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Why do some Christians–not most–hate trans people so much?

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Years ago, I wrote an article about transgendered people in the East Bay, where I live. This had been a population little known to the vast majority of Americans, including myself. But over a course of weeks of research, I came to know, and admire, these people, and still do. I don’t pretend to understand the “hows” or “whys” of their gender dysphoria. But I respect their courage and desire to change, and the incredible amount of time, money and energy they must commit, as well as physical pain they must endure. As if that’s not enough, they have to deal with the hatred and resentment they get on a daily basis from so many straight people.

The transgendered community’s formal introduction to straight America really began with Caitlyn Jenner, formerly known as Bruce Jenner. When she came out as trans, the news was a sensation. Suddenly, the LGB community had a new letter: T (“Q” has now joined the list). Americans who wanted to do the right thing found themselves scurrying to learn how to be “T”-friendly.

In practice this usually happened on a local level: businesses and civil governments added “T” to the ranks of those against whom discrimination was not permitted. (Trump lately has become the leading trans-hater in America.) Among the organizations that opted to be trans-friendly was the University of California at Berkeley. On Oct. 31, the Student Senate there held a hearing and vote on a proposal to more strongly support the rights of trans people on campus. Eighteen students voted in favor.

One abstained: Isabella Chow, a 20-year old junior majoring in business administration and music.

Had Chow simply registered her abstention and remained silent, probably the resulting furor would not have occurred. But Chow chose instead to issue a “statement” explaining her position. She proclaimed her allegiance to a specific religion: “As a Christian, I personally do believe that…God created male and female at the beginning of time, and designed sex for marriage between one man and one woman.” Chow seems to have anticipated how controversial her remarks would be, because she went out of her way to condemn bullying and bigotry. But, she told trans people, “at the bottom of my heart, I do not believe that your choices are right or the best for you as an individual.”

Chow got the backlash she feared and deserves. Hundreds of students signed a petition asking her to resign as a Student Senator. She’s been attacked on social media, and the Daily Californian (U.C. Berkeley’s widely-read student newspaper) heavily criticized her. In response, Chow has refused to quit her position, “because if I do, there will be no one else to represent the voices that are ignored and misunderstood on campus.”

She means “Christian” voices, but, of course, not all Christians, and perhaps not even a majority, are as transphobic as Chow. Clearly, her particular branch of Christianity, whatever it is (evangelical, Catholic, Baptist, Presbyterian?) has taught her to take this extreme position. Here is a comment I posted on her Facebook page:

It is very sad that a few religious cultists wish to impose their hateful views upon everybody else. Here in America, we have something called the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that absolutely prohibits government from embracing any particular religion. Sadly, these Christian extremists do not believe in the Constitution. They think that they, and the bigoted “preachers” who teach them to hate, should be determining our laws and practices. Well, that’s not going to happen. We must stand up to the religious right, to Ms. Chow and her supporters, and to the bullies who bash the LGBTQ community. I doubt that Ms. Chow will comprehend these truths because her mind has been so polluted with disinformation. But while she continues to be mired in the swamp of bigotry, the rest of us can sideline her and her associates and make sure they have no power whatsoever to enact their Taliban-like theocracy.

I remain convinced that the greatest threat to our American freedom and democracy are people such as Isabella Chow. Can someone explain to me the difference between her sect, and the maniacs who rule Iran, or the Taliban, or the mullahs teaching stupidity and intolerance in their madrassas? It may be true that Chow and her colleagues are not currently calling for violence against LGBTQ people, but experience has shown that when given the immense power of actual governmental authority, these authoritarian-religious despots frequently move against gay people, as we see in places like Kenya, Uganda and most Muslim nations, where it is a crime (often a capital one) to engage in homosexual acts, or even to “promote” homosexuality, for instance in a blog like mine (by which they mean having anything nice to say about it).

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: this Christian blather about “hating the sin but loving the sinner” is absolute garbage. It brings to mind the Grand Inquisitor, Tomas de Torquemada, praying for the souls of “heretics” even as he stretched them on the rack, waterboarded them, tore out their entrails, and set fire to the kindling (the “faggots”) upon which their bodies were bound. “Oh merciful God, who sent His only Son to deliver us from evil, we pray for the soul of this miserable sinner, whom we annihilate in the name of Jesus.”

Isabella Chow, you are wrong. Totally, amorally, indecently, stupidly, abysmally un-Americanly wrong. We do not “misunderstand” your voice; we understand it all too well: the moral rigidity, the parochialism, the narrow-mindedness, the judgmental absolutism. You would destroy our pluralistic society for a fundamentalist and essentially undemocratic (with a small “d”) Christianity. (By the way, you might read up on the history of anti-Chinese hatred by white Christians in California in the 19th century, which resulted in decades of laws against Chinese-Americans, in other words, Ms. Chow, against people like you.)

Whom someone loves, Ms. Chow, is none of your damned business. What you believe is in our best interests is of no interest to us whatsoever. Even the Pope asked, “Who am I to judge?” Are you more entitled to judge than the Pontiff? As you do not believe that a transgendered person’s “choices” are best for him or her (and you have no right to assume that the trans experience is a “choice,”), so most of us believe that your choices suck, in a Trumpian damaging and dangerous way. You’re entitled to them, if you really insist on remaining mired in your superstitious darkness. But you are not entitled to any position of power, in any capacity, that allows you to impose that dark, unAmerican vision upon the rest of us.

 

  1. And the people said, “AMEN.”

  2. Wow. Leftist tolerance on display! A college student respectfully explained why she didn’t vote in favor of a resolution condemning Trump’s transgender policies and you all want her to resign. You guys talk so much about “tolerance” yet you aren’t willing to show it to those who disagree with you. Donald Trump won the presidency partly because of people like you.

  3. You moron. Hitler “respectfully explained why he simply had to kill all those Jews.” alf, face it, you’re just another white supremacist, neo-nazi homophobe. trump “won” the presidency due to interference in our election by the Russians, and because there are so many hateful, resentful fascists out there, including you. #SAD

  4. Wow. You are comparing disapproval of homosexual and transgender lifestyles and identities to killing Jews. You just won the imbecile of the day award. Bye.

  5. Yes, alf, because the kind of intolerance you so-called “christians” display inevitably leads to violence, if people like you are permitted to gain power. Which is why decent Americans will NOT allow you to have power. You have to be stopped before you can build the concentration camps.

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