Creating your own false reality

This post is not really about Jenna Talackova.   But I came across this article this morning – “Canadian transgender beauty contestant wins Miss Congeniality” – and one of the quotes at the end really struck me.  At the end they quote Jenna –

One of my key traits is positive thinking,” Talackova says on her profile. “I believe you create the world around you with your thoughts.”

I have nothing personal against Jenna.  But this statement sums up so well the current relativism and confusion in our culture about truth and reality.  So I wanted to comment on it briefly, as this thinking has a huge role to play in thinking about crossdressing or transgender issues.

 

Let me state my view real clearly up front.  I think there is objective truth.  I think there is concrete reality.  Certain things are real and certain things don’t exist.  I don’t believe our thoughts control what is real, contrary to the quote.   The quote is similar to what I think most Americans and Europeans say and believe.  Now, I’m sure Jenna and others would not claim to believe this quote in a technical objective sense.  People are not that stupid.  Jenna doesn’t really believe people can create the world around them through thought like God.  What Jenna and others mean is that we don’t have to accept what is given to us, and what others tell us about what is right/wrong, true/false, but we can create our own happiness and life with our thoughts and actions.  What is real doesn’t matter, what we think does.

But even though if forced to it, people would not claim to believe this quote in an objective sense, in many of their actions they show that this type of thinking is leading them to strange actions.  Many people act and talk as if this quote is true in an objective sense.  Jenna is one of these people.  Like other transsexuals, instead of accepting reality of who he is as a man, he has created his own false reality.   He has surgically altered his body and taken in hormones to try to create his own new world.   He is in a sense living in a fantasy of his thoughts.  Instead of learning to live with the hard truth that he was born as a man even though that wasn’t his choice and he doesn’t like it, he has attempted to create a new reality through his actions and thoughts.  Because I think I am a woman and feel like one, therefore I am one.  (What really bothers me is people trying to make “me” accept the created false reality of another person.  For example I’ll probably get many people angry in that I called Jenna a “he” instead of a “she”.  But that’s a topic for another time).

 

I’m not surprised Jenna would create this false reality because this is the common way of thinking of most people in our culture.  This is why most people are so tolerant of transsexuals and very intolerant of those like me who think transsexuals made the wrong decision.  The people who think we can create our own realities also want other people to create their own realities.  And they get angry at those who claim that there are certain things that are just real and can’t be changed, that there are certain things that are right or wrong regardless of how it makes you feel.  Non-transsexuals who think this way would say, “I don’t want to change my sex, but if they want to, I will encourage them to create their own reality so that they can be happy.”

For Jenna, this way of thinking manifested in transsexualism, but for the rest of us we manifest this wrong way of thinking in many other problematic ways.  For us as crossdressers, we give in to a similar false reality, in saying that we can become a woman temporarily but then go back to being a man.  In fact, the false reality of transgendered people makes much more sense.  At least usually they think they are 1 true sex, and they stick with it.  But we as crossdressers really fool ourselves in making a false reality in which we can live as both sexes, going back and forth between them at will.  We make a false reality in which we can be both husband and wife in an isolated relationship with self.  We make a false reality in which we can have sex with ourselves rather than with another real person.  I could go on and on about the false reality of crossdressing, but you get the picture.

 

These false realities are not limited to sexual issues.   People are taught morality, but sometimes that morality conflicts with what they feel.  So they create their own personal system of morality to fit with what they feel.  And because morality becomes just about our feelings, it’s okay for my morality to be different from yours.  What’s true for you may not be true for me and vice versa.  Even though this way of thinking makes no logical sense, and ultimately would result in anarchy, this relativism is rampant in our culture.  We create the world around us through our thoughts.

In the United States, we are very affluent and it’s hard to think about those starving to death in other countries.  So we alter our reality.  We don’t watch the news about people in other countries.  We purposely don’t think about them.  We create the world by our thoughts.  So if we don’t think about the poor people dying, they aren’t really there.  If we don’t think about those people, we don’t have to change our lifestyles or be generous, or feel compassion or guilt.  We feel good about ourselves because we’ve created a new reality in our thoughts that doesn’t include those suffering people.  The same could be said about how we are destroying the planet as a society, totally screwing our environment, but we create our own reality by ignoring the facts, and living the way we want to live that feels good.

