Article 9 ...
3 Questions from a Pastor to a Christian Cross-dresser
Q: How does your cross dressing promote His (God’s) image and your acceptance of who he has made you (in relation to your gender)?
There is no quick answer to that, nor one that applies to all situations. My answer would be different within different contexts depending on the age, faith and gender of the person asking the question.
The first part of your question, “How does cross dressing promote God’s image?”
I suppose it promotes it in terms of witness. Cross dressing has allowed me access to a group of indi-viduals that are largely shunned by the Church. This I consider a calling and a ministry. God put this calling on my heart ten years ago, and has yet to remove the burden and love I feel for the LGBT community. When I am dressed in a female persona, I try to portray a realistic image. What I hope will come through is my humanity. I am not ignorant to the fact that the lines are a bit blurred, but I am trying to find my way (without much of a cultural road map, only the life of Christ) relying on God’s Spirit moment by moment. Hopefully, the image of God that comes through is one of acceptance and love. This is the image of God that I am trying to portray to a group of individuals who have experienced much rejection and condemnation. I hope the image I portray says to those in the LBGT community, that they are not outside of God’s love because of their lifestyle or sin, nor outside of His care. This image of God (loving, welcoming, forgiving) stands in stark contrast to the one being promoted by some of the mainstream churches that insist on pointing out the failings of others especially in areas where they themselves do not struggle. The image of God, (what it means to be like Jesus) which I promote has more to do with partnering with others, to say to them, “Hey world! I know that God loves me as I am, and He loves you too!”
The second part: “How does cross dressing promote...your acceptance of who he has made you, in relation to your gender?
It may be hard to explain this part, since you have not had to deal with my life or my thorns. But let me give it a shot.
I’m laughing to myself (about myself) at this point because what God has led me to in regards to self-acceptance is something I could never have guessed going into this process. I was raised to think the only way to overcome a problem was to face it head on and do battle with it. (Onward Christian soldiers) If that did not work, then I would use the cut and run method of fleeing from a situation so I would not be tempted. The problem I found with both these methods is that my actions were based on MY EFFORT and that, as it turns out, limited or undercut the actions and work of God. I thought I knew what God wanted for me (based on scripture and teaching), but I did not know that my interpretations, and those of my church, were by default culturally motivated. (I speak about what defines a male and a female.) Our cultural definitions of male and female become intertwined with what we read in the Bible. Our cultural filters interpret the scriptures in a way that is more palatable to our current day sensibilities, wants and desires. Reading scripture within our cultural context can often lead to a poor translation and therefore poor application of what it is that God intended.
Since I was raised in the Church my understanding of what it meant to be a male was garnered from both a social and a Biblical perspective. The cultural ideal of male was blended into my understanding of what God expected of me as a male. This created within my young mind a rather uncomfortable self-image where my natural desires towards the female role were viewed by me as wrong, evil or sinful. I equated my lack of understanding of the male mind set as a failing on my part. I began a life-long process of weeding out those female expressions and desires and trying to eliminate them. I learned early on to suppress my feelings and hide my thoughts (and even my actions). This I thought was the right thing to do.
I did not realize at the time that sometimes the only way through a valley is THROUGH the valley. I had no idea when I was battling these feelings that I was doing myself grave emotional harm. Although my intentions were to become “right with God,” what I ended up doing was shutting down so much of myself that I lost who I was in the process. This I thought was perhaps what it meant to die to myself. I was VERY wrong.
Confessing our sins also means to acknowledge the reality of who we are. My acceptance of my fe-male side has allowed me to accept myself and realize how much I need God. Accepting my female side, and the exploration of that, has allowed me to explore aspects of my humanity that I was afraid to express (creative, emotional, nurturing). This process of re-discovery has helped heal some very deep and painful wounds. I laugh about this part because, interestingly enough, my acceptance of my female side has led to self-acceptance, and an understanding of my humanity and also the acceptance of my MALE side as well. I am enjoying more peace now between my male and female expressions than I had ever thought possible. Confessing my failings, my sins, and myself to God has led to a real death to self (a preconceived notion of who I thought I should be) and allowed me to take ownership of who I really am before God and what my role is as His child.
God is at work exposing and redeeming my sin nature, both male and female. My wounds are laid bare, and real healing can commence.
Q: “Could you say that cross dressing is an informal way to express your confusion in reference to who you are and the very God design for your life?”
I think I answered some of this already. But to elaborate, let me also say that I had mistakenly viewed cross dressing as my problem, when in fact it was only a symptom of a much deeper issue. God did have a plan for my life which involved me understanding my personhood. The cross dressing helped to clear up some confusion, in that itallowed me to tap into a part of my personality that I was previously suppressing. So yes, in one respect, it is a therapeutic tool to gain understanding.
Q: You use scripture to back up your experience. Could it be that your expressed transgendered nature is a sin nature that needs to be recoursed and restored in reference to God’s primary intention for your life? God made Male and Female (different needs, expressions, body parts, etc.) - He never made man out of the context of these two genders.
Let me correct your first statement when you say that I am “using” scripture to back up my experience. This I have not tried to do. I look to scripture to understand my experience. Most of my articles have come from a reading and an application of scripture. If I could, I would simply say, “Hey, read the Bible, it is all in there.”
But going on, you ask, “Could it be?” Perhaps it could, for if you read my writings carefully, you will see in them that I never tried to excuse my actions, nor do I say I am without sin in their expressions. Ever heard the disclaimer, “Children do not try this at home. We are trained professionals?” I would have to echo that sentiment.
I would not wish this path on anyone. In fact, I am trying to leave trail markers so that others will have an easier time of it.
Yes, it could be that my sin nature needs to be recoursed. I hope you feel the same way about your sin nature. Citing my transgendered nature as being inherently more sinful may be a bit of a stretch though. The redemptive power of the cross is there to redeem our actions. For I have learned, through much pain, that ALL I do is sinful and falls short of meriting fellowship with God.
Unfortunately we may have a division on this issue that has more to do with life experience and word semantics than with basic Biblical understanding. Do not confuse my self-acceptance with self-approval. I am not deluded as to the reality of my sin, and I accept the responsibility of my actions. I know I am a sinner saved by grace. I also know however, that there are people out there struggling with issues that are not easily resolved, living under a burden that has suppressed and twisted them into a state of inactivity. We are to live the abundant life, and these people have been placed under a false weight that has only the objective of crushing them. Jesus died to set us free from the power of sin, to never again become its slave. I also know that those who think themselves righteous are righteous only though comparisons to others they perceive to be weaker to themselves. It’s not unlike the pretty girl who has ugly friends.
Your last point about male and female is more of a biological question than a Biblical one. The roles of men and women are culturally driven. God has cited roles for male and female, rich and poor, as well as slave and freeman. Some of these are applicable today, others were descriptions of social conditions at the time. God works with what we give him, and tries to communicate with us in ways we can understand. He is very patient in this. I hope we, His children, will show each other the same patience and understanding when it comes to communication and give each other the benefit of the doubt.