Sexual Orientation, Gender, and Religion

I have started this blog post many times. I have felt the need to write about sexual orientation and gender for a long time. I avoid this topic for many reasons, including the fear of rejection from friends and family because of my particularly religious background. Deviations in gender and sexual orientation are not readily accepted by many in the religious community. It can be difficult to find someone who understands and accepts you for who you are.

I have spoken to very few people about my feelings. Only one of those people has not struggled with similar thoughts. I am afraid of how others will view me if they knew the struggles I face with gender identity. I told my friend yesterday that if my feelings after death were anything like my feelings now, it would be hell. The inner turmoil I feel regarding my gender differences cannot be adequately expressed in a conversation or blog post.

However, I do not often think about my gender. I have come to terms with the fact that I do not fit in and will never fit in societal gender norms. Even with society changing, I still do not fit in. As of right now, I privately classify as asexual genderless, gender neutral, or agender. I have never felt physical attraction toward either sex. I have also never felt like a girl or a woman, but also do not feel like I am completely a man either. Transitioning to male would feel like a lie to myself, but pretending to be female also feels like a lie.

It is complicated to describe how I feel and have felt for my entire life. In my religion, we believe that gender is eternal. We believe that we had male or female characteristics since the beginning of time. It was difficult as a child to accept this because I never felt connected to my gender. It was always understood with my family and extended family that I did not fit gender norms, so they were never forced on me. I mean, I did wear dresses and skirts to church because that was expected there, but I did not otherwise conform to gender norms.

It is difficult to reconcile feelings of distress towards your gender and religious beliefs that tell you gender is an integral part of you. How could my gender be an integral part of me and yet feel so foreign to me? Why did I feel so much discomfort in my own skin? I would literally wet my pants in middle school because going to the girls bathroom was such a distressing feeling. I would rather go to the nurse’s office and have my parents called than brave the girls bathroom. In high school, I would rather get detention for changing in the bathroom stall instead of the locker room because I could not expose a body that felt wrong to me.

I do not have the answers for religious individuals that have conflicting views of sexuality or gender. I found peace in knowing that God loved me anyway. I found hope in the thought that this may be a mortal trial that will resolve itself in the next life. I found strength to be different because God must have made me like this for a reason. That does not mean that it has ever been easy. It is not easy, and I doubt it ever will be.

I worry that I may never find a spouse. I worry that I may never connect with someone the way I have seen my siblings connect with their spouses. I worry that if people knew how I felt, they would judge me harshly and treat me differently. I worry because I already hold so much pain from inner turmoil that I do not know if I can handle outer turmoil in this area. But I also hope that maybe someone will understand. Maybe telling someone will help me not feel so alone. Maybe reaching out will help me heal. And maybe I can feel closer to God and other people through the experience.

Something Good- Day 366

Welcome to 2021! I have enjoyed writing these blog posts over the past year. They have helped me remember what is important and encouraged me to always look for the good.

I have been burnt out at work lately. It has been hard to go to work every day and stay motivated. I decided to take the next two weeks off from work to take a break from everything. I counted down my drawer after the bank closed and handed over my keys to my coworker. It felt so relieving to know that I do not have to return to work for 18 days. I am looking forward to my time off and hope it will rejuvenate me to return in better spirits. After work, I went to a friend’s house to celebrate the new year. We ate and talked and had fun.

I wish you all the best. Thank you for following me this year. I hope your new year is filled with goodness and that you take the time to see the good in what surrounds you.

Something Good- Day 360-365

I went to my brother’s house for Christmas day. We arrived later than I had planned because I wanted to clean the house before we left, but we ate dinner and then opened gifts with them.

I spent the next few days at my brother’s house. I was able to hold the baby for a while and spend a lot of time with my nieces and nephews. Saturday, we took the kids out to lunch at a pizza buffet. We watched Soul and then went to a light show about 30 minutes from their house. It was a bit of a drive, but definitely worth it.

We had a birthday party on Sunday for my oldest nephew. We had lunch and cake. Then, he opened his presents. We left afterwards to come back home.

Monday was a pretty good day at work. My boss finally came back after being out sick for three months. We were all excited to see her because it has been so long. The day went smoothly, and I was even able to donate plasma during my lunch.

Yesterday we had homemade barbeque meatball subs for dinner. I signed up for a bank account to get a special cash back offer, which I was really excited about. Then, we watched a movie and relaxed.

Today we went to the store to check out holiday clearance items. We bought a few gifts to save for next year and some candy and other things. I am looking forward to taking some time off work over the next couple weeks and spending time with friends in the new year.

Something Good- Day 355-359

We did a Christmas lights scavenger hunt on Sunday night. We drove around and looked for different lights and watched a couple light shows.

Monday we dropped off some food to someone in need. Afterwards, we came home and played games.

Tuesday we went out to dinner with a friend. Then, we went to the theater to watch a movie. It was good to spend time with her since she has been busy with school. The movie was fun, and the theater only had 10 people in it.