With religion, it is especially troubling.  If God really exists, it would make sense that he has revealed the truth about himself to people in some way.  Logically, it would make sense that either the Bible, the Koran, or the Bhagavad Gita (or another form of religious revelation), truly revealed the truth about God.  But people are taught the truth about God, say from the Bible, and then they don’t like what they hear.  So they create their own false reality to suit their own wants and feelings about what they think God should be like.  Not only is this extremely arrogant and prideful to think that we as an individual know what God SHOULD be like, but it is illogical.   Each person instead of having objective truth about God, (even if we disagree about what the source of those objective truths is), we each have our own opinions.  Each person creates their own false reality about God.  Everyone becomes a “spiritual” person.  What I believe about God is different from what you believe, but it’s okay, what’s true for me is true for me, and what’s true for you is true for you.   Instead of the Christian view that God has revealed what “truly is,” we have everyone running around with their own grab-bag of spiritual beliefs that they created for themselves.

 

Now, I am an idealist and an optimist.  Of course I believe we don’t just have to accept the way things are, and we can work at changing things.  We don’t have to just accept we have cancer, we can try to get treatments.  We don’t just have to accept that there are starving people, we can try to help them.  But these things are very different from denying reality.  If I have cancer, I can’t pretend I don’t really have cancer just because I feel like I don’t want it, or don’t truly have it.  If the doctor tells me I have cancer, because that’s what the tests have shown, then I have cancer whether I feel like I do or not.  I might not appear to have cancer anymore on the surface after the treatments, but that doesn’t mean I don’t still have cancer.

We cannot truly create the world around us through our thoughts.   People in our culture surely try to do this to the best of their abilities.  It seems easier in many ways at this point in history, especially for transsexuals.  We now have the ability to take hormones and do sex reassignment surgeries.  It’s pretty easy to make some change in appearance, but change in appearance does not change the reality that people are either male or female.  I would guess that people would be able to get help with their transgender struggles much easier in the past when these surgeries weren’t available.  Now it’s much easier to give into the confusion that we can create new realities.

The world exists, it is.  It’s hard and brutal at times, but it is what exists.  Sometimes we don’t like it.  Sometimes it’s hard to live here.  But there is a lot we can change and make better.  God has given us wonderful gifts and skills to make the world a better place.  In the end though, our thoughts should match what actually exists.  We don’t create the world or change realities simply with our thoughts.  The only one who created something out of nothing, with just thoughts or words, was God himself.  “Let there be light.”  We are not God.  It’s time for us as crossdressers to wake up and stop playing make believe.  God is real, and God knows what we are doing.  Crossdressing is a confused, messed up, false reality.  Let’s live our real lives.

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18 comments on “Creating your own false reality

  1. Imitations says:

    I believe General Patton used the same philosophy as you have here Thorin when he deny that soldiers suffered from battle fatigue; that it was all simply a mental condition to escape the realities of life. Unfortunately he did not understand that reality – though we choose not to believe it – is a very fluid thing as well, for aside from innate objects one’s reality is, or at least can very well be, directly related to the world we live in, our culture or society.
    You stated:” Certain things are real and certain things don’t exist. I don’t believe our thoughts control what is real, contrary to the quote.”
    But of course you do Thorin! You simply choose to see your reality being more moral, more truthful, and more relevant, than the reality others hold for themselves. Something we all do I’m afraid.

    You have a prayer line in which people petition your “thoughts”; your mental actions (otherwise known as prayers) in order to alter or create a new reality within them. I am not implying there is anything wrong with that belief, but use it as an example of how we all choose to consider our own reality is the only reality, which in truth, is simply a mirror of our own thoughts and opinions. Reality is tied to social acceptability for more often than not; it will dictate what to be seen as real and what is not for us. A follower of Copernicus’ reality of the earth revolving around the sun would have been told “you cannot create the world around you with your thoughts or ideas of what the world is all about.”

    I believe we all fail in our perception of reality; for outside the world of innate or physical objects – reality is our personal experience of life. In other words, how we were influenced by our parents, how we feel about ourselves or the psychological state of our personal understanding of the world as it affects our knowledge of ourselves.

