Almost Right, But Oh So Wrong

CN: Transphobia, bathroom policies, hate speech, Christian apologetics, swear words. I might be channeling Niki a little with the language here. Also, fair warning that this post is a little less polished than usual because I’m pissed off.

Additional Note: The link the post I’m talking about is currently not working, and I’m aware of it. In fact the entire blog seems to have disappeared at the moment, but I don’t know why.(4/27/2016 8:15am CST) It’s back up this evening (4/27/2016 11:30pm CST)

Comment Moderation Note: Comments questioning the legitimacy of transgender people’s identities are not allowed on this blog and will not be allowed through. Trans men are men, trans women are women. Don’t waste either of our time by suggesting otherwise in the comment section. (4/30/2016 2:15pm CST)

This week a self-identified “straight conservative preacher’s wife” named Jaci Lambert wrote about her reactions to Target’s bathroom policy, which is long-standing and states that people in their stores are welcome to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity. Lambert says she understands why Christians are so angry about Target’s policy, but wants her fellow Christians to display more love and understanding rather than anger and boycotts. She also points out that sexual assault happens in lots of contexts, including in parish communities, and keeping trans people out of bathrooms isn’t an effective safety mechanism.

So, she’s got those parts kinda right. Everything else in this post is oh so wrong.

First of all, Lambert displays a complete and utter lack of understanding of trans people. She uses the form “transgendered” every time she talks about us, which at this point is a blatant dog-whistle that someone doesn’t know a single fucking thing about us. She also misgenders trans people by calling us men who identify as women and women who identify as men. I will admit that the inclusion of trans men in this is surprising to me, since people who are this unaware of trans issues usually are unaware that people like me exist, so I guess there is that. Still, despite all of her talk of love she clearly hasn’t actually attempted to understand even the most basic respectful language to use when talking about us.

In a much more disturbing display of Lambert’s ignorance on this topic, she talks about how she would talk to her children about trans people if they should see one of us in a bathroom. “I would then have the opportunity to explain to my children, who don’t have any choice but to grow up in this messy world, that there are some people who feel like they are different and like they don’t belong anywhere. We could talk about what Jesus would do and how He would expect us to love them and how we would feel if we didn’t belong anywhere.”

Are you fucking kidding me? People who feel like they don’t belong anywhere? THAT’S what she thinks a trans person is?

Let me tell you about belonging, Mrs. Lambert. I used to be in the Catholic Church. It’s absolutely true that I felt like I didn’t belong anywhere during that time. Before transition, when I was trying so hard to figure out who I am and what my future could possibly be, the Church had some very specific ideas about my role in the world. That changed, Mrs. Lambert. It changed when I left the Church, when I came out as a man, and when I began to transition. Almost immediately, my life changed.

As myself, I belonged. After the decision to transition, as a transman in the world, I belonged right away. I had friends, community, lovers, joy, and love. The world opened up to me in transition in a way that I could never have imagined while trapped in the restrictive hateful world of the Church. My experience as a transman says that we are not all people who don’t feel like we belong anywhere – I am a person who knows exactly where I belong.

I belong in Atheist communities. I belong in my Catholic University classrooms. I belong in my big poly family, and with my spouse and pets. I belong with my family of origin, as we have grown together through my transition and aging and learning about each other. I belong with my long time friends. I belong, most of all, in the queer community full of people working together to end the prejudice that kept me and so many others trapped in places we did not belong for so long.

When you teach your children, Mrs. Lambert, teach them that we are just like them. That might terrify you, but it’s true. Your children will have to figure out who they are in this world some day. If you expect them to be much like you, and follow the strict ideas of your religion, they might indeed feel like they don’t belong in the world. You get to decide if they belong with you or not, and the chances are that the more conservative and limited you think their options should be, the greater the chance your children will decide they fit better with other people.

Lambert also has some words for “the left” about tolerance. She says “You throw out the word “tolerance” like it is your love child, conceived and birthed in some spectacular fashion. You carry it around like your trophy, your greatest contribution, but as soon as someone voices a differing belief (most notably for religious reasons) you turn around and use your tolerance trophy to bludgeon them into a bloody pulp.”

Wrong. Tolerance is not our love child, nor even our goal. Tolerance is the bare minimum necessary to not be a fucking horrible human being. Tolerance is what it takes to decide we are not worth murdering, as so many people do in fact believe should happen to us. Tolerance is a starting point, and not the end.

