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(RNS) Episcopal chaplain Rev. Cameron Partridge talks about his journey from being a woman to a man, the limits of transgender "before-and-after" stories and why Harvard Divinity School and Anglicanism feel like home.

62 Comments

    • Who is to say that a person of male gender born into a female body is a mistake? Perhaps there is a reason that you simply do not see. Perhaps Trans* people are God’s way of challenging us to see the person beyond the body.

      • The idea that personhood has nothing to do with the body isn’t Christian, it’s Gnostic. This person has a fully realized Gnostic understanding of self, but let’s not confuse that with Anglican Christianity.

        • Your quite right that us is a modern version of Gnosticism. That said, Christ commands us to love one another. But remember, Jesus also made it clear that Satan is the Father of Lies. Christian charity requires speaking the truth with love. Apart from surgery needed to correct physical androgyny, the following assertions are all falsely premised errors in judgment: that same-sex sex and same-sex marriage are compatible with Christian life and the good order of society; that gender identity, by an act of the will, can be assigned regardless of gender assignment at birth. These “constructs” violate the 6th Commandment, the telos of human sexuality, the formation of the family and human generation, the fact and social purpose of gender differentiation, and the principle of non-contradiction. The body does not lie. God did not make a mistake in creating “the teleological Order of Things and Human Beings”. See Robert Reilley: Making Gay Okay. (Ignatius Press). The Anglican Church has clearly sold its soul to post-modernism. Cameron Partridge is not a priest in the Sacramental Order instituted by Jesus Christ at the Last Supper and therefore has never presided over an authentic Sacred Liturgy. His attempt to do so is a blasphemous sacrilege. He is not the natural father of any children since he was born a female and will die a female. See Robert Reilley’s excellent exposition of the natural law of human sexuality in “Making Gay Okay” (Ignatius Press)

          • RRR, some corrections: The contraction of ‘you are’ is not ‘your’. The latter is an adjective which means ‘of or related to you’. The contraction of ‘you are’ is ‘you’re’. Also, you severally use ‘he’ and ‘his’ to refer to ‘Cameron’. I believe the correct reference should be ‘She’? Thanks.

      • Ann Frenning Kossuth

        We are all brothers and sisters in Christ. We are all God’s children.

        Jesus said in John 8:7 (NIV): “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her” …or him.

        Whenever you seek within your soul to find love and acceptance for “thy neighbor,” and love one another as He loved us, that’s where you find God.

        John 13:34-35 (NIV)
        34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

        This is what Christ commanded us. Love one another. It is that simple, and also that profoundly hard.

        • You are quite right that Christ commands us to love one another. But remember, Jesus also made it clear that Satan is the Father of Lies. Christian charity requires speaking the truth with love. Apart from surgery needed to correct physical androgyny, the following assertions are all falsely premised errors in judgment: that same-sex sex and same-sex marriage are compatible with Christian life and the good order of society; that gender identity, by an act of the will, can be assigned regardless of gender assignment at birth. These “constructs” violate the 6th Commandment, the telos of human sexuality, the formation of the family and human generation, the fact and social purpose of gender differentiation, and the principle of non-contradiction. The body does not lie. God did not make a mistake in creating “the teleological Order of Things and Human Beings”. See Robert Reilley: Making Gay Okay. (Ignatius Press). The Anglican Church has clearly sold its soul to post-modernism. Cameron Partridge is not a priest in the Sacramental Order instituted by Jesus Christ at the Last Supper and therefore has never presided over an authentic Sacred Liturgy. His attempt to do so is a blasphemous sacrilege. He is not the natural father of any children since he was born a female and will die a female. See Robert Reilley’s excellent exposition of the natural law of human sexuality in “Making Gay Okay” (Ignatius Press)

    • Before one attempts to define if God made someone male or female, one needs to determine what makes a person male or female. Is it simply the visible portions of the body? Is it their DNA? Is it their internal organs? For most of us, they all match. However, some of us have disconnects where their brain structures are of the opposite gender of their outward appearance. Some of us even have genes of one gender and organs of the other (e.g. XY females).
      So if your brain is that of a male and your body has female parts, what are you? If God made someone this way, why should the rest of us not accept the beauty that He has given us in all His glory. Cameron did not choose to be who he is. He has accepted what God has given him and is working to forward God’s work as best as he can. As hard as it is for our limited minds to understand God’s plan, we must accept it and love all men and women.