    Aside from her chromosomal make-up (which appears to be the be-all and end-all bases of your conception of humanity,) this person is now, for all intents and purposes, a woman in a physiological sense and has gained all the rights and privileges we accord to women in our society today. You may argue the semantics of pronouns of a or a him or a her, but it would be difficult to diverge from the feminine make-up Jenna now holds and the fact remains, she certainly would look out of place in a men’s washroom if “she” were to suddenly appear while you were there.

    She does not deny the fact that she was born a male, but “believes,” in her manner of thinking and thought; she is what she is in “her” reality. Why or how could she think otherwise? (Breast and a vagina a man does not make. Or perhaps I am wrong on that?) Many it would appear would deny her this right because her reality does not fit their self-allowable perception of human sexual identity others would identify with, this being in much the same manner of calling a Totem Pole a tree because that was what it once was.

    Though I certainly wish otherwise, the difficulty I have always had with your philosophy Thorin is; though you ask others to keep an open mind, you see the world as black and white and any variation on the real canvas of life is more often than not, too unrealistic to contemplate. A man is a man, a woman a woman, gender is gender and chromosomes are chromosomes and though much of that is true, nevertheless I think you will find most biologists would tell you that there are variants in life’s species found everywhere, and that includes human life as well. They may be contained within a very small percentage as I believe “true” transsexuals are, but to deny that this person is one of those exceptions to the rules of human life is difficult to believe.

    “Let there be light” you say? I would think it very difficult to see any light when one refuses to remove a blindfold. How easy it is to look complacently upon the lives and experiences of others or their beliefs and think how brainless THEY are, yet at the same time expound how right WE are.

    As much as I dislike quoting out of context the wisdom of the bible, I think Jesus saw this as a human flaw as well when we read in Luke 6:41-41
    “Why do you notice the small piece of dust that is in your brother’s eye, but you don’t see the big piece of wood that is in your own eye? You say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take that little piece of dust out of your eye.’ Why do you say this? You can’t see that big piece of wood in your own eye! You are a hypocrite. First, take the piece of wood out of your own eye. Then you will see clearly to take the dust out of your brother’s eye.”

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  2. thorin25 says:

    Imitations, I think we will just have to continue to agree to disagree.

    You say I am not openminded and I insist that I am right and others are wrong. I guess in one sense that is very true. But that is not the same as creating my own false reality just like they are. Think of it this way. I believe there certain things are true and not. Sure, it’s possible I may be wrong, but at least I am logical in saying that there is only 1 true reality. Maybe I don’t know that reality perfectly, but it is the same reality for all of us. My point is that other people in our culture, think that we can create a new reality that is logically inconsistent with other realities, and somehow it is okay for them to be logically inconsistent. What’s true for me might not be true for you. Whereas I would say, what’s true for me should be true for you too, unless I am wrong in which case you should explain to me how I am wrong so we can agree together on what the true reality is. But the relativism our culture spouts is totally illogical.

    You said – “I believe we all fail in our perception of reality; for outside the world of innate or physical objects – reality is our personal experience of life.” We all do have our own perception of reality, but I believe my understanding of reality is not my own but has been given to me/us by God. And it is a view of reality that logically makes sense. If people talk about creating their own realities in ways that don’t make logical sense, I am going to tell them that their view of reality is wrong and not feel bad about it. Not all views of reality are equal.

    I find it strange you would quote the Bible to me, when you don’t believe the words of Jesus to be true. That aside, your passage does not fit this case. I am not judging others and ignoring my own sins, which Jesus is talking about here. I am very upfront about my personal shortcomings, failings, and sins. Rather this is case of stating the truth clearly.

    Imagine someone says to me 2 + 2 = 5. It would not be sinfully judgmental of me to judge and correct them and say 2 + 2 = 4. They might want to respond, “in my reality 2 +2 =5, and that is true for me, but it may not be true for you.” I am saying , “No, reality doesn’t work like that, 2 +2 = 4 for all of us.”

