In the 1.5 years since my last post…

Many things have changed and some things haven’t.

I stopped posting deliberately because my mom found out about this blog and I felt awkward. (Hi mom!) Not that I didn’t want her to read what I’ve posted, but more that I felt safe to be absolutely honest under the guise of anonymity. With my cover blown, every new essay I attempted to write was done so knowing that some people who I value highly and relationships that I didn’t want to hurt might be reading my honest airings. My desire for raw honesty lost this battle, and thus my posting stopped abruptly with 10 drafts in various states of refinement just waiting for me to push the ‘publish’ button.

My silence here was further complicated by a very unexpected (and wonderful) career opportunity that presented itself about a year ago and took a lot of time and attention. This has been a major life change for the better for me and my family, and has allowed us to embark on new adventures of restoring a beautiful old home and other completely unexpected opportunities for personal learning and growth.

My relationship with Andromeda has become much healthier with its foundation on honesty and respect, and I am happy that we made it through the dark times a few years ago and I feel privileged to have her at my side. Our family has drawn closer and I took the scary step and came out to my children, explaining my wishes to be female and disconnect I felt with my body’s masculinity.

The other big life change happened about half a year ago when I carefully and deliberately decided to stop attending and supporting the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints with my time, attention, and money. I am anything if not planned and deliberate, and I treated this choice with the same level of conscientious thought as I have any other important choice. I was getting nowhere with the church but frustrated in spite of my efforts to be the best Mormon possible (warning, incoming Mormon-ese): fulfilling all my duties as well as I could, serving in multiple callings simultaneously including an Elder’s Quorum presidency (the men’s organization, of all things!), and regularly attending the temple, studying my scriptures, praying, and holding family home evening. I was the best home teacher I could be and gave a lot in terms of time and attention to my ward and stake.

In return, I felt happy for succeeding in my goal to be as good as I could and I also was happy to give to others. Some of the ways I was able to serve were particularly meaningful and I’m grateful that I’ve seen the good that comes from being giving and selfless. With these good things I also received shock after shock over what was said in General Conferences, the way that the Ordain Women events were handled (as an unaffiliated observer), and ridiculous PR statements from the church on a number of topics. I saw move after move made by a church in a reactionary, self-focused, and defensive pose – not characteristics of an organization led by God’s omnipotent omniscience. And there was still no place for me in the doctrine; no sanctioned hope.

And when I was absolutely honest with myself, I didn’t know that this church was true. I didn’t know that the leaders were men specially called by God, and there was no confirming sense that they were when I sought divine guidance on the topic. My attendance at and involvement with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints had become increasingly negative and the costs outweighed the benefits and this became increasingly apparent.

This post is not about why I no longer associate myself with the church so I’ll leave the amount of detail in this matter at that. Soon enough I realized that I didn’t need the church to have my own personal standards, be a moral person, or to serve and be giving to others. I didn’t need the church to (mis)teach my children about principles of moral, mindful living either. So I quietly slipped away after we moved out of the ward and I haven’t gone back. I don’t expect that I will.

What hasn’t changed is that I still am reminded on a daily basis how my body’s sex disheartens me. I don’t expect that this will change as long as I draw breath either. While I think that someday I might share this personally with my colleagues and acquaintances, it is still only my family and family of origin that knows this about me. I fear that the potential costs of this sort of authenticity to me and my family would be too steep. Thus I still express masculinity and have no plans to do otherwise for the foreseeable future.

In spite of this, however, I’m okay. I have many happy and positive things in my life now, ranging from my job, to good friends, colleagues, and family, to exciting and engaging projects. I am healthy and have hope for the future. Hope, of all things!

I have hope that I’ll be able to continue to learn and increase in ability. I have hope that I’ll be able to meet my familial responsibilities and teach my children about what’s most important in life. I have hope that God is pleased with my bravery and willingness to live according to my conscience and truth-seeking rationale. I have hope that I’ll be able to continue to be with Andromeda my love and that someday, even if it’s after my body has died, I’ll feel right and beautiful and capable of authentically expressing to her my love and gratitude for her. I have hope that constant peace and perfection can be in my future.

Though I haven’t always wanted to live, I want to now – there are unfinished tasks I need to accomplish and important things to do. There are lives to touch and beauty to create. My existence is far from ideal and although there are a few major things I wish I could change – my body’s masculinity and a few extra hours in the day would be a great start – I’m grateful for what I do have and I’m hopeful for what’s to come. I can do hard things and I can be patient.

