Transgender And Religion

FaithSymbolsToday was my 4th shot of testosterone. As of right now I am dosing every 2 weeks at 80 mg. It’s not much, but they start you small. We don’t need any incredible hulk monsters running around now do we?

I’ve noticed some physical changes: voice cracking a little and slightly lower pitch, more peach fuzz on my face, oily skin and some acne. Mentally I feel a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I’m not walking around with a “doom and gloom” cloud over my head all the time.

Ok, onto the serious stuff: transgender and religion. Once upon a time I was told that there were “no religions that accept changing of the sexes”. Hmm, good point, so I did what I do best, RESEARCH. I was raised Catholic after all, but don’t worry I will go through every religion I can think of for my curiosity and because I love proving a point.

There are a lot of religions out there. The most dominate being Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as Abrahamism, are a group of Semitic-originated religious communities of faith that claim descent from the practices of the ancient Israelites and the worship of the God of Abraham. The term derives from a figure in the Bible known as Abraham.

Abrahamic religions have creation stories in which God creates people, “male and female” (Ref: 1,2). This is sometimes interpreted as a divine mandate against gender variance. The Torah contains specific prohibitions on cross-dressing (3) and damaged genitals (4).

  1. Genesis 1:27–1:27 “So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”
  1. Quaran 75:39 “And made of him a pair, the male and female.” 
  1. Deuteronomy 22:5–22:5 “A woman shall not wear a man’s apparel, nor shall a man put on a woman’s garment; for whoever does such things is abhorrent to the Lord your God.” 
  1. Deuteronomy 23:1–23:1 “No one whose testicles are crushed or whose penis is cut off shall be admitted to the assembly of the Lord.”

Ok Jay, fancy stuff, but what does it all mean? I’ll start with Judaism. Orthodox Judaism views the sexes as two separate categories, male and female. There is no room for transgender. Sex-change operations involving the removal of genital organs are forbidden on the basis of the prohibition against “anything which is mauled, crushed, torn or cut” (Lev. 22:24).  Cross-dressing is seen as a crime against god (see above Deut 22:5). Hasidic Judaism has gender specific roles and therefore transgendered are not recognized. Conservative Judaism has mixed views. In 2016 the Rabbinical Assembly, which is the international association of Conservative rabbis, passed a “Resolution Affirming the Rights of Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming People”. Reform and Reconstructionist Judaism have had positive views on the transgender community, even allowing them to become members of the clergy.

Christianity, oh my favorite, I was raised Catholic but am no longer practicing and you will see why in a second. While answering questions about marriage and divorce, Jesus says that “there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven.”(Matthew: 19)

Christian Denominations that allow transgender clergy: there are 30.

The Old Catholic Church has been affirming and welcoming of transgender members. Old

Catholic and Independent Catholic churches have been accepting of the LGBT community in general, (https://www.advocate.com/politics/religion/2013/10/03/alternative-way-be-catholic-and-lgbt).  In 2014, one of the first transgender priests was ordained in the Old Catholic Church (https://religionnews.com/2014/11/17/living-authentically-transgender-priest-christian-church/).

Now, I’m no priest, nor do I claim to be a theological expert, BUT, I don’t see anything to validate the lack of belonging to a denomination if you are transgender. Yes, those silly Catholics, so judgmental aren’t they? If your catholic I apologize. According to the Old Testament (Deuteronomy 23:1) you are forbidden from religious assemblies.  Other denominations that welcome transgender members and ordain transgender people in ministry are the Episcopal Church, United Church of Christ, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and the Presbyterian Church (USA).

In 2015, the Vatican declared that transgender Catholics cannot become godparents, stating in response to a transgender man’s query that transgender status “reveals in a public way an attitude opposite to the moral imperative of solving the problem of sexual identity according to the truth of one’s own sexuality” and that, “therefore it is evident that this person does not possess the requirement of leading a life according to the faith and in the position of godfather and is therefore unable to be admitted to the position of godfather or godmother,”

(http://www.newsweek.com/vatican-transgender-godparents-368142).

I know what you’re going to say, MOST Christian denominations do not accept gender transition. And you’re right, MOST, BUT NOT ALL. So we are both right in that sense that there are some religions that accept me and some that do not. I have options.

So what about Islam?

I found some interesting reading to answer that question:

The Effeminates of Early Medina, Everett K. Rowson, Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 111, No. 4 (Oct. – Dec., 1991), pp. 671-693

“In Islam, the term mukhannathun is used to describe gender-variant people, usually male-to-female transsexuals. Neither this term nor the equivalent for “eunuch” occurs in the Quran, but the term does appear in the Hadith, the sayings of Muhammad, which have a secondary status to the central text. Within Islam, there is a tradition on the elaboration and refinement of extended religious doctrines through scholarship. This doctrine contains a trans-positive passage by the scholar and hadith collector Al-Nawawi: A mukhannath is the one (“male”) who carries in his movements, in his appearance and in his language the characteristics of a woman. There are two types; the first is the one in whom these characteristics are innate, he did not put them on by himself, and therein is no guilt, no blame and no shame, as long as he does not perform any (illicit) act or exploit it for money (prostitution etc.). The second type acts like a woman out of immoral purposes and he is the sinner and blameworthy.”

Ok that’s a lot to take in, and I could keep going on the Dharmic Religions (Hinduism, Buddhism) and African Religion, Chinese, Neopaganism, Shinto, but I won’t as I am long-winded enough already.

I will say this about Buddhism:

“Ananda is a beloved figure in Buddhist cultures, noted for having been handsome, charismatic, and sympathetic to women, as well as for his tender emotionality. Among Thai Buddhists, he has long been regarded as having been a transgendered person in a previous life, and also to have taken a number of births as a woman,” (https://books.google.com/books?id=nGoag6b3JvYC&pg=PA303#v=onepage&q&f=false).

Buddhists do not distinguish between heterosexual and homosexual identities as they can be conducive to spiritual growth. For them it is about creating your path to enlightenment and doing unto others as you would do to yourself.

Am I religious? For the most part I believe in karma. I believe that God exists for the simple reason that I have seen the existence of evil while serving in the military. Logically if there is evil, there must be good and vice versa. I don’t believe that God hates me, nor anyone in the transgender community, Jesus preached love. For me, love is love, and who I am does not change how the big man upstairs will judge me. Anyone that thinks otherwise, well you can answer to God when you see her.

 

~Jay Barnette~

Original content from: https://thepadiwanjourney.blogspot.com

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About davidtkukulkan

I am a cognizant collection and configuration of genes in symbiosis with various microorganisms, thoughts, memories, emotions all encoded in neurochemicals.
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One Response to Transgender And Religion

  1. Alex says:

    Really interesting discussion. I am not trans nor do I believe in God. But I am a Buddhist. I have not heard the theory about Ananda before, but it certainly makes no difference to the canon what his gender was (and it’s a nice thought). Nor that of the Buddha to be honest. For me I have come across nothing that precludes any gender or sexual orientation within Buddhism (although there will be examples out there where Buddhism has mixed with culture to the exclusion of certain people – religion is often simply the excuse for bigotry of course, and that’s a problem with humans, nothing else).

    For me Buddhism centrally is concerned with ethical practice and harm – if you are not causing harm (particularly intentionally) to others then you are fairly free within Buddhism to live how you please.

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