    I also fail to understand why you think I’m not openminded. Do I have to give up my faith and assent to your views in order to be openminded? In that case, you are just as closeminded as I am. Openmindedness is about listening to others, not giving up our beliefs. If you convince me I am wrong in my beliefs, then I will change my views. And I would hope you would do the same. But to call each other closeminded just because we haven’t changed our views, (which both of us haven’t) is pretty lame and unhelpful, in my opinion. I’m just being honest with you. I’m not mad. I do enjoy our dialogue and hope you keep posting.

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  3. Imitations says:

    I apologize for the relay in my reply as I have been laid up with a knee injury. But having given thought to your comment I feel a more explanatory response on my part is need to defuse the wee bit of tension I feel is developing between us over my remarks.

    It seems to me that in many of your posts you use the words Truth, Fact and Reality interchangeably and in my recent reply I wished only to put forward that I feel there is a difference in their meaning that often goes unnoticed.

    In using them simultaneously, it becomes a confusing and oft times misleading concept of ideas we present to each other and this is especially true when you deal with the beliefs of others who hold, rightly or wrongly, true or false, their own viewpoint of life which gives meaning to their human experience. Allow me to explain:

    A Fact in my view is something that cannot be logically disputed or rejected. The sun rises in the East and sets in the West that is a fact. Tides ebb and flow at given points in time on the earth is also a fact. As well, if I were to say “fire is hot” I think we can find common ground on which to say that that is factual as well. I don’t believe it makes any difference in how great our logic dexterity is, we can both agree if one were to touch fire, one’s skin will burn. In saying this, I am not speaking a Truth, I am speaking a Fact. When one acknowledges a fact, like your 2+2=4, they are only stating that things can be observed empirically by the senses and can be absorbed into our psyche as an absolute.

    It would be impossible of course to state here, all there is to say about truth in any coherent or philosophic manner, but I believe it is the consensus of many that a Truth is something quite different from Fact though I will allow, theologically, they both may be viewed though a different prism.

    In any case, Truths are most commonly seen as those things that are not simply acknowledged, accepted or otherwise accredited by us as specifics of reasoning, but must be “revealed” to us within and by our own experience of life. For example: If as you say God exists then God does exist and that is a Reality and a Truth for you. It is not a Fact, though you may argue others as it does not meet the common test for a statement of variability of whether it can be proven to correspond to ones experience. To be sure, it is an aspect of your life that provides meaning to you and therefore I would not ask that you change that belief as no one can dismiss it as a Truth for you, coming as it has through “your” understanding of life.

    However, in using this understanding to comment on the attitudes, ways of thinking or Truths that others hold for themselves, I would caution that it may be a bias opinion and not one formed by an open-mind.

    I understand the point you unwillingly cannot let go of (born a man/always a man) and one may argue the semantics of that view. Yes there are legitimate rules of life that one may feel are true for everyone one and perhaps interpret as fact. Do not kill, do not rob, stop at stop signs etc. However, in once again using my Totem Pole analogy; what was once a tree can no longer be considered a tree if its make-up has been for all intents and purposes been altered from the original. It may have the same molecular structure as does Jenna’s human chromosomal male structure, but she is no longer what she once was. You may hold on to your inflexible belief that it “once” was a tree and therefore will always be a tree, but the physical alteration speaks otherwise.

    Whatever the case, as I see it Truth is something that is not universal. It is more subjective, and depends on the current situation and one’s understanding of life. If someone possesses strong reasoning for an argument that God does not exist, then that is a reality and a truth for that person. Granted, it is not your truth or your experience, nor is it your reality. Nevertheless it is a truth for that individual. Truths, as opposed to Facts, are much more fluid and flexible than their empirical counterparts. Holding that Christianity is a truth for you, or that a certain segment of the population can never be Transsexual, may be one thing, but to say it is the one and “only Truth” for everyone else, or that someone holds a “false reality” based on your concept of Truth, than as I look upon it, that is not holding an open-mind but a closed one, biased on a belief that you are right and everyone else is wrong. Understand what I am saying?

    My argument for seeing close-mindedness in your writing comes only from reading the many posting in your blog which, as I observe them, oft times project a very orthodox approach to human life and your analysis of other people’s lives. I pass no judgment on that; it is your blog after all and the honest expression of your thoughts. I merely point out that when one claims to possess an open-mind, they must also allow for the possibility that any principle they hold to be “true,” must be open to the prospect that it could be flawed and therefore open to change. To believe otherwise would be silly I should think.

