The following essays present various viewpoints of GASS members and allies, and are presented to stimulate discourse on the transgender experience. These do not necessarily indicate positions of the Gender Alliance of the South Sound.

T-Town: Transgender Neighbors
Click Here to see the online exhibit.


Gender is the great divider of humanity, with which group we are placed into being determined by birth not worth. When we break the artificial rules of gender presentation, venture to transit the gender divide, we run into the unforgiving shoals of rigid cultural expectations.

"One of the great myths of our culture is that at birth each infant can be identified as distinctly `male' or `female' (biological sex), will grow up to have correspondingly `masculine' or `feminine' behavior (public gender), live as a `man' or a `woman' (social gender role), and marry a woman or a man (heterosexual affective orientation). This is not so. A significant number of people in fact do not fit this simple idea of biological gender destiny."
-- Lisa Josephine Lees, Gender: Exploring Diversity and Acceptance.

We must move closer to Gender Liberty and away from institutionalized gender dualism.

There are many, including within the trans population, who will not accept that there exist genders other than man and woman, and who feel that gender rigidity is not a problem in our culture. At one time I believed this way. The current societal structure, which itself has not been able to completely acknowledge equality among just two supposed gender polarities, still demands that it has the right to assign gender to every individual, and castigates people who do not neatly fit into the two gender system.

This castigation ranges from the embarrassing to the frustrating to the inhumane and truly dangerous. Viewed variously as weird, broken, sinful, mentally ill or otherwise counter-social, trans persons and other gender variant have had to disguise or deny their real selves in order to survive, or risk the full wrath of a society that demands conformity above all.

Gender stereotypes categorize and serve to isolate people into groups that do not reflect who they truly are. Enormous pressure to conform to society's expectations results in confusion, misery and lost potential, certainly among the trans community but also for people in general. To achieve the liberation of gender each individual's gender identity, their unique blend of "masculine" and "feminine", must be recognized as their own to determine.

My generation of trans persons typically felt that there were only two gender choices. I could not see any other way to live than by transitioning fully from one gender polarity to the other in order to get away from the one I was born as. There were few role models of successful trans persons in the 1960's and '70's, and none that presented in anything other than the stereotypical male or female. The prospect seemed to involve trading one ill-fitting gender identity for "the other" gender, presumably more resonant but still not completely representative of our total self. A more accurate, nuanced, in-between, even fluid, gender status was not presented as an option. The deconstruction of gender with the separation of identity from sexual preference was the beginning of understanding. Sex not being equal to gender must now be carried to the next level of gender being infinitely variable.

As biological descriptions of dimorphic members of a species, the terms 'female' and 'male' will continue to have meaning as general templates, while 'woman' and 'man' have always been inadequate to describe the multi-hued rainbow of gender. Even terms such as male to female, female to male, trans-man, and trans-woman may be inadequate to wholly describe a particular person. They are based on assumptions of what we were and where we are that may be untrue. Our identities are just as infinite as points on a spectrum, with my gender being known simply as Victoria Q. I belong to a gender of one.

We are the most complex organisms in the universe, not simply biologically determined like an amoeba. As conscious beings we are not confined to the either-or choice of two genders. The sum of our experience and the direction of our individual pursuit of happiness should point the way to our own particular gender identity. Infinite Gender then demands Gender Liberty. The same freedom and equality championed by the founding fathers and civil rights movements must now be applied to the basic human right of the individual to say who and what they are. When each of us define ourselves with unfettered autonomy we become truly free to reach our potential as individuals and as society.

"But let me tell you, this gender thing is history," President George H.W. Bush said after talking about "serious issues" with British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. He was wrong. This "gender thing" is not history. It is not settled. Indeed, the myth of two genders will be exposed, the great gender divide will be pierced, and the struggle for Gender Liberty has just begun.

Victoria Q.


In the book Evolution's Rainbow, Joan Roughgarden, a professor of biological sciences at Stanford University, who also happens to be a transwoman, describes the many ways both sexual orientation and gender identity diversity proliferate in the natural world. From plants to animals, "gayness" and "transness" is far from rare, promoted she suggests by evolution itself. She also recounts the many variations of human sexuality and gender roles in human cultures throughout history and around the world. What emerges is a much clearer perception of the grand diversity of nature, and how we transgender people fit right into the scheme of things.

Yet Roughgarden also succinctly confirms the difference between sex and gender. The "sexuality" of an organism is determined strictly by genetics: guided by chromosomes which trigger hormones and fashion internal and external organs which then facilitate the production and care of offspring. From a biological standpoint, an organism's sex is defined strictly by the gametes it produces. Essentially an organism is biologically programmed to produce either large gametes, eggs, or small gametes, sperm, and the rest of the "sexual" apparatus of the individual is structured to in some way serve these gamete-producing organs. So the basic dualistic template of male and female morphology is established.