Wednesday we spent time with our teenage friend. We had dinner and then went to the store to buy my coworkers gifts.

I had to work this morning, but I felt better about going to work than I did yesterday. I gave my coworkers their gifts, and they shared a lot of food and treats with me. After work, I was able to go to my friend’s house for Christmas Eve dinner. We talked, played games, and spent time with her family. It was good to spend at least some of the holiday with her.

Something Good- Day 350-354

Tuesday I helped my sister with her papers. We got most of them done so that she could focus on finals the next day.

Wednesday we were able to watch a movie after my sister finished school for the semester.

Thursday I woke up much earlier than I had planned. I was hungry and awake though, so I ate and donated plasma before work. It was nice to not have to worry about donating during lunch. I was able to relax and eat my lunch peacefully.

Friday was a good day at work. We were able to see our boss, who has been out sick since October. She had her husband bring us gifts and then came through the drive thru to say hello. We celebrated Christmas with some friends after work.

Yesterday we finally went to Costco to get our membership cards. I had done a Groupon a few months ago that almost made the membership free. However, we had not been able to go to the store because we always try to do so much on Saturdays. We learned a lot, and I was excited to get cheap gas again.

Something Good- Day 345-349

Thursday night we watched a Christmas light show in our neighborhood. We did a video call with my mom and nieces, so they could watch the show as well.

I went to a coworker’s house on Friday night. We ate and talked and then wrapped presents. It was a nice break after a very hectic day at work.

Saturday we went out for frozen yogurt with a friend. Afterwards, we went to her place to play with her dog. Then, we took her to the light show that we had watched on Thursday.

Sunday we did home church and went to visit our cat that is being homed at our friend’s house for the time being. We also watched the movie, “The Christmas Shoes,” which is one of my sister’s favorite holiday movies.

Today was a good day at work. I actually got out on time, which has not happened since we made recent policy adjustments. After having dinner and doing some dishes, we watched “Elf” while eating treats.

I have not been posting these lately because we have been trying to see as many lights and Christmas movies as possible, which often means getting to bed later than I planned. I have been enjoying this time though and look forward to continuing to celebrate the holidays.

Something Good- Day 344

I left work early today because I had some indigestion that was not going away. Wednesdays are usually slower, so I figured they would be alright without me. It was a good thing I was home because my sister had some serious neck pain, and I was able to take her to the chiropractor and help her with homework. I was also able to finally fix the toilet for our renters, which I have needed to do for about a year.

Something Good- Day 342-343

I think it is most important on the bad days to come up with something good. Today was a bad night. I just feel lost. Sometimes it is hard to see the good in yourself when you think of what you have been and what you have lost. I did something nice today though. I took a friend some chocolates and candy. And tomorrow will be better. If you get through enough nights, tomorrow is always better.

Yesterday, I did some grocery shopping on the way home. I got a couple good deals and food for dinner. Then, I stopped at a lady’s house to buy a couple books and stuff we have been wanting.

Something Good- Day 338-341

I returned home on Thursday. My sister had a chiropractor appointment, and then I went to donate plasma. We went to bed early since we were tired from traveling. Friday, my sister surprised me by cleaning my room while I was at work. Then, we had a friend come over for dinner and watched a movie. We have spent many nights over the last week looking at Christmas lights. Saturday was a busy day of getting things done, but we did get see some Christmas lights along the way. Today, we watched church from home and then saw a Christmas concert and movie. We also built a couple puzzles.

Here’s some of the coolest lights we have seen recently, including the Draper Tree of Life. And my clean room!

Something Good- Day 333-337

My grandfather passed away Friday night, and I have been thinking about what I wanted to share about him ever since. He was the kind of grandpa you see in movies. He had that twinkle in his eye, stubble on his face, and a quiet humor. We did not talk much, but I enjoyed the time I spent with him. We would build puzzles together on Christmas, go out to eat at his two favorite restaurants, and share hugs every time I would see him. I am glad that he passed quickly after his last hospital visit. He was surrounded by family in his final hours. I feel at peace that it was his time to go. He had many health struggles in the last few years, but I am glad he never had to live in a nursing home.

His funeral was today. I was able to attend the services. The stories shared were a beautiful tribute to his goodness. It was also nice to be able to see extended family that I have not had the opportunity to see for years.

I had made the difficult decision on Friday to not rush to my grandfather’s bedside to say my goodbyes. I am one of over 45 grandchildren and did not feel the need to be there in the midst of closer family. I learned he had passed on Saturday while spending time with friends. I was grateful that I could take time off work to attend the funeral though. I talked to my boss on Monday, and they were able to work out coverage for my shifts.

I spent most of Tuesday getting everything ready to go, both at home and at work. We left right after work Tuesday evening. We arrived to my brother’s house late that night. His children were all happy to see us and excited to spend some time with us. It has been good to be with family over the last couple days. I return home tomorrow, but I am grateful I was able to make this trip.