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CuriositasEtFidem

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1 hour ago, Aloysius said:

I think my point on soul/body dualism really should be revisited here, as from the Catholic perspective this is THE issue on the table, one that's relevant both for transgenderism and for Catholics at large who also generally have mistaken perspectives on this, a kind of ghost-in-the-machine thinking is very common especially today.  While you replied to my post that you don't see soul/body mismatch as the issue, many of the things you have said, @CuriositasEtFidem, seem to reveal such soul/body (or at least mind/body) dualistic thinking.  I can hardly blame you as this kind of mindset is so pervasive, but it is wrong, and reflecting on why it is wrong would be a helpful exercise for all of us IMO.

if you'll indulge me for being a bit semantically nit-picky on a couple phrases, I think interrogating those phrases will be revelatory of some attitudes we need to think about on this issue even if it might just be a kind of figure of speech:

the "insides don't match the outsides" phraseology I saw you use at one point in this thread is one thing--what are these insides/outsides?  is it brain chemicals and hormones that don't match the secondary sex characteristics?  I find it very hard to square that as in any way a physical disorder rather than a social mismatch between how you experience the roles you want to take in society and how society expects those secondary sex characteristics to play out socially.  and again, if it's not a physical disorder then, from a Catholic perspective, you are called to love and cultivate your body as identical with you, there is no such thing as 'you' without your body.

and then here's the other phrase "it would have been nice if I had been born with a different set".  I posit to you, based on the Catholic understanding of the unity of the body and soul, that "YOU" would not have been born at all in that case.  there is no YOU except for the united soul/mind/body that was born.   There is no "you" that could have been born with a different body, you and your body ARE the same thing.  You don't just have a body like someone has a hammer.  like a ghost inhabiting a machine.  the body you 'have' is not just something you have, despite the limits of our language where we use that possessive verb, it is YOU, and to whatever extent it is healthy you are called to accept it and cultivate it.  social gender roles are a whole separate issue that could be gotten into as well, but the recognition that you ARE your body, that there's no such thing as a distinction between you and your body, should be the starting point before moving on to any question of what particular gender role one should take in society.

of course if something is a physical disorder like cancer or a deformity you could say 'i wish i had been born without this or without that' and not be violating this anti-dualistic principle, as you'd just be talking about wishing that same body you were born with was born more healthy.  but wanting a different set of genitalia IMO is a much different thing than that--the genitalia you "have" are a part of you, they're a part of your united body-soul person.

That's the point the document I posted before from the Congregation for Catholic Education (Male and Female He Created Them)  was trying to make (I saw earlier folks like @Jaime were still suggesting that there had been no guidance on the issue doctrinally from the church, perhaps my post was missed, as I attached the file of the document it tells me only 2 ppl downloaded it and probably one of those was me checking if i'd uploaded the right file lol, but maybe ppl googled it :P... anyway while that's not necessarily the most authoritative document it does seem magisterial in an ordinary way and should be a jumping off point for exploring what the doctrines being intersected by this issue really are rather than needing to resort to an analogy to church teachings on homosexuality).  That document was trying to make its doctrinal criticism of transgender ideology on the grounds of condemning that kind of problematic dualism.  perhaps you state you don't think of it that body/soul dualistic way, @CuriositasEtFidem, but in some other ways you seem to reveal that kind of thinking as lurking beneath the surface of your experience.  the typical narratives around how to interpret the experience of dysphoria are deeply rooted in such dualism, actually, though materialists who don't believe in souls replace the word "soul" with the word "mind" they are meaning largely the same thing--both rejecting the real sense in which your whole body IS you, for the platonic-style dualist the REAL you is your soul, for the modern materialistic dualist the REAL you is your brain/mind; but BOTH are wrong--the real you is the holistic mind-body-soul person.  you can't separate out one and say it's the real you and it's mismatched to one of the other parts, as they're interdependent, they don't exist apart from one another in that way.

*slow clap*

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For anyone interested in some well reasoned guidance on such issues, the Congregation for Catholic Education's 2019 document Male and Female He Created Them has some very nice guidance, which I will a

You say "double effect", but I hear "the end justifies the means". What the surgeon does in these circumstance is permanent mutilation to allow someone to tell a lie with their own body. I heard

There was no need to prematurely assume the worst of all of us in this regard before letting the thread take its course. I remain faithful to every teaching of the Catholic Church, felt that a warm we

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Wow, this thread was a ride. I skipped after page seven, so forgive me if I have missed some massive things.