Sometimes, as in an intersex human, the highly complex genetic blueprint gets a bit tangled and produces an individual with non-normative chromosomal combinations and/or ambiguous or dual sexual organs. But for the vast majority of individuals of all higher animal species, the male/female sexual dichotomy is fairly firm (though there are examples of some animals actually changing their sex).

Still, genes do not entirely define our destiny. We are not simply our sexual biology. Our biology extends to many other components, critically including the vast neural network of the brain, where "sex" and "gender" usually maintain a high degree of congruency. But it is here, in the multitude of synapses and their chemical and electrical communications, that grand potentiality may create something very different from what the basic chromosomes intended. This is the realm where "male" and "female" duality translates into "masculine" and "feminine" diversity. Traits or propensities supposedly belonging to one or the other polarity may now be blended, like the colors of the rainbow, to create something unique and original. Unlike sex, gender is not bound by a strict polarity. So it therefore becomes possible for gender identity to conflict with sexual biology.

Modern societies offer some remedy for individuals with this conflict. Though the individual may have lived their life heretofore as the gender mandated by their sexual biology, they may elect to transition their gender socially, legally, and, to a significant degree, physically.

When this happens, the sexual biology of an individual is not fundamentally changed. Modern science cannot yet transform chromosomes or replace a large gamete producing morphology with small gamete organs, or vice-versa. All we can do is tinker with some of the aspects of our innate sexual biology, through hormone regimens or surgical procedures involving the macro manifestations of our micro-genetics. No doubt, we are wonderfully blessed in this day and age to be able to do even this. Never before in history have trans persons been able to take their physical gender transformations as far as we can today. The results can be extremely personally healing and enriching, not to mention sometimes beautiful.

These people TRANSform their physical self, including some of their sexual components, to more closely match their preferred gender identity. They TRANSition from the gender they previously occupied culturally, socially and historically (and often deeply internally) to something closer to the "opposite" gender. They may now be swimming in different hormones and have a "neo" sex organ, which is all fine and good. Or they may even TRANScend gender by proclaiming that they feel no need to express any gender at all. In all of these cases, they did not change their sex.

So the term transsexual is inaccurate. As the great biologist Edward O. Wilson explained, "the quintessential female is an individual specialized for making eggs.... the male is defined as a manufacturer of sperm." When a person undergoes Gender Reassignment Surgery, they do not come out the other side with the ability to produce the opposite type of gamete, indeed, they come out lacking the ability to produce any gametes at all. Until the time when science and medicine truly can alter one's very sexual biology, as when a frog or fish or lizard shifts from producing small gametes to producing large, we should phase this term out of the language used to describe and define those of us who embark on a very profound gender odyssey.

The term transgender is far more accurate, as well as infinitely more reflective of the wide diversity that comprises all of the organisms, of any species, that do not conform to dualistic gender roles. Within the incredibly complex tapestry of human culture the phenonomenon of transgender individuals glistens among the threads dating back into antiquity. We've always been here, and we always will. We should welcome anyone who wishes to join our tribe, even if only for a short while, as they explore their gender identity and blend the magical-mystical male and female essences. So gender queer, butch lesbians, femme gays, cross-dressers, anyone bending gender are welcome. The broader our inclusion and the larger our group the better for all social purposes, including the acquisition of civil rights and recognition.

"Transsexual" is relatively new to language, having been introduced less than 100 years ago, and it is understandable how it has survived since that time. Culture at-large has long used the word "sex" when it really means "gender," though rarely vice-versa. The sign-up form asks whether your "Sex" is M or F. Usually this is not a problem because sex and gender are most often congruent in an individual. But it is certainly not always, so this is technically incorrect usage of the term. These days forms more frequently ask your "Gender" instead. Conversely, however, the word "gender" is never used where the word "sex" is appropriate. A beautilicious babe is not "gendery", and doesn't engage in "gender" with the hot dude. Though most people don't even realize it, this usage reflects the fact that "gender" correctly applies to the whole person, while proper usage of the term "sex" always refers to some aspect of biological sexuality.

Yet many in the transgender community comfortably cling to the word "transsexual," and in fact a tiny but vocal minority suggest that this word is crucial to distinctly separate those who are "serious" about their "sex" change - usually meaning those who have had or are very near to having their "Sex" Reassignment Surgery (SRS) - from those who are just fooling around - meaning cross-dressers, gender queer, non-operatives and most pre-operatives who may or may not ever cross the crucial surgical gateway. All of these wannabes can be called "transgender," while the real "women" and "men" call themselves "transsexual."

Of course, it is pertinent to note that those in the medical community, including most of the doctors now performing the actual surgical procedures, have dropped the "sex" term in favor of "Gender" Reassignment Surgery (GRS), acknowledging the fallaciousness of the earlier term. Likewise, in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of medical/psychological conditions, the term "transsexual" has been almost completely displaced by the terms "gender" and "transgender." Even the name for the condition, "Gender Identity Disorder" (DSM-IV), changing to "Gender Incongruence" (DSM-V) emphasizes the psychological source of the condition, rather than any sexual biology.

