Intersex Babies, Christian Anti-Gay Bullying, and Transgender Christmas
A week of Prism & Pen storytelling — December 13, 2021
by James Finn
Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds! Well, I’m not the U.S. Postal Service, and since a freakish winter storm knocked out my lights, heat, running water, and Internet Saturday and Sunday, the Prism & Pen Digest is a day late. Better that than the school a few miles away with its roof peeled off, though, so here we are!
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Editor’s Picks —
“It Wasn’t A Boy Or Girl,” He Said. “And I Think I Made A Mistake”
Many people now accept that gender lies on a spectrum. Fewer realize that sex does too, that a full1.7% of babies are born with visible intersex conditions, to say nothing of conditions not immediately evident.
The doctor isn’t wrong, honey. There’s going to be so many problems. Which bathroom are you going to take it into? Will you dress it like a boy or a girl? What about high school? Will it shower with girls, or boys? How are you going to deal with the bullying? It will be bullied, you know.
It, it, it. She kept saying it.
So they signed the forms.
Gay Tennessee 12-Year-Old Kills Himself After Christian Bullying
When 12-year-old Eli Fritchley killed himself early this month, his rural Tennessee community grieved, but they aren’t coming to grips with why Eli’s 12-year-old peers felt free to taunt him. In this story, I dig into the values of the adults who should have been nurturing Eli rather than setting bad examples for his bullies.
I urge Dr. Garrett and parents in the district to take a long deep look into the circumstances surrounding Eli’s suicide, to face those issues squarely, and to work to resolve them with genuine Christian tolerance and love.
Eli’s mother says he was an angel, and I believe her. He didn’t deserve to be bullied for being gay. He didn’t deserve to be taunted about going to hell or to experience Christianity as a force of hatred and stigmatization.
To the Christian parents in Bedford County, I can only ask this: What would Jesus do? What would he do today in Bedford County to ensure nothing like this ever happens again?
A Fictional Coming Out Story
When Harry Potter fan Denise sits down to write a coming-out letter to her parents, she struggles. How could the author of the books that taught Denise to accept herself be so non-accepting? Did Denise misunderstand? Can she ever find the courage to reveal her true self to family and friends?
Tonight was supposed to be the night. She would leave the letter where her mom kept the dog leash. They would find and read it as soon as they got back. She would be in her room waiting for their reaction.
Could she do it? Denise forced herself to move towards the stairs. She felt like she was trudging through a sea of molasses.
Do. Don’t. Do. Don’t. Do. Don’t. Do. Don’t. Do. Don’t. Do. Don’t. Do. Don’t. Do. Each step was a drumbeat of delayed decision.
Long Before Meth: When the Stage Became My Obsession
Long before John was an up-and-coming Broadway musical actor struggling with a meth addiction, he was a little boy sweating inside a plaster monkey head, waiting in the wings for his first-ever big entrance. Hot stage lights set him on a path!
This wash of light bounced into the audience illuminating a wall of ghostly faces: moms and dads, aunts, grandparents, fidgety siblings, and the occasional saintly and supportive friend. Faces radiated a mixture of pride, obligation, and boredom.
There was an energy in that light on stage, as if you didn’t really exist till you were standing in that light yourself.
Essays and Creative Nonfiction —
Why Are There So Many Transgender Women Suddenly?
Middle-aged cisgender men are being converted against their will in a plot by radical feminists to overthrow our male-dominated society. As part of that plot, parents are convincing their five-year-old sons to be girls.
To counter that threat and maintain male dominance, Society is convincing teenage girls to bypass any thoughts of being normal cisgender or even lesbian teenagers and go right to injections of male testosterone.
Come to your senses!!!
Worshiping Bob Dole Erases LGBTQ Grief
I don’t want to speak ill of the dead, and this column is not a personal attack. I know the senator’s family are grieving, and I respect that. Nonetheless, as a member of a traditionally despised minority, as a gay man with a long history of LGBTQ/HIV advocacy, I’m tired of seeing queer concerns trivialized and erased, which seems always to happen when conservative leaders pass away. As a society, we must stop doing that.
Senator Dole made life hell for gay service members. Senator Dole was an obstacle in the fight against AIDS.
