Version 0.6.2. You can also download the PDF version which is cleaner.
In this chapter, I'll explain Jerry Leach's positions and why they come up severely short of convincing. I want to emphasize again that Leach is the biggest person working to assist transgender people to live as cisgender. He is also the only Christian to apply pro-binary ideas in any depth; every other Christian is either affirming of transgenderism or they speak without education or experience.The former include Justin Tanis and Vanessa Sheridan. The latter include Glenn Stanton and Keith Tiller. Leach is a pathetic attempt at an ideology, but he's the best gender defenders have.
My thesis concerning Leach is simple: He is vested in his own experience as transgender so heavily that he is incapable of seeing other trans people as any thing other than slight variations on himself. Leach was a fetishist; therefore every trans person is a fetishist. Leach felt God was leading him away from transgenderism; therefore every God is leading every trans person away from transgenderism. Because of his stereotyping, blatant disregard for Christians, who disagree his disdain for scientific endeavor, and academic ineptitude, he is utterly incapable of making judgments about the emotional and moral state of trans people.
My sources for understanding Leach are his self-published booklet Flight Toward Woman and several articles written by himself and his wife hosted at his website, totaling about three hundred pages. As of writing this, information from his website is gone. Much of it can be read at my site at www.transchristians.org/people/leach/archive
Both Jerry's parents worked to support the family and his father always ensured they had everything they needed. While his mom worked, Jerry's grandmother babysat. He was close to both his grandmother and mother, too close he says. From age three or four Jerry displayed signs of femininity which he says now are incontrovertible signs of his trans gender identity. He even dresses as a girl in the home. His father is upset by this and expresses his disapproval. Since he is away so often, his mother's will dominates and the clothing continues through at least middle school. His father's emotional and physical absence, Leach says now, made him hate masculinity and he quickly clung to his mother's femininity.
After childhood, no mention is made of his gender except one conversation with a doctor in the Navy and a one conversation with his fiance. He gets married, thinking marriage will absolve his cross dressing feelings. While married Jerry is or becomes a fetishist cross dresser, using clothes in private to masturbate. Charlene, his wife, knows and hates it but neither make a strong desire to change for twenty years. Somewhere in that twenty years Jerry becomes a pastor despite that he says he is angry with God. Secretly, he starts cross dressing again. In 1976 he cut off his testicles, endangering his life, and starting receiving female hormones without a prescription. The whole time he hated what he was doing, feeling it was an addiction and abomination to God that he wanted to stop but could not. He and Charlene separated for a year. He repressed (my word, not his) his transgender identity for several years. Eventually the urge came back.
Now Jerry's preaching version and mine differ slightly. He said to an interviewer, "I'd like to clarify that you were saying that I was headed into the transsexual lifestyle. I was there!"transchristians.org/people/jerry-leach/leach-interview But Jerry never lived as a transexual who goes full time as a woman, he lived as a cross dresser who goes part time. Jerry had two lives. In one life he is still husband, father, ministry leader and with his job. In his other he cross dresses when his wife and kids aren't home. His only public or "social" activity is going to the mall and talking with clerks. Secretly, he has 15 visits with a psychiatrist hoping to get legal hormones and genital surgery. He knows that as a tranvestic fetishist they won't approve him for either, so he weaves a vast web of lies. He hides his masturbation with clothing and says he is living as a woman full time. He says he has divorced Charlene and has a male lover who wants to marry him after the surgery. He also tells that he has a strong social support network helping him. Most importantly, he says he is confident about his choices. For his lies he received a hormone prescription for a year and a half and schedules surgery. However, when he finally reveals to his psychiatrist that he does have mixed feelings she says he can't receive surgery if he feels that way and the surgery is canceled.
At the end of the 1980s he made the decision to turn away from transgenderism and seek healing. Though his healing makes up the bulk of his writing, the specifics are absent but he indicates a ongoing combination of social support, prayer, and journaling. He relapses, but does not specify how or when. By 1988 he began counseling trans people who want to be cisgender. He holds an M. Div. and is not a licensed psychologist though his main work is counseling.http://www.exgaywatch.com/wp/2007/03/no-standards-of-care-for-ssad/ He is one of just a handful of people outspoken about their change from being transgender to cisgender and the only one offering counseling and publicity. He operates Reality Resources for transgenderism and sexual addiction. His wife is a counterpart to his own work, counseling the wives of cross dressers.All of the above comes through his own statements or statements about him that he explicitly approved. The most damning are letters written by his psychiatrist and endocrinologist which he has retracted access to but are (currently) accessible through my website.
Without doubt, Jerry is a transvestic fetishist. He agrees and writes it often. A transvestic fetishist is a male who has a paraphiliaParaphilia is a re-occurring sexual desire toward an object or idea. It is different from a sexual orientation which is desire toward a gender. A paraphilia is generally considered weaker than an orientation. for wearing women's clothing and experiences sexual arousal which leads to masturbation and orgasm. To understand this, recognize that all humans experience attraction (sexual and non-sexual) to both others and themselves. I am told a person will enjoy sex the more satisfied they are with their own body. For a transvetic fetishist, this satisfaction is magnified into a sexual attraction toward themselves. Whereas a typical man takes pride in his maleness, a fetishist takes pride in (apparent) femaleness. If there were an official social heirarchy of transgender people, fetishists would be by far the lowest. His frequent orgasms narratives are disgusting and his purpose is to shame other fetishists.
That's the simple part. Now for the difficult. Science always wants to break ideas into their most basic building blocks to understand them, but the diversity of transexuals are notoriously hard to divide into neat categories. Nevertheless, psychologists have previously divided people who seek SRS into two categories. This is particular to male-to-female transexuals and does not hold for FtMs. Accurate or not,I want to emphasize I am not endorsing this model per se. Because so few people could fit into this model perfectly, it has long since been depreciated as comprehensive. For example, the model defines all transmen as primary, yet some transmen are attracted to men. Indeed, the whole model is heterosexist. The two sides are best understood as tendencies rather than as strict, categories.
However, the model is useful for those who do fit like Leach. It is still used by some psychiatrists to predict who is and is not a candidate for surgery and by the trans community to understand why 1% of surgery patients later regret it. here are some generalizations of these two groups.