Meanwhile, the motivation of such exclusionary, self-styled "transsexuals" appears to be fear that they will not be taken seriously, culturally, as a "woman" or a "man," as long as they are lumped in with all these other "freaks" (as they call them) who are running around cross-dressing, gender-queering and "transgendering" while not passing very well. In their minds, these amateurs just muck things up for the pros. Ironically, it's the same argument that many gay, lesbian and intersex people have about the weirdo transsexuals! "We would be a lot further along in social acceptance if we weren't held back by the losers."

The tenacious ownership of the term "transsexual" speaks loudly of their confusion of sex and gender. By taking hormones and rearranging some of their tissue, many of them really think they are changing their sex, while their gender has remained oriented toward the opposite polarity (of course, this contention is blown away by the personal histories of most of them, cavorting sometimes for decades as full-fledged men fulfilling their sexual purpose). Conversely, the transgender rabble play with gender, but don't change their sex. Some "transsexuals" wholly buy into the gender duality and see the transition phase as very temporary, a brief caterpillar-like phase until they can bloom as a butterfly. So the "trans" stands for "transitory," a stage to be rushed through and be done with. With hormones and a nip and tuck here and there they emerge as a certifiable real "woman" or "man," and the "trans" aspect can be dropped altogether.

Yet those who would erase or deny their history and their biological facticity set themselves up for eternal conflict, within and without. Those who deny the special characteristics of their essence and sacred trans journey only denigrate themselves and their comrades by failing to embrace and honor their true uniqueness. Fortunately, this old transsexual/stealth model is giving way to a more enlightened transman/transwoman self identity among trans persons, where the individual is out and proud, at least among their family and closest friends, but often in the wider world as well. This is a much more hopeful and helpful model for both trans individuals, trans community and culture at-large.

There are certainly differences between those who go further on the gender pathway and those who stick closer to the template polarity of their sexual biology. These differences are easily reconciled, legally and medically, without destroying the over-arching descriptive term: transgender. Almost ALL conditions occur along a spectrum, a rainbow, of potentiality. You can be four feet tall or seven feet tall. An adult can weigh 80 pounds or 400 pounds. You can have the blackest black skin or snow white. You can have an IQ of 120 or of 50. You can be slightly bipolar, or autistic, or tragically extreme in these debilitating conditions. The transgender community also exists as a spectrum, with somebody situated at every spot along the continuum. Casual or occasional cross-dressers (many of whom, it should be noted, deny being "transgender" even as they continually, albeit temporarily, "transition" to the "oppposite" gender presentation) occupy one end of the spectrum, while the "transsexuals" are on the other end of the scale, conveniently forgetting that they, themselves, likely passed through an extended phase that an objective observer would firmly describe as "cross-dressing."

A modern society can manage to distinguish between those who are casually playing with gender, and those to whom it is authentically important to completely change aspects of their physical self to better match their gender identity. Those transgender people who need and/or want assistance from clinical or legal professionals to facilitate their pathway to holistic health and social balance will find their way to and through increasingly helpful and understanding systems. Of course, these transmen and transwomen (the appropriate terms for them) are different from cross-dressers and gender variants, and culture-at-large is already awakening to these distinctions. Meanwhile, those within the transgender rainbow tribe whose pathway may never include name or driver's license change, much less surgery, still seek and deserve recognition as valid persons, free to establish their own gender identity. The best way to facilitate this cultural evolution is to present a cogent, united front of all gender variations. Fractures from within this community, especially divisions based upon faulty logic, will not ultimately help anyone.

In saying goodbye to the term "transsexual" we also liberate ourselves from its baggage. Unfortunately, "sex" is the most loaded word in language, capable of distorting and degrading any subject. The "sex" in "transsexual" guarantees sexual objectification of the individual, as well as interjecting an unwelcome degree of non-seriousness to this issue which is of paramount importance to our community. So, again ironically, the term that self-described "transsexuals" wish to preserve in order to separate them out from the "transgenders" in order to be taken more seriously has a fatal flaw that will thwart that very effort.

And that brings up yet another incongruent aspect of the word. Other terms involving the compound component "sexual" relate specifically to orientation: heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, pansexual, asexual. By this convention, "transsexual" should be defined as someone who is sexually attracted to transpersons! They are out there.

In a sense, the term "transsexual" also reminds of another word that is woefully ill-considered, one that should have been discarded centuries ago: the word "Indian" for the native people of the Americas. Long after everyone had realized that Christopher Columbus did not, in fact, bump into India, the term persisted to describe tens of millions of people and cultures that were anything but Indian.

Today there are some transgender people who claim to reject "transgender" as a describing term but embrace the term "transsexual," just as there are many Native Americans and First Peoples who accepted and used for themselves the term "Indian." Acceptance and use/misuse, however, doesn't make a term correct. And there is no good reason why any individual or collective of people should be referred to by terms that are flat-out untrue, even if they don't mind or want to be.

