Here is the best way I can think of to help a non-transgender person understand gender dysphoria and transitioning.

I am going to challenge you to use your imagination for a few moments. Picture in your mind an alternate version of our world where people are born without any outward signs of anatomical differences in sex. In this world, as a baby is delivered the doctor gently lifts the child up and declares “Your child is a healthy newborn!”

As the healthy child begins to happily grow, they soon reach the stage in life where they will be “processed.” The process involves receiving an advanced biochemical suit that permanently molds to the body of the wearer. Each child approaches the massive Forcefully Regulated Characteristics machine and is told to either enter the blue door or the pink door. Upon entering the door, the child is fitted with their new suit. This suit, if left on the wearer long enough, will produce differentiated anatomical body parts and eventually sprout pre-programmed clothing to match the new body parts. Somehow, the Forcefully Regulated Characteristics machine always applies the right suit to the right child. At least, that is what everyone is taught while they are growing up.

The cold, hard truth of this alternate world is that the Forcefully Relegated Characteristics machine often makes horrible mistakes. Children are given the wrong suits and are forced into owning both the wrong body and the societal roles that supposedly fit that body. The minds of these children are not wrong because they conflict with the will of the Forcefully Relegated Characteristics machine. The FRC machine was incorrectly designed from the start to not take into account the brain’s far superior function and design, specifically the micro-structures that contribute to a persons gender identity (x). The designers know this now, it has been proven by even their own scientists. However, the system that has been established “works well enough” in their opinion and it “would be too difficult to change it.” Others on the governing panel of the FRC are prepared to go to any lengths to make sure their system stays in place.

In this world, however, there is one amazing child with a fiery bow and arrow that will lead a revolution; they have discovered a way to remove or even alter their suit and they will show the whole world how to do the same. They befriend a child who managed to avoid the FRC machine and never had to enter the blue or pink door. Together they will change the world! Later, there will also be a love triangle!

I would watch that movie. Wachowski sisters — let’s talk screenplay!

Wasn’t that fun? Does it sound like a scary world? Indeed, it does.

If you were able to imagine what it would feel like to be fitted with the incorrect suit, then you may have captured a glimpse of what gender dysphoria feels like in this world. You see, for a transgender person who suffers from gender dysphoria.. our very body is like that incorrect biochemical suit forced on the children by the FRC. Along with that out-of-place body, we get a bonus prize of built-in expectations and roles that society and our families expect us to fill. However, the imprint we have of our very sense of self contains the opposite gender of the one we were assigned at birth. It feels intensely awkward and wrong to be in our own skin. We know it from a very young age too. For some, this does not become a noticeable issue until puberty, and we may or may not share our struggle with anyone because of fear.

Imagine feeling that way every moment of your life. I intentionally said “every” moment there, because it even affects our dreams as we sleep. We may see ourselves as our true gender in our dreams, but others around us in our dreams still tell us “no, you are wrong.” Imagine never feeling at peace, even when you dream.

Enter hormone therapy and the act of transitioning…

With hormone replacement therapy (HRT), our shell starts to change and begins to fit nearly perfectly with the person. The awkwardness begins to fade. Finally we start to find peace, at least within ourselves. The medical community has it right. Providing transgender healthcare and the opportunity to transition is not some left-wing agenda. It is a medically necessary, life giving treatment and is seen as such by the medical, mental health, and legal communities.

When a person transitions, it can be disruptive to families. It definitely can. Guess what, though — so is the death of a family member. I am not just talking about suicide, although the number of transgender people that attempt suicide due to familial rejection and quality of life is terrifying. I am also talking about the degradation of the health of transgender people over time if they are not able to obtain proper care or do not feel safe seeking that care due to societal and familial pressure. The degradation of their health can lead to life-threatening health conditions. Meanwhile, the downward spiral of their health drastically affects those around them and most importantly, the people who love them.

Non-transgender people who are trying to understand this, please just shift your thinking a little. Try to realize that as we transition and finally present to the world as our true selves, you are seeing a whole person with the right covering to match. We are not “starting to publicly cross-dress.” We were in fact stuck “cross-dressing” as the wrong gender our whole lives until we were able to break free of the societal and familial pressure to conform to a gender that was inaccurately assigned to us, even with the best of intentions. Gender is not simply a synonym for biological sex.

We are not confused, we are not being misled, and we are not trying to mislead you. When a person transitions and comes out to you and shares that with you, what you are seeing is a person being absolutely and painfully truthful with you. If you reject them, you are simply rejecting truth.

Be better than that.

-Ariana Danielle Wojcik

This post has also been published at The Huffington Post in the Transgender Voices section.

I was discussing my transition with a friend on Facebook and we got on the subject of whether or not a person that is transitioning is a “mistake.”

My response below was written to a friend that has the belief that the entire process of a child being born is divinely directed from conception to birth.

This is a good topic to discuss and one that I think if people were to have an open mind about, they would see that there is a way to still believe we are intelligently created and yet not at all “mistakes”. This does not even touch on the perfectly valid point that God may choose to design transgender people from the very beginning to be transgender.

