Saturday, June 9, 2007

A Trans Perspective on Gay Marriage

A Reflection for 'Lessons and Carols for the Struggle'

The Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts
TBLG Pride, Boston, Massachusetts, June 9, 2007

A Reading from Psalm 139

1 Lord, you have searched me out and known me;*
you know my sitting down and my rising up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.

2 You trace my journeys and my resting-places*
and are acquainted with all my ways.

3 Indeed, there is not a word on my lips,*
but you, O Lord, know it altogether.

4 You press upon me behind and before*
and lay your hand upon me.

5 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;*
it is so high that I cannot attain to it.

12 For you yourself created my inmost parts;*
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

13 I will thank you because I am marvelously made;*
your works are wonderful, and I know it well.

14 My body was not hidden from you,*
while I was being made in secret
and woven in the depths of the earth.

15 Your eyes beheld my limbs, yet unfinished in the womb;
all of them were written in your book;*
they were fashioned day by day,
when as yet there was none of them.

When I came out to our assistant rector just about 3 years ago, he quoted part of this psalm to me. It speaks of God’s knowledge of us even as we were being formed. All of us here—*all* of us—are who we are intended to be. There is nothing “wrong” or “broken” about us in the eyes of God: we are exactly who God intended us to be from the beginning.

As a transgendered gay man, this means that I am exactly that: transgendered, gay, and a man. I did not “choose” to become who I am, any more than anyone else here chose to be bisexual, lesbian, gay, trans, intersexed, or any other category along the spectrums of orientation or gender. (And while these 2 spectrums are distinct, they often do overlap!) I firmly believe that our brains, our hearts and our souls determine who we are, not the outward appearance of our bodies, and that we are *all* part of God’s creation and plan.

I certainly was never a straight woman, though I bore 2 children and had what looked like a heterosexual marriage for almost 30 years. The truth is that my spouse came out to me before we were engaged. He knew he was gay, and I knew that I definitely was not heterosexual or female. We were married in the Episcopal Church in 1974 and have just celebrated our 33rd anniversary as a gay couple.

I think that I speak for Ben as well when I say that, just as we all evolved before birth, he and I have evolved throughout our lives and our marriage, and have been sustained in our love and evolution by the love of God. Psalm 139 states that God’s hand was and is on all of us, through all that we’ve undergone and endured and celebrated, and diversity is good, and everything in creation is good.

Throughout the ages, couples who are other than heterosexual have been together and some have been married. Some relationships appeared to be same-sex and now appear to be opposite-sex; some appeared to be opposite-sex and now appear same-sex. Some of us identify as heterosexual, bisexual, gay, lesbian, queer or any combination of the above. Some are in mixed orientation marriages, while others’ orientations match. We are living proof that same-sex and other-than-heterosexual marriage has been happening all over, long before May 17, 2004. I would like to know how our love, our commitment, our marriage, or any other marriage or relationship here, has threatened the sanctity of marriage.

-Charley Labonte