Everyone is talking about Bruce Jenner at the moment. So here’s an interesting thought: does God – or do the Gods – care about gender?
Do our souls – if we have them – have genders?
You know, this never really occurred to me until recently. I remember reading somewhere that hardly anyone has a transgendered friend, and it’s something that few people connect with.
I must be different, because I can’t count the number of transgendered friends I have on one hand – I think I have eight or nine, last time I stopped to think about it.
The thing that strikes me most about people who transition is how little it affects who they are, to we people on the outside. To me, perhaps the most amazing feature of the whole process is how much they remain the same. They’re still the same people.
I remember being worried, when my friends have transitioned, that I’d lose my friends. But my friends have remained the same people inside. Their souls, if that’s the right word for it, have remained the same.
I suppose it’s naive to expect that gender should make such a huge difference, but before I knew people who had become male when they’d been female before, or female when they’d become male, I guess I’d expected their innate personality – the person they are inside – to change dramatically. It didn’t; it hasn’t.
So if it doesn’t matter to me, does it matter to the Gods?
A Goddess for everyone across the spectrum of gender
My patron Goddess is Aphrodite. Of all Goddesses she’s one to have a little fun with gender. She’s the Goddess of switching forms, of hermaphrodites and androgyny, and of playing games with gender roles.
A lot of people, when they think of Aphrodite, imagine this very, very feminine Goddess. But they forget that Aphrodite is also the Goddess who was spawned, so the legend goes, from the sea foam created by the castrated genitalia of Uranus, and her children include Hermaphroditus. She governs gender fluidity and transition, and is accepting of transition and non-traditional gender roles. The Gods aren’t necessarily easy to categorize.
Looks can be deceiving
Nor are people easy to categorize. Bruce Jenner, of all people, was portrayed as the stereotypical All-American male – the perfect athlete, the good-looking man who every man wanted as his friend and for his daughter as a partner. He was incredibly desirable and high-profile. Could anyone have seen this coming?
According to Jenner, it’s been here inside him all his life – inside him, waiting to come out. He started taking female hormones in the 1980s, 30 years ago. This isn’t a new thing for him.
That’s something you hear, again and again, from people who transition. The pressures to remain the gender they were born into are incredibly strong, and it is only once the pain of remaining who they are becomes too intense that they break the chains and push for the freedom to become themselves. Transitioning isn’t a kick, or a fad: it’s something they must do, and have needed to do for many years. It’s only society that has held them back.
We are all in transition
It’s both an indictment and praise to our societies that people feel such pressure to remain hidden for so long, yet are finally able to become who they feel they are meant to be. I think we’re societies in transition too, perhaps. But the signs are good that we’re becoming more tolerant, more accepting, and more positive for transgendered people.
We are transitioning too: we are learning, as a society, to be kind, open-minded, and to love unconditionally.
Do the Gods care? Personal perspectives
So – do our souls have gender? Do the Gods care? Will the transgendered be judged? Does any of it matter, apart from the happiness of the individual?
Or are the Gods, as the ancient Greeks might imagine, just playing games with us all, throwing the dice, making life more difficult for some than for others?
As a woman who, I suppose, is very gender-neutral, I’ve never felt the need to be a man. I can’t imagine what it is like. Yet I certainly fit more of a male stereotype than a female. I don’t own any skirts or dresses – at all. I wear a lot of men’s clothes. I’m a bodybuilder and weightlifter, spent time in the army, own a farm, castrate sheep and do most of the yard work around the property, work in tech, have tertiary experience in software engineering…the list goes on.
I can’t think of anything worse than knitting or sewing or quilting or wearing frilly clothes. But do I want to be a man? No. I’m just me. Somewhere in the middle of the gender spectrum, I guess. I don’t feel confined by any roles. Why should I be? But my experiences are different to those of others. I have no right to judge. My right is that of support, and of friend.
If I have a soul, it’s not pink or blue. It’s probably orange, or yellow, or maybe lime green. I’m not really into the concept of souls anyway, but if the Gods care about gender, then I believe it’s a very small part of what makes a person worthwhile.
So my view is, if a person needs to transition to be complete and whole and happy, then let them. Support them. They’ll still be the same person inside. Because they always were that same person inside.
We just couldn’t see it.