CEP: Suddenly, Transmisogyny

Winning the award for most repulsive response so far, a Baptist pastor from Round 2 has responded to my email.  Although what I asked about was asexuality, a sexual orientation, what I got back was a mess of anti-gayness and cissexism, particularly focused on non-binary people and little trans girls.  Oh, and some rape culture and allonormativity thrown in to boot, to answer my original question.  Consider this a big content warning for all of that.

Verdict: negative.

He starts off by randomly invalidating non-binary people, much like the Lutheran guy who seemed to think that asexuality was the same thing as a non-binary gender identity.

Dear S.

My initial response to your question is to cite Scripture which says, “God created man in His own image … male and female He created them” (Genesis1:27). So every human fails into one of these gender categories.

That’s not just wrong, that’s not even what I was asking you about.

Nice typo, btw.  Quite telling.

Okay, sorry, that was petty, but so is this.

We believe that much of today’s gender confusion — homosexuality or transgender — is sin and abnormal according to God’s design.

Incidentally, people who are interested in the intersection of trans identities and Christianity might be interested in this interpretation of Matthew 19:11-12 (cw: link does refer to dmab people as male).

Our culture’s departure from the clear teaching of Scripture, that we are “male and female,” has caused great harm to many people who are trapped in this confusion.

I get the sense that this guy thinks all trans people are non-binary/that transgender is itself a gender or something, since he doesn’t seem to recognize that there are plenty of binary-identified trans people.

Anyway, I’m not clear on what the “great harm” is supposed to be.  Sure, trans people come to great harm, but that’s because cis people violently attack trans people on the regular.  He doesn’t seem to have anything to say about that.

One sad case is that some state public schools are now allowing elementary children to decide which bathroom they want to use;

Uh, how is that sad?

little boys can identify themselves as little girls and use the girls’ bathroom. We believe this is very harmful to children.

???????????????????????????????

Manhood and womanhood is determined at birth.

This wouldn’t make sense even if it weren’t cissexist.  Men and women are adults, which is generally a category that excludes newborns.

Sorry, I’m just unable to take seriously the idea that a baby can have manhood.

We would also reject the notion that homosexuality, etc., is something a person is born with. We believe it is a choice.

Sexual orientation is a choice?  So I’m just choosing not to find people hot?  How does that work?

As far as sexual attraction goes, we respect the reality that some people have homosexual attraction or asexual/non-attraction as you mention.

How does that not directly contradict what you just said?

Okay, look.  It’s one thing when Christians will make a distinction between temptation and choice (orientation and behavior) and find fault with one and not the other.  It’s another thing when you say “we would also reject the notion that homosexuality, etc., is something a person is born with” (implying you don’t believe in orientations at all) but then turn around and say “we respect the reality that some people have homosexual attraction on asexual/non-attraction.”

So either I interpret “we respect the reality that” to mean “we believe it’s a deliberate and immoral decision when,” or else you’re contradicting yourself.  The only other possibility I see here is that the pastor thinks your orientation isn’t something you’re born with but also something you don’t choose, i.e. that it develops based on social influences but is still outside your own control.  Not sure what the point of that belief would be if you’re this blatantly anti-gay.

Our desire to be compassion with anyone who is confused or struggles sexually. We would offer counseling and biblical teaching to help anyone to embrace their God-given gender and fully experience sex according to God’s design.

[HORRIFIED SCREAMING]

[name & info redacted]

Good God.

So, to recap: he believes birth assignment should determine both gender identity and who you’re attracted to; he sees being trans and being gay as a sin; and he supports offering “counseling and biblical teaching” as a way to get “confused” people to “fully experience sex according to God’s design,” which is to say he supports some combination of therapy-based and theism-based bullying in order to pressure people into having sex — probably with the (other-binary-gender-assigned) people they’re married to, and probably in tandem with pressure from their spouses.

He outright endorses marital rape, people.

No matter what, he thinks it’s “God’s design” to “fully experience sex.”

Somebody hold me, I’m going to be sick.

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18 responses to “CEP: Suddenly, Transmisogyny

  • talkabouttalking

    “He outright endorses marital rape, people.”
    No – he doesn’t. You have put words into his mouth and read too much into what he has said. You don’t do yourself any favours for that.
    I do not agree with his position whatsoever, but neither do I agree with twisting what he says.

    • acetheist

      Make a case for the difference, then.

      • luvtheheaven

        I kinda agree that it isn’t that clear where the “marital rape” part is in his statement…

        I think I get where you’re coming from, though. You’re saying his statement: “We would offer counseling and biblical teaching to help anyone to…. fully experience sex according to God’s design.” is essentially endorsing marital rape, the the rape-culture erasing the rape from it and basically saying “we’ll force you to like it” and you assume marriage because well… it only makes sense at a church this strict that only in the confines of a heterosexual marriage would sex be allowed at all.

  • doubleinvert

    As a queer and trans allosexual Christian I feel compelled to apologize on behalf of Christianity for this unapologetically bigoted perversion of what it means to be Christian. I’d like to say this reply is surprising, but it isn’t. Nowhere in that reply did I see the love of Christ offered in any shape, way or form.

    *shudders*

    -Connie

  • Calum P Cameron

    In fairness, I myself reject the notion that sexuality is something you’re born with. Because I was taught that “sexuality” referred to whom you were sexually attracted to, and I have never known anyone under the age of twelve to experience sexual attraction to anyone. It only seems logical to me to conclude that sexuality is something you develop around puberty – probably partially as a result of the DNA you were born with, I’d guess, but being born with the right DNA to grow a gingery beard does not mean my ability to grow a gingery beard is something I was “born with”.

