Don't let your schooling interfere with your education.
~ Pete Seeger

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Not Quite Connecting the Way I’d Like To…

It's been an interesting few days. And it's not over yet. However, I do have a few observations.

I have a long way to go to assimilate the principles of Nonviolent Communication into my life fully. I'm very grateful for one of the lessons I've learned in this conversation, which is that I still get triggered by preaching. Anyone else feel that way? In retrospect, I feel sad about the preaching I did. Did it connect with anyone in the way I'd hoped? I suspect not. The conservative Christians I'd hoped to reach appear to be offended by it, and I can understand that. And by using their language, I probably turned off the choir, too!

I don't think anyone has changed their mind, but hopefully a few people have a better understanding of what it means to be LGBTQ, and it won't hurt so bad when we win full marriage equality.

I'm very grateful for everyone's patience with me. I'm grateful for the conservative Christians who reached out and tried to connect and understand me. I'm very grateful for the many accepting Christian allies who welcome me into their homes and hearts. I hope this conversation didn't cause any pain or discomfort to you.

I'm grateful for the guy who refused to deal with me at work because I'm trans, because he showed me what beautiful, supportive, and loving people I work with. I'm so very grateful for every one of them.

And I'm grateful for this lesson: I'm sitting here with a heart full of love and gratitude for everyone, including all the conservative Christians who read my blog and disagreed with it. But I suspect those folks don't feel the love I have for them, not after some of the things I've said. I can feel my love, and benefit from it, and enjoy it, but can they? I suspect not; and so is it really love? Again, I suspect not. Love needs to be received to be successful, and the love I sent out was too thickly laced with anger, grief, and frustration to be fully received. Bittersweet.

Something to work on.

Like all things that really educate us, the test comes before the lesson. Now I've got a better understanding of how much I don't know, of how far I have to climb on the hill of enlightenment. I'm grateful for that, and I'm really grateful for the Peace Conference coming up.

My opportunity to learn.


David Carrel said...

Yes, I do have a better view and for that I am grateful. And for this whole conversation, I am grateful. And yes, you do have a new friend.
I am quite positive that neither of us will ever be convinced or change our opinion.
I don't expect you to post without anger and frustration, so don't worry about that. You have not offended me. haha.
I played soccer in college and played with a couple great Brazilian players. We yelled at each other so much on the field and then just apologized, hugged, whatever and said it was fine afterwards. haha. That is how I grew up. Now, I try to react less and less with anger, but it is still an imperfection I have not gotten rid of.
So keep it all coming; if I am not man enough to handle it, I will let you know. Thanks Seda

anne said...

There is an interesting phenomenon in the Meyers-Briggs crowd, that people conflict on different levels with different degrees of feeling. They can disconnect on the basic levels of social interaction where they disagree whether or not to socialize at all; they can disconnect epistemologically, where they cannot reach a common language; they can disconnect emotionally and with needs where NVC plays a role; and, finally, they can disconnect over ethics.

Seda, m'dear, your post addressed ethical considerations. For you all who are disagreeing with Seda's viewpoints: there are different degrees of ethics. There are the ethics of interaction between sexual partners, the ethics among families, and the ethics among the individual, couple or the family and the greater community.

I think that the only way to act ethically is to be a "light before all men" and to act in the way that you deem to be most honest, compassionate and considerate. But you cannot expect that of others, for that is between them and God. However, ethics gets very messy when other people are involved. But David, I think to equate stealing with same-gender relationships is mixing apples and oranges. One has to do with the greater community and one does not. I think where the misunderstanding lies, is not on whether or not homosexuality or trans-genderness is wrong, but whether or not it threatens the greater community, as stealing might. Certainly, in a case where a child was approached by a stranger and tricked into unnatural acts, is a case for the community at large. In a case where to consenting adults carry on relationships behind closed doors, well, it gets a bit fuzzy.

But, back to my point. Ethics and differences in ethics, brings out the most violent conflicts among people of all the ways in which people conflict. But not so much in that they kill each other as in that they just argue bits and pieces to death. This is because it is the fine tuning of people--if you cannot socialize you never get to this point; if you cannot understand each others' way of communication, you never get to this point; if you get too fired up to think straight, you never get to this point.

This is where people have real arguments, not just blow-ups. Seda, the sign that these people are actually arguing is a good sign, not a lapse on your part.