—Response Below—

I believe that we are beings of intelligent design. Based on our discussions, I think you and I agree on what we believe the origin of that design to be.

I think where we differ and where we might need to agree to disagree.. is that I view all of us as intelligently designed autonomous beings that are brought into the world by the divinely created process of conception and then there are millions of moments of development that take place from that moment forward.

I believe that process of development from the moment of conception to no longer be divinely controlled. I know that may seem contradictory, but I don’t think it is.

We in the church have all heard that the very hairs on our heads are numbered. Well, I believe that because it is in our genetic code.

As a software developer/computer programmer, I view the genetic code as how we were knit together. It is a glorious and wonderful system that is begun at conception (all of the code that goes on to build out our bodies is already there). What I believe begins there is a creation which from that moment on develops both in the womb and outside of it and is subject to millions of factors influencing development. Examples of factors proven to affect development (with hormones being just one example) include everything from how the mother eats, stress levels, sleep patterns, common cold, disease, take your pick of any similar factor outside of that child’s body.. they affect development.

I do not look at the process of human development inside the womb or out as a constant divinely monitored process that is perfect in every way.

If it was, then there would be no point in having doctors monitor pregnancies.. at all.

Regarding my statement comparing us to a system containing “software,” that code drives how our cells constantly renew. We do not often think about the fact that our cells are constantly being replaced. Factors can affect even that process during our lives (cancer).

Our bodies seem static, but they are not. I am not saying we are programmed robots. I believe we are given free will and that we are a creation like no other made from an image like no other.

I believe that genetic code is how we all are knit together. I would never say God made a mistake with me. I was created and knit together just like you. The hairs on my head are numbered, they were coded that way.

I and many others (way more than 0.3% of the population) have a variation in my gender. I can’t fully explain how or why it happened, but that does not make it unreal or imaginary or “just in my head” (that is so insulting for a person who deals with this to hear).

My point that you can obviously disagree with is that our development is a constant process and the complexity of the process and how it all works and can vary is not even close to being fully understood.

What I am fairly certain we agree on, is that God loves each and every one of us and that we are each a beautiful creation the image of God. I also further agree with you that the Lord wants us to find our way back to being in relationship through accepting Jesus.

If our development and bodies were perfect and unvarying I do not think there would be a point in having to “find our way back” to that relationship.

This is my walk and my life and I am grateful for who I am, how I was knit together, how I developed, the relationship I found, and for where I am now headed. I am in no way a mistake that is trying to correct itself.
—————–

Ariana Danielle

Let me start by saying that I am not responsible for anyone’s salvation or lack thereof and nor do I want to be. This is a write-up of my approach to interpreting the verses in the Bible that are often used to vilify transgender people.

If you want to argue with me on these points you can use the form on the contact me page. I will read them as long as they are framed as if we are discussing religion at a coffee shop with other people around. If you come at me with fire and brimstone just for discussing the fact that these verses should not be used for sniping, then you will be wasting your time. You go on and keep believing that your interpretation (or the one given to you by someone else) is the only possible one. You go on believing that limiting the rights of good people is a valid thing to do because of your “perfect” understanding. You go on sniping and causing pain and hurt and hate.

This article will address two things. First, I will address the myriad of interpretations of two specific verses used to hammer transgender people, their families, their doctors, and their mental health professionals. Second, I will discuss the act of Old Testament sniping and why from an evangelical and born-again Christian perspective, it is not something anyone should be doing for any purpose.

Sniping
“make a sly or petty verbal attack.”

To demonstrate what sniping is, I am going to attack you using it. Are you ready? Get ready to ask for forgiveness you heathen sinner…

Deuteronomy 22:9–11 commands, “Do not plant two kinds of seed in your vineyard; if you do, not only the crops you plant but also the fruit of the vineyard will be defiled. Do not plow with an ox and a donkey yoked together. Do not wear clothes of wool and linen woven together.” – reference here: http://www.gotquestions.org/different-types-of-fabric.html

While the Deuteronomy passage specifically forbids wearing a woven garment of wool and linen, the Leviticus passage seems broader, forbidding clothes woven of two different types of fabric, no matter what the material.

Plunk! You have just been sniped. Are you worried? Do you realize that there are dozens of Old Testament verses I could use against you this way? Are you just laughing it off? Well, you should as the folks at GotQuestions.org go on and let you off the hook..

So, is it wrong for a Christian today to wear clothing made of two different types of material? The clear and unequivocal answer is “no.” As we have seen, the prohibition was only for linen and wool, which would be uncommon today, anyway. Other types of blends were simply not in view. Beyond that, the prohibition was for ancient Israel, not for the New Testament Christian. The ceremonial laws for ancient Israel as recorded in the Old Testament simply do not apply today.

Question: “Do Christians have to obey the Old Testament law?”

