Gender · LGBT Christian

“It’s In Your Mind”

There’s been a video going around social media more frequently as of late thanks to Donald Trump’s announcement via twitter that transgender troops will not be enlisted or allowed to serve in their country.

While this is heartbreaking news for anyone who is transgender, especially those currently serving, it is a double blow when friends and family of transgender individuals share this video that exclaims that transgender individuals are just ‘playing at’ or ‘pretending’ to be a sex they are not.

This video is of Ben Shapiro at Ferris State Authority during a Q & A. Throughout the video, Shapiro makes a number of statements that are blatantly untrue and misleading. Whether Shapiro did this intentionally or not is unclear and only known by him and God, but the fact of the matter is that many statements and ‘facts’ he made are untrue. They are lies. I would like to take a few moments to explain the most important statements that stood out to me as untrue.

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LGBT Christian

“A New Commandment I Give You…”

“A new commandment I give you: love one another. As I have loved you, so also you just love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.”

John 13:34-35

Love is a powerful thing. It’s something that brings us all together in our highest and lowest moments. It can pull us from the pits of despair and make us sing from the mountaintops. Love is the ultimate healing tool for our broken and bent hearts and souls. It’s the only thing that can stop wars and pain.

I’ve gone through a lot of pain in my life, and love has been the only thing that has saved me over and over again. In my darkest moments, it was either the love of God or the love of friends that healed me and made me whole again. Love has been a constant presence in my life in a tangible and powerful way, and because of it, I spend a great deal of time working hard to soften the edges of my life and try to be as kind and compassionate as possible, not just because God commands it, but because it has been proved to me over and over again that love always wins. Love is never, ever, wrong.

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LGBT Christian

Out of Sorts

It was three seconds after I finished writing an article on Biblical interpretation that I felt it. Regret. I’d spent the entire night thinking about how many different theories and theologies had been born from the Bible and how on earth anyone is expected to navigate it, so I wrote down my thoughts and went back to bed. It took only three seconds before my eyes opened again and I knew I wouldn’t be falling asleep.

Did I really believe in everything I spent all night writing? Did I really believe the Bible could be interpreted, even understood?

I can say that right now, as I’m writing this article, I have no idea. I look at the fundamentalist, evangelical upbringing of my life and I cringe. I look at everything I’ve ever believed, and for the first time in my life, have no idea what I’m looking at.

Once upon a time I was being groomed to be a youth pastor. I served at my local youth group and Church from the time I was fourteen til’ I was nineteen. I attended a Christian college with the sole purpose of getting a degree and a full time job in ministry. I used to teach kids about God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Now I look back at my life and only one thought remains.

Is God even real? Was any of it ever true? What am I going to do?

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LGBT Christian

Biblical Interpretation

Biblical interpretation. Pretty heavy subject, am I right? So, here I am, sitting in my bed, typing this up at midnight on Easter Sunday. I’ve been up for several hours at this point, spending that time going over biblical interpretation in my mind and why on earth it seems so  complicated at times.

Now, before I begin, I should mention that biblical interpretation is very important to me. It’s something deeply ingrained in the fabric of my being. It’s a foundational part of who I am, something I’ve been taught since I could walk and talk. This is the Bible. This is what it says. This is how you read it, interpret it, let it guide your life. This was what my parents taught me. This is what my Church taught me. I don’t take the Bible lightly. It’s no laughing matter, and that’s why I’ve been up all night thinking about the complexities of biblical interpretation and why it can be so difficult as an LGBT Christian to talk about.

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Gender · LGBT Christian

20 Years In My Shoes

Imagine you were born in my shoes.

The day you’re born, you come late. Everyone’s overjoyed at your arrival, and the doctor announces to proud parents that they have a healthy baby girl. Everyone’s happy. You’re crying. Little does anyone know you’ll do that a lot in the future.

You’re five years old and your best friend is a boy. You’re obsessed with boy things like trucks and cars and racing and wrestling. The only girls you like are either quiet or like you. Your school makes you wear dresses and you fight and scream and cry every time your parents dress you. You don’t know why but it’s embarrassing to go outside in dresses and skirts. You fight everything feminine from dresses to socks. You envy boys that get to wear pants and ties.

You’re eleven when puberty hits. You’ve learned to stop crying in front of people, so no one knows you’re dying inside. Your mom says you’re becoming a woman. You don’t want to be a woman. You don’t know why this hurts so much or why it feels so wrong, but you hear it’s normal to not like puberty so you try to believe them even though everything inside you says it’s wrong.

You’re thirteen and everything you say and do screams “boy” if it weren’t for the boobs on your chest. No one knows your a girl until they look at your chest and correct themselves. You secretly hate every person who lets your chest define who you are, but you still don’t know why being called a girl hurts so much.

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The Promise I Made

Watch out, I’m about to get nerdy. I’m a big fan of Doctor Who. For a long time now I’ve been obsessed with the man who can change his face and body, regenerate, every time he’s dying so that he can save his life. I guess it’s probably important to mention that this man is the Doctor, and he’s an alien. Oddly enough, that didn’t stop me from emotionally connecting to this character, the Doctor.

Maybe it’s because I’m transgender, but I was obsessed with this alien’s culture of people who could literally change their entire bodies to save their lives, sometimes changing genders as they do. That was deeply important to me as someone who is transgender. I identify as a man, but when I was born the doctors took one look at me and assumed that I was a girl because of my physical characteristics. But my physical body does not define me, much like the Doctor’s body does not define him. He is the Doctor, no matter what he looks like. He is himself.

I feel like that’s me. No matter what I look like or what I choose to do, I am myself. I am a boy through and through.

More on that though. One of the hardest things I had to do was change my name. My old name was highly feminine, not unisex at all, and I never liked to hear it. During my childhood I constantly tried to change my name to something else, but no one ever took my new names seriously. I was always my old name. That never changed.

Deciding to change my name seemed like a logical part of my transition. While I didn’t exactly like my old name, I was sentimentally attached to it. It was the name of my grandmother, whom I love. My middle name was my mom’s middle name, another person I love. To change those names would be to erase a precious connection, and that’s not something I wanted. But with my mom’s love and support, she helped me pick out my new name, a name that I could be proud of and still be attached to knowing that my mom helped pick it out.

And now, back to Doctor Who. In one episode, the Doctor stated, “Your name is like a promise you make.”

For me, my name means home. More than that, with the act of changing my name, I promised myself that I would always be true to myself. Much like the Doctor, my name represents who I am as a person. My core beliefs have always been to be kind, loving, and genuine. With my name change I plan to live out these beliefs unapologetically and be myself.

To me, that is the promise of my name. It is one that I am happy to carry and one that I can be proud of. Kason.