In various places, Leach acknowledges that others before me have identified him as a secondary transexual. For instance,
They will claim . . . that the real transsexual is born that way; while the transvestite is nothing more than a sexual deviant getting his kicks out of momentary bouts of cross-dressing.Flight p124
"Real transexual" or "true transexual" are synonyms for "primary transexual" and "sexual deviant" is an archaic term for "paraphiliac." Leach only responds by saying that he must be a true transexual because he "truly" wanted SRS. This is a shallow response; it only responds to the word "true" and not the meaning. In fact, secondary transexuals tend to have stronger desires for SRS than primary transexuals.Apparently Leach was accused so often of not being approved for surgery that he eventually posted his letters of recommendation on his website. Those letters exposed just how much he had to lie and he quickly removed the letters but excerpts are available at transchristians.org.
The chart above shows unanimously that Leach is a classic example of a secondary transexual. He is extremely fetishistic, characteristically masculine, only attracted to women, and cross dresses for a long time before considering he might be transexual. What is most important about this model is that it predicts, and has been fairly accurate in the past, who will benefit from SRS and who will regret it. Psychiatrists generally do not approve of SRS for secondary transexuals. Leach knew this in some capacity because he lied about his sexual orientation and fetishism to get surgery.
I would characterize Jerry's gender identity as bigender or genderqueer, not transexual at all. An MtF transexual has an overwhelming need to live as a woman, but Jerry much preferred staying most of his life as a man. Because Jerry could not and cannot comprehend anything cisgender and transexual, he never considered these alternatives.
The more I think about Leach the more I find common ground between us. Let me articulate his ideology this way:
My whole life I have struggled with how I feel about my gender. I was addicted to using clothes to masturbate which created a wedge between myself and God and my wife. Then I thought I was really a woman in a male body, but the closer I came to changing my body the worse things got. I found wholeness from denying my desires and living as a man. Now I help other men who feel the same way.
I sympathize and can find no fault in any of that. Where we split ways is his stereotype that all transgender behavior and feelings are identical to his. If he would acknowledge his situation and mine are fundamentally different as I do (as he does with intersex people) we would be on the same side.
I agree that not everyone should follow their immediate instincts and transition into the opposite gender. There are some people for whom transitioning full time will not make them as happy as they anticipate. I do not, as Leach does, think I know the best solution for people I have not even met. Leach himself has chosen to live with the gender of men. I fully respect his right of self-determination. I think he chosen best for himself to not live as a woman permanently because he sounded neither happy nor conscionable while doing so temporarily. He briefly hints in an old journal, "Neither sex is mine. I belong to a third sex, one that hasn't yet been named."Flight p24 I wonder how he would feel had he experimented with a bigender identity. Faced with acting cisgender and transexual, I think he chose well. God honors humility and discipline and Leach has done both these things in his personal life in the form of repressing his transgender identity. God uses these things even when they go against the grain of psychology and I believe God has in Jerry's life.
Most of the theology that he includes is right on target and his only fault is that he applies it incorrectly. I will say that, hypothetically, if having a transgender identity were a mental illness, Leach would be writing a pretty good discussion on a Christian approach to it. Also of respect is the degree of humility which Leach promotes is astoundingly refreshing. A core concept of Christianity is dying to self which is rarely heard among Christians which Leach abounds with. Dying to self isn't heard among the trans community either. (How could we expect them to have such wisdom without knowing Jesus?) Growing into knowledge about my own gender identity required me to die to self, meaning I explicitly rejected any identity I previously accepted and prayed God would breath into me a more accurate likeness of Christ. Leach and I descended into that grave just the same but our resurrection garb is very different.
Also refreshing and honest is Leach's description of the Church's awful response to trans people. "This is the very place we, the church[sic], have failed them most. We have such a practiced art of shooting our wounded." Quoting Exodus literature, he accurately equates the Church's response to lesbians and gays with our response to trans people.
We have not been authentic. We have not had much to offer . . . We have been so fearful of exposure of our own sins that we have not been honest. . . . We have been so driven by our need to appear successful . . . We have been so insecure that we have been afraid to associate with a group that has been largely cast out by society. We have in some cases actually been the perpetrators . . . I confess on behalf of the Church that: 1. In many cases, we've been more interested in being right than in being loving, and have ended up being neither right nor loving. 2. . . . We've carefully crafted the appearance of being okay, and of being righteous when we're not righteous. 3. We've settled for a weak imitation of real Christianity . . . We've fed the very dynamics of shame which have been keeping people captive. Flight p47. Emphases his.
I want to emphasize his last point. That shame has kept trans people captive in private closets and and captive from whom God wants us to be. We disagree on who God wants us to be but we agree shame and silence do no one any good.
Gender refers to the basic essence of who we are as human beings. It is a mysterious, God-given assignment. . . . It is not to be mistaken for the physiological or anatomical hardware that defines one's sexual identity. . . . The chromosomes and other unique physiological formations are simply the compliant bodily response to the Divine Assignment. Flight p34
In Leach's cosmology of gender, there's a third layer lying underneath everything else explored so far. Part of God's creative process is assigning a person this ambiguous thing called gender; gender in turn determines a plethora of attributes: sex, sexual orientation, and everything we can call gender.
So while Leach doesn't think sex and gender are the same exactly, they will always correspond. A male will always be a man. In fact, Leach considers the words "male" and "man" as synonymous. In a moment we'll look in greater detail at what Leach thinks causes gender identity in trans people The chart above only applies to what "ideally" happens so far trans people the process is different. Leach does not specify whether he believes sex causes gender identity directly (as Freud does) or if it happens only indirectly as I will explain later. For comparison's sake, here's how psychologists trace the development of gender.
Note here that the causes of gender identity and sexual orientation are still disputed; namely, whether biology is the only cause, the dominant cause, or a cause more or less equal with personality and environment. Also note that gender behavior (role and expression) are on a different track from gender feelings (identity and orientation).
Some differences are obvious when charted visually above. First, Leach's model is far simpler; everything is linear and every effect is absolutely determined by God. The psychological model is more complex, with many causes; we could break it down further to include causes like the media, neighbors, religion, hormonal levels, genes, imagination, hobbies, etc.
Leach's model, by including God, extends beyond the borders of what science can explain fully. I personally choose the psychologist model and I would include God not at any one point but rather at every aspect of the process. God is less like a Watchmaker, aligning everything perfectly in advance, as God is a Teacher, giving us instructions and sometimes guiding us by the hand. Leach believes God determines gender; I believe God influences gender. Leach and I have something else in common: neither of us is willing or able to provide proof of why believe what we believe about how God forms or influences our gender. Scripture and Christian tradition are both silent on the matter and so are we. Leach seems to assume his reader already agrees with him and consistently asserts many accusations but rarely attempts to prove them. Due to Scripture's near silence and the fact I ultimately disagree with him, I also suspect Leach would be unable to prove anything. I will say a few things later.A note on semantics: For clarity, where I quote Leach saying "woman" or "man" for gender, Leach always means "female" or "male" as in sex. Because I use the words differently and more productively, I'll substitute the sex words for gender words in brackets for the sake of consistency. I'm am extremely careful not to change Leach's meaning. I may use God's given gender to refer to Leach's concept of God's assigned gender.