Answer: The key to understanding the relationship between the Christian and the Law is knowing that the Old Testament law was given to the nation of Israel, not to Christians. Some of the laws were to reveal to the Israelites how to obey and please God (the Ten Commandments, for example). Some of the laws were to show the Israelites how to worship God and atone for sin (the sacrificial system). Some of the laws were intended to make the Israelites distinct from other nations (the food and clothing rules). None of the Old Testament law is binding on Christians today. When Jesus died on the cross, He put an end to the Old Testament law (Romans 10:4; Galatians 3:23–25; Ephesians 2:15). – reference here: http://www.gotquestions.org/Christian-law.html

So, now that we have established that. Let’s take on Deuteronomy 22:5 – “A woman shall not wear a man’s garment, nor shall a man put on a woman’s cloak, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord your God”

We have already established that Old Testament laws were for ancient Israel and do not apply today. If that is not enough to put this verse to rest for you then read on.

If you want to argue that the Old Testament is still relevant because it parallels many verses in the New Testament and reveals that God’s heart was consistent for us.. then I would agree. However, in the instance of Deuteronomy 22:5 you will not find another verse in the new testament to correspond with it. It stands alone and is used by modern Christians to snipe at transgender people and cause harm and hate. This is wrong, plain and simple.

Still not convinced? Let’s look at a Jewish Rabbi’s view of this verse. Remember, much of the Old Testament is studied and understood very well by your average Rabbi. His interpretation is that the abomination does not even refer to the person, but the forbidden act (adultery) for which the “dressing as the opposite sex” was described in this verse.

“The intent of the law, in this view, is to prevent men and women from associating with what would normally be a single-sex group of the other gender under false pretenses for purposes of, or in circumstances that are liable to lead to, heterosexual adultery.”

“The danger of ‘cross-dressing,’ .. is that it might allow men to enter women’s groups and women to enter men’s groups. In societies in which gender segregation was widely observed, this subterfuge was seen as a real danger.”

“Today the concern would be that men or women would sneak into the other gender’s locker rooms or bath rooms. Given that men and women in our society mix freely in other settings, it is hard to see how heterosexual adultery is a particular danger of what is called “cross dressing.” – reference here: http://www.beki.org/dvartorah/crossdressing/

All of that is basically saying that the verse was talking about dressing up as something you are not, in order to enter the realm of the opposite sex and commit adultery. That’s right, the “abomination” is adultery and sexual impropriety.

Transgender people, are not “dressing up” as something they are not in order to rape and pillage or steal away someone else’s spouse. We are being who we are, we are dressing as the gender that we are. This is not a hobby and it is not a “get my kicks on the weekend” sort of thing. Transgender people go through agony and a difficult and painful process at intense emotional, physical, and financial cost in order to transition. At every stage of this transition, they are standing against tradition, against hatred, and against many in their own family who simply can’t accept the truth about them. Transgender people, along with gender non-conforming individuals are rebels who refuse to give in to the establishment. With modern science and understanding at our side, we stand against established gender norms (binary-only gender), but in doing so we are not standing against God. Let’s call sniping from the Bible what it is.. it is simply a tactic of those who wish to stay in their comfort zone and burn down anything that challenges it. Those tactics and that kind of hatred causes others who are more extreme to directly harm, beat, and kill transgender people. If you are posting transgender related hate on Facebook, Twitter, in the comments section of news articles, or verbally spreading hate, then you are complicit in those beatings and murders.

If your church or your pastor is telling you that you can’t associate with a transgender person, serve food to a transgender person, tow a transgender person’s car, or accept a transgender person as a member of your family.. then I defy every word on the subject is being put in your head by that particular church or pastor. Hopefully, this is only happening in the most extreme churches. I defy them, and the words of Jesus are not in congruence with those views. My life, my story, and my actions do not add up to what that kind of hatred and miss-understanding are calling for. I am a human being who is deserving of your respect. Transgender people are human beings that are born in a unique way, just as you are a human being that is born in a unique way.

Another verse that is often referred to when sniping at transgender people is one that does not even make sense to use: Genesis 1:27“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” This one is so simple to debunk as a sniping tactic that I honestly am annoyed that I have to even include it in this post. This verse is literally an inclusive verse. Many biblical scholars agree that “male and female he created them” is not mutually exclusive text. We are all made in the image of God. WE are all male and female. All males start as females in the womb. Yes, really! All of us have both testosterone and estrogen in our bodies. All of us have varying levels of what one could call “gender.” You can spend weeks googling all of the arguments on that one, but it is the truth.

Let me just end by saying again that I am not a biblical scholar. I became a Christian around age 22 and spent many years being a part of several great churches. I co-led a men’s ministry for close to three years. I care about my faith and I love having a relationship with Jesus. Because of verses like Deuteronomy 22:5 and how misguided Christians would use them, it took me a very long time to understand that I could still be the real me and that the Lord would love me just as I am. I prayed about this for years.

Ladies and Gentlemen and all of those in between.. what the heck are we fighting about this for?? Jesus is Love. He loves you and YOU are a unique creation that is MEANT to be unique in this world. BE YOU. BE FREE.

Ariana Danielle

“So God created Dan/Ariana in his own image, in the image of God he created him/her; male and female he created them.”

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