He Can Never Be She
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                                                                       He Can Never Be She Book Review
                                                                                                      By Gae Hall
                                                                                            “A Christian wife investigates the transgender phenomenon from a biblical perspective”.



Before I go any further I need to express that Gae does not make the case that being transgender is inherently sinful, and without that, any Bible quotes thrown at this subject are essentially meaningless. Gae does this with what I call non sequitur verses (Latin for "it does not follow") that have nothing to do with the stated purpose or heading.  I have examined a number of verses she sites and put them into context. 

The process of trying to do this review has been very frustrating and I have been trying to figure out why. I went in to talk to the senior pastor of our church and told him about the book and one of the things he brought up is that God is neither male nor female, a good point as I think Gae has the patriarchal painting of the old guy with the white beard as an image. On the drive home I realized what has been so frustrating in doing this is that is that Gae is so diffuse with biblically not backing up condemning statements, and there is no real way to refute what is not there. 

I understand that Gae was hurt by an apparently abusive husband a classic example of controlling and verbal, we do however have only one side of the story. Her husband who happened to be transsexual eventually transitioned and had SRS (sexual reassignment surgery). This is where the book comes from, a wife striking out at an ex-husband and painting the entire transgender community with that brush. What she does not realize is that those that identify as transsexual and have SRS are the smallest portion of the community- 4%. Throughout the book she also for the most part ignores the roughly 50% of the community that are female to male.  She does mention a couple of F to M's one who supposedly de-transitioned and now makes at least part of her living from that. Gae evidently does not know that the vast majority of the transgender community are crossdressers -80%,-including women who do not know they are transgendered because masculine expression. is culturally acceptable for them..

I have had one email exchange with Gae and I asked if she would agree with the statement that “you can not remove a Bible verse from its historical, cultural, and linguistic context and have it still be true?” and she has agreed with this statement. This also implies that it must be left in its biblical context with the verses before and after it taken into account. Unfortunately she has done exactly the opposite and in at least one key verse truncated it and cut the part that tells you who it was directed to, completely changing the meaning.

Gae uses the Amplified Bible which would not be my choice because of liberties taken.
“The translation gives the impression of being a good resource for study. However, it should be used cautiously because the translators sometimes indiscriminately associate general meanings with specific words without giving attention the specific literary and theological contexts of the biblical material. Indeed, they sometimes read their own theology into the translation." Down loaded 11/1/13 (http://www.cts.edu/library/documents/ChoosingABible-Vertical.pdf   

I will be using the NIV for the most part as I have found it to be closest to the original language and still readable. I personally own and use a KJV but understand its limitations. I also go back to the original Hebrew and Greek all of the commentaries I use are what would be found in a conservative pastors library, if he or she has a good one. In retrospect Having read the entire book and looked up many of the verses sited I feel Gae has a poor or no understanding of Hebrew and Greek and has made little or no effort to delve into context.

 Chapter1

What you see in this chapter is perhaps one of the models of how not to deal with gender issues in a marriage. It also very displays a marriage that is inherently dysfunctional apart from gender issues. It also portrays only one side of the story.

 In reading the history, it is a reasonable guess that her husband is in the autism spectrum, Asperger's, or at least exhibits many of the traits. This feeling was reinforced the further I got into the book.

Gae's description of his introduction of “Christine” seeing him dressed for the first time is so telling,  about Gae, “NO, this is not my husband. This is someone else. Someone I didn't recognize. Who was this with the mannerisms of a woman? Who moved to the sofa and sat with legs so daintily crossed? Whose hands moved so delicately? Who smiled with such affection? Those eyes look deeply into mine as if to say, look at me I like being like this don't you think I look good”.
   
There is an account at the end of the first chapter of Christopher and Gae seeing a gender therapist with a rather disastrous results and illustrates why I seldom recommend that anyone that is transgender go to a post-op transsexual who is a therapist. This was understandably traumatic for Gae. I will also say at this point, because a person is transgender it doesn't mean that they're not abusive. However out of the thousands of transgender folks that I've met, there are only two that I know to be abusive. There were so many things done badly by Christopher/Christine. But it also brings to light suicidal ideation on Christopher's part.

