By Jillian Page
LGBT Perspectives editor
QUEBEC — How can you be a gender-transitioned woman and be opposed to same-sex marriage? And be in a same-sex relationship at the same time?
I remember thinking those questions when I got to know one of my newspaper blog readers back in the day. I didn’t dare ask her the questions, because who am I to challenge her belief system. But her stance seemed terribly inconsistent to me. Yes, she was a Christian and believed God frowns upon gay marriage. But, in the same breath, the fact she felt God was OK with transsexuality just seemed contradictory to me, if not hypocritical. As for her same-sex partnership, she explained that the couple had been married before her transition and that they stayed together because it was financially convenient — but they slept in separate rooms, she said.
Hey, it takes all kinds, eh?
My ‘friendship’ with her ended not because of her beliefs, but because she kept attacking my readers — with Bible-thumping sermons — who left comments in support of same-sex marriage to my blog items. I deleted her comments and asked her to stop attacking them, but she wouldn’t . . . Yes, I know that may seem to some to be a suppression of free speech, but I had promised my LGBT readers that the blog would be a safe haven for them (as is this publication) and I would not let them be attacked by conservative right-wingers there.
And so our somewhat tenuous friendship ended, and I never really gave her much more thought until the Caitlyn Jenner comments on the Ellen show came to light recently. It seems Caitlyn views herself as a “traditionalist” and was against same-sex marriage once upon a time, but is now “OK with it,” according to a Hollywood Reporter article on the Billboard site.
She said the following on Ellen’s show: “I’m older than most people in the audience, and I kind of like tradition, you know, and it’s always been a man and a woman,” Jenner said. But the 65-year-old followed with the fact that she would not stand in the way of anyone’s happiness. “If that word ‘marriage’ is really, really that important to you, I can go with it,” Jenner said.
Apparently, she confused the heck out of Ellen, and in turn Howard Stern, with whom Ellen discussed the issue on his radio show.
Ellen reportedly said this to Howard: “She still has a judgment about gay marriage,” DeGeneres said of Jenner. “And I said, ‘You’re wanting people to understand and accept you … and you still have a judgment about gay people and marriage.’ “
To which Howard responded thus: Stern called the idea of Jenner’s outlook “crazy.” “Here’s a person on TV crying, ‘I want to be myself, I want to be genuine, I don’t want people to ridicule me’ and then says in the same breath, ‘Gee, gay marriage, I don’t get it,’ ” Stern said. “It’s remarkable.”
Well, at least Caitlyn accepts same-sex marriage now, if somewhat grudgingly. My former reader/friend didn’t accept it at all, and actively preached against it whenever she could. Her last words to me were “I’m going to pray for you, Jill.”
So what gives, anyway? What’s with the inconsistent beliefs — though, I know religious people often pick and choose when it comes to morality, i.e. being OK with divorce but being opposed to gay marriage.
My former friend believed there was nothing in the Bible to suggest gender transitioning was wrong — even if the Catholic Church and others opposed it. Was she being hypocritically selective with her religious beliefs?
Or was she illustrating in her own way what transgender people have been saying all along: sexual orientation issues and gender identity issues are not the same thing, and should not be confused.
In her mind, her gender identity issues and subsequent transition were not immoral; but same-sexual orientation and subsequent gay relationships were morally wrong.
Obviously, these apparent contradictory beliefs do exist. I’ve even heard of gay people who actually oppose same-sex marriage, believing that they can live and have sex with their partners, but shouldn’t have the right to be legally married.
The mind boggles, yes?
I welcome discussion on these issues. What say you?
Disclosure: Personally, as a spiritual person and a Theosophist, I know in my heart that the Universal Energy that animates and “fills the heavens and the earth” couldn’t care less about such matters, and that it doesn’t care in the personal sense at all. (“God is a concept by which we measure our pain,” she sings as she plants a John Lennon earworm in your brain . . .)
And I know that “all you need is love . . .”
(Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
“Let harmlessness be the keynote of your life.” — Alice Bailey