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Pope Benedict XVI says saving humanity from homosexual or transsexual behaviour is just as important as saving the rainforest from destruction.

The pope used his traditional end-of-year speech to say a few words about what he considers the important issues of the day. In a world where the practices of greedy bankers and corrupt financiers have forced the global economy into recession, and the insane policies of evil African dictator Robert Mugabe have caused the outbreak of a cholera epidemic and driven his own people to the brink of starvation, the 81 year old pontiff felt an attack on homosexuality and transgenderism was the best way to make use of his end-of-year address to senior Vatican staff.

Pope Benedict looks askance at gays and transsexuals

Pope Benedict looks askance at gays and transsexuals

At a time when a record number of homes even in more affluent countries are being re-possessed and many people find themselves unemployed and facing an uncertain future, the pope emphasised his total rejection of ‘Gender Theory’. While people are facing starvation, disease and genocide in the failed states of Africa – Zimbabwe, the Sudan and Somalia, to name but three of the worst – the 81 year old ex-member of the Hitler Youth showed where his priorities lie by saying that homosexuality and ‘Gender Theory’ are as big a threat to humanity as environmental challenges such as the destruction of rainforests.

 

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe raises his fist against the decadent West

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe raises his fist against the decadent West

Pope Benedict XVI explained that defending God’s creation was not limited to saving the environment, but also protecting man from self-destruction.

The pope warned that ‘Gender Theory’ blurs the distinction between male and female and could thus lead to the “self-destruction” of the human race.

Gender theory

Gender theory explores sexual orientation, the roles assigned by society to individuals according to their gender, and how people perceive their biological identity.

   

Gay and transsexual groups, particularly in the United States, promote it as a key to understanding and tolerance, but the pope disagrees.

It is not “outmoded metaphysics” to urge respect for the “nature of the human being as man and woman,” he told scores of prelates gathered in the Vatican’s sumptuous Clementine Hall.

The Catholic Church opposes gay marriage. It teaches that while homosexuality is not sinful, homosexual acts are.

In 2005 (his first year in office), Pope Benedict XVI upheld a ban on men with “deep-seated homosexual tendencies” becoming priests, and also described homosexuality as a “tendency” towards an “intrinsic moral evil”.

The former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith – once known as the Holy Office of the Inquisition – from 1981 until his election. His defence of church doctrine led to him to be called “the Pope’s enforcer” and “God’s rottweiler”.

Joseph Ratzinger was elected to the papacy in April 2005. At the age of 78, he was the oldest cardinal to become Pope since Clement XII was elected in 1730. Joseph Ratzinger was born into a traditional Bavarian farming family in 1927, although his father was a policeman. At the age of 14, he joined the Hitler Youth and was briefly held as a prisoner of war by the Allies in 1945.

Could there be another reason why the pope has used his end-of-year address to speak out against homosexuality and transsexuality? Perhaps he hopes that the traditionalist, ant-gay wing of the Church of England will depart from the Anglican Communion and re-join the Catholic Church.

It cannot have escaped the elderly pontiff’s notice that in July 2008 the Archbishop of the Episcopal Church of the Sudan declared that Gene Robinson, the openly gay Bishop of New Hampshire, “should resign for the sake of the church.”

In a press conference at the decennial Lambeth Conference, the Most Rev. Dr. Daniel Deng Bul said that homosexual ordination “is not what is found in the Bible” and that it is “not the norm of the Anglican world.”

Archbishop Bul, who serves as Bishop of Juba as well as primate of the church in Sudan, represents some of the most persecuted Christian minorities in the world, and lives in the country where Mrs. Gillian Gibbons was last year accused of insulting Islam. She was arrested, tried, and sentenced to 15 days in a Khartoum jail.

What had she done? Sheffield-born Mrs. Gibbons, mother of two, primary school teacher – and clearly a danger to the Sudanese state and to the whole Islamic religion – had allowed the seven-year-olds in her class at the Unity High School, Khartoum, to name their teddy bear Mohammed!

Did the pope speak out when the Sudanese government of President Omar Hasan Ahmad al-Bashir persecuted a harmless, 54-year-old English primary school teacher? Did he denounce this ludicrous, outrageous act of bullying? No, he did not – even though he is no lover of Islam. In 2006, in a controversial papal speech, the Pope quoted a 14th century Byzantine emperor who said the Prophet Muhammad had brought the world only “evil and inhuman” things. This provoked intense anger in the Muslim world. He recently generated more anger among some Muslims by personally baptising a prominent Muslim convert, Magdi Allam, who has been an outspoken critic of Islamist militancy and a strong supporter of Israel.