Mrs. Lambert, I do not want your tolerance. I INSIST on better. I want equality. I want acceptance. I want dignity. I want to be seen and treated the same as you by society. I want exactly the same rights and privileges you have.

My insistence on basic human rights – the ability to pee in peace, the ability to build a family that works for me, the ability to obtain medical care appropriate to my identity etc – is absolutely not intolerance of your faith. I will tolerate your faith forever. Your faith has a right to exist, even if I think it’s harmful bullshit. You are welcome to pee in peace, to build your family with your preacher husband, and to attend your church and even preach your faith.

No one is “bludgeoning [Christians] into a bloody pulp” in this country. Demanding our own rights does absolutely nothing to harm you.

You know who’s being made into a bloody pulp, Mrs. Lambert?

Not Christians.

It’s us.

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Almost Right, But Oh So Wrong
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19 thoughts on “Almost Right, But Oh So Wrong

  1. 1

    Thank you. I am having a hard time keeping my focus on my work today, and you gave me that feeling that someone more competent than me was on top of this today. <3

    I wanted to address the issues you did, feeling that, with a little more understanding and some of that Christian love she professes, she could progress a little further, but when I got to the last bit (about tolerance), I felt that she might not be too amenable to instruction, because she would probably see it as intolerance of Christianity. Since I left Christianity, it's amazing how much of it (Christianity) I don't see—perhaps there is good conservative Christianity in the world, but I have no idea what it looks like. I'd like to maybe write something here about insularity that keeps that light from shining out in the world, or maybe only liberal Christians will do for me now. Then again, I'm guessing Fred Rogers would be considered liberal nowadays. Here I go rambling on. There's another deadline beckoning.

    1. 1.1

      I would like to tell you, scyllacat, that as a follower of Christ myself, I am sorry that “Christianity” has let you down. The church and people always will. It is the relationship with Chirst, His deep well of love for you, that will never let you down. The bible, (Jeremiah 29:13) tells us that, “when you seek Me, you will find me, when you seek me with all of your heart.” He loves you like no one ever will! Pray your heart be softened to Jesus and what he has to offer you!

    2. 1.2

      So you are assuming that she would think it as an intolerance of Christianity. Just like you are assuming that she didn’t try to learn about it. She may have. You have NO idea who she is or what she did to try and stand up for what she believes(even if her religion tells her not to) is right.

      plus it’s not like she made the region up. It’s been a thing for a very very long time.

      1. No, not JUST like it. I’m assuming that she didn’t try to learn about it because any 101 of transgender would explain things like, “‘Transgendered’ is not a word,” and “It is a woman who was assigned male, not a man who identifies as a woman.”

        I’m assuming she would find my explanations intolerant of Christianity because, after a relatively soft-toned, if ignorant, heart-in-the-right-place (maybe?) plea for not harming people, she turned a bright red snarky tone toward liberals, and I’m a liberal. That made me alarmed, and I fled before I could digest the rest of her comments, which is why I used the word “assumed,” because that’s what was left over in my brain.

        Of course, when I went back to see if I could get a more nuanced view (maybe someone in the comments had addressed our [mine and Benny’s mutual] concerns), of course, it was gone. So I’m still left with “assumed.”

  2. 3

    I respect how you feel about her blog (which is now taken down).

    With that being said, the fact that you are SO angry about this is just dumb. A woman who is ignorant (doesn’t know any better/ was never taught) at best, about LGBTQ community is trying to stand up for you the best and most respectful way she possibly could and you’re mad.

    Do you not want to be accepted by everyone? Because that’s what she was trying to do. And because she doesn’t know the damn lingo makes her a bad person.

    And if you could please tell me exactly what a transgender person is that would be great. Because I was under the impression that it’s a woman (someone born with female parts aka vagina) who identifies as a man (someone with male parts aka penis) or vice versa. If that’s not right then the whole world has it wrong and you’re on your own with this one. Even target has it wrong if that’s the case. Because they are allowing people to go into whatever bathroom they identify with.

    And iT is a sense of belonging. Otherwise it wouldn’t even be a thing. If everyone felt like they belonged in the body they were given then there would be no transgender. But because not all women feel like they belong in a woman’s body and that they better belong in a mans body they then identify as a man. UGH!