That's the cisgender case. Let's explore how Leach identifies the development of gender identity for a trans person. He always describes people born male and mentions that those born female are the exact opposite; I'll reflect that.
From conception, children are a part of their mothers and they have no cognitive awareness of themselves as anything but part of mother. The duty of the mother is to grow distant from their sons and leave room for the father to intervene and entice the boy into embracing manhood. When this process does not happen, the boy will end up transgender. This failure happens "When [the mother] becomes over protective of him"Flight p119 and/or by "the father who failed to affirm his son's [masculine] gender."Flight p119 This communicates to the boy that it is better to be a girl, like mom, than a boy, like dad. Through SRS, the person can fully reject manhood the one thing that marks them as male. Transgenderism is a poor attempt to heal the emotional scarring during childhood. In the chapter The Origin of Gender, I'll examine this in depth.
Leach widely advertises "hope for the transsexual" implying that transgender people can become cisgender. He doesn't use such technical terms though; he uses words like "healthy," "whole," and "pure." He says this comes through following the same path he did, social support, prayer, and reflection. A crucial part of the reflection is recognizing where their gender identity came from.
Healing results when you come to terms with the "root causes" for your life-choices; the reasons for your first experimentation with clothes and activities of the opposite gender. The first and foremost restorative issues have to do with coming to terms with, "What caused the early childhood disruption of basic trust, bonding with the same-sex parent, and the separation anxiety resulting from one's insecurity within the family." Steps toward Healing.
Unsurprisingly, Leach's view of trans people is equally simple as his view of gender identity development. Whereas the transgender community recognizes and celebrates gender diversity, Leach does not even realize there is a diversity within this alliance we have called Transgender. It's another set of examples of how he fails to understand transgenderism and is therefore unfit to condemn.
Psychologists observer a reoccurring phenomenon among various situations they name outgroup homogeneity bias. There is the ingroup, the group you identify with, and the outgroup, everyone else. People tend to think that people in the outgroup are very similar, more similar than they really are. This is the basis for all sorts of stereotyping, including the stereotyping of all trans people. With Leach, there is no essential difference between a transexual, cross dresser, drag queen, or transvestite and all these words are used interchangeably. The only difference between any of them is the degree to which they "reject their masculinity."
Imagine the audacious stupidity of someone saying the equivalent about race and skin color!
The trans community does tend to use the concept of the "gender spectrum," but we use it for beginners, recognizing it doesn't fully represent everyone and that some aren't on the spectrum. When we spend more than a dozen pages like Leach does and like this booklet, we use models that are much more complicated like those in the chapter Trans 101.
I summarized primary and secondary transexuals earlier cautioning that researchers have realized for decades that it does not account for every person. Nevertheless, Leach devotes an entire appendix to also dismantle the straw man argument of true transexuals, withholding enough information that a reader would never know how cleanly he fits into one category.Flight appendix Fetishistic Transvestite or True Transsexualism He is either too ignorant to realize or to deceptive to admit that no one in the transgender or psych communities view the model as comprehensive.
The model was originally created to explain the great diversity in transexuals. This was partly because there were psychologists who, like Leach, were trying to create a child developmental narrative by which to understand and explain trans people. They were frustrated by the fact that there were no common characteristics to all transexuals other than their transgender identity so they tried to gather the differing people into two categories instead of one. The model failed because two categories were not enough to adequately explain the incredible diversity among them and models since then have failed for the same reason.I'm referring to Ray Blanchard's work on his concept where he splits all transexuals into androphiles and gynephiles.
Leach is incredulous because he claims to have independently and quickly discovered a model that fits every single person. Leach is right to criticize the model also, but his alternative is even worse; from two inadequate categories he stereotypes everyone into one, single category. He takes one step forward and two steps back. If he were right, he'd have become famous years ago. As it is, he operates a one person clinic out of his house.
Why does all this matter? It is another example of the great diversity among transgender people - different identities, feelings, dreams, hopes, fears, development, and history. And Leach's response is yet another example of his jumbling and fumbling everyone into a single, monolithic description where few belong. Diverse problems require diverse solutions. The teenager who has felt this way all her life does not have the same problem as the middle aged adult who just recently started feeling this way. Leach says they do. Because Leach displays only one type (and the more unhealthy and extreme of the two types), he is only qualified, at most, to speak for the experiences of his own group, not everyone. This is comparable to a recovering alcoholic accusing a Christian of being a drunkard because she drinks wine responsibly. Leach can represent tranvestic bigender people or possibly secondary transexuals, but no one else.
I am convinced there are progressive stages in all of this behavior. . . . To be honest, we must come to terms with the fact that the trans-gendered person simply becomes hooked on his drug of choice and the cyclical return eventually demands more than what it did at the first.Flight p124
When any trans person goes through a process of discovery, they always travel through a progression from not knowing who they to knowing. For some, this progression has two stages, cisgender and transgender. Others understand their sexual orientation before their gender. Cross dressing (the act, not the gender identity) is a temporary stage for many because it's easy, private, and non-threatening like it was for me. I never felt bigender when I cross dressed because the secrecy and temporariness prevented it from fulfilling me. My final stage is genderqueer and the only stage where I felt completion. Most transexuals start by cross dressing. Like me they probably have a feeling that "this is as close as I can come to feeling right, but it's not me." Bigender people, the permanent cross dressers, are happy to live the same way the rest of their lives. I know several personally and the research and local Tri Esse is full of them.
So there are certainly stages in action, but Leach implies that every bigender person will progress to being transexual. The claim is so silly it is hard to answer. Listen to the stories of people and you can see. The idea is also completely absent in the academic literature. The only reason he thinks this is that he went from being an unhappy bigender person to an unhappy bigender person seeking surgery. The only progression was how far he would deceive his wife.
Only in the past one hundred years have cultures begun to understand that transgenderism and homosexuality are different from each other. Leach is a step backward. He believes that the source of both is the same, an overprotective mother and father with who they cannot relate.