Chapter 2

We have the shift to Gae feeling that “trans-genderism” (her word hyphenation) is demonic. “Now I realized his problem was not simply a lack of common sense in terms of what it meant to be a man, or husband, or father but rather, there was a battle being raged for control of his mind. For Christopher being raped as a teenager had compounded his problem despite his protests. It was no coincidence that he had chosen as his closest friend, a man known for his homosexual tendencies. Clearly sexual abuse that given the devil at foothold in his life only God knows the lies that it been woven in order to entrap this young man.” There is no correlation between being raped and transgender identification. Nor is it a given that taking cross sex hormones will lead to sexuality changes. In this chapter we also see a shift to what appears to be more abusive behavior and Gae quotes only 2 Corinthians 6:14-17-
vaguely.

As she quotes it in the book, and I am trying to illustrate how you can distort a  Bible verse in multiple ways, using a “translation” that can distort, using only part of a verse, (truncating it), and leaving the “amplified” ‘notes’ out, and taking it out of the context of verses before and after.

"Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness and lawlessness. And what communion has light with darkness? And that accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part as a believer with an unbeliever? Therefore come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean and I will receive you."

2 Cor 6:14-17 this is the full quote from the Amplified Bible

14 Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers [do not make mismated alliances with them or come under a different yoke with them, inconsistent with your faith]. For what partnership have right living and right standing with God with iniquity and lawlessness? Or how can light have fellowship with darkness?

15 What harmony can there be between Christ and Belial [the devil]? Or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?

16 What agreement [can there be between] a temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God; even as God said, I will dwell in and with and among them and will walk in and with and among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. [Ex 25:8; 29:45; Lev 26:12; Jer 31:1; Ezek 37:27.]

17 So, come out from among [unbelievers], and separate (sever) yourselves from them, says the Lord, and touch not [any] unclean thing; then I will receive you kindly and treat you with favor, [Isa 52:11.]
AMP

I am adding the verse in context.

2 Cor 6:11-7:1

11 We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians, and opened wide our hearts to you. 12 We are not withholding our affection from you, but you are withholding yours from us. 13 As a fair exchange - I speak as to my children - open wide your hearts also.

14 Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 15 What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? 16 What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people." 

17 "Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you."
18 "I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty." 

7 Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.
NIV

As you can see from this she has distorted even this and on a number of different levels.

At this point she is setting up to leave her husband, who is apparently becoming more abusive and not getting the mental health care he/she needs. This is one of the areas I have real problems with only one side of the story there is so little that we truly know about the mental process Christine was going through.

I think I need to say that I am an evangelical Christian and that some of the strongest Christians that I know are in our community. I also know from talking with hundreds on transgender individuals of every identification you can think of and some you can’t, there far too many reasons many are non-Christian as a direct result of judge-mental christians (purposeful small c). I personally feel  many of them will hear “I never knew you” at the final judgment.

Chapter 3

This chapter concludes with her having left Christopher/Christine and returning to Australia. It's clear from Gae'sviewpoint that Chris was abusive verbally and controlling. Many of his/her actions particularly trying to control her and the children
through, for example not allowing them to learn French while they were in France,  controlling money as well as verbal abuse are clear. I have written to Gae suggesting that she, if she has not already seek counseling for the abuse. I know from personal experience with other women who have been abused that the scars from this can last a lifetime if not dealt with. The abuse also gives us insight into her very negative mindset and paradigm with relationship to the transgender community.

We have three chapters in which she tries to deal with her own feelings and issues, and i the process ally build in the readers, but which in reality have nothing to do with the stated purpose of the book. Very importantly we do not have the other side of the story. 

Chapter 4

This chapter is, in the current vernacular, a “Hot Mess”! 
"The Transgender Phenomenon" starts with the sentence “when I came face-to-face with the reality of my ex-husband's cross-dressing I felt entirely alone as if I was the only one in this situation. By the time his habit had progressed to sexual reassignment surgery and my life had spiraled out of control, I had learnt that countless others across the world had faced similar situations over the course of human history and today many still struggle to understand the complexities of gender identity confusion”.
This illustrates two points, that Gae views this from an addiction paradigm and that she has bought into the “gender confusion” meme that I often encounter among some in the religious right. This also points out that she does not understand the difference between cross dressers and transsexuals.

