Does God care about gender? Transgender people and the Divine

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.

As I am made, so I will be

I ignored Aphrodite for a long time because I was fearful of my femininity. I didn’t particularly like being a woman, didn’t feel comfortable with it, and didn’t really understand who I was.

Aphrodite’s power – one of Her powers – is the ability to raise up different forms of femininity. She breaks the boundaries that the media and traditional society place upon women, enabling us to find our own unique feminine forms.

I recognise now that the problem wasn’t me. The problem was the very narrow stereotypes that were available to me as a woman. I couldn’t see myself in any of the roles of womanhood I saw around me.

I wasn’t the Madonna, or the whore. I wasn’t Ginger or Mary-Anne. I wasn’t Hermione or Pansy Parkinson. I wasn’t “as good as a boy any day!” Georgina or that “proper little housewife” Anne. I wasn’t even Buffy and I certainly wasn’t Faith.

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I was Me.

I didn’t fit with what I thought I was supposed to be as a woman. I had no interest in traditionally feminine hobbies. I was tall, muscular and strong. I wanted to be the hero of my own story – not the girl the hero wins for his troubles. I didn’t want to be a trophy for someone. I wanted to win the trophies.

Throwing out the stereotypes

The media and society don’t give us women a lot of options for role models. If we don’t fit the moulds we’re given, and most women don’t, we often feel the sort of discomfort and unease with our femininity that I felt. Or we become uber-feminine in some aspect as if attempting to counteract our failure in other areas.

Love yourself

There’s nothing wrong with us, but there’s a hell of a lot wrong with society. Women are given impossible standards, and we berate ourselves when we don’t fit them.

Of course we don’t fit them. We were never meant to fit them. We were meant to fail. Then we’d feel weak, and we’d lose our inner sense of self. And we’d bicker and compete amongst ourselves instead of supporting one another. And we’d buy into consumer culture (pun intended) in an effort to fill the emptiness within.

Aphrodite claimed me, and helped me embrace who I am. That’s a gift I sorely needed.

She helped me realise that there is power in being a woman. That power comes from understanding the woman you are, not from trying to fit someone else’s model of womanhood.

I became powerful, and found my truest self, when I stopped trying to fight who I was, and stopped worrying about the dissonance between Me and Society’s Perfect Woman (who doesn’t actually exist). Once I stopped trying to be Other, I was free to connect with myself. As I am. With complete honesty.

Finding myself

What I found amazed me. My own form of femininity is strong, powerful, unafraid, statuesque. I’m a true Diva, in every sense. My muscular body is fit and whole, and completely feminine in every way.

Certainly not “Hollywood feminine”. Never “Hollywood” feminine. I don’t want to be photoshopped, dieted, gossiped about, objectified, surgeried, botoxed. I love my body as the perfect vessel for the Goddess that it is.

As I am made, so I will be. I am never going to fit in with the roles that anyone else tries to put me in: I’m much too strong for any roles that are comfortable for others. Many women are. But Aphrodite values women who are strong, sensual, unafraid, original, unique.

Womanhood in full bloom; undiluted.

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Everything She touches, changes…

A brief explanation…

When I began this blog, my goal was to upload the old content from Akasha (my coven in Australia, and spiritual path), together with some of the new rituals and work I’ve been doing since.

Of course, nothing ever works out precisely as planned.

Over the last couple of years, my life has been changing more and more, due to the influence of a major Deity in my life. I haven’t written about my experiences with Her at all, and although some of my friends in the Pagan world (and in the Vanilla world) know what’s been going on – or parts of it – I’ve not written about it here.

But I think the time has come to admit that my life has taken a different path. Akasha is where I have come from, but Aphrodite is where I am, and where I am heading.

Hence the change in focus of this blog.

This may or may not suit you, as a reader. I hope you continue to follow, and find my path of interest. It is interesting to me. Not all the content will focus on Aphrodite, but an increasing proportion will.

This is my world, my path, my journey. This is my Goddess. I have been claimed by Her, and She Rises.

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