Spiritually Speaking: God Made Us This Way

| Aug 28, 2017

You’ll often hear someone say, “I’m spiritual, but I’m not religious.” This is someone who gets it. I grew up and still live deep in the heart of the so-called Bible Belt where this statement means you’re not a club member. You’re outside looking in. That’s fine. I’m spiritual. I want to be on the outside of that club. I’m not opposed to religion per se. I’m opposed to its narrow-minded dogmatism that condemns diversity and offers false legitimacy for discrimination to thrive among self-righteous religious people.

I’ve seen too many saddening personal stories where some cannot find a home for worship after “coming out,” because being transgender, transsexual, gay, lesbian or bisexual is a “sin.” We can’t go inside to worship, but they’ll pray for us to repent of our “immoral” lifestyle or to be cured of this insidious “mental illness.” I pray, too. I believe in prayer and a supreme cosmic power I choose to refer to as God. I pray for the healing of the small, closed minds of haters and those who reject us on religious or other specious grounds.

This isn’t intended to paint all religious people or worship communities with the same broad brush. That wouldn’t be fair, but let’s be honest. Religion and the culture it helps shape is a major source of discrimination of all kinds. Where is God’s love in that? That’s not the God I know. What would our world look like if religions taught inclusivity rather than exclusivity? What if, as John Lennon asked us to imagine, there were no religions? Social science shows that cultural influences do more than parenting to shape an individual’s belief system. A person’s beliefs shaped by religion, culture and their identification with others are organically and emotionally entangled.

It’s important to get this point. When someone chooses to end a relationship with you when you “come out” to them, it has nothing to do with your gender identity or sexual orientation. It’s not about you. Somehow this challenges the counterfeit comfort of their own identity superficially bound to their religious or cultural predispositions. They don’t want to be thrown out of their club for accepting you. How sad that so many people willingly subject themselves to tribal bondage and never find themselves. They’re the proverbial sheep following the herd. Their authentic self lies buried in a bottomless grave of their own making. I’m not returning hate for hate. My heart goes out to them.

We all know the debate. Is it nature, or is it nurture? Are sexual orientation and gender identity a moral choice, or are they determined in the womb of the mother before we take our first breath? I know the answer. You know the answer. We’ve lived the answer. Right? If I may borrow from Lady Gaga’s ‘Born this Way’, “I’m beautiful in my way, ‘cause God makes no mistakes.”

My gender confusion beginning in early childhood caused shame and periods of undiagnosed, intermittent depression. I hid my true self from a world that if it knew me would condemn me. I hated myself. I was an outcast in my own mind and body. Recently, in mid-life, I finally accepted my authentic-self as transgender following a profound spiritual awakening. I found true light and self-love for the first time.

I confess it’s still a little scary. I want to be brave. Like most of us I wake up each day not knowing what will come next. The transgender life is a hard one, and life is our ultimate teacher. Sometimes our life lessons can be pretty rough, but these are necessary if we’re to grow spiritually. This is our ultimate existential concern as human beings. It’s our purpose for being here. It’s your purpose.

I choose to be optimistic that one day genuine spirituality and the transforming power of love will overtake the darkness of ignorance, replace religion, and provide a more accepting and peaceful world in which to live. I pray for hearts and minds to be opened so true light can shine throughout the human race – a diverse, multi-cultural population of wandering souls sharing a fragile human experience on a planet we call Earth.

This is my heart-felt, loving, spiritual message. Don’t hate yourself. You’re special. You have lots of good company among loving people. Make the effort to find them, even if for starters it’s a virtual community like TGF. If you aren’t already doing so, I hope you‘ll explore your spiritual side and find peace. You’ll see your transgender identity and new life in a whole new light. Love others. Love yourself. God doesn’t make mistakes. God made us this way.

You may visit my spiritual blog at www.spiritualelevation.net.

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Category: Body & Soul

About Tommie: The majority of Tommie Smith's career has been with Fortune 100 companies, working with the news media, the public and all levels of government. Tommie began as a newspaper reporter after graduating from Clemson University with a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Journalism minor. Tommie is currently marketing manager for a local media outlet and resides in the Charlotte, N.C. area.

Comments (3)

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  1. CateOMalley says:

    Kimberly,

    You are so right. I came out at 57 and after five and a half decades of hiding, it was like seeing the sun for the first time. I thank God everyday for who I am.

    Cate

  2. Kimberley13 says:

    As I read this I think about the handful of people I know who came out much later in life. I think about how sad it is that they lost so much time, not able to be their authentic self and how it must feel like breathing for the first time or a sort of rebirth. I’m proud to know this author and I hope your bravery will help others realize their own. God is Love and acceptance. You’ll be hard pressed to find a more loving community than those in the LGBTQ??????????