This is the third part of a multiple part series about the term gender. Conservative religious organizations and ex-gay organizations use the term gender — and variants on the term gender — to group together GLB & T people in a manner that GLB & T people don’t group themselves together. This series will explore groupings around the term gender, and the term’s variants.
Who identifies as ex-trans in ex-gay circles? Who could by their testimony — but doesn’t — identify as ex-trans?
Three testimonies associated with figures that have ex-trans identities are linked here and here. The three figures are ex-cross-dresser Randall Wayne, ex-transgender person Jerry Leach, and ex-transsexual Sy (or Synclair) Rogers.
Randall Wayne stated in the article Cross-dressing and Christianity; A REAL Man’s Struggle:
In or about October of 1996 I experienced an onslaught of temptation and spiritual warfare in the area of cross-dressing. This strong desire to dress in women’s clothes was totally out of the blue, although it was something that I had experienced before in my life. At times, the temptation was so strong that it was all I could think about. As a result, I could not focus on the normal activities of life. Fortunately, I found help and hope. Today I can truly say after over 30 years of dealing with this, “Thank God I’m free!”
Sy Rogers stated in the article The Man In the Mirror:
There was a time when I would never have believed such fulfillment was possible for me. Only three years earlier, I was lost in pursuit of my identity, desperately seeking love and acceptance. I was transsexual – or at least that’s what my psychiatrist called it. Although physically a man, I felt “trapped” in the wrong body. I was obsessed with the desire to change my outward gender and conform my body to what I believed I really was – both mentally and emotionally. I convinced myself, and worked hard to convince others, that sex-change surgery was necessary for me if I was ever to lead a fulfilled life.
Unlike many transsexuals, however, I was also very homosexually active prior to my sex-change efforts. I began having homosexual encounters before I was ten years old. I was aware of an intense desire to be intimate with men, and I wanted men to desire me too.
And, Jerry Leach stated in the article Gender Variance?
What’s the cause for gender identity variance? Explain it we must, for without an understanding of the “root causes” we are left adrift upon an endless sea of speculation, preposterous/untrue theories, victimization, and yet untold emotional suffering. A well known Catholic Priest, Ted Dobson says, “There is a ‘tear’ in the masculine soul – a gaping hole or wound that leads to a profound insecurity. The German psychologist, Alexander Mitscherlich, has written that society has torn the soul of the male, and into this tear demons have fled – demons of insecurity, selfishness, and despair. Consequently, men do not know who they are as men. Rather, they define themselves by what they do, who they know, or what they own.”
Men with transgender/homosexual disorders will typically experience very similar backgrounds in the development of their social family history.
Alan Chambers stated in the opening paragraphs of his Stonewall Revisited testimony:
My earliest memories are of wanting to be a girl. I often dressed in my sister’s clothing, my mother’s high-heels and tried to pass myself off as a girl to strangers. I desperately wanted to be a girl so I could do all of the things that others called feminine without the fear of being ridiculed. I hated sports and the rejection and name-calling that went with it.
I remember an older boy teasing me about the way I walked, ran, threw a ball or swung a bat. “That’s just like a girl would do it,” he’d say.
He was right. In fact, I used to sit at the dinner table and mimic my mother’s eating style. When she took a bite, I took a bite; when she dabbed the corners of her mouth with her napkin, so did I. Femininity became “my other world.”
John Paulk was quoted as stating:
Over the next three years I threw everything into being the best woman I could. I was proud to be a drag queen and even adopted the name “Candi.” Soon I became popular as a female impersonator, not just locally but in neighboring states as well. But inside I still hated myself. One night on the dance floor I said to God, “I know you can help me–someday I’ll come back to you.”
Of the five ex-trans or could-be-ex-trans people listed above, all but Randall Wayne directly link transgender behavior to homosexual behavior, and all of them link a lack of a strong, male gender identity to their transgender and/or homosexual behavior.
However, in their personal histories, these individuals identify their feelings of not being completely masculine, and the real fact that many of these folk are now, or have been key players in ex-gay ministries — well, I believe these individuals have personal experiences that lead them to believe that gay men and transgender women are very similar entities. And, in my mind, there’s no doubt this belief that gay men and transgender women are very similar entities is reflected throughout the organizations where they lead or have led, and how these ex-gay ministries impact other conservative religious organizational viewpoints on gay men and transgender women.
Part 1: Transgender / Ex-Transgender Glossary
I fixed the broken links in the first paragraphes. The website I’d linked to completely revamped their site since I wrote the article, and the links changed. My appologies. ~~A~~(11/26/06)