Holy Hannah

Because I have learned nothing from discussing topics that are very dear and personal to many of us, I wanted to chat a little about religion.

I received an email the other day asking about my beliefs in God and if I have or had struggled with my gender identity because of my faith.

Unfortunately I had inadvertently lost the email and I am unable to respond directly to her.  I likely moved it to a specific folder in my inbox and…. well, like the mate to a pair of earrings, it is lost forever.

So, I thought I’d share my thoughts here and hope that she sees this.

Do I believe in God?  Short answer, yes.  I identify as agnostic, and what that means to me is that I do not think that any religion is completely correct when it comes to God.  I do not think that God is anything we can fathom or put into words that we can comprehend.  But I am comforted by my belief that there is…. something out there to whom I can give thanks to for all I have been blessed with.  I also believe in science and evolution.

My relationship with God is very personal and I do not believe that I need to associate myself with an organized religion or attend church in order for me to have that relationship.

I was raised Catholic and spent all of my grade school and high school years going to Catholic schools and attending mass at least twice a week.  I learned about the Bible and the history of Christianity as well as other religions.  I learned about creationism as well as about evolution.  I learned about people’s deeply rooted core beliefs as well as about the science that contradicts them.

Even though I probably attended mass on occasion wearing a pair of panties under my church pants, I never thought I was doing something wrong.  If God made me, then I believed He made me the way He wanted.  I was a good, well-behaved kid, and I like to think I am a good, but flawed, adult.  I am not perfect, but who among us is?

If you are a member of the LGBTQ+ community, then you have undoubtedly have been told or have heard that we are also sinners.  I am no theologian, but I am not sure where in the Bible Jesus this.  Sure, televangelists and others may say we are, and there may be passages in scripture that discuss this, but did Jesus discuss this specifically?

If you are a follower of Christ and base your morals and values around His teachings, then you must do so.  The Gospel of Matthew says “In everything, do to others what you would have them do to you.”  The Gospel continues to say “Judge not lest ye be judged.”  Regardless of whether you are Catholic, Jewish, Hindu or an atheist, these are principals we could all stand to live by.

So, this is my perspective.  If you have felt guilt or conflicted about who you are because of your faith, I would love to hear how you have resolved this, or, why you feel that religion and your gender identity are at odds.

Just a side note: I do mean everything I have written here in the most sincere way possible.  I know that religion, like gender, is incredibly personal and intimate and important.  I do not think we can comprehend God, so it would be hypocritical for me to say that one’s beliefs are wrong, as long as your beliefs are based in tolerance, acceptance, and kindness and do not hurt others.

Love, Hannah

20 thoughts on “Holy Hannah

  1. You did a good job of addressing a touchy subject. Like you I was raised Catholic and had many years of Catholic school education for which I am very thankful. The education was strict but has paid off many times over.
    I wonder why so many in the community seem to be anti religion. I find great tolerance in those who have a belief in God. Whenever I have ventured into a church while dressed I have felt fully accepted.
    My youngest brother is an ordained Deacon. Upon his ordination he had to select a “mission”. The mission was to make members of the LGBT community feel welcome in the Church.
    One of my sons is gay. When I told my brother that my son had a partner and that they planned to get married my brother’s comment was simple and to the point, “Love is Love”.
    My son had a wonderful wedding attended by close to 200 people, some of whom would be considered very religious and very observantly religious. All who came saw love and felt love and gave love. To me love is at the core of my beliefs and as you note from scripture you should love your neighbor as yourself.

    Pax

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Totally agree with you Hannah and Pax. Was also raised Catholic but have attend several different other congregations, All essentially the same until one pastor introduced blatant politics into his sermons.One out of about 20. The is a GOD. Has to be this universe and all the creatures and marvels just did not happen. Some power created every thing.

    Like

  3. First, let me say straight out that I am not a religious person. I am a person who understands (or at least tries to understand) why people may feel differently than me on many subjects and how their reasoning works. So having said that, I drive North on I-35 from Minneapolis through Duluth to the North Shore several times a year. There is always at least one (often more) pro-life billboards along that highway. One of them said, “God is present at the conception of every human fetus”. OK, so if God was present at my conception (I like to think of myself as human), either a) He was not paying attention, b) He made a mistake, or c) I am exactly who He wanted me to be. Options a) and b) seem quite inconsistent with my understanding of every religion’s concept of God that I am aware of, so then I and all the rest of the LGBT+ community must be exactly who He wanted us to be.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Just a quick one. Religion is one of the topics I hate the most, because most people have no clear reasoning about it. I often think that religion is one of the main reasons we get and get into wars, just because people can’t accept others to think differently. Same thing as what happens with sexuality, gender, race, and beliefs.