      • You said: “Cameron did not choose to be who he is. He has accepted what God has given him and is working to forward God’s work as best as he can.”
        ————-
        I’m not sure if anyone really knows if that’s an entirely true statement or not.

        When people chose to have “gender reassignment surgery” and then take mass quantities of artificial testosterone and/or estrogen supplements to make their physical appearance “be what they want it to be”…that is self-will at work…not God’s will.

    • Holy. Crap. God watches this endless series of offenses and takes note – He recognizes that America IS the new Sodom, and I will not be at all surprised if He should decide to respond in much the same way that He did there.

  1. As a transman/intersex individual who graduated from a small seminary in Maine,I live with the daily misunderstandings, subtle, and blatant bigotry surrounding my personal identity. These articles shed light on the often dark taboos of what it means to be a person of faith who has wrestled with what it means to be nonconforming to societal and medical norms. Therefore, whenever I read them I am thrilled to see the progress we are making, and I am afraid of the “comment” section where hatred continues to permeate the goodness that all of us as people of faith are called to live into. Thank you Cameron for sharing your journey, and to those who must antagonize and offer hate, please STOP and ask yourself if you want that same pain placed on you. Amen.

      • Thank God we all have Frank around to tell us what truth is! By all means, grand sage, please do continue explaining it all for us. (Or, are you just the smart one who has figured out what God says the truth is? Curious how often God’s “truth” turns out to be the same thing as what such grand sages happen to believe.)

        • You don’t need me to see the truth. God already has told us. God made them male and female be fruitful and multiply.

          If you notice those that cannot find scriptural support for their beliefs simply attack. After all if anyone wanted to provide scriptural support for homosexual behavior and gender change they wold be out of luck as it doesn’t exist.

          • Thank you, Frank, for being a voice of reason for insisting upon reality and fact in a world ruled more and more by fantasy and feelings.

            After reading the various comments posted thus far, the attempts to justify wishful thinking while dismissing empirical data are highly indicative of where society as a whole has gone and continues to go.

            One hopes there is merit in arguing facts with people unprepared or unwilling to acknowledge that their positions are founded upon contradictory statements which defy, for example, the fact that males and females are, disorders aside, genetically distinct from each other.

            The substitution of highly malleable terms such as gender for the objective genetic identity of an individual, for example, by impassioned individuals seeking approval of their artificial or cosmetic alterations, is further confirmation that reason is frequently made subordinate to and suppressed by baser instincts.

    • I couldn’t agree more! This type of thinking is very sad and reveals a lack of any type of familiarity with LGBT persons as more than imaginary constructs in the minds of people who are dealing in stereotypes. They obviously know no real life Trans people and probably stay as far away from them as possible or don’t bother to really listen to those they may encounter. Like Jesus who sat and talked with the Samaritan woman at the well despite the shock and dismay of his disciples, and who made a hero out of the Good Samaritan who was more a follower of God than the Jews who passed the injured man by, we must take the time to love people without trying to cookie cutter them into our beliefs and our expectations. There are many ways to love and follow God and the people who judge others will be measured with the judgement with which they judge. It is amazing the number of people who presume to know the mind of God in the same detail as a scientist may reduce a little black beetle. I find it very offensive and I’m guessing God does, too!

    • Transgendered people have no doubt suffered even more prejudice than other gay people, as much or more than people whose skin is darker than “white.” Even more than women. That’s a great deal of prejudice. Its continuation is a sad commentary on an age when the opportunities to learn have expanded enormously. It shows we are not taking advantage of those learning opportunities. Instead, we wallow in our ignorance and the prejudices that come from than ignorance. To say nothing of mean spirits.

