When I was recently in Santa Cruz, California I was impressed by many things – mostly the rugged beauty of the coastline and the lack of police/fire sirens screaming through the night. But I was also impressed by the public restrooms. I know its an odd thing to be impressed by – but, the Bible-Belt state I live in is not exactly trans-gender acceptable.
Wherever we went, be it for shopping or food, fully 99% of the places had one bathroom. The only exceptions I found – in my limited time there – were at strictly touristy spots, where there were both men’s & women’s rooms with an occasional ‘family’ restroom. Having only one restroom in a business may be seen as a cost saving measure even if some customers may view it as gross. But for me, it felt like acceptance and toleration of all peoples, regardless of where on the gender-spectrum they find themselves on.
Being happily female I have difficulty imagining what it must be like to grow up believing God gave you the wrong body. How difficult it must be to move through this gender-biased/based society in which we live that doesn’t or rarely accepts those who cross or transcend genders. And even more difficult when it comes to the deeply private subject of restroom needs. In many states, if you are trans-gendered and are caught in the wrong restroom, you could be arrested and/or abused. The underlying message seems to be ‘you aren’t wanted, you aren’t acceptable, you’re a freak of nature, stay under the rock where you belong’.
How interesting that Jesus accepted everyone who approached Him – be they man, woman, child, leper, tax-collector, untouchable, dirty, smelly, disgusting and so on. He accepted them, healed them, loved them, taught them. How interesting that the great ‘heroes’ of the Bible weren’t exactly poster children for purity, righteous living and toleration. God uses whom He will to send His message of love – even if to our eyes that person is completely unfit or unworthy.
I don’t understand what it means to be transgendered. I don’t even understand what it means to live your life outside societal norms. And, I don’t believe I need to understand. However, I do need accept, include and love those who are marginalized for who they are, as they are. If they need changing, God will take care of that. They are beloved children of the Most High God Who created them and loves them. Why transgendered folks or gay/lesbian/bi are the way they are is not for me to know or judge. All I need do is to love them – even if it makes me uncomfortable and squeamish. I must move beyond my human feelings and into the spirit of love where God lives, moves and works.
And leave the judgments and decision making to God.
Salvation is God’s business. Grace is His idea, His work, and His expense. He offers it to whom He desires, when He desires. Our job in the process is to inform the people, not to screen the people.
– Max Lucado