For my part, welcome! I am not on here very often anymore, but I am incredibly grateful that you are here.

Also, I am incredibly sorry for the way that some have treated you here with their rhetoric and approach. We might go back and forth on what the Church teaches on this issue, but what it absolutely teaches without ambiguity is that charity is the guiding principle of everything, and I am sorry that there has been a severe lack of it towards you.

I don't really have any questions for you in regards to theory, but I am curious as to how you feel Catholics could better support you. How can we make you feel more understood and loved as a child of God? Not merely in regards to agreeing with you and your choices, but more in terms of relationality.

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1 hour ago, PhuturePriest said:

I don't really have any questions for you in regards to theory, but I am curious as to how you feel Catholics could better support you. How can we make you feel more understood and loved as a child of God? Not merely in regards to agreeing with you and your choices, but more in terms of relationality.

Come on now.

If I told you I was watching gang-bang pornography would you say "How can I make you feel more loved and understood as a child of God" or would you say "Peace, what tha F--- you need to cut that ish out?"

I think I know what you are trying to achieve but what she wants to achieve is fundamentally in conflict with what the Church teaches. She wants you to recognize and affirm that a person's gender can change, and that her gender has changed from female to male. The Church teaches that a person's gender cannot change. So how are you gonna give her all of these feel-good feelings and support when she wants you to call her a man so that she can feel good about her choice, and the Church teaches that "she" is still a "she"?

It seems like she wants something that you cannot give.

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22 minutes ago, Peace said:

Come on now.

If I told you I was watching gang-bang pornography would you say "How can I make you feel more loved and understood as a child of God" or would you say "Peace, what tha F--- you need to cut that ish out?"

I think I know what you are trying to achieve but what she wants to achieve is fundamentally in conflict with what the Church teaches. She wants you to recognize and affirm that a person's gender can change, and that her gender has changed from female to male. The Church teaches that a person's gender cannot change. So how are you gonna give her all of these feel-good feelings and support when she wants you to call her a man so that she can feel good about her choice, and the Church teaches that "she" is still a "she"?

It seems like she wants something that you cannot give.

If you want me to speak plainly and clearly, then I will: people acting like you did just now is what drives people out of the Church.

The OP has expressed how they has felt all their life: like a freak. If someone has felt like a freak, that means they have not had a great experience of God's love as expressed through the one place where they should feel it most: in the Church. Whether the OP suffers from gender dysphoria or it's a legitimate claim, the attitudes of people like you make people like the OP feel like they are not welcome in the Church and that God's love is reserved only for those who perfectly align with the teachings of the Church.

I am not here to win arguments or prove that I am right. There are people far more educated on this particular topic than myself who can argue and demonstrate what the Church teaches. But what I do know authoritatively is that the Church teaches charity is to be followed by everyone, for everyone. The OP has not felt or experienced that charity, and even still chooses to be faithful in Mass attendance. That's amazing, and I admire that and I am so grateful that they do. As a Catholic in a parish and a future priest who will be running a parish community, I want to know how I can make people like the OP experience God's love and to make them feel like they have a home in the Catholic Church even if they do not perfectly conform to everything that it teaches. I still have a home at the Church, even though I do not always perfectly reflect what the Church teaches, and I am not going to bar anyone else from it simply because they are in a different place with difficult struggles on their journey. God has a plan for them, and it takes place within the Church.

And for the record, if you came to me and shared that with me, that would not be my response. I would recognize that such a behavior is indicative of deep wounds, and I would indeed try to help you feel God's love and acceptance because you would very likely be dealing with an incredible amount of shame -- which would not be helped by my shaming you even further. This hypothetical you and the OP have known shame. But you might not know God's love, and that is where conversion begins.

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1 hour ago, PhuturePriest said:

But you might not know God's love, and that is where conversion begins.

