It always starts with good intentions.
For decades before I transitioned, I found myself curiously drawn to a specific kind of movie. We’ve all seen them, and we’ve probably all felt the similar connection to them. This intrinsic need to overcome an oppressive regime or government so we can experience what we all long for; the ability to be free.
As I grew up, I found these themes in a range of films from THX-1138, to Logan’s Run, Equilibrium, and The Matrix. Those were just a handful of motion pictures that spoke to my own need to escape an oppression I couldn’t fully understand.
While these films weigh heavily on control schemes levied by seemingly faceless government or corporate entities, the part that is a secondary character — yet the primary reason for the story — is the control of self.
Whether we want to admit it or not, the first and only form of control that we truly have is the control of ourselves. But we are brainwashed from the day we’re born to believe that someone else has dominion over us. From our parents, to God, to our country; we never quite get that we are the masters of our own destiny.
I can’t pinpoint at what age that I heard “Gay” lauded as a derogatory term, but somehow it took hold me of and destroyed a large chunk of my life, and the happiness that I could have experienced. I remember my brother ascribing a negative connotation to that word; subsequently the word “Fag” was equally negative. I didn’t really know what it meant, but context is really all one needs to know that it must be bad. The negativity associated with being “Gay,” or a “Faggot” were reinforced by tentiments of faith. Being Gay was a sin, and I certainly didn’t want to be a sinner.
Enter the brilliant control scheme that is “Hell.” This is the scheme that forced me to hide who I really was. I wasn’t actually “Gay,” but I didn’t know a word to describe what I was, so it was the closest thing I had to a definition of self.
I wish I could believe that religion is something born of good intentions, but as I’ve fallen in and out of love with Christianity. Those professing to be acting as agents of the Almighty have left me to seriously question if it has any redeeming qualities.
It’s tenuous and insulting to think that any one of us has a right to speak for a creator that’s so powerful they can make something as complex as the whole universe, or something as simple as a single celled organism. A being this powerful would never need us to act as their proxy. Moreover it’s arrogant to anoint anyone with the power to be this proxy.
Unfortunately, not only do we lend this authority to religious leaders, we are expected to believe that anyone talking down to us while proclaiming “I am a Christian” is completely justified in passing their judgement as an arbiter for the Almighty. We’ve seen people who lord this authority get carried away; they abuse their position whether it is attained through a faction or self appointment. The moment anyone believes themself better than another, they invariably diminish others to further their superiority complex.
In an effort to gain more power, the proselytization that one is righteous enough to speak for the divine lends itself to the acquisition of political strength. For when enough people believe in the same control scheme, they will support ones desire to reinforce it. You needed look further than the absence of Atheists holding political positions to see this in action.
There is comfort in voting for someone who claims to believe as you do. Unable to realize that one is voting for the same people who will gladly keep you from reaching your full human potential; it becomes a situation not unlike Stockholm Syndrome. One simply doesn’t want freedom because they never allowed themselves to know what that looks or feels like in the first place.
Don’t rattle cages, stay the course, keep your head down, and do as your told.
Enter the droll humdrum of the Dystopia. We live in a Dystopia because the notion of a Utopia is an unattainable fantasy. Every time there’s a rise in authority we inevitably get a group (or groups) of people who are to be enslaved or destroyed. Every single war that’s ever been fought was fought because someone had a vision of what a Utopia would look like. Achieving it without bloodshed was impossible, and thus only reinforced the existing Dystopia.
When I see conservative people speaking about my community with narratives of “going to Hell” I am reminded of the classic Macintosh commercial directed by Ridley Scott which was a take on the Dystopian book (and film) 1984. In the ad we bare witness to a bunch of bland drone-like people sitting on benches reminiscent of pews, staring at a screen where a man is seen proclaiming that they will prevail with their singular vision.
Enter the rogue element.
A woman runs up to the screen and hurles a sledgehammer at the projection of authority, seemingly ushering in a new awakening among those who have given into a life of autonomy.
Is this the future that conservatives desire? A future of Borg-like humans devoid of individuality? Their gender identities crushed, their sexuality regulated, their wardrobe cultish, their wills so broken that they can’t see their own suffering? When did sameness become so idyllic? I can’t imagine anything more Hell-like than that.
Here’s the rub. If God (assuming there is one) wanted us to all be the same, they wouldn’t have given us genetic variation. DNA is more unique than a fingerprint, it’s the best evidence that we are not intended to be carbon copies of one another. God intended us to be different for a reason.
When someone tells me that by being Trans, I am being something other than what God made me, I call bullshit. Trans is as much a part of my DNA as a cleft palate, bipolar disorder, cystic fibrosis, multiple sclerosis, or thousands of other conditions woven into the code.
These things exist for the same reason; because God allows it. So why is my gender identity any different? For that matter, why is sexual orientation any different?
If God allows physical and mental conditions to exist that fall out of what conservatives deem “normal,” yet aren’t so widely challenged, why are they so adamant that gender identity and sexual orientation are simply decisions made by an individual. An individual with schizophrenia doesn’t choose it, so why would anyone choose to be LGBTQ?
Answer: They didn’t choose.
To be so indignant as to say that anyone would choose this life is to say that at one point every cisgender heterosexual made a choice to be cisgender and heterosexual. They know this is bullshit, they’ve always known who they are, and they live the life they feel comfortable with. So why is it okay that they can have a happy existence as themselves — the way God made them — and yet deny us the same dignity?
There seems to be this delusion that God seeks some form of purity; an idea that chaos is a man-made thing and man should rectify it. And once again I ask; if a being can create the universe and all the wonders within, why do they need our intervention? Does man try to act as God because he knows God is a lie? Using a faith that extols the notion of free-will to steal that agency from another is a disgusting perversion of that faith.
They say the Lord works in mysterious ways, and I have to believe there’s a air of truth to that. There is nothing about the teachings of Christ that support any kind of crushing Dystopian ideology. If anything Christ wanted unification in the highest; he wanted us to love each other so much that we wouldn’t dream of eradicating another over petty differences. Infact, to love someone completely in spite of those differences is the very essence of Godliness.
If this Dystopia has taught me anything it’s that every outsider is the embodiment of a woman hurling a sledgehammer. She exists to destroy what you think is empirical; the judgements you deem yourself entitled to through religious proclamation. She is a test sent by God to determine if you are truly righteous. To determine if you are truly worthy. And to see whether your love can exist beyond the love of self.
I know now why I loved all those Dystopian films; it’s because I am that which longed to be free.
Pias hate-filled attempts to usurp the power of the Almighty will not deter me, for I am who I was meant to be and I will not be bound by petty manipulative control schemes. You can call me “Gay” or “Fag,” I won’t care because those are words once purposed as weapons, and those weapons cannot harm those who have accepted themselves a beautiful, divine, and perfectly made.
Like so many others I have taken back my life, and taken back the control that I was told I shouldn’t have; the control of self.
I am free.
Will you prove your righteousness through the acceptance of God’s perfect and varied DNA? Or will you ignore their indelible and unique footprint only to crush it with a Dystopian jackboot; perpetuating your own enslavement therein?
You can be free.
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