Over the past few days, I’ve been seeing a lot of questions in my Facebook groups pertaining to being LGBT and spirituality. I thought it might be good to write about my spiritual path this evening. After a long an often shamed spiritual journey I found this happy medium.
Growing up, my mother was Christian (baptized as Catholic, though we never attended Catholic mass) and my father was…well, I’m not too sure what my father believed in. He rarely attended church and often voiced his idea that God couldn’t love him because of what he had done in the past. My father spent four tours in Vietnam and was at one point a prisoner of war. Even though he was a soldier during wartime and did what he had to survive, he never seemed to think that redemption was possible for him.
My mother, the Christian, bounced us from church to church most of my childhood. We would attend one church for a while and as soon as there was a conflict between the churches stance and her faith, she left. I attended churches ranging from Southern Baptist to Mormon, but never really found one that fit me.
Each church was the same for me in a general sense. The preachers would stand at their lecterns and give their sermons on the words of Christ. The members of the church would praise the wise words of Jesus and his disciples, promise to follow these words of wisdom while in church. Once that hour or so was over and the church was let out, the opposite happened. Rather than lead with love, understanding, and acceptance, the people of the church were cruel, exclusive and often filled with hatred towards people that they didn’t even take the time to get to know.
As an adult, I did attend a Catholic mass once and felt at peace for once. However, being transgender, the general stance from the church is I’m a sin. I do adore Pope Francis, but I don’t think that the landscape of the Catholic Church would ever change to truly accept someone like myself, and it hurts.
I see groups of Christians band together in times of need to help one another and it is a wonderful feeling until you realize that they are only willing to help those that subscribe to their specific brand of Christianity. This is one of the biggest reasons that I turned away from Christianity. I couldn’t be in an environment that taught love and acceptance through Christ and then turned against their brothers and sisters because they didn’t follow their exactly idea of religion. It was too painful for me.
Another reason that I began to shy away from Christianity was the idea that God had a gender was perverted to me. To me, God is neither male nor female, but rather both and yet something different altogether. There is also the idea that in nature there is, most often, a sense of duality. There is always another side of everything. Order and Chaos. Male and Female. Left and Right. Up and Down. So, in my beliefs there couldn’t be just ONE God without there being a Goddess to counterbalance Him.
You also have the argument of Good versus Evil, but what really is good or evil. My perceptions
of the world around me are drastically different from everyone else. That doesn’t mean I’m right and everyone else is wrong of vice versa, just that our views are different. If that is the case, then who decided what was right and what was wrong and how did they come up with these ideals of goodness?
It is my belief that destroyed trees by clear-cut logging is evil. It damages entire ecosystems and it displaces and often kills wildlife. Other people see it as something good; it brings in money and creates jobs. Neither idea is wrong, but neither idea is completely true for everyone.
The more that I searched for a faith that I felt was right, the harder I had to look. Ultimately I placed myself under the idea of Paganism. In this faith I can draw from the traditions that feel right to me, that make my heart feel good. I can believe in Christ, or the ideas he taught, and at the same time I can believe in magick, different faces of the Gods and Goddesses, and the holiness of nature around me.
There is one major drawback though, even in Paganism there are not a lot of communities, especially for those of us that identify as being transgender. Just as with Christianity there are groups of Pagans that practices exclusionary rules and ban transwomen or transmen from their circles, groups or whatever they wish to call their gatherings.
It’s hard to find a faith group that really accepts anyone that is far outside the so-called norms of society. I feel like because of this, it causes a lot of isolation for trans* people and a lot of fear. We, as human beings, often us faith or spirituality to explain and navigate the world around us; however, when we have to make the choice between being true to ourselves and being comfortable with ourselves or losing our metaphysical GPS we find ourselves stuck between a hard place and a rock.
If we accept who we are, we are mentally healthier and generally happier people. We are often more productive members of society and find a place that we feel relatively comfortable in. On the other hand if we come out as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, etc. we are often chased from our faith path. We are denied that comfort that often helps guide us through our life.