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.