    It is true I speak only from my own interpretation of life but in saying that I wish always to remain open and humble enough to the possibility that any truth I may hold may be in error. However, it has been my observation, religion or any other strongly held inflexible belief is by its very nature, in holding its tenants to be “Absolute Truth,” negates any chance of one possessing the ability to hold an un-biased or open opinion, if for no other reason one cannot entertain the possibility that one’s strongest held beliefs may be wrong.

    For this reason, guiding principles that govern truth and especially a religious belief, does not give leeway that their belief may have errors and a possibility of acknowledgement that a change of view may be necessary. It is impossible to believe one can hold an absolute truth and also hold that a possibility exists that an absolute may need to be altered.

    It is quite obvious that in my readings of those who hold a fervent religious predisposition often do not grasp this subconscious element in their approach towards observing the lives of others and as a result, though they believe they possess legitimate cause (in their eyes) to pronounce others hold a “False view” of reality, they cannot see it within themselves and thus ….. my quote from the bible which by the way much to your expressed surprise, I see as a truth. My reading of bible is not based on the literal, for there is much truth to be had in the human condition that one can find there.

    In any case, if we, as we often do, debate our ideologies, and your reasoning appeared stronger than mine I would, in keeping an open mind, choose to change my point of view and adopt your belief that God does exist or Transsexuals do not exist. However, I could never come to change my belief, see your faith in a God, or even be open to a reality beyond my own circle of existence, if I was unable, or unwilling to acknowledge the possibility that others hold beliefs, truths or realities that do not reflect the world I see as truth and therefore yet are legitimate for them.

    Perhaps this should have been a post and not a reply, but I believe you may have a clearer understanding of where I stand.

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  4. thorin25 says:

    Imitations that is very helpful. It was long! But it was good. It makes much more sense and comes off much better than what you said before. Perhaps what you said before was fine too, but I at least did not understand it as well as this comment you just made. I understand where you are coming from better now.

    And I agree with at least part of it. I like your distinctions of truth and fact. Truths are not necessarily less “true” than the other. But I take your comment as helpful instruction to remind me not to use words like “fact” for things that are not accepted “facts.” That is not helpful for intelligent discussion with those who disagree with me (or maybe not even helpful for those that do agree with me). It would be much better to say “I believe such and such” in many cases than to say “this is fact” (which implies I’m saying you are stupid for not agreeing). So I think I understand your point, and I appreciate it, and it will influence how I write future posts.

    I don’t believe in relativism though. Different people can have different “truths” but if they are contradictory, one or both people have got to be wrong in some way.

    On religious people being inflexible and not open minded. I think I see your point there too. I think I agree, but I’m not sure I’m ready to change anything because of it. I think it is just the nature of the Christian faith, if not most religions. Religions come in a package. That means that I can’t be open-minded to say one part of the Bible is wrong, without going against the entirety of my beliefs and meaning in life. Technically speaking, I am open-minded enough so that if someone convinced me that God doesn’t exist, or the Bible is not true, etc. I’d change my view. I’m not afraid to face any arguments out there. I’m not afraid of the truth. But because my faith is such a big package, it’s going to take ALOT for me or another Christian or person of faith to change a viewpoint that intersects with religious claims.

    On something that isn’t so clear in the Bible, it may be easier to have an open mind. But if it is something that goes against what the Bible says, I won’t be able to change my mind, without also changing my mind about what I believe about the Bible, and that has ramifications for other beliefs. I think that is a difficulty someone like you will just have to accept.

    I don’t, however, think that that makes me close-minded. It means I have bias surely, but everyone has equal bias, because we all have our own beliefs, experiences, knowledge, etc. I don’t believe religious people have any greater bias than others. Bias is simply a point of view.
    I think my beliefs “could” make me close-minded, and maybe I am fooling myself but I don’t think my beliefs have made me so. I’m not afraid of the truth. So for example, I really dislike how women are portrayed in the Old Testament. I have trouble making sense of why God would allow them to be treated in certain ways by the Israelites. I readily admit that that issue (among others) once in a while gives me doubts about my faith. Are those doubts enough to take away my faith altogether? No, not right now. But I am not close minded in that I don’t go off saying it’s not a big deal, and not an issue. No, it bothers me and I admit it and face it.

