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God does not play cruel tricks

Mon 20 Dec 2004 In: Comment

The Creation of Adam This is the text of a Christmas sermon delivered to The All Saints Anglican Church, Hokitika, by Jacquie Grant yesterday. It was received with that rarity in any church, a standing ovation. The red summer sky was glowing ominously, the swirling black clouds cast shadows over the three-storeyed Victorian buildings that dwarfed the Plane trees that lined the streets in Sydney's notorious Kings Cross. There was a storm brewing. Could this have been a sign, maybe an omen, that tomorrow would not be a good day? At the bottom of the steep, short, narrow street, a flight of giant stone steps, which seemed as though they could have led to some ancient pagan temple, loomed in the gathering darkness. The 500 steps were built many years ago by the convicts who had helped to shape modern Sydney. The steps led to Upper Victoria Street and were a shortcut to the hustle and bustle of the main thoroughfare of the Cross, where the bright lights shone out like a beacon of hope. The two attractive girls with their bouffant hairstyles and heavy makeup, one as dark as the other was fair, were dressed to kill. They looked young, no more than fourteen or possibly fifteen, however, something did not seem quite right, this was not the place to come across two so young. Not in Sydney's infamous Kings Cross. This was, after all, the habitat of prostitutes, pimps, thieves, drunks, gamblers, and the like. Suddenly the scene changes. There is a dramatic squealing of tyres, shouting, and a sudden realization from the two girls that this is for their benefit. One screams and starts running toward the bottom of the street and what she obviously saw as the safety of the steps where no car could travel. The second girl, a little slower, also starts running and suddenly she no longer looks so fragile. Now her tight skirt is up to her waist, her high heel shoes in one hand and what a minute ago had been the long, dark, hair on her head, in the other hand. She ran quickly overtaking her friend in a sprint any Olympic athlete would have been proud of. Crack... whoosh, crack... whoosh, crack... whoosh... "They're trying to shoot us!" screamed the blonde girl as they leapt for safety and started climbing the never ending steps. "Quick. Jump over here" said the dark girl, her Aboriginal features silhouetted for a brief moment on the skyline. "No its too big a drop" was the reply and they continued toward the top of the steps to the sound of laughter and taunts from the waiting men below. Exhausted, and by now minus wigs shoes and bags they reach the top of the steps, the dark girl pants "Why do they want to shoot us?" The other replies "You know they hate us." "Got you now you queers" said the policeman, who had been waiting in the shadows knowing that their quarry would surely run this way, the only other alternative being shot and dumped in the nearby harbour. They grabbed the girls and threw them into the back of a paddy wagon for the inevitable beating and trip to the police station, the courthouse and eventually prison. "What charge?" asked the court clerk. "Offensive behaviour" was the reply. "How do you plead?" "Guilty," the girls mumbled. They knew if they said anything else the sentence and a further beating would have been worse. "Three months, Long Bay." said the magistrate and that was that...except for the final indignity on arrival at the jail. The girls were paraded in the open, stripped naked, heads shaved, and given a uniform. By now you must be thinking these two must have committed some terrible crime and indeed they had. They were transsexuals doing what felt to them normal and natural. They were dressed in women's clothes. The year was 1959. One of those girls, the dark one, died in 1980 from a drug overdose. She was unable to cope with the after effects of electric shock treatment and massive injections of male hormones to cure her of her supposed disease. Being Transgender. The other, as you may have guessed by now, was me. Now 46 years later I'm standing outside Parliament buildings. 5 to 6 thousand men are marching towards the gates and chanting “enough is enough” in perfect unison. Upraised clenched fists, black uniforms, polished shoes, the military precision was frightening, as were the foul comments and taunts coming from some of these so called men of God: "Kill all the queers for Christ," "Rid the world of faggots." "Burn faggots." etc. The Destiny march starts me thinking, what's changed over the last 45 years for people like me? Okay, we have had some law changes, they don't put us in physical prisons any more, but has much changed in the way society, especially the Christian church, understands or even tries to understand the position people like me find ourselves in? From my earliest memories I knew I was different to the other little boys I played with and went to school with. It was not long before they knew it as well and I was shunned, a loner, an outcast. "Sorry my mum won't let me play with you" was a common comment and I had no idea why. How does a little kid ever know these things, was it my environment? I was brought up in a strict High Church of England family. Church three times every Sunday. Was I corrupted by the priest or the choir master? No. They weren't guilty. Did I have a dominant mother? No. The opposite actually (can't blame her). It took me quite while to figure it out. I guess I was about nine or ten when I realised what was wrong. I was starting to have crushes on boys and liked the girls clothes better than what I had to wear. I quickly realized I was a girl, my parents had it wrong. I didn't wake up one day and suddenly decide "I'm going to be gay. I know, I'll change sex, that'll be so much fun, what a great lifestyle choice." That is as silly as it sounds, and is so far from the truth of the matter. After hearing my story could you really imagine why anyone knowing they would be vilified, hated, murdered, burnt, tortured, imprisoned, etc. would choose the gay lifestyle? The reason I have come here today is because I have recently been accused of hating all Christians. That is simply not true. I do not, and have never truly hated anyone in my life. What I don't like though, is people who hide behind a mask of Christianity and use the bible selectively to advance their own prejudices and hatred. Nor have I come here today to ask any of you to feel sorry for me. What I have come for, is to ask that you think about people from my community, and think about how Jesus Christ would deal with us, would he have turned away? Being transsexual or homosexual is really no more profound than any other difference between some people. Most people are born straight, but some are gay. Most people are born right handed, but some are left handed. More babies are born girls than boys. People are born with many different skin colours, eye colours and hair colours. People are a dizzying array of heights and weights. There are a huge number of differences among people, and sexuality just happens to be among them. It is God who has made every person as they are. Each one of us, and every part of each of us, is included in God's plan for us. That means God must somehow be involved with some people being homosexual. That being the case, why would His Word condemn homosexuality? There has to be a mistake in that reasoning. Or maybe homosexuals are themselves the mistake? If so, then God is playing a cruel trick, and we know God does not do this. "And now I give you a new commandment: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. If you have love for one another, then everyone will know that you are my disciples." - John 13:34 - 35 Jacquie Grant - 20th December 2004    

Credit: Jacquie Grant

First published: Monday, 20th December 2004 - 12:00pm

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