To jettison this incorrect and divisive description of our personhood and pathway cannot help but elevate the discourse and perceptions. Who among us who are currently defined as "transsexuals" regard "sex" as the primary essence of our self or journey? Virtually none. It is the "gender" identity that is of foremost importance. How anyone expresses their sexuality may have absolutely nothing to do with their gender identity.

In rallying around a single, broad and inclusive term, transgender, we now have a logical and moral base of perception, a defensible bastion from which to protect ourselves from an often hostile general public, though at the same time proclaiming the TransNation, proudly flying the rainbow flag of diversity - both natural and cultural - and welcoming all who would join us, comrade or ally. The greatest precepts of human culture are on our side when we stay on the right side of science and the right side of virtue: Equality, Liberty, Community, Diversity. Put "Gender" in front of these terms and you have the best way forward.

A big step toward this goal is to hasten the demise of the term "transsexual", to perhaps be resurrected when the day comes that human sexual biology itself can be fundamentally altered. When chromosomes and all the other components of human sexual biology can be transposed within an individual, then we might say we have changed our sex. Meanwhile, I'm very happy with the gender pathway I have explored, and proud to consider myself transgender and a member of the TransNation.


Annie R.


Should GASS take its Transgender Day of Remembrance commemoration out of the Rainbow Center and into the community? Should we leave behind the discreteness and security of our comfortable, regular meeting place and make this event a vehicle for engaging the public, pursuing our mission of education and outreach, taking the opportunity to win over allies? Or, as some members have stated, is TDOR just for us, our one "sacred" day of the year, which should not be diverted to other intents? As a powerful symbolic statement, could TDOR be taken into churches, synogagogues, mosques, perhaps winning over some of the fair-minded and good-hearted congregants, or is this an afront to those trans members who vehemently oppose organized religion? Would taking TDOR on the road be the perfect way to bring visibility to the injustices and violence our community is exposed to, or would this be politicizing a supposedly somber ceremony?

This is my viewpoint. We welcome yours, as well.

TDOR is the closest thing our disparate community has in the way of an acclamation of solidarity. It's a ritual. Some call it "sacred." We light candles. We sing songs. We give speeches (sermons). We mourn the dead. We elevate into empathy. We try to conjure up some tiny flicker of cognition of who these people might have been, though we can never know them, really, in the least. Yet what burns inside all of us who take TDOR seriously is the concept of justice... more specifically, lack thereof in the cases of the deceased. Justice is a moral concept. And a political one. So are the concepts of Equality, Liberty and Individuality, which also come into play at the TDOR commemoration.

We all love the Rainbow Center. It is our safe little nest. We have had four or five TDORs there now. Attendance peaked at around 50 a few years back, but has dwindled since. It's the same-old/same-old. Afterwards, I have to say I don't feel much better. After the candles have been snuffed, have we really accomplished anything? We haven't brought back the dead. We haven't honored their lives by doing anything of real value. So perhaps we should ask ourselves, "what would THEY want us to do?"

Here are some points to consider:

The facticity of the matter, especially given that the majority of the names that we read aloud are Hispanic, is that most of these murdered trans people were Christian. Where do you think THEY would want us to commemorate their lives and mourn their deaths?

How do we honor their lives by emphatically rejecting their beliefs? Would they, when alive, have preferred to integrate their lives and deaths within the structure of a faith community? Probably yes. Would they, knowing they would be killed, then acquiesce to their very death being "used" to propagate some semblance of greater understanding about the transgender phenomenon? Surely yes.

I share a disdain for organized religion. I think religion divides people, is irrational and immoral, and has not served humankind well at all. Certainly the legacies of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are dripping with blood. I hope for a time in the history of our species when we have left "religion" behind and have embraced a truer spirituality. But, alas, that time is not now. Not even close.

Yet while some of us (by no means the majority of trans people) may perceive organized religion as an "enemy," we should be able to see that there are many people involved in these churches, temples and mosques that are very good-hearted and want to live rightly. That they are a bit confused in how best to do that is entirely understandable given the structure of our Judeo-Christian culture. There are allies to be won in these congregations. There are minds and hearts to be changed. Perhaps only one or two in each sanctuary. But is that not more than we would change with yet another TDOR at the Rainbow Center, preaching to the choir?

TDOR is the PERFECT event to take out into the community... whether it be to a church, a synagogue, a mosque, a community center or wherever. It is our one, ritualized event, steeped in seriousness and meaning. If we are to touch the hearts and minds of any of those potential allies, to light the justice fire in them, this is the most powerful way to do it. Inside a church we are sowing seeds of change, and who knows how they might take root and grow. Or, to use another metaphor, we leave behind a vortex trail that may swirl for years and affect a multitude.

