Monday, April 28, 2008


It's not PC, Words DO Matter

Ever notice that when someone wishes to demean or lessen when they write, they will put certain words into quote marks or use the word so-called prior to a word? I have seen people such as myself described as a person who believes they are "transgender" (c'mon now, quotes aren't necessary). And I have seen us referred to as so-called transgenders. Its not IS transgender. I'll admit, I'm probably guilty of using the quote marks, but I have avoided the use of so-called.

I wrote a couple of days ago about the quadrennial General Conference of the United Methodist Church which is meeting in Fort Worth, Texas. The issue of how the UMC will incorporate transgender people into the life of the church and ministry is on everyone's radar - the ministry of the Rev. Drew Phoenix is at stake.

While I would certainly like the UMC to fully accept people like me and accept transgender ministers fully and equally - like what the United Church of Christ did in 2003 - it is clearly up to them to make that determination. And I'll continue to say that it truly doesn't matter to me, what does matter is making a decision. Accept me or don't, then I will know whether I could ever join a UMC congregation or not. I am perfectly fine with that.

However, I would have hoped that the discussion, especially within a well respected, Christian denomination, been a little less demeaning and debasing. Some of the petitions entered refer to such things as "treatment" (in quotes as though the appropriate care ascribed and discerned by the World Professional Association of Transgender Health is mystical hokum), reference genital reassignment surgery as "mutilation" (my quotation marks as a citation only) and state "so-called Gender Identity Disorder". Well, it ISN'T "so-called", it IS Gender Identity Disorder.

I don't know what protocols, procedures or rules exist within the UMC regarding the content and submission of the petitions considered at General Conference, but I truly don't believe the referenda need to be demeaning, diminishing or debasing in tone. That is clearly inappropriate and, I would suggest, not Christian in attitude. A simply worded declaration - one way or the other - is certainly sufficient.

As I write this, my understanding is that the petitions to which I most object have received a "do not pass" recommendation from the committee considering the initiative. Those petitions, with the "do not pass" notation, will be forwarded onto the main plenary later this week.

I'll pray the floor debate will be more civil and honorable.

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