Saturday night I was surfing the net when I finally read last week’s buzz worthy story of Janet Mock, the transsexual Associate Editor of People.com. Marie Claire’s June issue details Mock’s story in the beautifully written piece by Kierna Mayo, “I Was Born a Boy.” Janet Mock, born Charles Mock, describes knowing she was a girl as early as five-years-old. Throughout her childhood she struggled with her feelings of being trapped in a boy’s body.  At 18, Mock’s dream came true when she traveled to Bangkok for her gender reassignment surgery.

Kierna writes in Mock’s voice:

Though I had been born a boy to my native Hawaiian mother and African-American father, I would never be a man. It was the birth of my choosing this time. And now it was official: Charles had died so that Janet could live…

There are key moments in a person’s life when you just know your destiny is about to change. For me, this moment came when Wendi, whom I remained friends with despite being in different schools, started taking female hormone pills. When she graduated to injections a few months later, she sold me her pills for $1 a pop. The timing was divine, as I’d already begun to detect a hint of an Adam’s apple on my throat. The changes in my 15-year-old body horrified me. Sometimes while showering, my thoughts got dark: What if I just cut this thing off? Wendi’s pills were my savior. For three months, I took estrogen and watched my body’s slow metamorphosis: softer skin, budding breasts, a fuller face.

Two weeks after her surgery, Mock attended college as a woman. She has since pursued graduate school as a woman, a career in journalism as a woman and she dates men as a woman. She lives with her boyfriend Aaron who she describes as a “gorgeous, astute, caring man.”

The journalist in me, or perhaps I’m just nosy, was curious to read what others thought about Mock’s intriguing story. Over on the popular celebrity blog Necole Bitchie, people went in. Comments ran the gamut of “this is disgusting!” to “live your life girl and be happy.” (Side note: the chick is gorgeous! Werk!) But one reoccurring theme that kept coming up among those who oppose her choice was religion.

Seventy-eight people agreed with the following commenter:

“I don’t care what ANYONE says anyone saying the gender they were born is incorrect has some issues in their head. May [sic] a chemical imbalance or something but God doesn’t make mistakes and I think this is disgusting especially the two puberties.”

A dissenter rebutted with only 25 approvals:

“Sadly people skip COMPLETELY over the part where God teaches us not to judge others. Because guess what? The same ones going to church every week saying how there [sic] so Godly and God speaks to them and they read the bible every night before bed are the very first ones to cast a stone and judge. IMO I don’t care if you’ve got a adams apple and a 5 o clock shadow if you want me to call you Susie, girl I’m gonna call you Susie, her, she, that woman. This is why so many LGBT’s are having high suicidal rates because it’s so much easier for people to blame, judge, and call names rather than to understand. Find me that passage in the bible that says we can judge rather than understanding our peers, elders, and youth.”

The dialogue continued on the thread totaling 300 plus very opinionated comments.

In my hometown everyone knew Asha was born a boy. It was no secret for those of us from the city. But people from all over the country, who moved to our city for college, had no clue. When I was in college we would laugh about Asha having so many men fooled, until the conversation turned serious. We expressed our fears that she would get killed one day for deceiving the wrong man.

Unlike Mock, Asha did not have a reassignment surgery. And she was not upfront with men about the sex she was born.

When I read some of the blog comments on Mock’s story I wondered why I was always on the fence about transgenders and transsexuals.

My views on homosexuals were lucid as sunny skies. I am an advocate for homosexuals to receive the legal rights and benefits of heterosexual married couples; and I have very little tolerance for homophobia. Period. I’m not of the belief that being gay is an abomination. I also don’t believe it immediately grants you a one-way ticket to hell. Yes, I’ve read the scripture. I’m familiar with Sodom and Gomorrah. And I’m still not convinced.

But when it came to the transgender and transsexual community I was always toying with why a part of me was apprehensive to accept them as the sex they chose to live their lives as. I used to think, ‘if you were born a female then you are a female pre and post surgery.’ And vice versa with males. It took my significant other to challenge my righteous thinking for me to really see the error in my thinking.

My reasoning had nothing to do with religion. It just was what it was. But in reading the vile, hurtful, holier-than-thou comments, I realized why people are turned off by Christians.

We have to stop claiming to know the will of God. “God doesn’t make mistakes” does not cut it when dealing with someone’s psychological belief they were born the wrong sex. There has to be more in depth discussions around such issues.

Janet Mock, never, not once, mentioned God.  People who don’t believe in your God are not held to the same religious standards as you. You can’t make them accountable to a set of principles they don’t believe in.

If Janet does believe in God, ok. She made a decision that was best for her life. I don’t see how that affects or hurts any of us. Nor do I see that God made anybody on this earth the final judge to determine what is morally acceptable or unacceptable. Christians are doing a disservice to God (and Christianity) with their misguided interpretations of the very scriptures they use to condemn others.

