As transgender people, organized religion hasn't really been our friend however on the other hand it has often had little to do with true spirituality. I needed to learn this over time and much of what I was taught growing up was steeped in the judgmental superstition of society instead of what some creator would demand of me.

Regardless of your belief system, you are a child of the universe and have been endowed with uniqueness and goodness of spirit. You have probably never wished anyone ill will and you have tried your best to live within the absurd coordinate system of humanity. Yet somehow belonging to the LGBT community was entirely your fault.

As I have grown older this inherent irrationality became increasingly evident to me. I knew I was a fundamentally good person and yet I was different in a way which was not of my choosing. Hence with this comprehension my self appreciation and esteem grew in proportion.

Religion for me today seems forever trapped in the misinterpretations of humankind and a quickness to judge which was never it's intended purpose. It was to serve as individual light in a world of darkness to help us navigate our path to a personal salvation.

I was listening the other day to a documentary on the Church of Latter Day Saints and the rampant drug use in Utah which seems counterintuitive in such a devout state. However, some former LDS members interviewed noted that the bar for behavior was set so high that their failure led them to leave in disgust of their own inability to follow doctrine. They had concluded that this represented a personal weakness. Meanwhile, church leaders who were interviewed admitted that perhaps they had erred in setting unrealistic expectations for their flock.

As someone who suffered under Catholicism I have come full circle to better understand how to divide expectation from one's personal faith and let go of the bias which seeps in through human frailty into the infrastructure of most religions. Not an easy thing especially when you have been indoctrinated from a young age.

I think of Abby Stein growing up without televion or internet in a Hasidic community and coming to the realization that she was transgender in that perfect vacuum. Now that is personal understanding in the face of the hardest odds.


  1. Well said, Joanna. Perhaps someday we can sit together in a Sunday mass.....

  2. Thanks for sharing, this is a very big problem indeed, as studies of cultures ,from present to as far back in history one may travel, shows spirituality is a essential need for humanity, and by way of social construct, and by way of the fact that religions are the collective view, of peoples whom create that religion at a present time,and not the "Pure Form" of the religion itself. A religion must be seen as nothing in it self, it has no force by it's self. Being raised as a Christian , I had to leave the church, and simply believe in the " Great Spirit " and simply call God now "Nature". We do have to understand religions can be good,yet only if can evolve to accept "Natures creations"

    1. You are welcome Mike. if the structure does not work for you, you can find your own spirituality outside the traditional. The thing about any institution is that it becomes ripe for abuse of power and human error. We need to be vigilant and somewhat skeptical at all times which is what I had to learn to do while still calling myself a Catholic.


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