"You know, I think we transsexuals are really only a bunch of homophobic-homosexuals. We have all the same love needs of the homosexual, but deny they exist because we have become so alienated from our own sex." I believe that to be true. Our repressed or latent homosexual desires are present in the deep-tap-roots of our soul, no matter how craftily we refute that reality. Flight p83 See 83-85
First, homophobia is extremely rare among trans people who have come to terms with their uncommon gender identity. I will not be so naive to say it does not exist, but I have yet to observe any homophobia. The trans community has always been allied closely with the lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) community and vice versa. However, I expect among the people Leach associates with, homophobia is prominent. Many transexuals are, Leach would say, heterosexual: females who transition to be men (transmen) and are attracted to men and vice versa. Asexuals and bisexuals are also common among the transgender population (and by common I mean much more common than among the cisgender population). Once you are able to break gender norms, accepting the breaking of norms of sexual orientation is a piece of cake. All of these people are enough to prove homophobia cannot be a universal motivation for transexuality. I have no doubt that because Leach's typical clientele are afraid of being transgender, they are also afraid of being gay. So again, Leach is surely correct speaking from his limited experience, but that experience poorly reflects transgender people.
This quote is also easily disproved from an unlikely source: Jerry Leach himself. Despite stating that transexuals are gay, Leach bluntly states, "I'm a heterosexual." Flight p28. This statement is never repeated nor alluded to again. He is so fond of repeating himself over and over and he makes enough organizational mistakes that I have to believe that including his orientation was another mistake. Likewise, only once in an interview in the far corners of the Internet does his molestation briefly come up even though molestation is supposed very important. I was first befuddled why Leach was so shy about his orientation while so explicit about the rest of his sexuality. It is obvious to me now. Not only his he heterosexual, but his entire narrative which guides all his views has at the center theme that all trans males fly toward femininity. Gay males, however, do the exact opposite; they are attracted to masculinity. He does acknowledge this but cannot explain the obvious discord. If "Same-Sex Attraction Disorder and Gender Identity disorder go hand-in-hand,"Flight Fetishistic Tranvestite or True Transsexualism p3. Despite the authority implied by capitalization, "same-sex attraction disorder" is not a proper noun. and a transexual male has the same problems as a gay male and more so, the transexual should also be attracted to men. If a transwoman is attracted to women, she must be a whole different animal. Because most transgender males are attracted to males and the myth tying gays and trans people close together is so pervasive and persuasive, Leach cannot give up allying himself with those ideas too. In his zeal to use people misconceptions to motivate his ideas, he creates a complete and obvious contradiction.
Now layer another problem on top. Articulated well here, "[Transsexuals] are nothing more than normal heterosexuals with gender identity disorders often complicated by a same-sex attraction disorderFlight Fetishistic Tranvestite or True Transsexualism p4 ." In other words, everyone is heterosexual; some people are also homosexual. If this were true, there would be no monosexualMonosexual: Someone attracted to only one gender. homosexuals, only bisexuals. Heterosexual + homosexual = bisexual. Instead, few homosexuals are bi. Some Christian lesbians and gays who believe their orientation cannot change but still believe acting on it is immoral and so repress their same-sex romantic urges. If they were heterosexual underneath, they would be willing, able, and eager to engage in heterosexual activity. This thinking is disbelief in the very concept of sexual orientation itself. Instead, it is belief that anything not heterosexual is emotional co-dependence.
Not content to jumble all MtFs, FtMs, cross-dressers, drag queens, and gays all into a single category, Leach spares nothing and includes independent women in there too! showing he just doesn't understand any trans person that doesn't fit his own experience.
"Envy and jealous can lodge in a [female]'s heart too. She can idolize the so-called advantage and power that men supposedly had been given." Flight p64
So a female wants to have a good career, preach and she can't do that as a woman she she tries to do it as a man. Remembering that when Leach started in the 1970s, it was much less acceptable for Christian women to have as much influence as men. The younger, more liberal generation of Christians were able to see what their secular counterparts were doing, but Leach clearly wasn't there. [is this paragraph diluting leach?
A male to female transman shared once that his mom had reflected on his masculine identity saying, "I know you're an independent [female] and it's hard and in our society and you can't be that without being a man." To which Matt replied, "But it's not!" It's not hard to be an independent female in our society, thank goodness. Transmen are not Joan of Arc, just pretending to be men for the power. Later, Matt's mom reconsidered, saying, "I guess it's actually harder to be transgender than to be a woman." "Yes! Finally you're starting to get it." Being trans, any kind of trans, is vastly harder than being cisgender. (Well, at least a gender normative person without any trans feelings.)
I have to wonder if Leach would say that female politicians and pastors are transgender since they don non-feminine clothing. Have you ever noticed that liturgical robes, though traditionally worn by men, are not masculine? They transcend gender because during the service, the priest symbolizes God who also transcends gender.
Some will try to make distinctions between transvestism and cross-dressing. I do not.
The difficulty of this assertion is that it demands that every single trans person, like myself, who says they are not fetishistic is lying. Dr. Ray Blanchard did something similar, asserting that every secondary transexual is fetishistic and lies about it. He has received intense criticism for it, and even he believed primary transexuals and transmen did not have a fetish. When we witness Leach talk about transmen, it's obvious how much he is stretching.
[T]he medical community views [fetishistic] transvestism as the use of clothing from the opposite sex to achieve sexual arousal, simulation, and final orgasmic release through masturbation. That is true, but I clearly include [transmen] in this category since the only difference is that instead of physical orgasm being their chief goal, they find it emotionally stimulating or satisfying to dress in men's clothing. Flight p64
Let's get this straight: the one difference between cross dressing and fetishistic cross dressing is masturbation. Leach acknowledges they don't masturbate but includes transmen anyway. They have everything in common except the one characteristic that makes them different. Is he trying to pull a fast one or is he just an idiot?
Given, Leach has excessive experience with fetishism and I do not, but I do not think sexual arousal and emotionally satisfying are similar enough to substitute them. Thinking of things that are emotionally satisfying, few have anything to do with sexual arousal. Leach has little knowledge of female-born trans people or a worldview that is anything but overly sexualized.