Several local churches, including a Catholic church, have INVITED us to hold our sacred TDOR within their walls. That is an honorable, and remarkable, offer. Think about it. Who would have imagined such a thing 50 years ago? Shall we slap it away? Shall a few of us be so dogmatic in our own entrenched mindset that we disallow the very many religious members of our own trans community the opportunity to commemorate this emotional event in the beautiful setting of a church sanctuary, rather than once again at the all-too-familiar Rainbow Center location? Will we turn away from the opportunity to win over as allies one or two or perhaps more members of that congregation who might choose to join us in our event, and honestly wish to learn about our community? How would that be honoring GASS's mission to educate and promote unity and diversity?

I, for one, being a believer that the arc of history bends inexorably (though not necessarily smoothly) toward greater equality, greater liberty and greater justice, would find it deliciously sublime if a bunch of trans people and their allies were to march directly into the belly of the Catholic beast and openly commemorate those who shared this "abomination," so proclaimed by Deuteronomy. This would be utter "blasphemy" only a short time ago. If you choose to believe in the soul's immortality, you might just perceive the crucified Jesus smiling down upon us, as the throngs of theological tyrants through history shudder in their graves.

What kind of conversation, or debate, or protest, might our arrival stir up in any of these churches which has invited us to share our saddest stories and most somber evening? Would that be so bad? No, it would be great. Would some members of the church picket our event? Would others join us in solidarity? Would we get media coverage of such a happening? Wow. Cool.

For the squeamish, we don't have to go first into a Catholic church. The Unitarian Church, one of the staunchest institutional defenders of equality, liberty, justice, rationality and gender rights, the home of William Ellery Channing and Ralph Waldo Emerson, is likely also available to us. Other progressive churches would also welcome us, I am sure. Do we embrace this possibility, or do we fall back into safe space, rote routine?

So, you see, there are many angles to consider here. To dogmatically say that "religion has been bad to trans people and we won't have anything to do with it," is a very narrow and self-defeating tactic. I am not thrilled to report that we live in a very religious country... one of the most religious on Earth. We can go to war against that facticity, and thence find ourselves at war with the majority of society, as well as with many of our own trans community members - or we can use the weight of that facticity to further our own cause, tapping into the substantial amount of good will, good intentions, and good people that abound within these institutions.

Whatever we choose to do, let us move forward together... in solidarity with ourselves and with anyone - of any race, color, creed, or other variance - who wishes to join with us on this remarkable march toward Gender Liberty.


Annie R.


According to many dogmatists, the world is going to hell in a handbasket. No evidence is more compelling to some of these people than the proliferation in America of gays, lesbians and transgender persons.

Pastor Steven L. Anderson of Faithful Word Baptist Church in Tempe, Arizona has a lot to say about the subject... and so do I. My comments are in blue.

"My sermon today is about 'Gender Identity'. We are living in a day and age when the line between gender is being blurred, where the line between a man and a woman is being slowly erased. In this strange, wicked society that we are living in now in America, where you have the gays and lesbians and the 'transgender', unbelievable things are going on. And so therefore I say, as a preacher of God's word, that this message needs to be preached more than ever before."

Pastor Steve (may I call you that?), you have barely started and you are already completely wrong. This doesn't bode well for your credibility. America is far less wicked today than ever before. Less "Christian", perhaps, but also less wicked. We don't enslave people any more. We don't overtly discriminate against Native Americans. The "witch" burning craze of you Puritans has subsided. Women, racial minorities, children, workers all have far more liberty and equality than ever. Yes, it's true that backward people like you fought hard against all of these advances, including the abolition of slavery and emancipation of women, but you lost, badly, and you will lose the current struggle for equal rights for gays, lesbians and transgender people. What you don't understand is that the line between the genders has been blurry for as long as there have been genders. We stand ready to educate you on a subject you really know absolutely nothing about.

"Today perversion abounds. Children are being brainwashed, starting at five years old when they enter school, that homosexuality, sodomy, perversion is an alternative lifestyle. They are taught that men and women are the same. No they're not the same. They are different. They are not identical. They have separate identities. And we're not saying that men are better than women, or women are better than men. Though by the way, men have authority; women do not. Now that's just the way the Bible preaches it. And so that's what God is saying. He wants there to be a difference. He wants there to be short hair and long hair. And in-between, in the gray area, nobody needs to occupy that unisex gray area in the middle. Now, does that make sense?"

Frankly Steve, no it doesn't make sense. Not a bit. Your "thinking" is just a mashup of confusion without any basis in reality. No one in the gay, lesbian and transgender communities is saying that men and women are the same or "identical". That's a complete fabrication, Steve. Better refresh your memory about bearing false witness. We do maintain that everyone is equal, regardless of gender, and that no gender has authority over another. In this belief we are in perfect accord with American values and the teachings of Jesus. But Steve, you are in severe discord with both core American and Christian beliefs. Now in this matter between short and long hair, you have climbed way out on a rotten limb. But let's allow you to crawl even further out there:

"And however you men want to get your hair cut, that's up to you; however you want to grow it is up to you, but it oughta be short. Now you say, 'wait a minute. Didn't Jesus have long hair?' Just because you saw a painting of Jesus with flowing, long hair and he looks kind of like a girl. The man who painted Jesus painted him to look like a queer because he was a queer himself. People make Jesus look like they want him to look. In an Hispanic church, he looks Hispanic. Then in a Catholic church he's a white Jesus with blonde hair and blue eyes."

