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Thursday, August 22, 2013

My most recent comment to Jonathan's article

This is my most recent comment that I posted to Jonathan's article.  There has been some meaningful dialogue there.

What I find more lacking today in our culture and our society is compassion and respect and love coming from people who are gay affirming in their own position, towards people who are not in denial, but who are open about the same-sex sexual attractions that they experience and who have decided for themselves to not pursue intimate same-sex sexual behavior. They might be in heterosexual marriages. They might be single. They might have been married and are now divorced. They might or might not have experienced a shift of some degree in their sexual attractions.

I think our culture today has encouraged people who are gay affirming in their positions to take a page out of the playbook of people from past decades who were also unloving toward people who experienced same-sex sexual attractions, when being open about this topic was not culturally acceptable. It’s so easy to speak disrespectfully about or toward someone whom you disagree with, when you are in the cultural/political power position.
 
Men in one prison setting where the majority of the CSC men in the group were heterosexual in their sexual attractions chose to use Sy Rogers’ video material in their prison support group because they felt he addressed issues of sexuality better than people who were only attracted heterosexually to other people. They understood well that Sy was not a person who was transgendered. They understood that he was a man who had strong mannerisms that our culture would view as feminine. They also understood that he was/is a man married to his wife, who still experienced some level of same-sex sexual attractions. As they prepared to be released back into society, they appreciated Sy as a role model as someone who was able to be honest about his life and about how people responded to him.

I wrote in my email/journal to myself today:




Hurray.  I got my first response to me from Jonathan Merritt. 


He commented to me as a reply comment in his article about Russell Moore’s perspectives.

I noticed it when I was carefully, indirectly commenting ad responding to the comment by Tim, who appears to be a gay man, where he was talking that it is up to us to love folks. 

Jonathan rarely comments in his articles.  He posted this on Aug. 20th:

Jonathan Merritt Post author Aug 20, 2013 at 3:21 pm

Mike,

Thanks for you comment. I would add that we also need to be careful in the use of transgendered vs transgender language. I prefer to talk about “transgender people” or “transgender persons.”

Best,

Jm

 
At first I thought Jonathan meant to say, “transgendered vs. transsexual”, when he wrote, “transgendered vs transgender language.”  If he meant the difference between the idea of transgendered and the idea of transgender language, as in his example of transgender people or transgender persons, I think I'm following what he is saying.  I always make the distinction between a person who is (something) where the something is an adjective referring to the person, as opposed to the concept being used as a noun, as in the use of the terms transgendered or  transsexual. 
 
I had said in my second comment there, “Some people who say they are transgendered.”  Where the idea of transgendered is used by them as an adjective.  I think Jonathan is saying that he would prefer that I had said, transgender as opposed to transgendered.  I think my use of transgendered reflects my understanding that we are not born in a particular gender.  Thus if we use the term as an adjective, were using it in a developmental sense, and thus transgendered is more accurate.  But I can see that if someone thinks that it is only biological at birth that their gender is determined and not influenced after that, then I can see how they would used the term, transgender. 
 
Thus, I would rather say, "a person who is transgender" than to say, "a transgender person," if I wanted to use the term transgender as opposed to transgendered.  The concept of the person comes first in the phrasing.  The idea of a person who is something, more accurately suggests that they might feel this is who they are now, as opposed to this is how they have always been.  This relates to Jonathan's reference in another article to the work of Anne Fausto Sterling <anne_fausto-sterling@brown.edu>

And referencing how our culture looks at these two words:

This person would say she is a transgender activist who is a transgendered person. 

trans·gen·der

[trans-jen-der, tranz‐] Show IPA
noun
1.
a person appearing or attempting to be a member of the opposite sex, as a transsexual or habitual cross-dresser.
adjective Also, trans·gen·dered.
2.
being, pertaining to, or characteristic of a transgender or transgenders: the transgender movement.

Origin:
 1990–95

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2013.
Cite This Source
Link To transgendered

Collins
World English Dictionary
transgender  (ˌtrænzˈdʒɛndə)
 
adj
of or relating to a person who wants to belong to the opposite sex
 
trans'gendered
 
adj