Throughout the book, Gae exhibits a great lack of understanding of what the transgender community is. Her only perspective is the apparently abusive relationship she had with her husband who is transsexual and what she has read. She is also now in an echo chamber of those who write to her very negative web site. The paradigm for transsexuals is very different from the majority of the community.
 

Gae appears to have a major problem separating gender and sex. As an example she says “in this book, I side with a method that has been used for the past 6000 years. I believe that an individual sexual classification is either male or female is based on the presence of distinctive genitalia and confirmed by undeniable biological facts. I believe any attempt to argue otherwise is contrary to common sense.” What she of course ignores in this are the intersex conditions that are outside of a simple binary male or female classification. She then goes on later in the chapter to pull what is in DSM-IV TR on intersex conditions which contradicts what she said earlier.
I personally have known individuals that are XXY, XYY, and to individuals of 36 known in the US that are XXYY. The last time I checked which was some years ago there are 72 different intersex conditions some of these such as chirima's where for example an arm can be an XX and the rest of the body and XY.

When I do class presentations I  say that put simply sex is between the legs and gender is between the ears and that it is very subjective and not necessarily dependent on what is between the legs. This leaves out sexuality, who you are interested in for cuddling and snuggling with, which is a separate but intertwined issue.

Note, while she does understand that intersex as classified by the Intersex Society of North America is the Disorder of Sexual Development she sets this apart as a physical abnormality. She either does not know or understand how sexuality and gender occurred during gestation.

Gae’s attempt at defining transgender terms falls far short of anything related to reality. She has used a first-person narrative in each case with that individuals expression of their view of who they are. Any time that you try and do this you bump up against the fact that how someone self describes is highly dependent on what they have heard. The language people use particularly to describe themselves will be almost entirely dependent upon what they have heard and what has resonated with them. The problem with this is that it is in reality their description and may not well translate into describing the rest of the community. I've often said that once you know one transgender individual, you know one transgender individual, and the variations on a theme are almost infinite. To use these self-descriptions, and most of them have negative aspects, and portraying them as being in any way representative of the community is deceptive at best. She does give a description after the narrative but these too are biased and in some cases wrong. E.g. “Although nowadays the term Transvestite is often regarded as offensive, it is used for person who adopts the role of a person in the opposite gender without going on to change their anatomic sex to sexual reassignment surgery. A derivative Transvestism is the colloquial term drag queen. A drag queen is usually a man addresses (or 'drag's) and female clothes and makeup for special occasions and usually because they are performing or entertaining as hostesses stage artists or at an event.”
There is diversity even here, most of the drag queens that I have interviewed or known are gay males who are not in any way shape or form transgender. I have met some drag queens who are transitioning transsexuals who can only find work as a drag queen, and I have known straight drag queens who are transgender that just love performing. To simplify she does not differentiate differences between fetishists crossdressers who express a feminine or masculine aspect a drag queen or king who entertains or a transsexual who seeks to transition fulltime and perhaps have surgery. 

Gae's efforts to explain what transgender is not uses DSM IV TR
1: persistent cross identity
2: intense discomfort
3: culturally unbeneficial
4: inappropriate self identification and
5: impaired functioning.

The intent of this diagnosis is for those who have a clinical difficulty. To boil that down it's a problem only if it's a problem, therefore this only applies to those that are having clinical distress. I am not a fan of the diagnostic and statistical manual and DSM 5 is worse than DSM IV TR

Gae is very dichotomous in trying to dismiss what is and is not transgender and there is a lot of wiggle room and her trying to say what is and what is not… I will go along with the research of Dr. MaryAnn Horton and say if you wear clothing of the opposite sex and get something out of it then it is crossdressing, and this can be that you feel more comfortable in it  e.g. women wearing stereotypical male clothing. This works on a number of levels and you can't make it a simple either/or proposition. 
Gae tries to dismiss the presence of those in the Bible that may have been transgender and are now identified as eunuchs. There is a very detailed discussion are we eunuchs on Gender Tree,
http://www.gendertree.com/Are%20we%20Eunuchs.htm  suffice it to say she and I fundamentally disagree. There is historical evidence that some eunuchs were intersex (born that way), really unlucky (captives in war that were castrated), and “made themselves that way” some of which were in all likelihood transgender.  
 