It is impossible to speak for all genderqueer people, so I will only speak for myself. I was born male and while I do not identify as a man, I do identify as male. I love being male. I love my body. My feelings on this never waiver. I will never choose to give that up and never have I felt an inclination to do so. These feelings go against everything Leach believes. To him, embracing female is inseparable from rejecting male. He cannot comprehend one without the other. I also don't identify as a woman. I'm not a woman or a man, I don't want to be a woman, and I'm quite happy with this. This also contradicts the very essence of Leach's beliefs: every male trans person wants to be a woman/female. Not only does Leach believe in the gender binary, he cannot comprehend anything but the binary. He never acknowledges it even hypothetically. Since he does not understand our beliefs or relate to our identity, Leach provides no critique of genderqueer identity.
What is awfully ironic is that Leach several times harps on the dangers of labeling transgender people. It limits us by creating boundaries where we must live in someone else's expectations. Yet Leach is the most egregious transgressor labels I have ever seen among transgender writers. He should heed his own reference, "Don't be so quick to label others, especially not in an effort to hide your own shame."Flight Fetishistic Tranvestite or True Transsexualism p4
I have yet to find a better example of an anti-intellectual individual than Jerry Leach. By anti-intellectual, I mean expressing intense hostility toward intelligent people and/or science and education. This is wholly different from constructive criticism which works from the inside to improve these establishments. Anti-intellectualism works from the outside, complains that the system itself is broken and relies on non-scientific, non-academic means to progress their agenda such as rhetoric, anecdotes, logical fallacies, money, politics, or brute force. Think of the Roman Catholic Church, thoroughly out-smarted by Gallileo, resorting to threatening excommunication.
"I'm not trying to impress you with a scholastic clinical research project.[sic]"
Don’t be duped by the many so-called “latest medical studies” that support the continuance of the emotional malady. Every so-called scientific study fails to prove anything other than a theory treated like a fact. Pastoral Oversight Of Those Dealing With Transgender Issue
The classic, "theories do not matter because they are theories" rhetoric.
The popular cultural endorsements and the Medical Communities “blind-leading-the-blind” legitimization of applying surgical means to correct a mental illness, is preposterous at best! Pastoral Oversight Of Those Dealing With Transgender Issue
We are accustomed to bending our knees to the gods of science, believing that if a "scientific inquiry" turns up some kind of theoretical proposition, then it must be so. Flight p88
. . . today's so-called experts . . .Can Therapy Cure GID? http://sites.google.com/site/transchristians/resources/over-views/jerry-leach--in-sum/leach-debate-part-2
Leach quotes the DSM-III-R several times. If we were referencing the correct version, it would be his only real usage of science. He should have used the DSM-IV-TR as the current version as of the time of publishing. I could even forgive him for using the DSM-IV in his early draft and being too lazy or ignorant to update later. He manages to do worse by using a version already outdated while writing. This indicates he either 1) was too ignorant to realize a new version came out, 2) was too lazy to update, or 3) didn't like what the DSM IV had to say and misquoted someone else's work to substantiate his claims.
He references a couple other sources which are dubious at best. The Science Today Journal does not exist. If I could find it, it might be the only respectable science he references. (Harvest News, a church newsletter, is incorrectly referenced as The Harvest News Publication, a different church newsletter, multiple times.) On page 88, he references some people arguing with each other about genes but because unnamed "responsible reports" indicate this is similar to modern ideas about in utero hormonal levels, he demonstrates he doesn't know what he's talking about. In fact, the whole thing is lifted from an Exodus newsletter, implying he doesn't do research himself. Unsurprising. He also quotes Joseph Nicolosi of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality. Since NARTH has never done any research other than espousing anecdotes and repeating other people, I do not consider them scientific which requires taking part in the scientific method. He other articles do not attempt anything scientific.
At one point he claims to have helped "thousands"http://www.crosswalk.com/1291492/page1/ of trans people. Later, he says he has helped only 1,700Pastoral Oversight Of Those Dealing With Transgender Issue . If you do the math, if Leach met with each person for an hour a week, working 40 hour weeks (plus his writing, speaking engagements, church leadership, and family duties with no vacation, and all his clients who are not transgender), and worked with each patient for just one year, he would need over 40 years to work with 1,700 people. However, his first counseling ministry only started in 1987 and he says people need to be in therapy with him three to four years. Clearly the numbers don't add up.Further, in 2000 he said he had helped 1,200. http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=17438 Regardless, 1,700 is an unprecedented opportunity to do research. Unfortunately, he squanders it, trading it all for a few anecdotes and vast generalizations. If he had just one interview with 1,700 people, he'd already be considered a leader in the field. The absence of research by himself or others indicates how little he cares about science, good or bad, or he is not a good enough "psychologist" to comprehend the research. We get no quantitative or even qualitative analysis which he would obviously strongly identify with. Even his own story, which fills over a third of Flight Toward Woman is so incomprehenable and incongruent that has little scientific value.
One might expect that those who claim that sexual identity has no biological or physical basis would bring forth more evidence to persuade others. But as I’ve learned, there is a deep prejudice in favor of the idea that nature is totally malleable.Surgical Sex
[W]e in the Johns Hopkins Psychiatry Department eventually concluded that human sexual identity is mostly built into our constitution by the genes we inherit and the embryogenesis we undergo. Male hormones sexualize the brain and the mind.Surgical Sex
Whereas Leach views transgenderism as purely environmental with zero genetic or prenatal hormonal influence, McHugh thinks it is "mostly" genes and hormones.
He [a fellow researcher] found that most of the patients he tracked down some years after their surgery were contented with what they had done and that only a few regretted it.Surgical Sex
As I'll discuss later, Leach portrays all transexuals as unhappy with transitioning but McHugh says this is a minority. Further, Leach identifies all transexuals as the same, McHugh divides them into two radically different groups, called homosexual transexuals and autogynephiles. Autogynephiles, as the theory goes, have no homosexual interest which again contradicts Leach.
I certainly do not expect Leach to only quote those who agree with him on every point, but why quote at length multiple disagreements with himself? I can only guess that either Leach failed to comprehend what he included in his own booklet or he was so desperate for a real authority, whom McHugh is rightly or wrongly, that he sacrificed a few contradictions.
McHugh is not the only case. In the second and of three places to
ever use research, the third I will discuss in the chapter Intersex, he
quotes at length an anonymous and vague "medical research specialist."
