Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Married transsexuals

I had some very interesting conversations over the retreat weekend. One of them was with a young man whose had had someone living in his flat at university who identified as neither male or female, a position which makes it very difficult to refer to that person (other than by their name) when speaking in the third person.
I am aware that, although I am interested in inclusion, I know very little about the issues affecting those who are on the transgender spectrum. Today I read a post in which Anglican Mainstream seem concerned (as usual) about the parlous state of the nation, this time because a minister had suggested on her blog that married people who undergo gender reassignment might be allowed in law to remain married and still be legally recognised as their new gender. The position at the moment is that if a married post op transsexual wishes to have their new gender legally recognised they must first divorce their spouse in order to avoid a situation in which two people legally of the same gender are also married. The concern for AM is that- gasp- a change in the law might lead to same sex marriage in a small number of cases for the first time in British society!

I listened to a programme a while back on Radio 4 where a married couple were interviewed. One spouse was a male to female transsexual and had undergone gender reassignment surgery. The wife had stood by her spouse during her surgery and transitioning and accepted the fact that she was now with a woman, neither intended to leave the other.

Now, when two individuals have faced these types of odds together, in the face of probable personal trauma and possibly misunderstanding from those around them, then I believe that the last thing they need is to be forced to divorce! When people have demonstrated that quality of love and commitment, what they need is support and affirmation, and perhaps even a little humility from the rest of us in acknowledging that they are as married as anyone and that most of us could learn a lot from them.

9 comments:

  1. Fear of this is pathological, and if you want a real insight into the minds of people who are opposed to women priests and gay relationships and transgender lifestyles all you need to do is to read 'Purity and Danger' by Mary Douglas. It's all there.

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  2. I had my spaniel spayed shortly after I bought her. It made very little difference. She's still a typical woman, running off with my dinner, wetting on the carpet and slavering all over me.

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  3. I have always thought that whatever someone does to their body or whatever a couple do in a stable, faithful relationship is their business. (When I am without sin I will throw the first stone.)
    A.M. is, as usual, "highlighter pen Christianity" at its worst: bleating about women priests & gay priests, not a mention of the suffering of the most vulnerable in society due to the cost of the nationlisation of the banks and the cuts to fund them.

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  4. I looked up the Mary Douglas book through google, looks interesting, all about the purity laws in Leviticus. It makes me think of that bit in Acts where Peter describes the vision of the blanket full of "unclean" animals that God declares clean.

    As for AM, Derek, they are horrible but I do think they are just the loony fringe - and what would Fr Hugh Jass do without them?

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  5. Have you come across the spoof AM website - it's rather hillarious and provides a refreshing alternative ;-)
    http://anglicanmainstreams.blogspot.com/

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  6. I think the reason the bigots scream so loudly about this situation is their fear. The existence of transsexual (and even more so people born with physical sexual ambiguity) proves beyond doubt that sexual identity is not naturally a case of male or female. This undermines the logic of their arguments and also makes a very strong case that marriage laws should be completely revised to take account of reality. As reactionaries, it is this threat of major change that makes them so fearful and aggressive.

    As for personal pronouns, I just ask the person what he/she or it wants to be referred to as and stick to their reply until I am advised otherwise. Sometimes I am asked to revise my terminology as such transgender people often change their presenting sexual identity to suit their situation.

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  7. The transgender person who was described to me at the weekend wanted to be referred to as "they" or "them", in spite of it being a plural, as they found "it" a bit dehumanising.

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  8. Sounds like a student being a student, if you ask me. But it's refreshing to know that transgender young people can be as silly as straight young people. It adds to the "it's all just nature" argument.

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  9. These students, all wanting to be trendy and make a fuss about their gender. It wasn't like that when I was a student, we were just happy with he, she or it, there wasn't all this his, her and herms rubbish :)

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