I can't spend the time countering every source that is used in this book and that is suspect, so I will only cover a few spectacularly off- in- deep -space references. The National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) which advocated reparative therapy  is noted for anti-gay junk science and can not get its articles published in peer reviewed journals and uses a “pay to publish” journal that will publish anything. The Southern Poverty Law Center has an article concerning NARTH http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-report/browse-all-issues/2012/spring/queer-science Which includes  “In fact, every major American medical authority has concluded that there is no scientific support for NARTH's view, and many have expressed concern that reparative therapy can cause harm. Most strikingly, in 2006, the American Psychological Association (APA) stated: “There is simply no sufficiently scientifically sound evidence that sexual orientation can be changed.” The APA added, “Our further concern is that the positions espoused by NARTH and Focus on the Family create an environment in which prejudice and discrimination can flourish.” You have only to do a search of NARTH criticism and you will find way too much.  George Rekers sited a number of times, an antigay activist caught with a rent boy http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/05/05/george-rekers-anti-gay-ac_n_565142.html Joseph Nicolosi also can not get articles published in other than a pay to publish.
 

Chapter 5

Now we get to the Bible verses and I will be selective (I could spend a month countering all of them) in choosing verses that can be documented as having nothing to do with transgender.

The one thing you need to understand is that nowhere in the book does she make the case that being transgender is inherently sinful based on what the Bible says, It is her opinion. The verses she throws at this subject are a non sequitur; they have nothing to do with the stated subject heading. To pontificate on what God wants based on supposition and Bible verses taken out of context is at best reprehensible and constitutes a falsehood and is a sin.

I am going to counter Gae's argument/meme that God does not make mistakes. It leaves out so much, We chose to rebel and the consequences of that are imperfection. Are we mistakes, perhaps, but maybe not.

I love this verse because when you dig into the Hebrew it is so rich in meaning.
Ps 139:13-16
13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
16 your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
NIV
This as you will see, is a very good translation but we need to fill some of the pieces in to get a sense that there is absolutely no question about “are we created this way”. You can take my word for it and read no farther. This says exactly what it sounds like. God created you Gender Variant.
I like this! Or wade through and see the subtleties.

13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.
The fact that man is manifest to God even to the very beginning of his nature, and in every place, is now confirmed from the origin of man. The word Create literally the “kidneys;” (not the heart), comes to denote the inward part, the mind, the soul, the seat of the desires, affections, and passions. The meaning here is, that God had made him; that the innermost recesses of his being had been constituted as they are by God; and that, “therefore,” he must be able to see all that there is in the very depths of the soul, however it may be hidden from the eye of man. You knit me together in my mother's womb, meaning that God put our parts together, as one who weaves cloth, or who makes a basket. The original word has, however, also the idea of protecting, as in a booth or hut, woven or knit together, of boughs and branches.

Psalms 139:14
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful,
I know that full well,
I will not merely admire but honor, this is not passive word but implies an active love, and gratitude. The word rendered “fearfully” means literally “fearful things;” suited to produce fear or reverence in our time the phrase [I am awesome].  The word rendered “wonderfully made” means properly to distinguish; to separate. [your works are
wonderful] not much question here. [I know full well], in Hebrew, I am fully convinced of it. We can see clearly that the works of God are “wonderful,” even if we can understand nothing else about them.
Psalms 139:15
15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
[My frame was not hidden from you] The allusion here is to the bodily frame, considered as strong, or as that which has strength. Known by God, even in its inception, when most feeble.
  [When I was made in secret] In the womb; or, hidden from the eye of man.  .
[When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,]. When I was woven together.  The Hebrew word-raaqam means to deck with color, and refers to the act of “weaving in” various colored threads.
Fashioned in a place as dark, as obscure, and as much beyond the power of human observation as though it had been done low down beneath the ground where no eye of man can penetrate.
Psalms 139:16
16 your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

[your eyes saw my unformed body] The “idea” in this expression clearly is, “Before I had shape or form you did see what I was to be.” The single word in the original translated “un formed,” is golem.  It occurs only in this place, though the verb-gaalam-is found in 2 Kings 2:8, where it is used in reference to the mantle of Elijah: And Elijah took his mantle, and “wrapped it together, or he folded it. The noun, is applicable to anything folded up or undeveloped; and would very aptly refer to the fetus, where all the members of the body are as yet folded up, Before the embryo had any distinct form, it was known by God.
  [All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be].
The Hebrew is, “all of them.” This to me says it all!