Conversion begins from repentance, the word that seems to be hugely forgotten in Roman Catholic Church in the West nowadays, unfortunately. One who is full of himself cannot know God's love. There is no place for God to enter; the realization of own sickness provides a necessary "crack" for God. It is simply the need "help me!" 

1 hour ago, PhuturePriest said:

I want to know how I can make people like the OP experience God's love and to make them feel like they have a home in the Catholic Church even if they do not perfectly conform to everything that it teaches. I still have a home at the Church, even though I do not always perfectly reflect what the Church teaches, and I am not going to bar anyone else from it simply because they are in a different place with difficult struggles on their journey.

You are omitting the fundamental point: one does not need "perfectly conform to everything that it teaches" to be in the Church; one only needs to realize that he is not "perfectly conforming to everything that it teaches" i.e. his own sinfulness. You ignore the fact that the participants in this thread wrote what they wrote not because the person has gender dysphoria but because she insists that "God made her this way". 

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1 hour ago, PhuturePriest said:

If you want me to speak plainly and clearly, then I will: people acting like you did just now is what drives people out of the Church.

A Church full of Catholics without conviction is what drives people away from the Church.  That and the verbal (and otherwise) abuse by the so-called "shepherds" of the Church who gave up on their flock long ago.

 

1 hour ago, PhuturePriest said:

Whether the OP suffers from gender dysphoria or it's a legitimate claim, the attitudes of people like you make people like the OP feel like they are not welcome in the Church and that God's love is reserved only for those who perfectly align with the teachings of the Church.

Nobody is welcome in the Church unless they are willing to repent.  The Church is for sinners, not for those who have no need of repentance.  Sympathizing with grave immoral travesties only makes the matter worse.  

Compassion and true Christian charity: of course.  Methinks most Christians wouldn't recognize true charity if it punched them in the face (picturing St. Nicholas, here)...

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1 hour ago, PhuturePriest said:

If you want me to speak plainly and clearly, then I will: people acting like you did just now is what drives people out of the Church.

Oh please man it's not like I called her mother a harlot. Nobody is that much of a creampuff and leaves the Church over something like that (although they may use it as an excuse).

I asked you a legitimate question as to how you are going to make her feel accepted, if her feeling accepted is conditioned upon us recognizing something that the Church forbids us from recognizing.

Did you not get enough sleep today?

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The OP has expressed how they has felt all their life: like a freak. If someone has felt like a freak, that means they have not had a great experience of God's love as expressed through the one place where they should feel it most: in the Church. Whether the OP suffers from gender dysphoria or it's a legitimate claim, the attitudes of people like you make people like the OP feel like they are not welcome in the Church and that God's love is reserved only for those who perfectly align with the teachings of the Church.

What attitude is that exactly? I never told her that she was not welcome in the Church. I spent half of my posts in this thread trying to convince @fides' Jack that some of his seeming conclusions with respect to her were premature, and that we should give issues like hers much more scientific investigation and ethical consideration before pronouncing definitive moral conclusions concerning them. We got into a little spat when she tried to force me to call her a man in a rather passive-aggressive manner and I refused, but it ain't like I got it in for her.

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I am not here to win arguments or prove that I am right. There are people far more educated on this particular topic than myself who can argue and demonstrate what the Church teaches. But what I do know authoritatively is that the Church teaches charity is to be followed by everyone, for everyone. The OP has not felt or experienced that charity, and even still chooses to be faithful in Mass attendance. That's amazing, and I admire that and I am so grateful that they do.

We'll I'll agree with you here that it is laudable that she is still in the Church and going to Mass given her circumstances. That is certainly a difficult thing to do, I imagine. That is something that I can respect.

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As a Catholic in a parish and a future priest who will be running a parish community, I want to know how I can make people like the OP experience God's love and to make them feel like they have a home in the Catholic Church even if they do not perfectly conform to everything that it teaches. I still have a home at the Church, even though I do not always perfectly reflect what the Church teaches, and I am not going to bar anyone else from it simply because they are in a different place with difficult struggles on their journey. God has a plan for them, and it takes place within the Church.

And for the record, if you came to me and shared that with me, that would not be my response. I would recognize that such a behavior is indicative of deep wounds, and I would indeed try to help you feel God's love and acceptance because you would very likely be dealing with an incredible amount of shame -- which would not be helped by my shaming you even further. This hypothetical you and the OP have known shame. But you might not know God's love, and that is where conversion begins.