A Transgender Prayer
Dear Lord, you have blessed me with many blessings: good health, a loving family, freedom from want, and many other blessings too numerous to name. So I pray in thanks to you now, for all these things, and in particular for the special blessings you have bestowed upon me, that no human can see, but that you and I know very well. And I ask you in humility to continue to show me your favor, in a time when my enemies gather strength, and threaten me with rage, violence, and my mere undoing.
Me and Psychotherapy
At the beginning of 2020, I sought out a psychotherapist for the first time. I first went to him with a self-diagnosis of depression. That was correct in and of itself.
In the second session I , I said I was transgender. I am not a man, even if it looks like it. And I need his help. His reaction was rather like rejection. He didn’t know anything about the subject and didn’t want to deal with it.
Trans Visibility Activism: Are You Looking at Me?
The combination of it being Halloween, a public venue with many people being too intoxicated for their own good, and people from all across the country who might not have seen anyone like me in public before changed the dynamic.
I have chosen to look on the attention I received that night in a positive light. I know that in the context of Halloween, it’s very confusing to people. Was my appearance a costume or not? It really was not the place to educate strangers, and why not accept compliments as a good thing?
Breaking: LGBTQ Catholics in Michigan Barred from Sacraments
Priests in upper Michigan are now forbidden to give gay or trans people blessings for the sick. Seriously. You did not misread that.
If a devout gay man in a committed partnership is dying in hospital, his UP priest is barred from giving him last rites. Ditto for trans people living as their gender. You didn’t misread that either.
Gay and trans people may not be baptized or confirmed, which means gay and trans people cannot convert to Catholicism in Michigan’s UP.
If you’re a Catholic who wants your gay/trans Catholic friend to be your child’s godparent, you’re out of luck. The Bishop of Marquette just prohibited that.
If you’re a gay or trans person in Michigan’s UP, you may not stand up during services to receive communion, perhaps the most stigmatizing of all these new regressive policies.
It’s Beginning to Look A Lot like Chrysmas.
I’d felt like an old discarded pewter angel, shattered and lost yet with dubious notions it could be turned into a fine China tea-pot if it tried hard enough.
But that process seemed absurd initially and was in constant danger of being crushed and swept away in the junkyard breezes I harbored.
Thank Hayworth, I dug my nails into the Plan and wouldn’t let go despite the clouds of ash I aimed at my own face, the old calling card of a seasoned self-saboteur.
My Transgender Sweet Sixteen
I originally wrote “My Sweet 16” as a companion to my first article on Medium, “The Transgender Pain” or simply “The Pain”. Someone challenged me to come up with a list of positives for being transgender. At first it was difficult but as I thought about it more, the list created itself. Without further ado, here it is:
A frank discussion with the trans person you’re not attracted to
No, you don’t have to be attracted to me. Yes, it can be because you’re a gay man who likes dicks and I have a vulva. You don’t really need my blessing, but I probably shouldn’t write an article like this aimed at cis people without clarifying that upfront.
Now that we’ve settled that, let’s talk about what sexual attraction actually is, how sexual preferences can sometimes be weaponized (though they aren’t inherently weapons), & how transphobia fits into the whole picture.
Music Helps Alleviate My Gender Dysphoria
When I was four years old, I went to my mom and told her that something was wrong. I didn’t feel like a boy. The year was 1976. Like most parents back in those days faced with something like this, they did nothing about it. Ignore it and maybe it’ll go away. I have no memory of bringing it up to them again. I was suffering inside.
A few years later at the elementary school that I went to, we had music class.
Better than a Bacchanal at the Blue Frog: the flip side of spending Christmas Alone.
You have to keep the punters happy and prop up their ailing smiles with a festive tune and a lagoon of booze to chase the blues away.
And you can take or leave the onslaught of signifiers that is the Ex-Pat Christmas; the All you can eat Turkey buffets, the Buy one get one free mulled wine deals: the homely aura of spices curling from the flushed glasses is gratis.
It’s entirely up to you, Greed and its indulgence is an all year thang.
Travelling While Bisexual
I got numerous tips and tricks about “How Not To Be Raped” and “How Not To Be Mugged,” but mostly the former. I was told to smile at men and to keep my eyes downcast; to blend in; to never hold a map in public or look confused and lost. Don’t dress like a tourist, don’t walk anywhere alone at night, don’t let on that you don’t speak Italian — and don’t, for God’s sake, flirt with women!
That’s all, folks! Sorry for the delay. I’d close with “Happy Sunday” as usual, but …
Have a great week!
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