Rom 9:20-21
20 But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? "Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, 'Why did you make me like this?'"  21 Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?
NIV

Rom 9:19-24
O man, on the contrary, who are you who answers back to God in this way? A real knowledge of the true God makes such an objection preposterous. Paul turns to an illustration. What is molded will not say to the molder, why have you made me in this fashion, will it? Or, the potter has the right over the clay, doesn't he, to make from the same lump one vessel for noble purposes and another for common usage? This same lump one vessel for noble purposes and another for common usage? This illustration of the potter had been used very effectively by Jeremiah centuries before (Jer 18:4-6). Paul stresses the complete control of the potter over the clay in terms of that for which the vessel is to be used. The same material is used for both. But they are to be made for different functions, and so the potter gives each one a shape that accords with its intended function.

Gae uses a similar verse Isaiah 45: 9-10, 19

God only knows. We don't have a single answer, but remember that, woven of many colored threads.

Some of the rationalizations that Gae uses are beyond silly i.e. if God wanted people to change sex that he could have done it instantaneously.


What really puzzled me about this chapter when I got into it was that she keeps bold statements and verses that not address the statement. As examples.

Creation shows God's holiness uncovering the evil of trans-genderism

It then goes through a number of Old Testament verses which discuss the creation of man and how God saw that they were good. Then she says at the bottom of that section,” thus, that which deviates from or alters what God has determined is “very good” must come from the root of evil. Because the transgender conditions seeks to tamper with God's good creation of humankind, it is opposed to what God determined was good”. This leaves out all the imperfections that we see today including the fact that I now have to wear bifocal glasses and take a fistful of medicines because I had a heart attack.

Creation patterns all living creatures to multiply through heterosexual procreation.

Sorry there, Gae I did my procreating, three children and four grandchildren. So much for the canard that all transgender people are gay! But even if I were, I did an examination of what the Bible actually does say about being homosexual. It's about 10 pages long. After I looked at every verse and the original language, I came to a different conclusion. This also came from a time when there were not, how many billions of humans on the earth.

Creation reveals God's determination that male and female be distinctly different.

About halfway down this she goes into a discussion of “brain sex” which essentially contradicts most of what she has said and posits that genetics play a large part in this. We know from recent research that both sexuality and gender identity are combination of genetics, epigenetic (things that happen in the womb, endocrine disruptors) and literally God only knows. We don't have a single answer, but remember that we are woven of many colored threads.

Some of the justifications here are beyond silly i.e. if God wanted people to change sex that he could've done it instantaneously.

What bothered and angered me most was her pontificating on her understanding of the “will of God”. I would not want to believe in a God I can understand and while we have his word, the Bible is Very clear about being judge-mental and says Don’t it’s not your job! 

”Transgenderism threatens relationships and Trans-genderism and threatens the family structure”
I did a study with over 400 participants and the clear outcome was that apart from those that Identify as TS when the marriage ends in divorce crossdressing was not the cause though it may have been the lightening rod. Over 33% of marriages now end in divorce and that is also the number for Christians according to the Barana group (Christian researcher/pollsters) https://www.barna.org/barna-update/family-kids/42-new-marriage-and-divorce-statistics-released#.Unk6TyeFfTo 

“Transgenderism is universally regarded as a deviant behavior ”

I can give you example after example where this is not true in other cultures and even in ours, Many where transgender individuals attain prominence because they are transgender. Native American cultures often had three, four and even five gender roles, all considered normal for those cultures.

Gae recounts two individuals that have de-transitioned In each of the cases of ex transgender individuals  Sy Rodgers and Grace Harley there is a financial reason to be ex, they make all or part of their living on being ex and at least from what I can find on line their primary identifications appear to be homosexual which leads to the speculation that going trans was a way to deal with being gay. I heard Grace at a conference put on by Denise Schick of Help4families. My impression was that she did not come across as trans.
There are many examples of those who have gone “straight”, that in fits of candor admit they still struggle, or they have been caught e.g. Jerry Leach.
There is no reputable research that indicates that change is possible, suppression I know a number of individuals that are and I know from what they tell me there are deep spiritual and mental health costs. Dr. Robert Spitzer Renounced his infamous 'Ex-Gay' Study in which he said that sexual orientation was changeable though reparative therapy.