Well, she can experience God's love in the confessional. That's a pretty good place to start.

As for your particular style of responding to my hypothetical, that's cool. I guess some people would be better served by that type of approach. But the priests at my parishes, what I am used to, they don't roll like that. They are much more fire-and-brimstone, and that's what some folks need to hear sometimes, too. Before I came into the Church, the priest I was talking to told me straight to my face that I knew what God wanted me to do, but I was delaying my entry into the Church because I did not want to be under God's authority, and because I enjoyed doing evil and did not want to stop. It was harsh to hear that but you know what? He was 100% correct. It was being faced with that harsh truth that helped me join the Church. Rationalizing my sinful behavior is what kept me away from Her.

And for the record I have watched porn before, and I wasn't ashamed of it. I did it because I enjoyed it, and because I wanted to do evil, in spite of God's love for me. That's the straight up truth.

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There was a priest once, who was called to go visit a man in the hospital who was dying.  This man had left the Church, and didn't want anything to do with God.  His family had pleaded with him to say his confession and he refused.  They were the ones who called the priest.

Well, the priest got there and tried to talk to him.  The man knew he was coming.  He was not angry.  He was not bitter.  He had made his decision - that is all.  He spoke with the priest who said all he could to change the man's mind.  Finally, growing impatient, the man asked him to leave.  He asked him before leaving, "You won't convert?"  His simple reply was "No".  

So the priest stood there, knowing the man had only hours to live.  He stood there and stared at him, saying nothing.  Staring intently.  The man asked, "Why are you still here?", and the priest said, "I've never seen a man go to hell before.  I want to know what it looks like."  That was what it took to reach his hardened heart.

The man did convert, literally on his death bed.  The prayers of his family had won him the graces to be sent a priest holy enough to be willing to speak the hard truth.  Without that, he would have gone to hell.

This is a true story.  

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PhuturePriest

I will add here the Orthodox wisdom, for you as a future priest, that if you in your work will be governed by various abstractions like “how can I convey God’s love for that person” you will fail – just like I would fail if while painting an icon I would think “how can I make this icon prayerful?” There is hidden pride in such a thinking because it assumes that one can “radiate love of God" or "paint a prayerful icon” while it is God who does it via people – providing that a person (a priest or an iconographer) surrenders to Him.

The only way to be a Christian (including a priest) is to intently listen to Christ and beg His to speak via unworthy you, to a person in need. And Christ may choose to be very harsh. This is why you have to have zero concerns about “being nice”, “being accommodating” or whatever. You simply must stop being who you are and let Christ act. And here is the thing: I do not recall Him being “nice”.

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1 hour ago, Anastasia said:

Conversion begins from repentance, the word that seems to be hugely forgotten in Roman Catholic Church in the West nowadays, unfortunately. One who is full of himself cannot know God's love. There is no place for God to enter; the realization of own sickness provides a necessary "crack" for God. It is simply the need "help me!" 

You are omitting the fundamental point: one does not need "perfectly conform to everything that it teaches" to be in the Church; one only needs to realize that he is not "perfectly conforming to everything that it teaches" i.e. his own sinfulness. You ignore the fact that the participants in this thread wrote what they wrote not because the person has gender dysphoria but because she insists that "God made her this way". 

My one simple response would be: why would I repent of something if I did not first know love? Why would I convert to Someone who had not shown me love? And how would I know that God loved me if the people who represented Him spent all their time telling me that I'm fundamentally disordered and not welcome until I am perfectly conformed in both deed and mind? Love is the basis of conversion, because what is first in action is last in intention (this is a Thomistic principle). The point of Christianity and forgiveness is not to conform ourselves to a set of rules because they've been dictated out to us -- that is Pharisaical. The point is a restored relationship with God, an eternity spent within the Trinitarian communio of love. And yes, this comes through repentance and conversion -- but that is the process to the point, not the point in and of itself.

This is an excellent video by Father Mike Schmitz that touched me very deeply, and it's on this same basic point. Beyond this, I won't respond to anyone except the OP because that's why I got involved in the thread in the first place.

