The Dangerous Business of Trying to Create Ex Transsexuals and Ex Gays by Religious Groups
by Laura Amato
Anyone who has even heard the word Religion Knows how they feel about Transsexuals and Gays. The words used most often include: abomination, sinful, Levitcus, Deutronomy and against God's Law to name a few. Back in the time when people thought, in their ignorance, that the world was flat, public stoning was the punishment of choice. In some countries today this is still practiced. In Iran you can still be hanged for being homosexual. In most of the civilized world these barbaric practices are now against the law. As Jesus said; "he who is without sin, cast the first stone". I wonder how many would still use stoning if they could, against us?
A new tactic used by religious groups is to "convert" Transsexuals and Gays into ex gays and ex transsexuals is run by Exodus International North America . It goes under the premise that being homosexual or transsexual is against God's law and is unnatural. The group is totally against recent evidence that proves them wrong and against psychiatric and medical guidelines that support us. It is also likely that many of them still believe that the world is flat since they dispute scientific and medical evidence. How can they say it is unnatural when there are species of animals who have both gay and transsexual members?
Transsexuals and Gays have the highest suicide rates of any group. A third of gay teens have attempted suicide and 50% of Transsexuals have had their first suicide attempt by their 20th birthday. Most are struggling with guilt and fear. Transsexual teens at age 12 have the added burden of having their bodies changed into something foreign to them and the opposite of what they feel they are. Never mind that many Transsexuals in transition can often be easily spotted and become public victims of Christian Homophobia. What person in their right mind would choose to be ostracized, ridiculed, beaten up and made to hold in their bodily functions because no rest room is the right one for them to be in? No one would choose this. The sad part is that the ones doing all this are often the righteous Christians who are doing the beating. Trust me every Homosexual and Transsexual has prayed to God for all of this to go away. We have millions of prayer hours accumulated between all of us. Many would love a real cure. Sadly there isn't one. Exodus is not the answer. In fact Exodus is potentially life threatening and a clear danger to those of us who are different.
Psychiatry doesn't classify being homosexual or transsexual to be a mental illness. However with astronomical suicide rates depression is certainly a factor in many of us. Yes some do have OCD Observe Compulsive Disorder, Bi-Polar, and DID in the same numbers that the rest of the population has. These are of course treatable with medication. All Transsexuals have to have these illnesses under control to be considered for medical treatment.
Exodus's danger is that they do not consider our suicide rate or scientific evidence. Most are not Psychiatrists or Psychologists and are not trained in how to deal with Clinical Depression. Those with the Ph.D. follow their own beliefs instead of tried and true clinical practices that they were trained in. Heaping guilt on a clinically depressed person is dangerous and irresponsible. While their methods may temporarily work for some it dramatically increases the suicide risks for others beyond the danger threshold. That is the abomination here. One can only wonder how many have died because of their intervention or how many of us will die in the future as the result of their "Divine" Intervention. No competent Psychologist or Psychiatrist would sanction this. Why doesn't Exodus care about this? Get into their minds and think like they think. If an ex-gay or ex-transsexual should die they would no longer be abominations. That is their reasoning. Its flawed though since suicide is also a sin according to them. Either way they win; one less gay and one less transsexual. In World War II the Nazi's marked gays and feminized men for execution too. This way though they do it in the name of God. How many other atrocities today are being committed in the name of God? Exodus is in good company. An assault on your mind is still an assault and it can kill just as easily. At least the Nazi's were upfront about it.
There is one clear fact, No amount of proof will ever convince some people that Homosexuality and Transsexuality is something we are born with. Most of us knew what we were at the age of 4 or 5 as our first conscious thought. We certainly did not ask to be the way we are.
There is a medical document that shows that in MTF Male to Female Transsexuals that the Hypothalamus in the brain that governs sexuality is female in size and that BSTC neuron numbers are in the female range. One anti-transsexual site who's webmaster is a Minister stated that Transsexuals simply willed their brains to change. WOW! Four year olds can change their brains. Then I looked to see if he had a medical degree. He did not. You wouldn't hire a plumber to fix an electrical outlet. Who then would use a religious person to cure Homosexuals or Transsexuals? The entire Medical and Psychiatric Profession can't do it so how can a homophobic Minister. The Religious Community will be most happy to know that we do forgive them because it has been proven that Homophobia is as hard wired into people as is being Homosexual or Transsexual.
The time has come for the religious community to admit that this is a medical or Psychiatric matter. They have no business trying to cure us as they are not remotely qualified to do so. Stick to religion not stone throwing. Why not help us lower our suicide rate instead of being instrumental in raising it. Daily homophobic taunts, prejudice and violence are off the scale against us. Gays and Transsexuals both have large lists of dead. The Christian right bears some responsibility for this. Leave us alone and let us enjoy the same legal privileges you enjoy.
The mission of Laura's Playground is to lower our transgender suicide rate of 31%. We have a 14 year old boy who is a FTM female to male TS and was told by Mormon Prophets that he is the product of the "devil" for being Transsexual. After heaping on the guilt and shame and blasting him with religious doctrine they got the teen to admit to them he was no longer a Transsexual. Privately that same day he told us he was going to commit suicide and almost did. He still professed he was a man in a girl's body and couldn't live this way. He also engaged in mutilating himself with cutting behavior. The "CURE" session damaged him mentally and emotionally. Was he cured? no, but serious damage was done. What they did was isolate him from any real medical professional help. The Prophets though patted themselves on the back. They had no idea what the real truth was. Another religious group claimed to cure a transsexual when by her own admission wasn't TS at all and was already refused the surgery under the HBIGDA Standards of Care. Here we have heard enough story's to turn your hair white. The public and Religious Community has no idea what we are about or what happens to us daily. They are steeped in ignorance.
We do not choose to be Gay or Transsexual. We are born this way. The only agenda we have is to leave our lives in peace without violence , taunts and fear. Why does that scare you? You cannot decide who we love and care about. There is supposed to be separation of Church and State in the Constitution. Lets leave religion and zealots out of it shall we. "Go in Peace".