          • God does not make anyone gay or gender confused. Our sinful fallen world does.

            Where do you get your fallacious opinion from?

          • God made a Trans person? Then I guess you also believe He made pedophiles, murderers, ego-maniacs and every other kind of deviant or sinful behavior a person can fall into. “God made me do it.” Right. It’s called free will, and she chose to dress up like a man.

          • God did not make Cameron a “Trans” person. God made human beings in His likeness and made them “male and female” and commanded them in marriage to be fruitful and multiply. LGBT persons cannot by Nature generate human life. Their unions are and always will be idolatrous fornication. Regretabbly, she appears to have rejected the Will of the Father and with deliberation exercised her free will: (1) to choose a lesbian lifestyle; (2) to claim that, by an act of her will, she can change her gender and “identity” herself as a man; (3) to disregard Natural law and Sacred Scripture; and (4) to choose to decide to further corrupt the minds and hearts of her neighbors in the Anglical Church. She cannot arbitrarily elect to become a male and claim to be a “father and husband”. Nor can she “elect” to be a priest of Jesus Christ or to claim that “she” has consecrated the Holy Eucharist —transubstantiating bread and wine into the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ. She lacks both the maleness and the sacramental authority to do so. May God have Mercy on her and grant her the grace of full repentance for her egregious apostasy.

  2. I know that there’s a lot more to this story than what I’m reading here, so I don’t want to be too hasty or harsh about things.

    But these are very dark days for America, and especially for American Christianity.

    • Does new knowledge and honesty in facing that knowledge make America and Christianity dark? If so, it’s because certain Americans and certain Christians have turned off the lights.

  3. Interesting. I remember Cameron and his wife from BMC, and it is nice to get an update on their lives. Sorry about the troll comments–I am not familiar with this website, but I would guess they post here often :)

  4. Deborah Weekley

    Stories about “before and after” are very important to MANY transpeople! Especially those that know they are transgender from a very young age. It does not mean the buy into ” The Gender Binary.” The Transgender Community, must learn to recognize and celebrate diversity within itself…or how then can the world do so?

  5. This story can make many “straight’ homosexuals realize that they might be as prejudiced toward those feeling the need for full or part transgender surgery as straights are prejudiced toward “queers.”. It can be an experience that brings home the realization that the lack of knowing and feeling the conditions in another person can cause prejudice even in those people who suffer great prejudice. All prejudice comes from feelings that are grounded in ignorance of one kind or another.

    For centuries, many gay people, perhaps a majority, who haven’t felt the need to act like the opposite sex, dress like the opposite sex, or, most of all, seek to rearrange their gender physically, have felt and displayed the same strength of prejudice toward their opposites as straight people have displayed toward them.

    It can be a valuable learning experience if used properly. It’s a matter of “people in glass houses not throwing stones.” Cameron Partridge is a perfect example. Gay guys have often made ugly fun of “nelly queens,” even when they’ve enjoyed their “drag shows” or made fun of their behavior. They laugh at them, they applaud them for their entertainment, but the prejudice is often there, and it’s something we need to consider very seriously.

  6. As an straight married Episcopal priest, I will start by saying that I am BOTH for full Creedal-Biblical-Trinitarian-Incarnational Orthodoxy AND for full LGBT inclusion in the Church. In fact, I think that following the God incarnate in Jesus, who destroyed death by his bodily resurrection, actually entails practicing the same type of hospitality he did (and isn’t hospitality a much better term than “inclusion”?). And this entails embracing “others” who have socio-biological identities that are not dealt with in Scripture.

    Many would argue (myself among them) that Scripture doesn’t come anywhere near dealing with same sex attraction, and when it does it is only in a half dozen places that are speaking of cultic prostitution and probably pederasty. Nothing is said of an enduring orientation resulting in a lifelong covenant relationship between two men or two women. In addition, the Bible says absolutely nothing about Transgendered folk and the issues they face. Period. We have to draw on inferences and Scriptural trajectories, in addition to insights from biology and psychology, to determine the best pastoral care for these sisters and brothers.