 

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30 minutes ago, Anastasia said:

PhuturePriest

I will add here the Orthodox wisdom, for you as a future priest, that if you in your work will be governed by various abstractions like “how can I convey God’s love for that person” you will fail – just like I would fail if while painting an icon I would think “how can I make this icon prayerful?” There is hidden pride in such a thinking because it assumes that one can “radiate love of God" or "paint a prayerful icon” while it is God who does it via people – providing that a person (a priest or an iconographer) surrenders to Him.

The only way to be a Christian (including a priest) is to intently listen to Christ and beg His to speak via unworthy you, to a person in need. And Christ may choose to be very harsh. This is why you have to have zero concerns about “being nice”, “being accommodating” or whatever. You simply must stop being who you are and let Christ act. And here is the thing: I do not recall Him being “nice”.

Yeah you actually raise a lot of unique and and insightful points that had not crossed my mind before. It's got me kind of interested to check out more Eastern theology or spirituality.

I had thought that perhaps @PhuturePriest was virtue-signaling a bit and who is not guilty of that, but I think he has good, solid, intentions. My impression is that the approach he suggests is what is being taught at a good number of seminaries nowadays but I don't have firsthand knowledge of that. It certainly seems to be the kind of approach that a good number of Catholic parishes take in the USA today. I think there is something for being compassionate and understanding of people's situations, but at the same time I think we have to remember that evil exists and that people ultimately make a conscious choice to sin or not follow what the Church teaches, and we have to tell it like it is. You have too much of the former approach and we basically become evangelical Protestants and give everyone a license to sin, but if we are too harsh and nasty, yeah I can see how there could be situations where that is not the best approach, and could actually be counterproductive.

Perhaps Jesus was not "nice" but I think he was understanding and compassionate. In this thread at least, I'll admit that I could have done better with respect to that. I got a bit too vindictive I think when she did something I did not like. That was wrong.

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28 minutes ago, PhuturePriest said:

My one simple response would be: why would I repent of something if I did not first know love? Why would I convert to Someone who had not shown me love? And how would I know that God loved me if the people who represented Him spent all their time telling me that I'm fundamentally disordered and not welcome until I am perfectly conformed in both deed and mind?

There are legitimate questions but you somehow gets the same things missed all over again. Yes, it is very hard for, let's say, one who has been abused as a child by his family to believe in God. Many of such people do not believe, but not because some priest pointed to them their sins but because they experienced the same abuse (sexual for example) now in the Church which he attempted to trust. This is a real tragedy.

We say in Orthodoxy that Church is a hospital, we are all ill (the abused people often come to Church for healing and this is why the second abuse can kill them and it does). But how can you cure one who does not feel a need in healing? You are saying to someone "you are ill, it is a psychological condition which must be thoroughly addressed before you get your breasts cut off" but she ignores it. By the way, it is precisely the feeling a pain for such a person and the evil absurdity combined with some life experience that makes one who is dealing with it "harsh". You see someone about to mutilate oneself and you know what will be in a few years so you say it, even scream into the person's ears. This is love by the way.

As for the rest of your questions: God can pour His love on a a person not only via a priest or congregation members, He can give him love via a counter or a truck driver - providing that a person is open to God's love i.e. not proud. When a person is proud nothing can enter in and he is likely to change, unfortunately, only via much pain.

So, I imagine a good priest to be heartbroken when he sees the sin because he sees the damage it is doing to a person yet he is firm in naming a sin as such. He does not despise a person of course but desperately wants his conversion. It is a very painful dichotomy. Also, the Holy Spirit gives a priest (if he surrendered his ego to Christ) the ability to say the things necessary for each individual. Again - not much depends on you (or us), thankfully. Just allow God to work via you being totally faithful to Him and be open to what He wants (sometimes it will demand going against your own "good" desires).

31 minutes ago, Peace said:

It certainly seems to be the kind of approach that a good number of Catholic parishes take in the USA today. I think there is something for being compassionate and understanding of people's situations, but at the same time I think we have to remember that evil exists and that people ultimately make a conscious choice to sin or not follow what the Church teaches, and we have to tell it like it is. You have too much of the former approach and we basically become evangelical Protestants and give everyone a license to sin, but if we are too harsh and nasty, yeah I can see how there could be situations where that is not the best approach, and could actually be counterproductive.

