The Intersection of Queer Identity and Atheism
As a transgender person I have had my own personal battle with acceptance; the acceptance of family, friends and society. Nearly three years into my transition I stumbled across a more complicated desire for acceptance. Religion. Specifically, Christianity. I sat through numerous talks given my various people of the Christian faith; a priest, a father, a scientist. No LGBT representation whatsoever. I could sense however, that there were other people like me in the audience, wondering if these speakers would accept us for who we are. When someone submitted the anonymous question ‘how can I tell my LGBT friend that Jesus loves them?’ I knew I wasn’t alone in my thoughts. I too want to know how I’m supposed to hold any kind of religious belief when so many Christian’s completely reject who I am, who I’ve fought to become, my true self.
Do I not have to at least consider an Atheist position? I’ve listened to priest’s spout their beliefs that transgender people reject God’s plan of ‘male and female he created them’ (Genesis 1:27) I’ve heard my Christian friends declare homosexuality a sin. How am I supposed to follow a God whose followers believe these principles? A principle of hate not love. Which in my opinion contradicts Jesus’ intention for his followers.
When faced with the question of religion from a LGBT perspective, I think it’s important to remember that Christian’s and the Church do not always represent true Christianity. My grandparents were ‘devoted’ Christians and yet they beat their children. Various priests have been convicted of child abuse. I would suggest that these individuals are not true Christians. Another key point that I’d like to make is that you are not just your transgender identity. Although you must believe in yourself to transition, it does not have to be your only belief. Being transgender is not the be all and end all of who you are. You can believe in a higher power, an ethical system, aliens if you like.
If you were to tell a Christian of your transgender identity I would hope that they would have an open and accepting mind. I’d recommend the same approach to approaching religion, of any kind. I’ve recently started reading the Bible, and in my opinion, it has so many flaws and contradictions and I haven’t even finished Genesis yet. The book was written over two thousand years ago. Society then is not society now. It is completely feasible for a transgender (or gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer, non-binary) person to be a Christian.
I feel hypocritical here, as even though I am battling with the idea of religion and trying to explore further so I can have a better understanding, I feel like I’d have to choose between my true self and God. I’m hoping that I can work through it, come to some kind of conclusion that will bring my closure with my questioning of Christianity. I’d like to add that religion is a personal experience, and if you feel a pull towards God but think that this ‘queer’ part of yourself is keeping you from him, please don’t. You are living as your true self, and if God is really all loving, he should accept that.