    So for example, if you were to convince me that homosexuality is not wrong, it would likely either a. force me to reinterpret what the Bible says about it, maybe I’d find out I’ve been interpreting it wrong. or b. it would become one of those issues like the one above, where it bothers me, but not enough to make me doubt my faith completely. or c. change my view of the Bible as still giving some foundational spiritual truth but maybe its wrong on this note of homosexuality. or d. make me reject the faith altogether (but that would be highly unlikely given the experience of God in my life).

    So I don’t think I’m close minded. I’m not afraid of hearing the truth. I’m not putting my head in the sand. Not just making dogmatic statements without thinking things through. I’m willing to change my beliefs. I just haven’t been convinced enough by anything that would really seriously challenge my faith. It’s not that I’m rejecting things that I find convincing, just because I have to reject them because of my faith. It might appear I only believe certain things “because the Bible tells me so.” But logic and reasoning play a huge role in my and most Christians’ faith.

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  5. Imitations says:

    A well written reply Thorin; enjoyed reading it very much, thank you. We’d have a great time over a cup of coffee I suspect for as the two book-ends on a shelf that we are, there would be much of value in between talk about.

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  6. Vivienne says:

    Some powerful comments here. If you’ve read any of my posts you will know my feelings about categorisation of male and female (see the replies to this post: http://www.bluestockingblue.blogspot.co.nz/2012/02/crossdressing-and-advertising.html). Thorin, I know you know this already, so I won’t labour my points.

    I think transexual people deserve sympathy. From their perspective, they feel as if they are born in the wrong body. From an outside perspective, this may seem impossible or illogical, but it is their feeling. Your cancer metaphor was interesting, but just suppose you have pain in your abdomen. There is no scan on earth which will show up pain: I can only take your word for it. If I tell you “I can’t see anything on the scan to cause your pain. There’s nothing wrong with you. You should be content to accept your pain and come to terms with it”, what does that say about me? And how much help to you would that be?

    I haven’t met a single transexual who hasn’t made tremendous sacrifices to make their inner and outer body image match. Some of them have been lucky and look good (and are therefore invisible to us); others are not so lucky and look awful. But nonetheless I think that it’s a gesture of compassion to treat that person as they would like to be treated; in the gender role and with the pronouns of their choosing. It’s good manners, and kindness. (As with homosexuality, I don’t think gender reassignment surgery is only a lifestyle choice!)

    I had never heard of Jenna Talackova until today. However, from the brief Googling I have done, it’s quite clear she is a woman in the eyes of the law, and a woman in the eyes of anyone who ever met her without doing some sort of medical test. How can it be right to use male pronouns for her? To persist in trying to categorise her as male is ludicrous!

    I am a man with a cupful of woman in the mix. Some men have a ladleful, or a bucketful. I think nothing separates us intrinsically. You and I, Thorin, are in the fortunate position of continuing to live successfully as men, but I believe we should act compassionately towards people who can’t. (I don’t think people got better help before gender reassignment surgery was possible; I think they got pretty much no help at all and as a result were desperately unhappy their whole lives).

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  7. thorin25 says:

    Vivienne, I strongly advocate compassion and sympathy to transgendered individuals, but I can have compassion and love towards them, without suggesting that they go through surgery or try to live as the opposite sex.

    I also would never say their feelings aren’t real. They feel what they feel. We live in a broken world, and all of us have feelings of pain and brokenness. When I say that they create their own reality, I don’t mean to take away from the real inner struggle that they feel. This was a post about the logical ramifications about transsexualism, but not about the feelings. I know they feel pain, and inner struggle, and confusion, and conflict with their bodies. Those feelings should be listened to with compassion and understanding.

    But my position is that it doesn’t truly help them to go through surgery and alternative living to make sense of those feelings. There are other ways to be healed from those struggles or find ways to manage the stress and pain that they cause.

    I’ve said this before in another post I think. But imagine your child comes up to you and is crying because they feel like a horse in their soul, but they have the body of a human. Their pain is real, their struggle is real. You don’t challenge that. You don’t say that their feelings aren’t real. You have sympathy and compassion and you listen. But instead of helping them to look as much like a horse as possible, instead of calling them a horse, you counsel them and help them to realize they are a human and be happy in that reality.

