion and sensitivity. With much love and appreciation, Laurie.

    1. Going back through the transgender forum there is a lot of good insightful information there and some truly inspiring stories. You just have to find them. I mentioned some of the individual whose stories I found particularly good.

    2. Ok thanks for the encouragement, I'll keep a positive outlook and keep reading.

  4. Sadly I find that is not a place I enjoy visiting. Yes, there may be good, compassionate people who post there, but so many of the comments just make me sad or angry (same goes for reading the comment threads on news article about trans issues). That said, I'm glad you are standing up for those of us who choose not to stand in that place at all. :)

    1. I have come to realise that as well, and after this last exchange I am going to limit how much involvement I have there.

    2. I do believe it is important to stand up for what we believe, but I guess we need to be careful not to cast our pearls before swine or put ourselves in a position where we become the target. I think all of us need to be in a position where we feel that we are loved and that others are cheering us on and giving us good, sound, and loving advice.

      My patriarchal blessing states "Seek friends who will make it easy to live the gospel. In turn you will be a strength in their lives." I feel like you all are some of those friends. There are many others like us. Several of them have contacted me through email, but haven't left public comments on our blogs, and they are our friends too : )

      I am so grateful for all of you : )

    3. I discovered your web site via Google while looking for a related subject, lucky for me your web site came up, its a great website. I have bookmarked it in my Google bookmarks. You really are a phenomenal person with a brilliant mind![URL=""]transgender[/URL]

  5. thanks Hilda. your words have brightened my day.