    Yet, in the person of the “Eunuch” we find that God fully accepts the “sexually other” on the basis of Covenantal Love and faithfulness to The Lord (cf. Isa 56; Mat 19; Acts 8). Just as we can find ample examples in the Bible of God accepting the righteous faithful who are married, single, and even in plural marriage, so also we find God’s acceptance of the closest Biblical analogue we can name for LGBT folk: The Eunuch. This is the most fruitful trajectory in Scripture we can follow in understanding how Jesus wants to unite us all into the glorious diverse splendor of what it means to be his Body on Earth.

    I have ministered with a handful of transgender folk, and I cannot claim that I understand what they are going through, nor am I naturally inclined to be very comfortable with their issues. The challenges they face are almost wholly alien to my experience. But I know Jesus loves them and walks with them through the challenges of their path. And I also know that the most Christlike response is not to bash them round about the head with our assumptions of gender normality. That does nothing but produce guilt and shame for them not having a perspective that is as totally alien to them as their perspective is to me. Rather, I listen to them, pray with them, care for them, and affirm all that is good, true and beautiful in their lives as they seek to follow Jesus. And I hope they will do the same for me and with me.

    • Jesus affirmed Gods created order for marriage and sexuality. Male plus female. Anyone who claims anything else has rejected Gods created order.

      Sad how people try and jump through hoops with scripture to support how they want to live their lives instead of following Gods Will for their life.

    • Well, you are the opposite of orthodoxy.
      I am a orthodox christian and I tell you you are missleading people when you pretend being otyhodox.
      Those who spread words of lie are worshiping the Beliar.

    • Father, I want to gift you also with this:
      “Dinah was the daughter of the Patriarch Jacob. According to the Midrash, as recorded by Ginsberg, Dinah was conceived male. When her mother Leah realized that Dinah would be her seventh son and that she would have the majority of the destined twelve tribes, while her sister Rachel would only have one, she prayed to G-d that Dinah should be born a girl. G-d hearkened unto her prayer. A miracle occurred, the rabbis told us, and Dinah was changed to female in the womb. And so, from before the beginning of the Church’s history, the idea of M2F change after conception, whilst rare, is not all that novel. It also has G-d’s blessing!
      Here is a “T” in the Bible, if you know both how to look and where to look.”

  7. Pastor Carol Vincent

    This quote from Ecclesiastes, “Consider the work of God: Who can make straight what God has made crooked?” It a total misquote and self interpretation of scripture. When you take a sentence from the bible and make it fit your way of life regardless of all the many other scriptures that are totally for one man and one women to marry and live in God’s ideal way, is just one of many that try to make God fit man’s values rather than mankind live in God’s values.
    This passage has nothing to do with gender or sexual orientation and so is she/he saying they were born ‘crooked’? And does God make people homosexual? Have we forgotten that mankind is sinful and this is not God’s making at all. We are all corrupt and the heart evil above all things. We are given the opportunity to choose God’s way or continue in the way of man’s viewpoint. It’s not about who is right or wrong here as far as we are concerned, but what does God say and he says ‘a man shall leave his father and mother and become one with his wife.’ When you read the word of God, be hearers and doers of it, not change it to fit what you want it to say to fit your corrupt minds. One day we will all have to answer for what we have done with his word. The truth shall set you free and that means only the truth, not a twisted perversion of it.

    • “A man shall leave . . .” can be read in more than one way. Who are you to determine who God sees as a man? A transgendered man is a man; he was born with that orientation, just as those who are gay do not “choose” to be homosexual. I don’t believe that God makes mistakes. I do believe that he is wiser than any of us and has a well developed sense of humor and of compassion. Reverend Partridge differs from many other transmen in that he chose to disclose his story. Many more quiet transition and live their lives with no one the wiser; not an option usually open to MTF, many of whom will – sadly – never make a convincing physical transition. The DSM still treats gender dysphoria as a disorder, but it used to do the same for homosexuality and I believe, too, that with time gender dysphoria will become a “non-disorder” and be removed from the DSM. Dealing with gender dysphoria is not a choice; it is a life or death necessity for the person involved. Those for who are among the mainstream may never understand this. I applaud Nate Bostian’s position; in the most vibrant religious traditions, scripture is parsed and argued constantly in order to answer modern questions not directly delineated in the pentateuch, scriptures, gospels, or apocrypha. It cannot be compared with the practice of picking and choosing a line here and there and using it out of context.