Wow, Steve. What a load of hooey! Do you really have followers ignorant enough to believe this? The "Hispanic" church has an "Hispanic" Jesus, and the Catholic Church has a white Jesus? Uh, Steve, the "Hispanic" church is the Catholic Church. And, really, you believe that all of the images of Jesus... all of them, throughout history, depicting not only Jesus, but Moses and Abraham, Joseph, even Adam with long hair, are all totally wrong, because they were drawn by "queers?" Well, OK. That would be cool. But who can buy it, I mean, outside of your clueless congregation? Pray tell, Steve, where do you get this information that Jesus wore a crew cut? There is simply no tradition and zero evidence for such an idea. But wait, perhaps you have hit upon a a novel new theory: Jesus was Pontius Pilate! After all, it was the Romans of that time period who had short hair; the Hebrews traditionally had longer hair.

"The Jesus of the Bible was manly. He wasn't a soft, feminine man. He was a manly man, and that's why the Bible teaches a man should be manly, have a manly hair style; women should be feminine and have a feminine hair style; there ought to be a difference between men and women."

Earth to Steve. It's clear you truly don't understand the essence of Jesus. Like the Jews expecting a messiah that would kick ass, you long for qualities in Jesus that are emphatically not represented in the Gospels. Jesus was human, not manly. Jesus was supposedly God, who is all genders or beyond gender. You want a raging lion; Jesus was the lamb of peace. You want a warrior, but Jesus was meek, quiet, loving, caring, gentle, nurturing, forgiving, non-judgmental, all characteristics you, yourself, describe as feminine! If you want mighty warriors, there are plenty in the Bible. But not Jesus. He taught love. Sadly, you don't get the message.

"God says that men should not wear women's clothing, and that women should not wear men's clothing. Deuteronomy. It's simple. It's clear. It's not talking about colors. Where in the Bible does it mention colors? It's never mentioned does it? Now, do I think men should wear pink shirts? I think you're being a little bit girly there brother. Pink shirt or lavender, you know what I mean? Stick with some stronger colors, right?"

Steve, you are just making it up as you go along, aren't you? You admit there is no mention of restricted colors in the Bible, but you are ready to enforce restrictions based upon... well, nothing. And do you really want to call out Deuteronomy 22? You really want to go there? OK. Let's go.

We simply reject it as hopelessly antiquated. Clueless congregation, Steve's cherry-picking here. He's gone into Deuteronomy 22 and plucked out one verse, and has conveniently ignored the entire rest of the chapter. Did you know he pulled that trick on you? He's kind of like a sideshow magician, pulling cards out of his sleeve, hoping to dupe you. Deuteronomy is the place in the Bible where it says that wearing the clothing of the opposite gender is an abomination. BUT... now get ready to start squirming yourself... Deuteronomy also says that your house must have a parapet. Does Steve's house have a parapet? I'm guessing not. Oops... abomination! You also have to wear tassels on the corner of your clothing. Steve, where are your tassels? Not there? Steve, you are an abomination! A double-abomination! Uh-oh, we've opened the can of Deuteronomy worms, haven't we? What about mixed fibers in your clothing? Blasphemous according to Deuteronomy! Someone check Steve's wardrobe... any cotton/polyster blend underwear in there? Steeeeeeeeeeve! You're a triple-abomination!!! But wait. Deuteronomy is just getting warmed up. This chapter also mandates some colorful rules pertaining to women, for instance, requiring that brides be virgins, or, well, they should be stoned to death, in front of their father. If a man rapes a virgin he must marry her and they may never divorce. Oh, and adulterers must die. All together Deuteronomy 22 is one of the very best reasons humanity needed the loving, non-judgmental and forgiving new covenant of Jesus. So Steve, repent of your multi-abominations before judging anybody else.

"Is there any question whether Pastor Steven is Steven or Stephanie right now? I'm not going to wear pants or shirts that look girly. I want to be as masculine as possible. And I think that girls should try to be as feminine as possible. And yet today how many times have you sat and stared at the airport: is that a man or a woman? You say, well 'it' has short hair. 'It's' wearing a pair of pants. You don't know. But in God's world, you know. God does not want confusion. There's supposed to be a big, big, big difference between a man and a woman. The man is characterized by strength, by boldness, power. The woman is supposed to be a meek and quiet spirit, gentle, loving, caring. There are just different attributes to a man and a woman."