Shame

Shame and guilt are cultural. Gae quotes C.S. Lewis, possibly the greatest Christian philosopher of the 20th century and Gae refers to his feeling that there is the existence of a “natural law or universal knowledge of right and wrong written in their heart”. I think what he was speculating about are what anthropologist call cultural universals. My speculation is that his view of this however, was limited by his culture.
Cultural universals are specific behavioral elements that are common to every culture. A list of these “universals” was assembled by anthropologist George Murdock and include among other things, courtship, sports, dancing, games, family, religion and marriage. These apparently appear in every culture but their expression and affect can be very different culture to culture.

Shame and guilt are cultural introjects, the unconscious adoption by someone of the attitudes and standards of that culture. 

How many of us have a pseudoself/outer shell, to protect the inner self, constructed in childhood (8 to 10). This is the genesis of our loneliness. You learn very early on to hide parts of yourself that are deemed unacceptable, a gesture, a mannerism, a tender heart. We are conditioned by shame that our inner transgender self is not acceptable.

Shame is deadly! Shame interferes with any activity; it deadens interest, excitement, enjoyment and joy. This can lead to a feeling that we deserve rejection and disgust. This causes isolation, we do not want anyone to know. Those missed opportunities of friendship during childhood create a feeling of intense loneliness as we grow up.

The shell we have constructed, the pseudo self that the world sees ,is never quite real. When we do, or if we do break through that shell there is a tremendous temptation to totally break free.
What happens when we are out and have broken through that wall, and we find that the ones we trust most are trying to put those bricks back in the wall?  Bullough Bullough and Smith indicate that 75% of wives are tolerant but that is sometimes less than accepting, there is a big reality change for them here is an aspect of us that has remained hidden because of fear, shame, and guilt, it is who we really are and the one we love wants the shell! How are we supposed to feel?

“We are no strangers to walls. When the one within us is contrary to what society deems acceptable makes herself known, the bewilderment and the shame and the guilt and the fear of discovery causes us to build a wall around her to shield her from the rest of the world. Over the years the one who is so great a part of us tries desperately for acceptance. We constantly viewed that wall and felt secure.
Unknown to our other self, she was constantly eroding that wall from within until it could no longer contain her. We then had to acknowledge her existence. We had to make this side of us known to the one person we trust and love the most in hopes of gaining acceptance of who we really are.

A stranger, yet not a stranger has entered her life. A part of you not known to her looms over her. In defense she, too, builds a wall out of bewilderment, fear, shame, and guilt. She even builds a partition inside those walls but leaves an opening where you can come and go but through which your new side cannot.

We can only hope that through knowledge and understanding, this new barrier will also be eroded for it is built of the same materials: bewilderment, fear, shame and guilt. We can only hope they will use the tools of knowledge and understanding and trust to quickly destroy that wall again and give us another step toward total acceptance.”

Working toward reconciliation  I think what she is alluding to is that in theology, atonement is a fairly narrow doctrine that describes how human beings can be reconciled to God, The problem is that since God does not have a problem with being transgender... If this is related to reconciliation between spouses it is entirely one sided.

Immediately under this heading is “censure transgender behavior by setting boundaries of behavior” these include
1.     No cross-dressing of any kind
2.     No cross-dressing paraphernalia in the house
3.     No attendance at transgender support group such as a Society for the Second Self Tri-Ess, Seahorse Society etc.
4.     No permanent physical changes be made to the body
5.     No cross-dressing or other transgender behaviors in front of children
6.     Give an account of all activities
7.     Meet regularly with a Christian counselor and be willing to submit to their guidance and counsel
8.     Recognize the detrimental effect of his trans-genderism has on his wife and children
9.     Be accountable to an older Christian man specifically regarding trans-gender matters
10.   Demonstrate development of an attitude that desires change towards obeying God's will

Note number three: “no attendance at transgender support groups.” Cutting off all means of support and encouragement to cross-dress and express their female side is like cutting off the habits energy source as is the policy of Alcoholics Anonymous. AA advocate cutting off an alcoholic from habits that support the addiction.

