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.