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.