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  8. Imitations says:

    A Horse?…… Your point is taken Thorin, albeit a very bad analogy and unfortunately demonstrates once again the mental hurdle you cannot traverse in understanding the very real truths “some” people deal with in their daily lives. Most of those who comment on your posts I suspect do so out of sincerity and with very real human emotion. I thought you understood that, but I was sadly mistaken.

    A Horse…. A child?????? Nothing could display a more misunderstood position than this poor choice of words. You began your reply to Vivienne with eloquence in stating “I strongly advocate compassion and sympathy to transgender individuals” but as in so many posts one does not have to read very far to see your reluctance to admit these people even exists.
    A HORSE….Really? Is that how you see this human psychological dilemma?

    Check this out……..Quite hilarious I think, but perhaps reflects a similar Edwardian way of thinking?…. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-18370797

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  9. Eric says:

    Thorin, I agree with Imitations. It’s a very bad analogy and it’s unnecessarily offensive. Many TG people have heard similar analogies, and if that’s one of the first things they read from you, they will automatically lump you with other people who truly hate them. You have a good heart, and you are doing a good work here. Don’t let an analogy ruin it.

    The problem with arguing with analogies is that people rig the analogy to support their case.

    Take this counter analogy:
    Suppose your kid comes crying to you because they want pink hair. You realize you could put a big stink about it, but in the end, it’s what’s on the inside that matters not the outside. You let your kid change their hair color, so that they can be happy.

    Obviously gender is way bigger than hair color. I’m not making that argument seriously. I’m just trying to show that an analogy isn’t always the best way to make an argument.

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  10. thorin25 says:

    Obviously there is a giant difference between my example and those who struggle with their gender. One rarely happens, one is common. One if it did happen likely wouldn’t cause too much pain, and the gender issues obviously cause much pain. I wasn’t trying to pretend they were the same thing.

    AND OF COURSE, I think these people exist. I talk to them all the time on these blogs, talked to them in person, and have struggled with such feelings myself. Not sure how my analogy shows that I don’t think they exist. Advocating that such people shouldn’t get surgery, is not at all saying that I don’t believe they exist, nor do any of my other posts. I’m really confused why you would think that I believe that. Do you think I have my head in the sand? My real thought is that our culture is getting so messed up (which I’ve talked about elsewhere) that I think transgendered people are becoming more and more common. Our culture is confused, people grow up like I did extremely insecure in their gender, and extremely confused about gender. And like me, people grow up with intense pain about their gender struggles. How can I deny something existing that I experienced to a degree myself? Perhaps you are not catching the nuances of my argument.

    Also perhaps it was a bad analogy to choose, I’ll readily admit that. I couldn’t think of a better one at the moment. I’m just showing that the logic works the same way. Perhaps a better analogy would be a black child who really feels inside that they are white. Rather than advocating altering their appearance to try to look white, through surgery or cosmetics whatever, I’d try to help them realize that they are black and it’s okay to be so. All ethnicities and corresponding body types are different, but equal and good. In the same way, we should also be content with the sex that we are, and realize that both men and women are equal and both good. But we are born what we are and shouldn’t try to change it.

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  11. thorin25 says:

    Eric good comment. Like I said in replying to Imitations, perhaps that wasn’t the best analogy. I’m just trying to explain my view (like you said, maybe analogy isn’t the best way), that it doesn’t have to be illogical, offensive, or unloving to counsel a transgendered person to try to find contentment in their true bodily sex, rather than helping through get a sex change or calling them by inappropriate pronouns that don’t truly fit their DNA. Sure, many people disagree with that, that’s fine. Just trying to show that my view makes some logical sense as well.

    Apologies all around for any offense. Was not trying to do so. This was a logical post, not a pastoral response to a specific situation. Please understand that when dealing with a specific person who is struggling with these issues, my first steps would be to stop and listen, and try to understand their feelings and life. I wouldn’t go off on a logical tirade like I can do in general posts trying to look at these things from a logical position.