    My point is, I respect whomever’s beliefs, even though I often can’t seem to put any rationals behind them, but I wish people were also putting in practice what they supposedly believe. I feel I have a much more compassionate soul than many religious people, because I think with the freedom of mind and always try to put myself into the skin of others, understanding their issues, pains and fights. I don’t judge. I try to understand. I wish religious people could do what they preach and be good to each other, independently of what the other is or thinks. But it’s often not the case. Yet again, we shouldn’t put everyone in the same bag…

    As far as “God” is concerned… I think that in half a million years we’ve evolved on Earth we should have eventually learnt by ourselves what’s good and what’s bad… no need for a “universal know-it-all” 🙂

    Like

  5. I’m not ashamed to tell that I prayed so often for so many years, asking God for an answer to my conflicting gender identity. One night, while I was sitting alone inside a locked room, and “all prettied up,” I felt a warmth that spread through my whole body. In this moment of peace, a voice said to me, “It’s OK, you are OK.” I had never experienced anything like that, nor have since. It was the beginning of my transition journey, though, as I had been living a miserable suspended existence prior to that moment.

    I chose to be a Catholic, as an adult, just about the same time my gender identity resurfaced. I had suppressed it for seventeen years, after a childhood of dealing with it – up to my seventeenth birthday. Interestingly, it took another seventeen years before that voice came to me. I’m 68 now, so I’ve had another seventeen years with which to make this all work out.

    Although may be only a “Cafeteria Catholic” today, I’m even less of a Numerologist; the number, 17, being only coincidental. I couldn’t prove to you whose voice it was, but it was real. I also believe that I would never have lived these past seventeen years had it not come to me.

    Not only am I not ashamed to tell of my experience, I am not ashamed to be who I am, either. A religion based on shaming could not possibly be right. God told me so!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Connie,
      So if I read this correctly, you became a Catholic and transitioned at about the same time. Can you share with us how that worked out for you?
      Vivienne.

      Like

      1. Hi Vivienne. I re-read my comment, and I can see that my timeline entries might be confusing. My spiritual experience happened seventeen years after I’d been confirmed (as a Catholic; not as a trans woman). I began the process of becoming a confirmed Catholic shortly after I had succumbed to the “lure of my feminine side” again – after a 17 year hiatus, by way of suppression. So, in the seventeen years prior to my confirmation, I met the Catholic girl, in high school, to whom I married in the Church at 21 years of age. After having attended Mass with her every Sunday and seeing both of our daughters baptized along the way, I decided to make myself “official.” Of course, I was also looking for some answer to my recently re-emerging compulsion (the only word I could use to describe it at the time) to express my femininity.

        One thing about being Catholic is that one can be in good stead with the Church by appearance, alone. I’ve never been one to participate in anything by just going through the motions, however. Still, I attempted to compartmentalize my life in order to please everyone – my wife and family, church, work, feminine-self, etc. I can’t fathom how anybody can actually do that, although I’ve read and heard from others that they do so. All the time, no matter with whom or what I was involved, I struggled with the fact that God was not being fooled by any of it.

        Living with internalized transphobia was always a double-edged sword for me. While it was useful in my attempts to compartmentalize (what they don’t know won’t hurt them – or me), it was also a source of self-loathing and depression (hurting everyone). At the same time, following the rules set down by the Catholic Church can lead one to salvation, but not without the guilt that comes from personal failure. Ultimately, it was that extraordinary experience of God telling me I was OK that began my transition into being not only the woman I believe I was born to become, but the person I needed to be, as well.

        Believing that consuming the body and blood of Jesus at communion is literal requires a leap in faith. Believing that I can live in communion with my wife and family, church, work, feminine-self, etc. without compartmentalization takes one, too.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I am in absolute agreement with the argument you posit about your relationship with God.
    I came to crossdressing and realising my feminine side later in my life.
    From that first dawning I felt no conflict with my relationship with God in fact it has only grown since that time. I have increasing discomfort with the discrimination that religion and some religious people show not only to people whose gender they are afraid to understand or accept but to people different to them in any way.
    I like their line that God doesn’t make mistakes. I can but agree. I am not his mistake and nor are you. We are examples of the extraordinary range of humanity.
    Geraldine

    Like

  7. I too am Catholic and for many years wondered if my bi-gendered being was in conflict with my religious beliefs. Along the way, I began to understand that God did not make mistakes and that I was put on this earth the way I am for a reason. Like FabulousConnieDee, I had an experience. One day while attending Mass on a Holy Day (en femme) during the recitation of the Our Father a cool breeze came upon me where there was no air conditioning available. A calmness come down on me and I knew that God accepted me. For those who are not familiar with it, it is believed that the Holy Spirit will come down upon people in the form of a cool breeze and I believe that is what happened to me on that day. From that day forward, I have known that I am fully accepted by God. Peace.
    Leann

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Maybe I felt a warmth, rather than a cool breeze, because I was hiding myself in a locked room in the basement late at night. The thermometer for the furnace had long been turned down for the night, and it was, as usual, very cold where I was “holding out.” I can see the possibility of irony, or even mere coincidence, in the fact that I was almost frozen – literally and figuratively. At that time, I would rather have sat, shivering, while seeing my feminine reflection in the mirror, than to face the coldness of stares I imagined would come from the outside world. The warmth that I felt was not like having the heat turned back on; it was a warmth that filled me internally. The voice was calm and clear.

