In honor of National Coming Out Day, I will be giving my best personal defense of queerness and living as queer either in or outside of the closet. For greater context, please also see I Am Transgender and I Am Transgender (Part 2) in addition to Dear Christians.
Why do I think revelation being open to interpretation is okay? Because it being otherwise would be to defeat God’s very purpose for us: to become like him. It’s the same reason why God rejected Lucifer’s plan: we must be free to choose, even radically free. Without that freedom, we cannot be responsible for our choices. We cannot be like God, who is also radically free. There would be no opportunity for us to truly learn about the world or ourselves. There would be absolutely no point at all, for without the ability to create meaning in a world devoid of inherent meaning, life would just be a big, sad joke.
Consider the story of Abraham and Isaac. Recall that God blessed Abraham with a son, Isaac, at a very old age after Abraham pleaded with the Lord to give him a child. God, hearing Abraham’s pleas, gave him Isaac. Then one day, God asked Abraham to offer Isaac as a sacrifice, a request that Abraham really struggled with.
On the one hand, sacrificing his son seemed wrong, but so did disobeying God. It seems like he is in a lose-lose situation: uphold what he previously accepted as morally correct, or do as God asked. The standard interpretation is that God didn’t really want Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. After all, that would be a horrible thing. Instead, he wanted to see if Abraham would have faith enough to do it. That’s why God stopped him when Abraham sufficiently demonstrated that he had faith. That interpretation does have its merits, but there is a different way to interpret this story.
God could have really wanted to test Isaac, but instead there wasn’t a moral catch-22. Isaac’s real choice was whether or not he would uphold the faith that he chose, that is make an authentic choice, which was the only right thing for him to do. No account of morality could tell him what the right decision was. Not even God could tell him that. Instead, it was up to Abraham to decide, and God blessed Abraham because he was true to himself.
Thus, you can reconcile my existence as a woman with your faith. You can choose to believe that God simply placed my female spirit in a male body for reasons we may never understand. Or, like me, you can choose to believe that what ‘male’ or ‘female’ means is open to interpretation. That we each individually create what it means to be a man or a woman for ourselves. That there is no one right way to be a woman. That your faith doesn’t require you to believe otherwise.
When deciding this, I only ask that you consider what you truly feel. It’s ultimately what I had to do to make the first steps in my transition. I felt that despite all the pain and suffering I knew I would endure, that despite all the fear that threatened to destroy me, I knew that I was a girl and that the only right thing to do would be to admit it and begin my transition. I call it meditation and self-reflection, you may call it prayer. Ultimately we receive an answer we feel to be right. (I’ll admit the feeling that I was a girl scared me like nothing ever has.) It doesn’t come in the form of words we can articulate. It comes in a feeling–something we must be careful not to intellectualize or rationalize. When finally accepting that I was a woman, I felt peace, joy, and love. It was as if my body was finally in submission to my spirit and I received a hope that I could repair my soul and finally live. What do you feel?
Author’s Note: There is a beautiful scene from Sense8 that articulates the importance of authenticity in a very meaningful and relatable way. Click on this video link to see it in the context of what I just expressed.