Ruminating on my last two posts has led me to think that I should blog twice in two days.
I’ve been suddenly struck by how self deceptive I am about my illness. Desperately trying to convince myself that I’m not as depressed as I am. One of the most interesting parts of the Gospels is Mark 5 when the man possessed runs to Jesus from far off, and tells Jesus to go away from him. I’m not possessed but my behavior to mental health professionals often involves going to great lengths to seek their help then a part of my brain that hates me tries to sabotage the whole thing.
I am a master of deception which comes from a lifetime of secret cross dressing, I put up an amazing front when talking to people, when they ask, how are you? I often reply with “fine” or “ok”… or recently “I’m struggling with the side effects of my medication”. Which was true but actually completely beside the point of why I’m a mess and a half truth is worse than a lie because it is an even more brazen attempt at deception. I make great efforts to talk with people like everything is normal, indeed I often end up being fairly sociable in comparison to some people because I force myself to do so. Never mind I suffer from extreme social anxiety, paranoia and agoraphobia and after social encounters I often end up bed ridden for days… even going to visit good friends to play N64 requires a touch of dutch courage or Valium.
My self deception even goes as far as telling myself I totally didn’t attempt suicide last week… nooo, not me, I’m a good Catholic, I didn’t spend three days in bed recovering from a pill and booze cocktail of scary proportions. So yes, the gist of this is to try to break the deception, yes at the moment I am a complete mess, a total train wreck, a guy (who wants to be a girl) with a 2:1 degree, an IQ of 145, a hard worker, relatively punctual who’s totally unemployable and who’s life is going absolutely nowhere and is nothing but a drain on resources to all the people able to hold down a job. At the moment I just want to be put in the loony bin and spend the rest of my days finger painting and the nights bouncing around in a padded cell in nothing but a pretty pink straight jacket.
This is the psychological cost of transphobia and the cognitive dissonance it produces in myself. And I am very very angry about it and I blame God. Why did he do this to me? Why does the Catholic Church base its sexual morality on a binary understanding of biology? Transsexuality and intersex conditions are both very rare and as a result they simply do not fit this one size fits most theology. There is even a rare endocrine disorder where a genetic male cannot process testosterone at all from conception so they end up as beautiful women who only discover their genetic makeup is male when they go for fertility treatment. Does this mean they are not women? does this mean their husband has cause to annul their marriage? no, such a tragic misunderstanding of gender would be abhorrent.
In short biology isn’t the catch all answer to issues of sexual morality because humanity is staggeringly varied. I have long said that nature vs nurture is of no relevance to the facts of transsexuality, it doesn’t change the reality of the condition or the fact that the only treatment known to bring positive psychological results is gender reassignment. But why is it that my brain subconsciously wishes I am intersex, XXY or some such?
Because the majority of Catholics have a limited understanding, I might even go so far as to say the Catholic Church has a limited understanding of these rare conditions. This is not at all surprising because transsexuality and intersex conditions have only recently begun to be understood by a minority of the medical profession. Lets just say I won’t be holding my breath for canon law to catch up, that would be suicide attempt number two. The result of all this is that if there is a biological cause for my condition I am somehow absolved from guilt or at least that is what my subconscious tells me.
I must confess I haven’t actually read JP2’s theology of the body, just interpretations and paraphrases, perhaps I need to read the primary source. But deep down I believe that this theology is an exercise in trying to find new and less abhorrent reasoning behind the Church’s long held beliefs about what it sees as “objectively disordered”. In reality we inherited homophobia from Saint Paul, who inherited it from the book of Genesis and the story of Sodom, a story about attempted homosexual gang rape, not about two men or two women who love one another. We need to face up to the long history of people thinking up theology to justify the Church’s inherent disgust of homosexuality. Queer sexuality is just a result of the fall, it obviously couldn’t be made in the image of God… that’s just for straight people… why? because! that’s why!
The Catholicism I signed up to was so proud of its adherence to orthodoxy, I didn’t want to be a half arsed Catholic, picking and choosing what I believe. I believed the faith I had personally embraced had the answers to everything. Now when I think about the question of queer issues I can no longer wear my pointy orthodox Catholic hat, which I wore with such pride and perhaps even arrogance in the past.
My current thinking is that all answers to questions of sexual morality have to be rooted in authenticity. As queer people we need to be honest with ourselves, about who we are, we need to be honest about whether we want loving sex or simply the carnal use of our bodies or the bodies of others. My thinking now is that we are all called to chastity, yes even married couples, so chastity obviously isn’t equivalent to never having sex. Celibacy too simply means being in an unmarried state. If marriage is between a man and a woman then celibacy is of no relevance to questions of gay love.
The only answer to the queer quandary is to be 100% honest with yourself and God about your sexuality. And if you end up in a romantic relationship your only concern should be making sure it is centered on love not lust. Sexuality is such a key part of who we are, if we try to ignore it we ignore important truths about who we are as humans and I’m living proof that that way madness lies. Who do we think we are kidding? do we think we can deceive God?