  8. Me, me, me. Look at me. Hear me. Condone me. Celebrate me. Learn from me. The reason that so many distance themselves from lgbt politics is the unmitigated narcissism of presenting your sexual identity to the world around you for approval.

  9. That last comment seems to betray a lack of awareness of gay and lesbian couples, or young people, or both. I’ve known many older gay and lesbian couples and they are as mature, as respectful, and as grossed out by over-the-top displays of public affection or sexuality as any straight married couple.

    And I’ve worked with students for about 20 years and I can say that narcissism is very much a product of youth. Young couples- whether straight or gay- are often grossly public in the way they display affection. Young people in general are very me-centric and obsessed with figuring out who they are, and then having others respect and honor that identity. It’s part of developmental psychology.

    Don’t believe it? Hang out after your local high school lets out sometime and watch the drama. But the good news is that they grow out of it. Most of them. There are immature narcissistic adults out there of all varieties: Straight, gay, lesbian, etc. But thankfully they are the minority.

    So, if you are uncomfortable with LGBT folks, I would not blame that on some hastily constructed, poorly researched generalization that “all LGBT people are like…” Instead, be honest about your own feelings. Say to yourself and others: Their sexual otherness freaks me out and threatens me and I don’t want to be around them. This is not as healthy as accepting them as children of God, but is probably healthier than constructing false rationalizations for your prejudice.

    As for there being a demand to publicly recognize one’s sexuality: This comes primarily from heterosexual norms. One major facet of the sacrament of Marriage is the public, Covenantal recognition that two people have chosen each other for sexual intimacy and the raising of a family. So if you are really turned off by public recognition of sexuality, I would start by boycotting weddings, which are the most numerous and public of such recognitions.

    • @natebostian. You hear what you want to hear and rewrite or marginalize what you dont agree with. I dont need you to tell me what i think or mean. you missed ‘lgbt politics’ and ran off to your own immature fantasy world, where everyone either agrees with you or is afraid of otherness. you and your ill are the ones who are phobic-fearful of the valid dissent that wont join your parade.

      thanks to you, the narcissism marches on, via the ongoing drumbeat that proclaims that all who have other allegiances-ones that are at odds with lgbt politics-simply dont get it.

      since you have introduced the juvenile tactic of telling me who i really am and what i really mean, try this on for size; you are gay (dont say your not) because you are terrified of otherness and can only bear to be intimate with something like yourself. your need for acceptance that arises from self-hatred causes you to be a cheap conformist, trumpeting all the trending topics in the hope that someone will include you or pat you on the head. You are probably also trying to use your comments to solicit money from a rich gay patron….because you are lazy. You respond to the comments of others instead of writing your own because your imagination has been exhausted trying to fit in.
      When you done feeding your addiction to substance and daytime TV, your Mom will make you dinner and do your laundry.

      • natebostian:

        I am an Orthodox Anglican layperson who is curious about your LGBT quote: “As an (sic) straight married Episcopal priest, I will start by saying that I am BOTH for full Creedal-Biblical-Trinitarian-Incarnational Orthodoxy AND for full LGBT inclusion in the Church.”

        What do you mean by “full LGBT inclusion in the Church”? How do you anticipate full creedal inclusion of bisexuals in the Church, consistent with Christian Orthodoxy? By “marrying” bisexuals and their partners sequentially, according to their current sexual preference? Or by “uniting” one bisexual woman with a man and a woman?