    It may seem like a trivial and silly distinction, but it feels important to me, partly because I have various friends whose sexuality is (or used to be) changeable, and also at least one ace friend who strongly suspects their own asexuality to be less to do with the way they were born with and more to do with stuff that happened between birth and puberty.

    However, I can’t give this particular chucklenugget the benefit of the doubt there, because he then goes on to say “we believe it is a choice”. And THAT is absurd, for the same reason as it would be absurd to say that my ability to grow a beard is an ability I “chose”.

    I mean, seriously, if they gave me a CHOICE of what traits I wanted to develop at puberty, I’d probably have traded in “ability to grow a beard” for some kind of X-Men style superpower. I love my beard, but not as much as I’d love telekinesis.

  • Hezekiah the (meta)pianycist

    I’m guessing that this pastor didn’t read any of the links you sent him, if he thought asexuality had something to do with gender. Also it’s apparently really harmful to kids to stop them from having opportunities to harass trans girls in boys’ bathrooms…

  • talkabouttalking

    “We would offer counseling and biblical teaching to help anyone to embrace their God-given gender and fully experience sex according to God’s design.”
    My problem with you turning this into saying that he endorses marital rape is that you have made all kinds of assumptions about what he means.
    He says he would ‘offer’ not force.
    His offer is to ‘help’ someone not to coerce, or demand.
    I may ‘offer to help’ someone with something they don’t want help with, which by the way says more about me than about them… but if they turn down my offer then I desist. I may not agree with them, I may think they are missing out on something, but I don’t force them.
    You are implying that the counselling and biblical teaching offered equates to forcing someone to commit acts against their will. It could also mean talking and listening and disagreeing in a robust conversation, and then going separate ways. You and I both know that there are some potentially damaging modes of therapy out there – I am a therapist, and some of them have been discredited and disallowed in the UK (where I live). Even those discredited modes of therapy don’t involve marital rape – i.e. forcing someone to engage in sexual activity against their will. Rape is a criminal act whether in a marriage, in a relationship, or with a stranger.
    I understand that you are angry and trying to redress an imbalance in our thinking, but such highly charged language is not appropriate in my opinion.
    I disagree with you – I am not forcing you to change your mind, I am merely making my case for a difference, as requested.
    I am still fascinated by the responses you are getting, and am inspired to begin some research of my own… thank you for the inspiration.

    • acetheist

      Well good luck on your project.

      I get the sense that you haven’t spent a lot of time analyzing or listening to people analyzing the kinds of things that led me making the enthymeme you object to. One way that “offering counseling and biblical teaching” to get people to “fully experience sex” is dangerous is because there are lots of people who A) don’t experience sexual attraction but also don’t self-identify as “asexual”, in many cases because they are not educated on the term as an option, leaving them ill-equipped to recognize the pastor’s expectations as ill-fitting to their situation, and/or B) are sex-repulsed but still want to have sex, because they have accepted and internalized the belief that they should, leaving them conflicted on how to identify their true desires. These people are especially vulnerable to being pressured to conform.

      And if you have to push and prod and persuade someone to “get over” their qualms about having sex in order for them to give in, I call that nonconsensual.

      People feeling safe enough to say no and justified in saying no in the face of the weight of crushing expectations is not something we should take for granted.

  • talkabouttalking

    You misjudge me. I have spent a great deal of time with these things.
    But I still insist, the existence of one (or more) ways of ‘offering help’ that results in coercive behaviour does not give us the freedom to assume that every way of ‘offering help’ will also be coercive, or in your words ‘marital rape’. I am not in any way denying that it happens, just that we can do much harm and create unnecessary polarisation of opinions by inferring that it always happens.
    I will leave it at that.

    • acetheist

      I was trying to give you the benefit of the doubt.

      So… trying to understand what you’re saying here… you’re acknowledging that the kind of help that pastor was offering would include a circle of things that, with in it, would include a smaller circle of things that you agree are rape? Or is that a misinterpretation?

      • Anonymous

        That is a misrepresentation. I am saying that it is possible that some pastors offer a package of things that include what you call marital rape. If they did then they would be party to criminal acts. I know that this happens, should not happen, and is devastating.
        I am also saying that you have assumed that this particular pastor is in that category. Unless you know him personally and you know that to be the case, you have no right to assume that all pastors are the same. It could be said that you are slandering him. You don’t know him, you have not done him the courtesy of meeting him, and assumptions are dangerous.
        I know some pastors who offer their brand of biblical counselling and it in no way, shape, or form matches anything you have assumed. I might not agree with their beliefs, but I see no coercion or harm taking place.
        I am asexual. I have been asexual all my life, but have only known about asexuality in the last 7 years or so. I have been around Christian groups all my adult life. Not one person has ever tried to force me to experience sex, or suggested that I ‘ought’ or I ‘should’ try it to see if I like it.
        Just because some Christians do bad things that does not mean that all do.
        Please, let’s agree to disagree on this one.

        • acetheist

          “It could be said that you are slandering him.”

          I haven’t provided his name or parish, and his exact words are there for people to judge for themselves, so I’m not particularly worried about that.

          “Just because some Christians do bad things that does not mean that all do.”

          Believe me, I know.

          So what I’m getting from your comment is that you believe counseling that leads to rape does happen, but we don’t know if this particular pastor’s offer is in that category. You think there’s too little information to know for sure.

          I fail to see how sexual teaching and counseling from someone who uses phrases like “fully experience sex according to God’s design” wouldn’t lead to rape. He does not emphasize consent or that sex is always optional or that it’s not for everyone or that you always have the right to say no. He thinks that having sex is God’s Plan.

          That’s what’s dangerous.

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