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For me then, how did it all start? When did I first have feelings of wanting to be a girl and/or wear female clothing? I could perhaps go back even further, and ask when did I first realise that I wasn’t a girl, and that I wanted to be a girl (or at least to dress and be treated as a girl)?  How did I discover that the world was apparently divided between two sorts of human beings, who wore two different types of clothing, and appeared to exhibit different sorts of behaviour? Some things were apparently okay for girls to do, but apparently not for boys, and vice-versa.  Likewise with clothing – girls could wear dresses, have long hair with pretty ribbons in it, but boys couldn’t. Why?  (Why indeed!)

Like a lot of people who became aware of their need to cross-dress in the 60’s and 70’s, the most important aspect of my transgenderism was initially focused on wanting to wear female clothing and adopt a female persona.  From a fairly young age, I started to carry this out in reality, raiding the washing basket for my sister’s bras and panty-hose, which I would put on in secret in the bathroom or down in the garden shed!

I avidly read any sensational exposés in the Sunday gutter press about people who had changed sex or were transvestites or drag queens.  I recognised myself in some of the stories, which I had to read secretly. As a young child, I was small, blond, fair-skinned and slightly built; if I’d had longer hair, I would have looked more like a girl than my sister.

I can remember, at the age of about four, begging my mother to let me put on one of my sister’s dresses.  On that occasion the most she would do was to put a hair clip in my hair, saying disparagingly:  ‘What would your father say?’

My father was a VERY masculine man; as a boy, he had been captain of his school football and cricket teams, and a champion boxer – he went to the same school as Henry Cooper, on the Bellingham Estate in South London (Henry Cooper was a heavyweight champion who fought Mumammed Ali, incidentally).  My father was very muscular, very hairy, very swarthy, and a bit of a bully. He expected me to be good at sports – which I wasn’t – I was in fact pretty pathetic at all sports. He must have wondered how he managed to produce a little blond squirt like me. In my father’s eyes, just about the worst thing to be was a sissy, or homosexual.

This was the late 50’s and early 60’s, before homosexuality was legalised in the U.K., so you can imagine the pressure on me to conform, in spite of whatever feelings I had inside.  I was intelligent enough to know that if I appeared in any way to be a sissy, or said that I wanted to wear dresses, my father would give me a good hiding, and I would have been bullied mercilessly at school.

So simply for survival, I pretended to be a ‘normal’ little boy and supressed any girlish urges and tendencies.

My mother was (- is, although she is somewhat frail now, at 87) a very strong-willed woman who did not like males very much. My mother has no idea that I am transgendered, and have been all my life!  I do wonder if her contempt for men and obvious preference for girls and the female sex had any effect on me – young children want to please their mothers, don’t they?  And my mother’s attitude to men must have been obvious to me from a very young age.  A few years ago, I found a photo (below) of me as a toddler.  I appear to be dressed as a girl, in a girl’s bathing costume, don’t I?  Was this a ‘one-off’ occurrence or had I already been dressed as a girl on other occasions previously?  I can’t remember, and there’s no way my mother would remember or admit to anything now.

boy dresses as girl

Baby 'Keith' dressed as a girl - the future Kate Lesley (Amber Goth) as a toddler

Another odd thing – I can remember my paternal grandmother saying to me, more than once, ‘Come here and let me cut your tail off and sew a button on.’  My father’s mother was a tiny, but hard and formidable woman who had borne nine children, seven of whom had survived; my father (the champion boxer) was her youngest boy.  So what was she doing saying things like this to me?  Was I so girlish and effeminate that it was just the obvious thing to say?  Was she trying to undermine my fledgling masculinity? What was going on?  And does any of this, on the part of two powerful women in my early life, explain my later transgenderism?

Or did something happen to me while I was still in the womb?  Maybe my brain got an accidental blast of female hormones from my mother while I was still in utero? Is that the explanation for my female brain gender and brain sex?

