Last week I was interviewed by David Begnaud. Yes, we have the same last name. No, we’re not related. Basically, as soon as the first Begnaud set foot in Louisiana, our family trees forked, with him getting the gorgeous eyes and strong jawline while I got the super Cajun looks. It was a meandering conversation in the best way possible and David made it feel super casual while hitting all the topics he wanted to cover. It’s almost like he’s a national reporter for CBS or something. If you missed our conversation, here’s the link:
I was surprised at how great the conversation was. I was also surprised at how loud my earrings were. You can only cram so much into an hour and there were a few issues I wanted to explain more. So, let’s do it.
Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation are not connected
When I came out to my parents, I drew a triangle with one line missing. It looked like this:
I was born in the body of a man but I feel like a woman… that’s what makes me Transgender and why my Gender Identity doesn’t match my body. My sexuality is connected to my body but not my gender. While there are instances of a transwoman “switching” her sexual orientation after transitioning, I would argue that these people were Bisexual to begin with. My life would be a little easier if I was straight but… stubble and male musk and baggy Old Navy shorts? No thank you.
David asked me if I hold any resentment towards my kids regarding the speed of my transition.
I kinda misunderstood the question and didn’t answer it. My answer is simple: No!
My kids find themselves on a journey they didn’t ask to be on. So do my parents. So do my Aunts and Uncles and Cousins and Nieces. So do my friends. So do my coworkers.
My mindset is that I am inviting anyone to join me on this journey that wants to join me. Everyone is welcome. We are all on a lifelong journey to become more of who we really are. My journey is similar to yours in that way but different from yours in that my body is changing a lot more than yours will during that journey.
We talked about Christianity and you would swear that David and I were talking about different faiths based on what we said. We were actually talking about different perspectives.
I need to start by giving credit where it’s due. Most of what I’m sharing I learned from Michael Frost and Terry Wardle. This is just my collage of those two teachings. Let me pull out my pen for more shitty drawings…
This is known as a Bounded Set. It’s how almost every organized religion in the world is set up, including Christian churches.
A Bounded Set has boundaries… that’s why it has its name. The four boundaries are how we act, how we believe, how we look, and how we think.
I think that I act like Jesus. I try to love the people around me like Jesus loved the people around him. I try to be gracious and forgiving. I fail plenty… but I try. I’m a registered Democrat which means half of the churches in America like the way I think and the other half hate the way I think. I don’t know what I believe any more. I certainly look different than your average churchgoer.
When you add all four of those things up, even if I pass on everything other than right looking, I am outside of the boundaries that the church has established for who belongs. This is what I focused on while I talked with David. I was focusing on a Bounded Set.
This is known as a Centered Set. It’s closer to Jesus’ teachings than most churches are set up.
A Centered Set is similar to an Australian cattle ranch. Their ranches don’t have barbwire fences at the boundaries. They don’t need them because Australia is a huge fucking desert. What the ranchers do is put a water well smack dab in the middle of the farm and the cows learn that if they stray too far, they die. As a result, they maintain a close proximity to the well.
Jesus’ spirituality looked like this. He accepted everyone. He loved everyone (but religious dudes pissed him off). He gathered everyone to himself.
In a Jesus-Centric spirituality, it doesn’t matter how right thinking you are, how right looking you are, or how right living you are. The only question is “Are you drinking from the well?” There are very pious looking people that do well within Christianity but their souls are as dry as beef jerky. There are people, like David, who are way outside the defined ways of living that churches say are acceptable, but they have wrinkly skin because their souls are soaked through. This is what David was focusing on while we talked.
Do you see how we’re both right at the same time?