Steve, thou doth protest too much it seems. You're judging, demonizing people you don't even know. That's not Christian in the least. You're really struggling, aren't you? You're so angry. Are you hiding something? Are you hiding.... an Stephanie? It's OK, Steve-Stephanie. We're here for you. This is God's world. It's the way He makes it. He is not confused, and doesn't give a damn what kind of clothes we wear. He sees our hearts. God created sexual orientation and gender identity diversity. It's everywhere in nature. It's prevalent at every level of life, from single-celled organisms to worms to fish to amphibians to reptiles to mammals to humans, as you have duly noted. Why do you fight so hard against what is natural? That's a game you will never win. Natural science has humbled the mighty Catholic Church; little podunk preachers like you are but grist in its inexorable progress.

So, as a self-proclaimed Christian, you are very confused. You know, Steve, in Biblical times those persons that we would today call "transgender" were called "eunuchs." Look it up, Steve. The Bible has no problem with eunuchs. Jesus talks specifically about eunuchs and welcomes them into the kingdom of heaven. The apostle Philip baptizes a eunuch. So you are completely wrong in your orientation toward people of non-normative gender presentation. Far worse, you have veered away from the primary Christian precepts of love for one another, forgiveness and non-judgmental demeanor. Steve, Philip's eunuch friend was far more Christian then you are.

But Steve, you are also un-American. You don't really believe in freedom, do you Steve? You don't really believe in equality! You don't really believe in justice! In your diatribe you've blasphemed all of those long-haired, knicker and ruffle-wearing patriots of the American Revolution, you know guys like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson and John Paul Jones, not to mention great later heroes like Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett. You've also labeled every single one of the brave warriors of the Indian nations a sissy! You don't know a thing about history do you, Steve? How can you be a preacher and forget that the strongest man in the Bible, Samson, had long hair and lost his power when it was shorn? It seems that you are ignorant that the bravest military unit of history, Leonidas and his Spartans at Thermopylae had long hair, as did the greatest general in history, Alexander, as did the uber-manly Germanic tribes, along with the Vikings and the Celts, whose blood probably flows in your veins. Steve, you'd cower in the presence of Genghis Khan's ponytail, and there's no way you have the chutzpah to tell St. Joan to stop wearing pants! And pray tell us Steve, do you presume to possess such wisdom to know God's truth better than Leonardo da Vinci, Copernicus, Newton, Bach, long-haired men of truly sublime genius?

No, Steve, you're just a very, very confused puppy. You truly don't know what you are talking about. You're just talking. Pumping yourself up. Trying to get a rise out of people. A virtuous person should shun such pride and prejudice. We've already established that you don't understand love, peace or forgiveness. What it all boils down to here, Steve, is that you believe in one thing only: conformity. To you, conformity is God. You want your congregration, and the world, to conform to your black-and-white concept of gender and morality. You want to dictate how everyone should look and behave and think. That's mind-control. That's tyranny. That's slavery. And that, Steve, appears to be your religion. We can only hope that your clueless congregation will some day wake up and oppose you... rebuke you... because you are truly lost, and truly harmful.

Men of Steve's clueless congregation, is Pastor Steven Anderson the best among you? Are you going to sit there impotent while this confused person sneers at the primary precept of Jesus, to love your neighbor, and rants at you and your women and children? Really? Sad. Sad.

Women of Steve's clueless congregation, don't let your pastor call you an abomination for just being comfortable in your jeans. Don't let Steve regiment, brainwash and crush the spirit of individuality of your sweet and gentle children. Are you real Americans? Then tell Steve to shove it; you are free to do whatever you damn well please, as long as it doesn't hurt anyone else. Proclaim your Gender Liberty! Wear your pants into church this Sunday and teach Steve some humility. He'd probably be a much better person if he would get in touch with his inner Stephanie.

More Pastor Steve Nonsense Available Here


Annie R.


In the 1830s and 40s Ralph Waldo Emerson urged poets and other creative types to reshape stale language; to make of it what you will. And so I am following that transcendental mandate when I refuse to be injured by mere words.

Not long ago I might be angered or frustrated or hurt by someone using the wrong pronoun, and certainly by the use of seemingly crude, crass and cruel terms like "she-male" or "he-she" or "it" or even "tranny".

But no longer. I have reclaimed these words and phrases, on my terms. Just as I refuse to allow religion to steal my words "spirituality" and "faith", I also will not succumb to the emotional damage intended (or perhaps even unintended) by the flingers of such phrases that attempt to demean me and the sacred transgender journey. Such words and phrases are not sticks and stones, and they can only hurt me if I allow them to. I will not.

But I'm not putting my fingers in my ears and singing, "La-La-La, I can't hear you." I hear them loud and clear. And with many of these terms, I agree with them!