One can only be suspicious that the "specialist" is kept anonymous and
their real title hidden. "Or, you could send him the e-mail you
received from Dr. Zucker where he says that "with GID persons it is
just called therapy, NOT reparative therapy."" "Reparative therapy" was
coined to mean therapy which repairs the old, wounded relationship with
parents to stop current homosexual attraction by Elizabeth Moberly and
Joseph Nicolosi, both of whom Leach quotes and supports. Leach et al
admittedly apply the exact same technique to transexuality. While I
cannot speak for a private correspondence between them, Zucker
thoroughly rejects this entire theory so he is right to say that he,
Zucker, does not perform reparative. The "research specialist" has not
done enough research to realize this.http://sites.google.com/site/transchristians/resources/over-views/jerry-leach--in-sum/leach-debate-part-2
(I am not clear why this person believes "reparative therapy" is an
insult. I only care that Leach does not realize whether or not he is in
that business.) Again, quoting the same "specialist" who quotes yet
another anonymous source:
In the case of transsexualism, there is no consensus amongst clinicians
about the effectiveness of psychological treatments but there is
evidence that, in a proportion at least, their perceived quality of
life may be improved by cosmetic and reconstructive surgery. http://sites.google.com/site/transchristians/resources/over-views/jerry-leach--in-sum/leach-debate-part-2
How does Leach not realize this is a stinging rebuke of his ideology? When he believes psychological treatment is completely effective and cosmetic and surgical treatment completely ineffective, this quote which is supposed to support him perfectly disagrees. In yet another quotehttp://www.thieme-connect.com/ejournals/abstract/eced/doi/10.1055/s-2005-865900 , the meaning is ambiguous. When reading the article, however, it clearly favors hormone treatment which Leach rails against. "In transsexual people, cross-sex hormone therapy is an important component of medical treatment. In male-to-female transsexuals, feminizing effects should be achieved before irreversible sex reassignment surgery (SRS) is considered." http://www.thieme-connect.com/ejournals/abstract/eced/doi/10.1055/s-2005-865900 It goes on to describe dosages and the success trans people have had.
The anonymous person also blankly cites several more articles to
support Leach. Of which I only fact checked a couple. One of these is a
qualitative analysis of a cross dresser which concluds,
"Pharmacotherapy with pimozide should be considered in cases of
doubtful gender dysphoria.""Doubter
gender dysphoria" is another reference that the medical community does
not blindly recommend surgery for all people. Puri, B.K. & Singh,
I. (1996) The Successful Treatment of the Gender Dysphoric: Patient
with Pimozide. Aust. NZ.J. Psychiatry; June; 30 (3):422-425.
What is he thinking? I can only imagine: He
never even read what he quoted, he is incapable of understanding the
words, or he is hoping through the scientific sounding language that no
one will notice he has no real scientific support. All of these
possibilities are consistent with his "counseling" and all are examples
[T]he medical community views transvestiticm as the use of clothing from the opposite sex to achieve sexual arousal . . . through masturbation.
This is typical of Leach's usage of transvestite throughout the book, which he also uses synonymously with cross dressers, transexuals, and transgender people in general. There are many problems with his entire concept, and this quote demonstrates them.
First, there is no term "transvestite" in the current scientific literature. There is tranvestic fetishism which is really what Leach means. The term used be transvesite as it was when Leach started his "ministry" decades ago. It was officially changed by the American Psychological Association in 1980. Either Leach hasn't done research since 1980 and doesn't let the "medical community" influence his work or he feels that "transvestite" sounds scarier.
Second, the medical community has nothing to do with it. This is the realm of the psychological community because they deal with the brain and behavior. The medical community serves strictly biological needs like sex. This is another demonstration of the confusion that happens conflating gender with sex.
Leach also says, "Many women are transvestites too."Flight p64 The American Psychological Association has never found a single one but Leach has supposedly found a lot. Of course Leach equates a transvestite with any female to male trans person. He never gives any indication that FtMs have defining characteristics of either a cross dresser or tranvestic fetishist: masturbating, sexual excitement, a strong identity with their assigned gender, or lacking a desire to transition into a fully men's life. Still, he insists, they are. Again, Leach molds all trans people into his own image.
The research gives an entirely unsupportive answer. In 1994, seven psychologists including such giants in the field as doctors Richard Green, Susan Bradley, and Ken Zucker co-wrote a paper studying exactly this question. In two different studies of about a combined 150 transgender sons and 150 gender normative sons, mothers were asked, "did you want or expect a boy or girl." If Leach were doing the research, his hypothesis would be that many more mothers of trans kids wanted a girl compared to mothers of non-trans kids. This didn't happen. There was no difference between the answers of the two groups.http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0902/is_n1_v22/ai_14824920/pg_2?tag=artBody;col1
Why, then, does Leach think prenatal gender preference is a cause of transgender gender identity? What about the hundreds of people Leach has seen of which "many people . . . have similar stories?" Probably because he had such a thing in his own life and humans tend to project their experience onto other people. I estimate Leach also makes the common error of accepting anecdotes - Leach is looking for this phenomenon and finds it, say, ten percent and makes a big deal out of it. But the ninety percent where he doesn't find it he ignores while he fixates on those who do fit his model. Leach makes no indication that he actually performed any actual count. Or simply, he is stereotyping.
Person A: Liver is a good source of vitamins.
Person B: That Person A wants you to kill your babies and eat their livers, so don't eat liver!
One person misstates the proposition of their opponent. Usually, this misstatement, the straw man argument, is an accident, not a deception. The fallacy comes because Person B lacks the information or intelligence to properly understand what the opponent is proposing. Person B proceeds to tear down the straw man argument. Because this argument was actually created in the head of a person who does not believe it, it falls down quite easily.
This entire chapter is in fact one large exposure of Leach's entire work revolves around one central straw man. Leach acknowledges only one kind of transgender person - himself. Talk about egotism! All this drag queen, feminism, cross dressing, and transexual business is just examples of varying intensity. But transgenderism rejects that all trans people are the same, just as it rejects that all people are the same. There very spirit of transgenderism to expect and respect diversity!
This is not the only straw man argument Leach uses. On page 88, he argues against Hamer's theory of genetic influence on sexual orientation. That theory was dismissed long ago! What is relevant now and has proven to be a landmark study was Michael J. Bailey's twin study of the early 1990s which proves beyond doubt that sexual orientation is influenced (by not necessarily fully determined) by genes.
Other straw man arguments Leach includes are using Oprah Winfrey as if she's some authority,appendix Transgender:Hope for those who Desire Healing p1 and that "gender [identity] was culturally shaped by the actions of family and other during childhood" Paul McHugh, Surgical Sex which actually characterizes pro-binary thought much closer than pro-trans thought.
