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Gender Identity

Green fig.I think it’s widely known by now that gender identity issues do not automatically equate to same sex attraction in one’s life.  Although some of the stereotypes may remain, I think that the overall picture of a lesbian as a woman with short hair and a flannel shirt have gone by the wayside.

However, there are some women who do identify as butch, or more masculine, who happen to be attracted to other women.  And their gender identity can play into and off of their sexual orientation.

Perhaps we can look at it a different way…  First, it is good to remember that there are often some truths behind stereotypes.  Second, it’s good to keep in mind that to say that something is related is not the same as saying they are causal.  In looking back at my own life, I see this in terms of layers, and I suppose one could look at it as one of those overlapping circle graphs – a Venn diagram.  Here is a basic example of one for me:

Venn of SSA + GI + SM

You’ll see that I added in “stereotypes of men” along with “gender identity” and how they relate to my same-sex attraction (SSA).  There are a ton of other layers that I could put in there – the way I relate to God, pride, envy, what was happening in the culture at large, relationships to parents, my personality, all kinds of things.  And none of these things in and of themselves would I nail down as the “cause” of my SSA.

I put these three on the graph to show the way that I see them as they relate to one another.  In my life, I needed to deal with the negative stereotypes I had of men in order to be open to ask God what He wanted me to do with my gender identity.  And both of these issues needed work before I could gain more access to heterosexuality.  However, the way it played out in real life, God was working on all these issues simultaneously in a variety of ways.

Outside In vs. Inside Out

Now, often we want to address the things we can easily see on the surface – clothing, or behaviors (I.e. – “Why don’t you go talk to that guy?”) – but until you deal with what is going on below the surface, you’re not going to get very far.  It is crucial to remember that God wants to relate to us organically, in tangible ways, and He is not interested in creating robots on an assembly line.

I Want To Be A Clone – Steve Taylor

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AaUYLvoodUs

So that earthy real-life walk with Him made many of the steps look like stumbles as He was working on several layers at once, and on deeper and shallow things within those layers as well.  And I’m still finding that He is revealing deeper layers in my life – relating to these issues and all kinds of other things.  That is part of having a relationship with Jesus.  He is always at work to make us more like Him.

So why pick out these two particular issues to highlight in relation to my struggles with SSA?  For one, I hope to reveal a bit more of the deeper things going on behind what others could easily see.  It might help those with questions to gain some understanding and sensitivity.  Secondly, there were fears involved in addressing these two issues that also needed to be faced in regards to my SSA, so I hope to encourage those reading this with the courage the Lord gave me.  And thirdly, some of this stuff is just funny, and I think I’ll enjoy writing about some of it.  I’m not sure if I’ll hit the mark with any of these aims, at least I’d like to give it a go.

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