"She-male"? "He-she"? What does that mean? Let's parse the terms. Yes, I am a blend of masculine and feminine energy and perception. That is part of what makes me unique, special, unusual, interesting, non-conformist, magical. I am two-spirited (at least), whereas most people are only one. There may be advantages to being able to perceive the world through a single lens, but I believe that I am blessed to be able to see reality through two lenses, those of male and female.

"It"? Really, someone called me an "it"! OK. So they are saying that I am indefinable, beyond their capacity to comprehend or imagine; I am an aspect of reality that has rendered them infantile in their command of language. They are befuddled in my strange and alien presence. Cool. I like it. As an "it" I go beyond the human realm to become one with the Universe. Very transcendental, indeed.

Now "tranny" is a special case. How can any one of us get upset being called that word? We invented it. It's just the diminutive of "transgender" or "transsexual" as Johnny is to John or Bobby is to Robert. Diminutives are usually forms of affection. And that's the way we should perceive it. Doesn't matter who flings it at us. It's our word. We will define it.

"Tranny" is not like the "N" word, which was invented as an oppressive, bigoted, hurtful, perjorative slang for those of what used to be called the Negroid race. You will notice, however, that black Americans have reclaimed and reshaped it, too. Even this rather odious word has become a term of affection within that culture. I'm not entirely sure that this is the best word to rescue from growing disuse within general American culture, but it's their call, their word, not mine.

"Queer" and "dyke" are yet other words now embraced by the very people whom these terms were originally meant to insult. There are many others.

So you see, words are just words. They are puffs of air from someone's mouth. Like bubbles they emanate from their source and come to us. We can capture them in the palm of our hand, examine them to determine if they have any truth or value at all, and discard them if they do not. They are bubbles, not bullets. They have no inherent power... only the power that we give over to them. Yes, words can carry powerful meanings, but those meanings are up to us to define. If a word or phrase carries truth, then we should respect it. If it is off-base and only meant to hurt, we should just reach out and pop the bubble, never allowing it to affect us. Each of us has the right to carefully parse words and determine for our own self how we will interpret them and react to them, and there is no rule that says we have to go along with the meanings or intentions of the speaker.

In so doing, we set ourselves free from the tyranny of language. We take the power of words and claim it for ourself. Rather than having to take whatever it is they may be giving, we take it as we like it.

And I rather like that!


Annie R.


Hey everybody --- there's a lot of hurting out there, a lot of pain, a lot of suffering. We can look at the news and see people, good people, being pushed over the edge. We see it in our own circle of friends. Perhaps we are close to the edge ourselves.

A recent newspaper column about one of the gay kids who recently committed suicide spoke about how it was too bad that he was so young and hadn't had time to "season against hurt." I thought that was very profound. Think about it: "season against hurt."

What does this mean? Does it mean turn yourself off emotionally? Does it mean building a wall between yourself and others? I don't think so.

My idea of seasoning against hurt is to build up our own self-esteem to the point where the attitudes and words of others, especially of those we don't put too much stock in, simply aren't capable of harming us.

We know who we are. We are a good person on a sacred pathway, the hero's journey. We are noble. We have spent a lot of time (and worry) thinking about what we are doing. So on this subject, we also are informed, intelligent and experienced. Those who would try to hurt us with words or attitudes are ignoble and ignorant. They don't value our journey, largely because they really don't know a thing about it, and they certainly haven't experienced it. Oftentimes they haven't thought very deeply about ANYTHING... much less something as important as our sacred journey.

WE are the experts on the subject of transgender. They are the dunces. WE are the experts on the subject of ourselves. They don't know what they are talking about. By simply trying to be who we are, WE are in the right. They are in the wrong if they try to thwart us.

WE are exercising our rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. According to our American Declaration of Independence, these are INALIENABLE RIGHTS... endowed by the Creator. The ignoble and ignorant would attempt to deny us those rights.

WE are doing exactly what the great spiritual teachers and wisest philosophers and most eloquent poets throughout history have told us to do: take control of your life, accept responsibility for creating the person you want to be, and throw yourself passionately into life.

And so we take the road less traveled.

YES! WE are the abnormal! The non-standard. The non-conformist. The uncommon. The questioning. The original. The interesting. The transforming.

They are the normal, the average, the standard, the common, the unoriginal, the unquestioning, the conformist, the unchanging, the dull!

Do not aspire to be like them! Be who you are you. You are a beautiful work-in-progress, just the way you are, right now. Believe in yourself and the righteousness of your cause, your pathway, your hero's journey. Be the hero of that journey. Go for it. Assume the power! Be the change you want to see in the world and in yourself.

Build yourself up. Temper yourself like fine steel. Be hard and sharp, but flexible. Do not allow the ignoble to bring down the noble. Do not allow them to hurt you. Use the passion of your journey to simply ignore such conformity and ignorance. You have the choice as to how much power you will give them. Return to them the full measure of the worth of their attitude... Zero!

You know your value, and they don't. If you refuse to give them any power, they can't touch you with hurtful words or attitudes!


Annie R.