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  12. Eric says:

    I agree with ” it doesn’t have to be illogical, offensive, or unloving to counsel a transgendered person to try to find contentment in their true bodily sex, ” I know that’s what you mean.

    I think pronouns are trickier than you make them. Using the wrong ones feels like you are endorsing their beliefs. Using the right ones can feel like a slap in the face to some TG people.

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  13. thorin25 says:

    Eric, I agree, it’s tricky. To be honest, last time I met with/counseled a transsexual I used “her” “she” even though I still believe “he” is a man. Kept using the preferred pronouns even while praying for “her.” I did so out of sensitivity. But now I’m wondering if that is really the best thing. What do you think? Should it be a case by case basis? Or are you in favor of one or the other for all situations? Does it make sense for me to always use their preferred pronouns out of sensitivity even though it is not what I really believe, and could also send them the opposite message that I want to send? Your wisdom on this would be helpful.

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  14. Jared says:

    ““One of my key traits is positive thinking,” Talackova says on her profile. “I believe you create the world around you with your thoughts.”

    She’s exactly right. This is a scientific fact. It has been proven time and again. You can’t do anything in life without first thinking about it. Anything the mind can conceive, can be done. That’s a law of the universe.

    These books explain this concept in depth:

    Think and Grow Rich
    The Science of Getting Rich
    The Master Key System

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  15. thorin25 says:

    Jared, do you really think anything the mind can conceive can be done? Not sure how that makes logical sense….

    It looks like your books are all about getting rich. Maybe in economic terms, most things that you can think about you can put into practice to make money. But surely not everything we can imagine can be done. I can’t transform into a bird just because I can imagine it.

    Secondly, I’d caution you on those books. They might have some good principles about thinking positively and ways to make money. But Jesus never promised us we would get rich by doing what is right. In fact, he preaches over and over about the dangers of making money and being rich. And he promises that if we follow him and do what is right, it will lead not only to joy but to suffering.

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  16. Imitations says:

    Thorin; your doing it again. LoL
    I have to agree with you about the money business. Jared sounds just like the guy who posts the Stopcrossdressing.com blog you have on your Fellow Fighters Links. Money, money, money!

    In any case, though Jenna may be beautiful, I’m not sure “she” is articulate but I will give her the benefit of the doubt that what she was attempting to say was, “having a positive mind when others may scorn you allows one to remain sane and turn the other cheek when their bias becomes difficult to deal with. Totem Poles are still trees I see. A TV is just plastic bits, a car is not a car, but just part plastic and metal through together……..LOL

    One of the top selling books of all time (and perhaps Jenna has read it) is “The Power of Positive Thinking.” It has been translated into fifteen languages with more than 7 million copies sold and is, accorded to its publishers, “unparalleled in its extraordinary capacity for restoring the faltering faith of millions.”
    Personally I think it a bit over the top, but he has some very valid points nonetheless when those, like Jenna” face ridicule. For despite the nattering and waling of teeth of naysayers, having self-respect and a duty to believe in oneself can ‘oft allow one to generate “truth” and a comfort to carry on with one’s life when the reality one lives may not necessarily be the reality of others.

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  17. Eric says:

    Thorin, I think you did the right thing when meeting with the individual. Deal with the heart of the issue first and the pronouns will take care of themselves. It doesn’t make sense to offend the person.

    In writing, I’ve seen other authors refer to the person based on the gender they are presenting. Other times, writers stick with using the person’s sex. Even psychiatry books and guidelines do that in some cases.

    I don’t think your message will be misunderstood by TG’s if you used the first approach. Ironically, you might then be misunderstood by others, who might interpret you as having too soft an approach.

    As a final note, I read a book by a gender therapist, and her point was that TS’s only transition in gender role and physical appearance. Their sex and gender remains unchanged through the process. So Jenna despite appearances can never be fully female but only a male bodied woman. She will always have male DNA.

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  18. thorin25 says:

    Thanks for the good feedback Eric, something I still need to think about more. But in real interactions with TG’s I tend to lean toward what I did in the past, and what you suggested. Maybe some of it depends on the situation.

    But all of you who have commented, realize I am always open to changing my views and learning, so keep being willing to post constructive criticisms. You are challenging me and that is good. Thank you for the thoughts

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