This coming Saturday, June 29, my daughter is getting married. It is a traditional wedding. A man and a woman. Under an arch. In the groom’s family’s backyard. The words at the service, as far as I can tell, will be the traditional words. I am very happy for the couple. I am very happy for the bride’s mother and father. Yeah, my wife and me. I’m very happy for the bride’s parents, indeed. Ah-hem.
I did dozens of weddings during my years as a pastor. All of them were traditional weddings, man and woman. I did a renewal of vows for a 50th wedding anniversary. The couple was very cute, even though he looked like and behaved a lot like Lee Marvin. (Watch Cat Ballou sometime.) I was a practicing pastor about 30 years ago. There were no other legal options. I once did an illegal wedding, without a license, in Iowa for a couple that would have been seriously hurt by what used to be called the “marriage tax/penalty.”
I never had the privilege of performing a same-sex wedding. This begs the question. Would I? It is one thing to think socially and politically about same-sex marriage. My gut, my mind, my convictions all scream, I mean SCREAM, for equal rights for gay men and women. Not just in the realm of marriage but I strongly support the Equality Act. Why wouldn’t I? I am gender dysphoric and receiving hormone therapy! Hormonally I am more female now than male.
So, what would I do if approached by a gay couple for marriage? This is still abstract because I have never done such a service. I have, nonetheless, provided marriage counseling for many gay couples, both FtF and MtM. No problem there. My denomination has been ordaining gay ministers for decades. So, I am surrounded by strong and positive thoughts, feelings and opinions regarding gay marriage.
Right now, if the couple were female-female (FtF), I would be more than open to perform the wedding ceremony. I’m not sure how I feel about male-male (MtM). My mind, my convictions are A-OK with MtM but my gut feelings are not so positive. This, of course, brings me to a dead stop and I am puzzled.
I am erotically attracted to females. If I were to undergo gender reassignment surgery, or bottom surgery as some call it, I would still be attracted to females. Therefore, FtF marriage is viscerally positive but MtM is too hard for me to think about — to feel through.
This obstacle must have something to do with my own experience of rape. I was raped several times by a male member of my own family. I was probably 5, 6 or 7 years old at the time. Even though it was MtM, I thought of myself, even that early on, as female. I was telling people at school that I was female or supposed to be female. I would sneak into the girls bathroom whenever possible to the consternation of my young friends.
I think the memory of rape, conscious and unconscious both mentally and physically, is so painful that the thought(?) of MtM intimacy is terrifying. I’ve been in therapy for years. This is the best I am able to think of and feel at this time.
So, why make a post out of this? If I am so motivated to be absolutely positive, even politically and socially active and liberal, with regards to same-sex marriage, my judgment with respect to MtM is severely clouded by my past experience. I wish I were still a minister and was asked to perform a wedding for gay men. That would probably be the most healing for me.
Personal experience is most likely one reason why people, especially politicians, have a hard time getting their heads and hearts around this issue. What do you think?