Finally, I sincerely apologize for having gone so long without posting here. If you’re one of the approximately 3 people that read this, let this post assuage your anxiety – I am well and in an overall better state than I’ve ever been. I can’t promise that I’ll continue to post more, particularly as this blog was primarily founded to explore how gender dysphoria and mormonism intersect. Now that I’ve left half of that equation behind, I’m not sure how much more I’ll have to say on the matter… suffice it to say that they don’t intersect very well.

Thanks for reading!

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4 responses

  1. Hi, I enjoy reading your posts and have missed them. I have a question… How would you act differently?
    “While I think that someday I might share this personally with my colleagues and acquaintances, it is still only my family and family of origin that knows this about me. I fear that the potential costs of this sort of authenticity to me and my family would be too steep. Thus I still express masculinity and have no plans to do otherwise for the foreseeable future.”
    I know of many men who are less “masculine” as you put it, and I don’t perceive them as lesser to the “Alpha Males”. I mean no disrespect, I am just genuinely curious as to what you perceive as “masculine”. If you don’t want to respond, I respect that. I’m just trying to understand more.
    Thank you for sharing.

    • Hi Charley, thanks for reading, and absolutely no disrespect taken!

      I think the way I worded this was unclear – I wouldn’t act differently. Aside from the fact that I identify as female, I am very authentic in my relationships with friends, family, and coworkers. I do still occasionally check or monitor my communications and self-expression out of habit (particularly if it could be perceived as ‘gay’ or raise eyebrows), but when I talk about ‘expressing masculinity’ it’s more about dressing and grooming in accordance with male patterns, i.e., I’m choosing to look male.

      What is ‘masculine’ and what is ‘feminine’ is a very thorny issue, and perhaps a question that can’t be answered without a lot of subjectivity. In myself I see many traits which are stereotypically associated with masculinity and others which would be considered by most to be feminine. I know that if I were female that I would definitely not be perceived as the most stereotypically-feminine woman out there as I have a strong personality and inclination towards leadership, for example.

      As far as I’m concerned, I don’t consider behaviors, aptitudes, or likes/dislikes as masculine or feminine anymore. Masculine, to me, means ‘looks male’. Does that answer your question?

      • Yes, Thank you.

        I know you are being very open in your posts, and I don’t want to make you feel uncomfortable or attacked in any way… so before I ask anymore questions, would you be open to discussing your religious and life views with me?

        Before you answer, I’ll share a little of my background so you will be aware of where I stand.

        I consider myself a religious person, I was raised LDS and have for myself through trials and prayer found out it is true. I am strong in my belief. I am not judgmental. I do not like conflict nor arguing. I try to be respectful of others beliefs and opinions and not change or force my views on them. I am constantly trying to understand others and would just like the opportunity to try to understand more about why you feel different, having been raised in the same religion as I…

        I do not like being vulnerable, and have great respect for you opening yourself up like you do on this blog. I would like to try to be as strong and correspond with you with the protection of ambiguity. There is something refreshing about not knowing you and you not knowing me, and having an open discussion.

        I would like to leave it up to you, and will not be offended and still a faithful reader if you choose not to respond or respond ‘No’.

        Thank you and please forgive my stumbling and long explanation, this is the first time I have commented on a blog and something in your writing pushed me to reach out. I believe you have my email from my last comment. You can respond that way if you would like. Thanks.

        -Charley

      • Hi Charley,

        I would be most amenable to a discussion, either here or via email. I’ll respond here and you can respond in whatever way you prefer to continue.

        If I were truly brave, I’d not use a pseudonym here, but thank you nonetheless. It is scary to be vulnerable, even in this way.

        I was also raised LDS and I’m still on the records, although I haven’t attended church for about a year. Up until my recent stepping away, I was an active and faithful member – I served a mission, married in the temple and regularly attended, served in various callings, did my hometeaching faithfully, etc. Until I came to terms with myself, I used to think the church was true and wanted it to be all that it claims – the one true church with the fullness of the Gospel. I still think that the church is responsible for much good and teaches many true and important precepts. I gave a lot of myself to the organization and got a lot of good back in return. Equally, I also think the church teaches some things which are not true, and can see some negative influences that some of these teachings have had on my life.

        While I no longer support the church, I still consider myself religious. I believe in God and live my life in a moral manner – my standards haven’t changed. If my actions were to be examined now, the only things that would raise red flags to my bishop would be 1) current lack of church/temple attendance, 2) I’ve stopped paying tithing, 3) no service in a church calling, and 4) we sometimes go grocery shopping on Sunday.

        What else would you like to know? I’m happy to try to answer any questions you might have. Thank you for your cordiality!

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