        I seriously want to know what you think. Today’s prevailing assumption is that we should conform our religious views and customs to our desires, urges, and impulses. Don’t you believe that we should instead seriously attempt to have God inform us about these issues? We read God’s inspired Word in Genesis about creating man and woman in the image of God, and that they are made for each other. We hear Jesus decreeing that a man and a woman should leave their families and become one flesh. Forgetting for a moment thousands of years of societal traditions throughout the world, why are you so willing as a priest to deviate from God’s ordained prescription for the family, which is the basic governing unit of society? Whatever else it may be, same sex attraction is an evolutionary dead end. On this God and Darwin seem to agree.

        Respectfully,

        Charles

    • @natebostian
      I don’t know the situation in the US but in Europe gays, lesbian & trans lobbies are openly the most violent anti-christian movment.
      They say frankly they hate Jesus and christians in the medias, in shows ans theaters and they destroy churches, the insult priests, they hate the traditional style family openly and without any complex.
      The maconnic governments give them a lot of taxpayers money for their so-call “art” of blasphemy such as Piss-chist, Golghotha pic-nic, and other disgusting “shows” where they throw excrements on an icon of the christ and other incredibly offencive “performances”.
      On the other hand mayors are destroying or selling hundred of churches on a unprecedent scale such as Sainte Rita or Saint Jacques of Abbeville gothic-style churches in France :
      http://www.democratie-royale.org/article-destruction-de-l-eglise-saint-jacques-d-abbeville-116878741.html

      This is much more scandalous than the destruction of the giant Bouddhas of Bamian, because it’s done by so-called civilized people in the so-called civilized west, not by the Talibans.

      • I must comment here that they are probably reacting to the hate of Christians over generations. As my very devout mother wisely used to say, “Atheists are made by Bad Christians.”

  10. Thanks Gabriel for the comments. They are very illustrative of the point I was trying to make. I’ll keep them in mind when I call my mom who lives 600 miles away, when my wife and I feed our three kids with the fruits of my income, and when I work with my heterosexual supervisors at my job. You have taught me a lesson on being judgmental, and I will make sure to put in practice your words. Until next time, may the Risen Lord Jesus Christ fill your life with compassion, patience, hospitality, and love for those whom you disagree with.

    • @natebostian. NOW you take a sarcastic off ramp onto the high road. kudos. would that the lesson you learn from me is not to rewrite the words of another or reconstruct character into familiar profiles that you can then marginalize. it was you who saw fit to do so. the false paradigm that you and others present (either affirm my cause or you are an ignorant bigot) is childish and thankfully there are indications that it is collapsing under the weight of its own absurdity.

      i notice that you took the time to introduce facts (if they are so) to vindicate yourself in response to the broadsides of a stranger. why? dont like it when someone misrepresents you?

      dont hide behind Jesus now. his arch enemy is by definition a liar and accuser; reread your comment and tell me if that was representative of Christ. it is not; concerning me, it is just your lies and accusations, and representative of something else.

  11. i understand. civility is important to me too. i will discontinue participation in the discussion.

    it is regretable that rules of usage often permit incivilty so long as it is nuanced. I was accused of poor research, dishonesty, being freaked out, threatened, unhealthy, false, and prejudicial. I made no threats and used no profanity; i simply returned a heavy dose of these conversational liabilities to the person who introduced them.

  12. First this woman does not understand Gods Word yet teaches it?
    Next did they adopt the kids?
    Are they both women?
    Trying to understand this depravity.

  13. Gods WORD is in black and white and it hasn’t changed. God is not pleased with this world and its behavior. Whats wrong society is trying to make it right!!!! Whats right society is trying to make it seem wrong. Its not right and god has writing it out for you plain and clear. Women with women and men with men its WRONG..God is not pleased with it at all. Sin is sin their is no sin greater then the other. God is not pleased with this behavior.

    • You seem very certain that God is not pleased with this “behaviour.” Do you presume to know the mind of God? Are you a prophet? I believe what we are seeing here is your opinion based upon your interpretation of the will of God, not necessarily God’s opinion.

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