Janet Mock’s reassignment gender story may be one you disagree with. But it is a story of courage. Determination. Happiness. With the suicide rate of teens and adults in the LGBT community, it’s a story that is necessary. For those teens suffering in silence, there’s a good chance her story will do something the same Bible being used to condemn may not- give hope to live. Mock, for the LGBT community, may be their light at the end of the tunnel. Preachy Christians shouldn’t be so quick to dismiss that with their interpretation of religious doctrines. And I say this as a believer.

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  • zoe

    well i commend him or her for at least being honest with her man and friends unlike some people are transgender with same parts as before or not and never tellling they guy and then getting killed behind it

  • katty

    I know we have free will. But c’mon really?! What ever your belief is.. fine.. whatever.. people manipulate The Most High’s word and make it to cater to what they want. Even if you took the God out of the equation; the mere fact is the minute you stop taking horomones to be either male or female you will revert back to what you were originally suppose to be. Its in your DNA!! I can’t understand the lengths people will go through to become something else other than what was created. If i bleach my skin and perm my hair bone straight and have surgery to straighten my nose that does not make me an anglo. And the minute I begin to denounce who I really am the first thing you would say is: “Why is she trying to be white? She is crazy she knows she is black.”
    No one likes to hear the truth and all get easily offended. Its comfortable for us to live a lie— pretend. we get offened and want to say dont judge. I agree you should not condemn but correct in love. no one is perfect and we all have our skeletons; but this is really self mutulation. How much clearer does the hand writting need to be on the wall? If they decided to shuttle people of to space to live and establish civilization; you need a male and female for procreation!! And I am not talking about artificial inseamenation!! Geez!!
    Unbelieveable.. its come to this now…believe a lie and be damned huh? Yeah The Most High will not make us do anything; we are the only thing in creation that was made with they type of freewill and decison making we have… and we have managed through all of that to turn into ourselves and pervert that. You dont see elephants mating with zebra’s!!
    And If you did in all your common sense you would think well that looks odd/wrong.
    we do have free choice and everyone will have to give an account of their deeds and words– even me.
    p.s i know my spelling is not the best–

    • i do not know what religion you practice(am muslim)..but you write a lot of sense..its sad what the world is coming too…just because of people’s personal choices of what they choose it has to be right!!..and God forbid some one should think otherwise

  • Andrea

    There is no God.

  • Ava Gallo

    The thing I found to be missing in this entire discussion was a transgender woman. Hi, I’m Ava. I was born Vaughn and I am a transgender woman.

    Unfortunately I didn’t get much at all from the comments because few people actually gave their opinion. It became more a discussion of belief and disbelief. So, instead of feeding you my beliefs, I will share some personal things that I feel will help people better understand.

    Interesting Fact 1: I prayed to God every night from the age of 6 to the age of 13 that I would be a woman when I awoke in the morning.

    Interesting Fact 2: I first considered attempting suicide at the age of 11. There is no feeling equating the feeling of being in the wrong body. Women, image if you woke up in the morning, saw hair on your face, no breast, and had a penis between your legs. It would feel wrong and you wouldn’t like it. Imagine society telling you to date women, get married to a woman, and be intimate with that woman. Yeah, I’m no lesbian either. Now imagine that this experience happens every day. This is what it is like to be transgender. I’ve never felt like a gay man but I knew I was NOT a lesbian. I didn’t like dating the men I dated because they were gay and I wanted to be dating a straight man.

    Interesting Fact 3: I grew up in the church and was raised Christian. Let me say one thing to the Christians out there reading this, you have some really horrible people out representing what it is to be Christ-like. I’m not going to say what I do or don’t believe in and wouldn’t discuss religion if it weren’t for the fact that this topic is kinda centered around the hatred and judgment aimed at people like me in the name of a higher power… I digress. My mother always knew something was different but was so busy trying to place the blame on the influences of others, she never took the time to realize something was wrong. I spent years of hiding and sneaking and it wasn’t until my mother had a discussion with her pastor that we actually got close. He told her to love me as hard as she could regardless of who I dated or who I wanted to be because God does. Simple as that. And with that my mother became a big part of my life. Though she still tells me she wants me to be a man, marry a woman, and give her grandchildren, she is still one of my biggest supporters and the reason I am still living.

    Interesting Fact 4: I have never been happier than I am today. Yes, I want breast and I want to redecorate downstairs, but knowing that I am going to sleep Ava and waking up as Ava excites me about tomorrow. When people call me ma’am, it doesn’t excite me, I don’t get a thrill, it just feels right. Yes I hear it when I walk down the street, “Is that a man?” Maybe, but you had to question it so I’m heading in the right direction.

    At the end of the day just look at it like this: If you saw a penis between your legs everyday of your life, would it make YOU a man?