I think you all should steer the discussion into where Seda has pointed: is this act (unnatural or not) a threat to the community at large, thus deserving not only censure, but possibly punishment? Is this act only a threat when there are minors or other people under the protection of the community threatened? Etc., etc. There is no way that we are going to figure out whether it is unnatural or not--that is an ontological discussion--a metaphysical discussion. You can discuss it as you might discuss the difference between men and women's brains, or whether or not people have souls, or other matters concerning the nature of man.

I think the problem is ethical. To take an ethical discussion and try to make it into a discussion of nature, is just getting into weirdness. You must avoid all this by just saying: "I think that marriage is an act that must be sanctioned by the community and if the community finds certain kinds of marriage to be threatening, it will not condone them, whether by the church or by the state."

This is the same discussion as a discussion of the age at which people can marry. The Roman girls used to be married off at 12--something we would consider to be unethical.

I think you all should understand Seda and other people like her, that they merely think that consenting adults should be allowed to share a household under the eyes of the state.

The problem is actually financial: insurance, legacy, childcare, taxes, that kind of stuff. To take these purely ethical considerations and drag in the nature of man is like saying that women should not be able to own property, etc., because they have no souls. I know that sounds stupid, but people used to say it. It's like saying that every man has to marry because he's supposed to be paired by his nature as a haploid. It's like saying that a couple who produces no children are going against nature. It just gets too weird.

Christians, (and most other religions) get bogged down in metaphysics and ontology and come across sounding like dorks. The religion is a noble and beautiful tradition when it stays in it's ethical roots, which were that every person was created equal in the eyes of God, loved equally enough to be redeemed, and had an equal chance to be in the state of grace. No one else had ever said that, especially not the Jews, who were obsessed with racial purity.

When you start talking metaphysics, you come off sounding like idiots, so just don't do it. Even the Dali Lama comes across like an idiot when he starts talking about people being reincarnated as Hitler or as cockroaches.

The strength of religion is in freeing the spirit from the doom of mortality. Go with your strengths, not with nitpicking.

See, Seda? You're not the only one who can lecture. :)

Seda said...

Always we are human, and when our needs are not met, dark emotions like anger and shame and frustration will roar like sentinels to remind us to do something about it. The good thing is, we can choose how we react to not getting needs met, and the more aware we are of those emotions and their connections to our needs, the easier that becomes.

I love you!
You are exactly right that the issue, for me, is financial. Wow. That's all it is. My gay and lesbian friends are getting married already, often in church; some of them are changing their last names to coincide. Yes, marriage equality is about economics, not morality. The moral part of the fight is already over, and love won. Now it's just a matter of gaining economic equilibrium. Thanks for point it out so clearly.

David Carrel said...

Right on about your above comment.

Kate said...

I want you to know that nothing say about your life or your beliefs could offend me. To be offended means that someone has stepped on your pride, and I have a duty to abolish pride from my life. But that's a different issue altogether.

Honestly, I wanted to seriously consider what I was going to say to you and how I would reply before I said something rash. In the interest of being as loving and yet as truthful as possible, I decided to take my time responding. If I can plead your patience a bit more, I will give you an answer that I think we can both appreciate.

Seda said...

"In the interest of being as loving and yet as truthful as possible, I decided to take my time responding. If I can plead your patience a bit more, I will give you an answer that I think we can both appreciate."

I already appreciate it! Since this has started I've spoken rashly, and regretted some of what I said. You are using more wisdom than I did. I hope I may gain enough of it to speak rashly less often in the future!

Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable.
~Helen Keller

Reading List for Information about Transpeople

  • Becoming a Visible Man, by Jamison Green
  • Conundrum, by Jan Morris
  • Gender Outlaw, by Kate Bornstein
  • My Husband Betty, by Helen Boyd
  • Right Side Out, by Annah Moore
  • She's Not There, by Jennifer Boylan
  • The Riddle of Gender, by Deborah Rudacille
  • Trans Liberation, by Leslie Feinberg
  • Transgender Emergence, by Arlene Istar Lev
  • Transgender Warriors, by Leslie Feinberg
  • Transition and Beyond, by Reid Vanderburgh
  • True Selves, by Mildred Brown
  • What Becomes You, by Aaron Link Raz and Hilda Raz
  • Whipping Girl, by Julia Serano
I have come into this world to see this:
the sword drop from men's hands even at the height
of their arc of anger
because we have finally realized there is just one flesh to wound
and it is His - the Christ's, our