I think it only fair to ponder a moment why Leach makes so many straw man arguments. It could be that Leach is just generally deceptive; he believes that transgenderism has too many good ideas so he hides them instead. Again, I like to give the benefit of the doubt, so I tend not to believe this. Another possibility is that Leach simply lacks the mental capacity to understand these concepts. This I cannot comment on. Or, perhaps Leach just does not have enough information. This is quite possible. The Internet has changed so much for transgender knowledge. Before that, and when Leach was in his transgender phase, they only way to get knowledge was to be a researcher (he clearly was not) or to be in a city large enough to have other trans people that get together. In Leach's time, Lexington, KY was probably not large enough. However, since then he's met 1,700 trans people and the Internet has made transgender books, articles, and viewpoints prolific if you look for them. Unsurprisingly, he seems to have little interest in research, listening to others, or having an open mind.
Leach's examples of regretful transexuals are personal contacts so all we can know about them is what Leach reveals. There is one exception: Renee Richards. Richards came to fame as a professional tennis player in the 1970s. Leach calls her a former "political advocate of SRS"Flight p112 presumably because even the strongest supporters of transgenderism don't really believe in it. However, The Advocate magazine which is a political advocate disagrees, as does Renée Richards herself."[S]he is hardly the firebrand activist some would wish a transgender poster child to be. I'm not an advocate," she says, reflecting on this publication's title. "I'm essentially a pretty passive person—a tennis player and a doctor. I'm not politically or socially what ordinary people would call an activist." http://www.advocate.com/40/icon_reneerichards.asp More importantly, she does even regret her transition. Leach quotes Richards from an interview and advertises her on his website and book. She writes in her autobiography about this very same interview.
I saw newspaper headlines saying, RENÉE RICHARDS REGRETS SEX CHANGE. The stories asserted that I had made this admission in an interview with Cindy Schmerler for Tennis magazine. Outraged, I called the magazine and was talk that the content of the interview had been made available for publicity purposes. Somebody along the line concluded that I was remorseful about my sex change. In fact, I had said nothing of the kind, though I will admit that I did utter the word "regrets" that day . . . In short, I have some regrets about my career path, but apparently the words "transsexual" and "regret" cannot appear in the same article without somebody shouting, "I knew it!"No Way Renee: The Second Half of My Notorious p278-279 Life.phttp://books.google.com/books?id=L81AoWNKDXEC&pg=PA278&lpg=PA278&dq=renee+richards+tennis+magazine&source=bl&ots=sdbRox9ExV&sig=qg1S5nVJIwQfbwOImWDLHyrkx_I&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=2&ct=result#PPA279,M1
If that's not clear enough, asked point blank whether she regrets SRS, she responds, "The answer is no."http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/01/garden/01renee.html?pagewanted=2&_r=1 After reading her book, it's clear Richards is a complex person who thinks for herself and she doesn't tow the transgender party line. Leach takes those complexities out of context to make it seem she fits his ideology. Besides having no regret, she dismisses Leach's idea of treatment, therapy, because she was "compelled by a secret drive that could not be suppressed, even with years of psychotherapy and every trick in the book."No Way Renee: The Second Half of My Notorious Life. p16
His record or regrets is not helped by his own story. Because he did not live full time as a woman, we did not fully transition. He did not even dress at home with his wife present.His wife, Charlene, says she only saw him dressed once, long before he did it regularly. Surgery is not crucial, but he believed it was but did not take that step. He cannot say he regretted living as a woman. How often is he misrepresenting the anonymous people throughout his writings? There are some known cases of people who do regret SRS but they are only 1%, far fewer than Leach would admit. Paul McHugh's article, which Leach uses mentioned earlier, attests to this minority too. This tiny number hardly enough to say transexuals regret their surgery, much less transitioning in general. This suggest the challenge for trans people is our gender, not our parents as Leach believes.
For years, his website advertised him having a phD, the top of every page saying, "Jerry Leach, Ph.D., L.L.C."Annabell Robertson. Transgender: Hope for those Who Desire Healing. (L.L.C. is not a compliment, by the way; it means his clients cannot sue him for any counsel he gives. That is good protection when you do not have a master's degree in the field, are openly ignoring psychology in general, and have no one to keep you accountable.)
Not having a master's, he certainly does not have a doctorate unless everywhere else he's bashful, citing only his M.Div. And if I have learned anything about his character, I have learned he is not bashful. There's more.
Jerry, with proper psychological counseling and aided by his faith in God was able to overcome his transsexual desires, stopping only days short of completing his surgical transition to female.Flight Fetishistic Tranvestite or True Transsexualism
It is curious that this writer refers to Dr. Brownston's counseling as "proper." The way Jerry tells the story, Dr. Brownston approved the surgery but this changed when he became honest with her. He had previously forged a divorce document and had not revealed his lack of complete identification as a woman and guilty conscience. He is not clear whether Dr. Brownston's eventually advising him to live as a man, as stated above, or as a woman, as he portrays all therapists and scientists. "Why is the medical community so completely accepting SRS as the only truly effective treatment for the trans-gender individual?"Emphasis mine. This is a running theme throughout his writings. Indeed it is not as he attests by his own experience. When prompted in an interview, he also reveals his lies.
In fact, one of the new therapeutic modes instead of having the basic surgery done is to go strictly with the hormonal treatment where, let's say a man can then begin to live as a woman strictly by the hormonal change.http://masteringlife.gospelcom.net/page.php?load=showint&interview_file=./interviews/Category__Transgender__Confusion/002.dat
Any trans person who has dealt with the medical community can attest to their frequent bias against us. While their research supports our ideas, many individuals are still swayed by the same prejudice as all pro-binary people. Leach ridicules the medical and trans communities promoting a "one-size-fits-all"http://sites.google.com/site/transchristians/resources/over-views/jerry-leach--in-sum/leach-debate-part-2 response to transgenderism, yet his response is far more constricting. We acknowledge transexuals, cross dressers, various people in between transexuals and cross dressers, drag queens and kings, cisgender people, and dozens of kinds of genderqueer people. Leach acknowledges one: cisgender. We think some people should transition and some should not. Leach everyone should do the same thing. We believe transgenderism is caused by, potentially, genes, pre-natal hormones, brain structure, and environment. Leach believes in only one. Yet he accuses us of a one-size-fits-all mentality.