    Talk about anger. It makes me so angry that you just want to be loud about it and not actually move forward with civil rights. You just want to be loud and uninformed!!!

    1. 3.1

      I would be happy to explain to you the difference between who she said transgender people are, and who we actually are.

      Lambert and you have both said that I am a woman who identifies as a man. This is not true. I am not a woman. I am a man who was assigned female at birth. Do you see the difference here? Calling someone “a woman (someone born with female parts aka vagina) who identifies as a man (someone with male parts aka penis) or vice versa” means that you are making a statement about who someone is that is inaccurate.

      A woman is not someone with a vagina. A woman is a person who says she is a woman. A man is a person who says he is a man. A nonbinary person is someone who says they are nonbinary. This really is that simple. It’s not about body parts. You and Lambert are wrong, and that wrongness causes harm.

      Being transgender has nothing to do with “a sense of belonging.” The idea that being transgender means we don’t feel like we belong in our bodies is simply not the definition of being trans. It is true for some people, and not for others. It is true at different points in people’s lives, for both trans people and cis people. I am very comfortable in my body at this point in my life, and I never felt the sensation that I did not belong in it. I felt that I did not belong in society before I came out, and I felt that there were things about my body that I wanted to change (and did change), but never that I did not belong in it.

      Lambert does not accept us. She disagrees with the calls to boycott Target, but that is not the same thing as accepting and understanding trans people. I do not consider people who don’t know a damned thing about trans people to be allies.

      Finally, you said: “It makes me so angry that you just want to be loud about it and not actually move forward with civil rights.”

      Being angry is often necessary to the process of justice. I am definitely angry. My people are being murdered and instead of being furious about it, you are tone policing. Stop it. Tone policing is not welcome here.

  3. 4

    I hate it when people associated with intolerance try to wield tolerance like shield. It’s like an annoying mirror-image of people offended by the expression of offense.

    The end goal of tolerance as a political symbol is for people to be able to live as they are without threat or violence from others. It’s not about being protected from criticism. I think that deep down Jaci Lambert knows this which is why they need to resort to hyperbole that just happens to thematically draw attention from the very thing that shows that the need for tolerance when it comes to trans people, physical violence. Tolerance in that context is about being able to be neighbors and keep society functional, neighbors that grumble about one another if necessary. Jaci is tolerated.

  4. 5

    “You must be tolerant of my intolerance”. A truly pathetic (and all too common) reaction from bigots of all stripes.

    Do they honestly think that anyone will fall for that tripe?

    Anyway, thanks for teaching me a bit more about trans people. Mainly by teaching me that I still don’t know nearly enough. I’ll keep reading blogs like this until one day, hopefully, I do.

  5. 7

    The site is down because it is overload with traffic. The post went viral and I am guessing the author doesn’t have a high volume hosting account.

  6. 8

    “You know who’s being made into a bloody pulp, Mrs. Lambert? Not Christians. It’s us.”

    Seriously? You need to watch the current news or read a history book. Christians are killed all the time for their beliefs. They are being killed all over the world.

    1. 8.1

      Not in the United States they’re not, and definitely not by “the left” as she calls us. We are not harming Christians. They are literally killing us. The murder rate of transgender people all over the world, and in the United States specifically, is extremely high. We are killed in hate crimes constantly. My people aren’t killing her’s, her people are killing mine.

    1. 9.1

      Just because someone is trying to do good doesn’t mean they are not doing harm. She is doing harm. She is not an ally. I have a responsibility to be angry when someone is doing harm to my people.

      1. How exactly is she doing harm to “your people?” She’s literally standing up for “your people” against outrageous Christians in the best way that she can without compromising her worldview. She will stand for her beliefs just as you do yours. Her post is the nicest toward the trans community from a Christian that I’ve seen yet.

        1. Did you read the post? She does harm by spreading misinformation about who we are. She is also absolutely not standing up for us. She is opposing a boycott of a company, which is not the same as calling for us to have equal rights.

          1. I guess I still don’t see the point in being this worked up over her words.
            I’ve read way worse from Christians on all this. Hers seemed to have the most respect for someone with different ideals than her. She’s not victimizing you. If anything she is trying to tell Christians to stop acting so victimized.

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