William B. Turner
So the so called president has again taken steps to revive the late, unlamented prohibition on military service by transgender persons. This is a distinctively Christian prejudice. It illustrates well how the Donald is very much a good Christian.
A definition – a transgender person is someone who feels very strongly that her/his gender is inconsistent with her/his sexual anatomy. They deal with this problem, which has an official psychiatric diagnosis, gender dysphoria, in various ways. For some of them, this just a fact of life that they mostly ignore and address in relatively unobtrusive ways, such as dressing as the target gender when the opportunity presents itself. Some of them, however, feel they have no choice but to secure gender reassignment surgery, in which they have their genitals modified surgically, and secondary sex characteristics such as breasts and facial hair, altered with hormones.
Why anyone else thinks this is a big deal is not at all clear. That any woman feels like a man inside or any man feels like a woman inside should be important only to that person her/himself and, depending on the circumstances, persons whom that person chooses to have important relationships with.
In recent years, as we know, Christians in the United States have been only too happy to use transgender persons and issues regarding them that the Christians manufacture (never has anyone ever reported any sexual assault by a trans person in any public restroom) as a cheap device to score political points for their political Party, the Republicans. Such is Christian morality in the modern United States.
What little evidence of Native American cultures we have that survived the hugely destructive Christian onslaught suggests that most, if not all, of them lacked the sort of rigid cultural separation into “genders” on the basis of sexed anatomy that Christians practiced at the time of their arrival in “the Americas.”
Some assert that Native societies recognized five genders, but we have insufficient evidence to support this claim. It is as likely that claiming they recognized “gender” in the European sense is as much a matter of projection as of observation. We have no way of knowing for sure. The Christians were so arrogant and uninquisitive that their claims are not trustworthy.
We do know from various accounts that Balboa, a Spanish conquistador, discovered “men” dressed as “women” in “central America” and fed them to his dogs. This is typical of the Christian approach to Native cultures – the automatic, violent imposition of Christian moral prejudices at the expense of Native lives. It nicely sums up the Christian impact on “the Americas” and their inhabitants in general.
Obviously, this is not the response of a person who has any interest at all in learning more about what he sees. This is conservatism distilled.
It is no exaggeration to say that we only have “LGBT” identities and political issues in the United States because of the pernicious influence of Christianity. It is also further evidence, if anyone needed more, that the choice to tie any individual’s cultural role tightly to her/his sexed anatomy is just that — a choice, and a highly ideological one that many Christians cling tightly to for no apparent reason.
Of course, absent the Christian invasion, none of us would be here, because the history of the places we live would have played out very differently.
We cannot undo history. We cannot restore the lives of the “sodomites” Balboa fed to his dogs, or to any of the other millions of Natives who died at the hands of Christian invaders, or of the millions of Africans the Christians imported to “the Americas” to serve as slave labor.
We can strive to redeem the moral enormity of this ugly history by taking a long step back from our present culture and its beliefs and building an entirely new moral framework that eliminates the ugly prejudices Christians brought with them, with respect to “gender” and “sexuality,” but also with respect to “race.”