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!

On the Family Proclamation, eternal truth, and its relation to transgender concerns

I’m not aware of a more-widely quoted document (other than scripture) in Mormonism than the Proclamation on the Family.  This statement was first presented in the General Relief Society Meeting on Sept. 23, 1995 by President Hinckley in his address.  It is, as per the byline, is a “proclamation to the world” presented and endorsed by the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

The status of the document

In my church experience, I’ve never come across anyone who treats the document any differently than scripture.  A bishop in my college ward even had all of us young married couples memorize and recite it, similar to how seminary students memorize and recite certain scripture verses.

While many members don’t seem to have any qualms with treating this statement as no different than revelatory scripture, it is, in fact, in a sort of unique in-between place.  A helpful guide to seeing what has been canonized in the history of the modern church and the process that is followed can be found here.  In essence, revelation to the church must come through the President of the church, be accepted by the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and then be presented and sustained by the general membership of the church.

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Review: Transgender Visibility Guide

Just a day or two ago I became aware of this wonderful new resource.  The Transgender Visibility Guide (click for website or brochure pdf) was published by the HRC just last month.  I was a little unsure of what to expect as the HRC can be at times a little radical in their push for LGBT rights.   (It’s a well-intentioned organization, of course, sometimes they just take some stances or make some arguments that I disagree with.)  Upon reading the brochure any reservations I had promptly dissolved.

This brochure provides a wonderful introduction to the misunderstood concepts of gender identity and gender expression.  Its 32 pages introduce and address important topics, spending the bulk of the time on all the intricacies related to coming out.  That’s not to say the brochure is overly limited, however, as other important and related concepts, ranging from personal acknowledgement of one’s gender identity to concerns related to transitioning are discussed in a very informative and appropriate manner.

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