Leach's conversion story seems to contradict too. At one time he says it was nothing special, just running into a couple at his church who offered to counsel him. Frank York. Laws Prohibit 'Transgender" Discrimination. March 03 2000. http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.printable&pageId=4057 In another version, the story is transformed into God audibly speaking while he has a gun at his head, telling him to seek out a social worker by name who becomes Jerry's salvationFlight. . Jerry tells the suicide and social worker story in another medium, but when God intervenes, God only gives courage, and not a person's name.http://masteringlife.gospelcom.net/page.php?load=showint&interview_file=./interviews/Category__Transgender__Confusion/002.dat
Leach doesn't make a point of directly about the immorality of transgenderism. I have to believe he feels it is so utterly obvious that discussing it would be a waste of his time. It's obvious that God always lines up gender with sex and it's obvious that when humans misalign them that people become neurotic. Remember Leach's role isn't as an activist but as a counselor and the only reason he has clients is because because people come to him already believing he has the answer. They few exceptions to this rule have no reason to stay around. Fortunately, there are a couple ideas he specifies that are supposed to prove or at least give evidence that living in one's gender identity is wrong.
If a Christian man becomes honest with himself, he will have to admit that he's in the wrong and at cross-purposes with the Lord's intention for his life when embracing the world's solution to gender confusion: SRS.Flight p44. I want to point out that only this first statement comes from Leach himself. The latter four are a lengthy quote from an ambiguous source.
This is an argument from conscience, building on Leach's personal and counseling experience. It supposes that every trans person knows deep down what is right - staying in their assigned gender. I personally know this to be false because I don't harbor any such feelings nor have I ever felt them. Living authentically with my gender identity has seemed the moral and healthy thing to do.There are, in a sense, two exceptions to this when I purposefully repressed/transcended my feelings just in case my feelings where blinding me to what God desired for me. Leach's response to me would be that I'm just lying. I don't know how to rebuff that except appealing to my record of honesty with those who know me personally.
More importantly, I call into question the merit of even using lack of honesty as a method. Any disagreement between any people could include the identical accusation of lying. I could just as easily purport that Leach is lying about his conscience as well, that he actually knows in his heart he should live as a woman but is too afraid of living dedicated to sincerity and the rejection of his family and community. I could go on and articulate an elaborate circumstantial situation integrating various attributes of Leach probably convince some people. I don't do that, though, because I believe it lacks the integrity of giving him basic of respect.
What is the fruit of my actions? Does it please God or edify and build up my brothers and sisters in Christ? Do my actions glorify God to the world? (Even though the world doesn't accept most trans-gendered people?) . . . So far I have . . . lost my marriage covenant.Flight p45
I agree wholeheartedly with the premise of this argument: A choice can be proven wrong if it has inevitable, negative consequences that outweigh the positive outcomes. I agree so much I've dedicated an entire, later chapter to explore this fully. For now, let's just look at the only fruit he specifies here, the lost "marriage covenant" here does not necessarily mean divorce." Adultery or any form of sexual immorality should be viewed as a serious breaking of the covenant of marriage."Charlene Leach. A Wife's Response to Unfaithfulness. http://web.archive.org/web/20020622133125/www.realityresources.com/wifesresponse.html Regardless, some transitions illicit a divorce while many do not.The wonderful spouse of Julie Nemecek and my friends Katie and Sheila come to mind. In pastor Dave Horton's long experience,"most wives tolerate the situation" while some do not and some rejoice in it. By the Grace of God p51 If already married, a transgender person should take their spouse into account when deciding whether to transition; I don't think any life decision should be made disregarding their spouse and trans people know this. But the spouse should never have veto power. Spouses should come together into a consensus, listening, understanding, and loving each other as themselves. If they do this, they will decide together to transition or not. If they do not, the fault lies in themselves and cannot be blamed on transgenderism any more than any other life decision can be blamed.
All my information on Leach so far has been from his own words. In the words of others, Leach does not support retaining marriages in all cases. His wife Charlene corresponds and counsels the wives of transgender males. She tells wives that if their spouse do not commit to become cisgender, even if the wife does not object to the transgenderism, she should file for divorce. Jospeh Cluse, possibly a client of Leach, was a transwoman who married a man but later decided it was God's will that they divorce. Jerry and Charlene even raise funds for legal counsel and encourage the wife to tell the employer her spouse is trans which promptly gets them fired in many places in the U.S. Many transexuals have fallen into poverty due thus losing their job, court fees, and child support. (Confirmed by personal correspondence who wishes anonymity. Confirmed by another email from Autumn Sandeen. Great fruit. Sandra Stewart knows two couples who were in contact with Jerry and Charlene and they encouraged both wives to divorce. "Fortunately, each have now come to an accommodation concerning her husband’s transgendered nature and are still married."http://gendertree.com/Reparative_Therapy.htm
Also just note briefly that this quote portrays the world as not accepting trans people. This is in sharp contrast to every other mention of the world as encouraging transitioning. Look no farther than the previous quote! While he tries to condemn us by association with the World, here he finds it advantageous to dis-associate us with the World to suggest that if our gender brings us shame, we are not glorifying God. Scripture tells us "If the world has hated you, you know that it has hated me before it hated you."John 15:18. NASB We trans people are murdered all the time just for expressing ourselves just as we Christians are murdered for our faith.
Most transgendered are in the TG [transgender] community. There are exceptions. The TG community has strong ties to the gay and lesbian community. . . . I have played the TG/Gay/Lesbian club scene and found most there most interested in one thig - sex. . . . No good associations here.Flight p45
Since we agree not every trans person is in the trans community, why is this a problem? There are cisgender and heterosexual sex scenes too. I am personallly in the community but they have never brought me to a gay club or bar or any bar. This was not even my choice; it has not come up. Some Christians will say we ought not to have any association with sinners like lesbians and gays. I could not hold this view in greater disdain! Jesus proved thoroughly there is nothing wrong spending time with tax collectors and sinners. Jesus believed them more righteous than most of the religious God followers!
I need to be Christ-centered first and that's it!Flight p46
This is certainly a good point for us all to remember. But being transgender does not require being self-centered either in mindshare or timeshare. It is true that transgender need to spend an unually large amount of time for introspection to understand our gender, but that is true whether we accept our transgender identity or reject it! For transexuals and drag queens who want to create a convincing image will need to spend time doing so, but they do so no more than genetic females. Transmen spend significantly less time on their transition and appearance than women. I agree with the principle, but there are situations where we must spend time on ourselves. No one would condemn someone for missing a church service for an important surgery. So too with trans people, we need to make sure we are well and it is better we take care of ourselves now than risk losing our sanity later. For the many trans people who committ suicide, they cannot love others as themselves from the grave.
Leach also responds to the assertion that the nature of intersex people has something to contribute to the conversation. We will look at that in the next chapter.