She then states that transgender support groups are ”the devil's playground”.
I am the facilitator for a Tri-Ess group that meets in Ann Arbor, Michigan. A big part of its focus is on support for wives by other wives. It is also a place where crossdressers get the message to beware of gender euphoria stage that can damage a marriage. This helps many to hear from their peers that they need to be mindful of what can happen when transgender expression is not done with consideration and selflessness. They are also associated with a segment of the transgender community that is the largest, those that are not transsexual. This group serves crossdressers and families, far the largest segment of the transgender community." And, funny thing, there are some very strong Christians. Very strange for “the Devils. Playground”!

Gae's recommendation if these boundaries are broken is that there be a separation and ultimately a divorce if those boundaries are broken. According to her
1.     Separation demonstrates as a consequence to breaking boundaries
2.     Separation is an opportunity for sin to be acknowledged
3.     Separation opens the door to repentance
Aside from being punishing behavior, this approach wrongly assumes that God has a problem with crossgender expression. As always in any relationship, it is wiser for both parties to communicate, listen with their hearts, negotiate, and reach a mutual solution.

Gae ends the chapter with a discussion of why divorce may be necessary that it protects the children and that it opens up the way for remarriage, and two bold headings I think tell the story.

Divorce protects the sanctity of Gods pattern for marriage

Divorce protects a wife’s witness to her children and others 

Elsewhere she talks about not poisoning the well with the children and yet time after time what she says that she did with hers, did exactly that.

One of the things that I know from research that I did is that with regards to children their level of acceptance is largely dependent on the attitude of the mother, if mom is okay with it then the kids are okay with it. To quote Gae earlier in the book “If I had come to accept his Cross-dressing I was determined to prevent becoming so for our two boys”. At this point in the narrative she expresses that to keep peace in the family she had to give up the battle. I will give Gae credit at this point she appears to have not tried to poison the well with regards to her children, however unintentionally, she did exactly that, and unfortunately what this book will do will probably be the exactly that, poison the well for many children.

With the exception of the smallest portion of the community, those that are post-op transsexuals there is no reason for the damage that divorce can do to children, feelings of guilt, shame and unhappiness that they have.  

Chapter 10 was pretty much an extension of Chapter 9.

Chapter 11
Gae actually does a fairly good job of telling how to address children's questions and I won't fault her for that. But again, the underlying message that she gives is negative, and one of the headings is those who She emphasizes the need to protect their the children from evil and says “the very one who has been called by God to stand guard over his family's has brought evil into the family.” Which By characterizing the children's father as evil, she is not only being judge-mental, she is basically contradicting pretty much everything she previously said.

I know personally those that 'suppress' their gender to please wives and there is a cost, and as our therapist said to my wife “Sandra is an necessary to Tom as breathing”

Final Thoughts
Gae Hall never says that she believes in reparative therapy but there are certainly enough clues throughout the book that if she does not believe in reparative therapy (http://www.gendertree.com/Reparative_Therapy.htm ) then she does believe in the theory behind it, i.e. weak father strong mother. In this instance underlying paradigms set the tone for the entire book that being transgender is evil and comes from the devil… The problem as I have said before is that she never backs any of this up biblically, yes she does throw a lot of extraneous and non sequitur verses at the subject but she never proves her case

Certainly it is true that there can be a lot of angst when a person comes out as transgendered. If they have kept their feelings secret, they face even thornier issues of deception and betrayal of trust. Writing this has been difficult because there is so little of substance to refute.

It is disturbing that Gae appears to have made little effort to get to know people within the community and if all she is getting is email responses from those accessing her website or reading her book it will highly skewed. In a number of instances I have offered detractors an invitation to attend one of our chapter meetings. If Gae is ever in this country, I have extended this invitation to her.

To sit in judgment is a weighty responsibility for a mere human being. Each of us affects the lives of our fellow creatures, and we will all have to account to God. When people are condemned out of hand they are hurt. Gae's attitude may bring down marriages and separate loving families. She is willing to twist the Word of God to promote her agenda and assuage her own hurt. But I wonder if she has read the verse that says, "What God has joined together, let no man put asunder."

Last modified: 12/24/13