I agree. However, if I am harsh most good Orthodox priests are not, meaning they are very harsh re: a sin (using the expressions which would shock Catholics I think) but somehow they manage to combine it with a very personal warm love for a sinner and understanding. I think it is particular grace of the Eastern Orthodoxy. 

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I think this talk is very relevant to the discussion

Spiritual Guidance and Counseling of Homosexual and Transgender Persons
by Fr. Vasileios Thermos, MD, PhD, Psychiatrist in private practice and Associate Professor at Athens Ecclesiastical Academy, Greece

 

I was trying to come up with the description of the talk but I cannot because the priest covered a waste territory. All I can say that it is non-judgmental yet very firm and with the knowledge of the matter. 

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CuriositasEtFidem

Hey just a quick aside, I had a little idea. In this thread, both for the sake of my dysphoria and all of your preferences, how about we use no pronouns at all for me? Just OP or Curiositas is fine.

On 2/26/2021 at 5:09 PM, PhuturePriest said:

Wow, this thread was a ride. I skipped after page seven, so forgive me if I have missed some massive things.

For my part, welcome! I am not on here very often anymore, but I am incredibly grateful that you are here.

Also, I am incredibly sorry for the way that some have treated you here with their rhetoric and approach. We might go back and forth on what the Church teaches on this issue, but what it absolutely teaches without ambiguity is that charity is the guiding principle of everything, and I am sorry that there has been a severe lack of it towards you.

I don't really have any questions for you in regards to theory, but I am curious as to how you feel Catholics could better support you. How can we make you feel more understood and loved as a child of God? Not merely in regards to agreeing with you and your choices, but more in terms of relationality.

Welcome to the dumpster fire!

        As for "how feel Catholics could better support [me]," I'd say first, education is important. Know what "being trans" exactly is, read a bit on gender (though take some of it with a grain of salt, because there's a lot of nonsense out there), and know what the transition process is like. That and listening, listening, listening. Listen to the actual experiences of trans and nonbinary folks, what they go through, how they see themselves, and how they relate to the world. We're not demons out to destroy the family. Most of us (except the radicals) just want to live quietly as ourselves and be respected. Also, don't tell me or other trans folks that we're going to Hell for being transgender. That's some Westboro Baptist Church type of nastiness.

        I used to do fencing (swords not construction), and I requested that my instructor use he/him pronouns for me. He didn't refuse, but from then on only referred to me by name, no pronouns at all. While that would be possibly "transphobic" to some, doing such a thing is certainly better than blatantly misgendering me.

11 minutes ago, CuriositasEtFidem said:

Hey just a quick aside, I had a little idea. In this thread, both for the sake of my dysphoria and all of your preferences, how about we use no pronouns at all for me? Just OP or Curiositas is fine.

Welcome to the dumpster fire!

        As for "how feel Catholics could better support [me]," I'd say first, education is important. Know what "being trans" exactly is, read a bit on gender (though take some of it with a grain of salt, because there's a lot of nonsense out there), and know what the transition process is like. That and listening, listening, listening. Listen to the actual experiences of trans and nonbinary folks, what they go through, how they see themselves, and how they relate to the world. We're not demons out to destroy the family. Most of us (except the radicals) just want to live quietly as ourselves and be respected. Also, don't tell me or other trans folks that we're going to Hell for being transgender. That's some Westboro Baptist Church type of nastiness.

        I used to do fencing (swords not construction), and I requested that my instructor use he/him pronouns for me. He didn't refuse, but from then on only referred to me by name, no pronouns at all. While that would be possibly "transphobic" to some, doing such a thing is certainly better than blatantly misgendering me.

Hmmm I don't know why all of that is italicized, sorry

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CuriositasEtFidem

I agree with @PhuturePriest about showing love. If you're (Not any of you, personally) at the sidelines of a pride parade waving signs and shouting about how people are bad and unholy and living in sin, why on earth would they leave the parade to come and join you?

Does not a dentist inject you with novocaine before they begin a painful procedure? I'm trying to get at something here, but can't quite find the words for it, so I hope that analogy clicks for some of you.

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