      BTW, although I believe we are all fabulous, I usually just go by “Connie.” The Fabulous Connie Dee” is how I bill myself when I sing (I added “Fabulous” because there is another singer with the name, “Connie Dee.”) 🙂

      Like

  8. One comment that bothers me is:
    If you are a member of the LGBTQ+ community, then you have undoubtedly have been told or have heard that we are also sinners.
    The United Methodist Church is about to split over this subject, and unfortunately their General Conference that was to be held this May in your great city to resolve this issue was postponed due to the situation our country is in. I am on the side of the Methodist that that has open doors to everyone, and is a loving church to everyone. The church I attend is a reconciling church and rather than explain it, if you are interested you can goggle it. I am a heterosexual crossdresser and I sit in the same pews with the LGBTQ+ community. My dad’s funeral, in another state, was officiated by a gay United Methodist clergy man who put his job on the line by marrying a gay man. I was so proud of my dad for continuing to attend that church and support his gay minister. So those of you that might be looking for a church home, and you have been told you are a sinner, please look into a United Methodist Church that considers itself a reconciling church.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. The reference that comes up repeatedly during the condemnation of cross dressing and other transgender ‘flavours’, is Deuteronomy 22:5. However since a young age, much of what I’ve read (more theological than religious interpretation) about this passage suggests that modern bibles (particularly from King James onward) have grossly misinterpreted the passage, especially when compared to Hebrew versions of the Bible. An example can be found at: https://hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/8101/a-purported-hebrew-translation-of-deuteronomy-225-is-it-accurate

    Liked by 1 person

  10. A good post on an often controversial subject.
    My religious upbringing was brutal, threatening and judgmental. Although theoretically my family were members of a mainstream religion, my father made a very personal variant of it that was, to all intents and purposes, a cult of his own devising. I finally abandoned it all shortly before I turned 30 and that was when I was finally and unequivocally able to embrace the fact that I was transgender. It then took me over ten years to get over the distress and anger I felt at how I’d been conned and terrorised throughout my younger years.
    I have no religion now and I don’t recommend gods to anyone. If you are a decent person, you are a decent person. To me, the idea that a god is helping you be decent is doing yourself down and denying the reality that most people are decent by nature.
    Thanks again for maintaining such a superb blog, Hannah. You’re a star.
    Sue x

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I am of the opinion that God doesn’t make mistakes, and God made me this way. I am also a cradle Catholic. I’ve been to the Cathedral to Mass dressed as a woman. The only reaction that i got was smiles and handshakes at the sign of peace. You might find this article encouraging about the person currently responsible for the Catholic church.
    https://cruxnow.com/global-church/2017/07/nun-ministering-transgender-women-gets-thumbs-pope/

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Like many of the women who have responded on the subject of religion, I too was raised catholic and am a practicing catholic. I have attended mass many times presenting as the women I prefer to be and have never had a problem. I always receive communion and although my presentation is good I am tall so I expect that I’ve been read. Nevertheless I’ve never had a problem, everyone is always pleasant and accepting.
    Marie

    Liked by 1 person

    1. How wonderful for you Marie. Going to Mass dressed remains something I have yet to experience. I have always feared how I would be treated. Do you go in your own parish? Or do you go someplace else?
      Vivienne.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. In response I am part time, and go to Mass in a near by parish or when traveling. In February I spent a few weeks in Florida where I lived as Marie 24/7 and went to daily Mass without any problems. Everyone responded to me as they would to a generic women.

        Like

  13. Great article Hannah and great comments. I have struggled with my Catholic faith until recently. Part of my struggle is because I was raised in conservative parishes. I have followed Fr James Martin on American Media and he is trying to build a bridge between the Church and our community. To those who have dressed in church, I would be interested in knowing what parishes were you able to present your feminine side in?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m not out to anyone but my wife. As such I would never risk going to my parish church or any nearby for concern of being recognized. My one Mass experience dressed was downtown at the Cathedral for a Saturday afternoon Mass. I was greeted by the priest at the back of the church when I entered and every encounter there was friendly. About 10 years ago we occasionally went to a nearby parish to a popular Mass that was heavily attended. I noticed someone there that I am 99.99% sure was MtF transgender &/or cross-dresser. I saw her many times after I first noticed her as she always sat in the same section of church (toward the side, but near the front). I never saw any pointing, chuckies, or any rude behavior towards her.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s