Or perhaps none of this is relevant?  No one really knows the answer to these questions, although recent research indicates the importance of biological factors relating to hormones, brain chemistry and brain structure – suggesting that trangendered people are born that way.  Certainly no one in their right mind would choose to be transgendered, in view of the discrimination we face and the difficult medical, social and cultural path that we follow if we decide to transition completely.

As a young child, I remember hoping and praying, as I went to sleep, that I would wake up a girl.  It never happened.  and then puberty hit, and I woke up one morning and saw that all was lost. There was a stranger emerging in the mirror – my dear little snub nose was growing and widening; my face was losing its childish features and becoming masculine. My voice started to break. I played with my hair, trying to brush it into a girlish style, but I was fighting a losing battle.  (This horror story will be continued…)

In the past I was what is sometimes called ‘an occasional TV’. I have gone for months and even years without cross-dressing, but lately I have got back into it again in a fairly frequent (and joyful!) way. I have been taking female hormones for about 8 months, and am starting to grow fairly obvious boobs. 

This is the second time I have taken female hormones; I took them for about six months a couple of years ago, then stopped, which I regretted.

This time I am carrying on with the hormones indefinitely. I don’t know where it’s going to lead or how far I’m going along the transgender path…we shall see. My partner (my wife of 31 years, Rosie) is enjoying the fact that I now have boobs, but also prefers to make love to someone with the requisite male parts below. Her ideal sex partner is perhaps a she-male, which is pretty much what I am becoming. How did this come about?

My attitudes to gender, feminine clothing, cross-dressing, sexual orientation, and to terms like ‘transvestite’, transsexual’, transgendered’, ‘she-male’, ‘drag queen’, etc. have changed and evolved over the years. I’ll get to that presently, because delineating the evolution of my own understanding of these subjects is partly tied up with the development, over the last 40 years or so, of social, psychological and genetic theories and explanations of transgenderism, ‘gender dysphoria’, or whatever you want to call it. 

According to developmental child psychologists, gender identity is established sometime between the ages of 1-2; at 18 months, most babies already have a notion of it, and where they fit in. The prevailing orthodoxy used to be to emphasize the importance of nurture over nature in gender identity development – the idea that one is mainly conditioned into one’s gender (pink for girls, blue for boys, etc.) I could quote the relevant academic references for this, but you’ll have to take my word for it, as this is a blog, not an academic treatise.

In the late 1980’s I did a dissertation for my Masters degree on the development of gender identity. There is still a copy of it in the University of Nottingham library, under my male name – and if you are interested in reading it, you’ll have to contact me through my FFG website (http://www.tgfiction.co.uk/ or YouTube channel (http://uk.youtube.com/user/ambergoth), so I could quote chapter and verse if I wanted to.

But suffice to say that social conditioning was considered to be crucial in developing a sense of gender, conditioning by parents and the wider society from birth onwards, being dressed as a girl or as a boy, and trained in the corresponding gender role, etc. This was very much in line with feminist thinking of the 60’s and 70’s. Girls and boys were conditioned into the acceptable norms of ‘feminine’ and ‘masculine’ social gender roles. Women are ‘made’, not born.

More recent theories on the development of gender identity and sexual orientation have tended by contrast to emphasize the importance of ‘nature’ over ‘nurture’ – it is suggested that much in the way of social bahaviour and psychological traits is genetically predetermined. There have been attempts to identify genetic factors leading to differences in brain chemistry and brain anatomy to explain transsexualism – is the brain of the male to female transsexual more like tha the brain of a woman? Likewise, can a ‘gay gene’ be identified which ‘explains’ homosexuality? Again, I could quote the recent research on one side or on the other – it’s out there if you want to find it – but it’s not within the scope of what I am trying to do now. 

I will just note in passing that I am firmly of the opinion that transgenderism and homosexuality are not just ‘life-style choices’ or ‘sicknesses’ that can be ‘cured’ or overcome with will power or the power of prayer. 

Fundamentalists of any of the three great monotheistic faiths who think otherwise are as bonkers as their religions. Yeah, that’s where I’m coming from, I’m an agnostic (sometimes verging on atheistic) secular liberal humanist and I have little time for god-botherers or creationists, the people of ‘faith’ who try to force their bigoted and intolerant views on the rest of us.

For me then, how did it all start? When did I first have feelings of wanting to be a girl and/or wear female clothing? 

Well. I’ll tell you that next time…

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