LDS Gender

For those seeking understanding of gender identity issues from an LDS perspective

Documented Case of Approved LDS Sex Change

This is a case I’d heard about over 20 years ago, but I recently found the actual reference for it:

The arbitrariness of gender-based privilege in exercising priesthood is illustrated in one example from the late 1980s. A former missionary elder underwent medical tests and was discovered to possess the complete reproductive and sexual organs of a female beneath a superficial, non-functional male organ. She had surgery to restore femaleness. Her temple marriage was annulled. It was decided that her priesthood would not be revoked, but she was told she could not exercise it. It was also decided that the priesthood ordinances she performed on her mission, including several baptisms, confirmations, and blessings, would stand as valid ordinances. When she was presumed to be male, she was allowed to exercise priesthood. People accepted her authority, felt the spirit of God, and considered her administration of saving ordinances to be valid. Yet she had the reproductive organs of a woman, not a man.

From: http://signaturebookslibrary.org/?p=981

One wonders if the Church at that period of time considered this to be a non-elective sex reassignment/gender confirmation surgery.

TransMormon Video

Found at Upworthy is this video of Eri Hayward, a male-to-female Mormon transgender girl in Utah:

I believe this video is a couple months old so I asked Eri’s father, Ed, if he had any updates and just received the following from him via e-mail:

The documentary reached 1 million views today. Also, Eri, Keiko (my wife) and I went to a screening by Sunstone and sat on a Q&A panel afterwards. Last week we were interviewed by Natasha Parker of Mormon Mental Health association and the podcast was released today. The response we’ve gotten from the documentary has far exceeded any expectation we had.

This has been really good for Eri. I don’t think she’ll mind me sharing this since she talked about it today during the panel discussion. The amazing thing is that, from what I can tell, our Stake President doesn’t seem concerned that she is transgender, just that she keep all of the commandments as a sister in the church.

There’s also a followup podcast at the Mormon Mental Health Association website.

Survey of Mormons who have LGBT/SGA family or friends

Take the Survey Here

The purpose of this survey is to assess how members of the LDS church feel about and relate to their LGBT* or SGA** family members and friends and how they feel about various LGBT religious and social issues.

If you are (or at one time were) LDS and have LGBT/SGA family members or friends, you are invited to take this survey.

Norman Spack on transgender teens

A third example of an active, transsexual Mormon

Looks like the dam is beginning to burst. This is not only the third example I know of of an LDS person who is transsexual and also active. It’s just the third one mentioned here on this website. At the No More Strangers blog an Ann Karvalos writes about, “Lessons Learned: Going Back To Church After Transition.” The whole thing is worth reading (not that every point made there is agreed upon by the writers of this blog), but here’s a couple good quotes:

For months, I had let fear and doubt keep me from attending. For a brief period, I had lost my testimony of the church. I still believed in the restoration, the Book of Mormon and in the gospel generally, but I made some common mistakes that keep many trans* people away. In this article, I want to discuss the lessons I learned in hopes that others will not have to go through this soul-wrenching experience.…

If you are a trans* member who has either transitioned or is considering transition, don’t believe the internet hype about the church. You can still be active in the church. You can still keep your testimony and sustain our (imperfect) leaders. Just like our pioneer forebears, the walk will not be very easy but is worth every step.

Another example of an active, transsexual Mormon

Over at KRCL.org there is a new podcast about Sara who is transgender and Mormon. The podcast is just about 4 minutes and she reports being positively received by the ward(s) and stake(s) she’s been attending, even when they know her trans status. The likelihood is that we will start seeing more acceptance like this.

Transgender Awareness Month 2013

Over at the North Star website they have recently concluded their first annual Transgender Awareness Month. This looks to be observed every November to coincide with the yearly Transgender Day of Remembrance. Most, if not all, of the entries posted for this year’s Transgender Awareness Month come from members of the North Star Gender group and represent a number of people affected by gender identity issues talking about their experiences with this topic.

LDS Trans Member in the News

Haven’t posted in a long time. I’ve got a number of ideas for new posts. For now I will just quickly mention a brand new news story. A number of Salt Lake news channels have been talking about the case of Leahnora Isaak, who was raised as a male yet is now living as a female. In all that time she has been an active member of the Church. Read more about the developments in this story at KUTV News (includes a clip from the TV broadcast). Here is one pertinent quote:

Tonight, the LDS Church issued a statement to 2 News regarding the case saying: “Each person is a valued child of God and we are mindful of our brothers and sisters facing difficult issues. Church leaders counsel against elective transsexual operations and such procedures may be cause for Church discipline. In some instances, local church leaders may seek counsel from leaders at Church headquarters.”

And at 4 Utah Leah is quoted as saying:

The scriptures clearly state that we are to be our authentic selves. It’s the gender not the sex. The gender is the eternal identity.

Here’s an addendum from someone who knows more about the case:

The substance of Leah’s circumstance of note was that she is a legal woman who has been requested to attend priesthood, dressing as comfortable for her (en femme) prior to Leah’s submission for gender change on church records.

“LDS Transsexual Policy: a Critique” by Brad Carmack

This video is being included here (and the editor of this blog agrees with some of the points made in the lecture while not fully agreeing with others) to call attention to this topic being discussed in more pubic forums.

New FMH Post

Just saw that Feminist Mormon Housewives has posted a blog entry about the subject of transgendered individuals in the Church with the crux of it being that we hear often in the Church that our mortal bodies are imperfect so that, armed with that information, it shouldn’t be too much of a stretch to grasp that with all the things that can go wrong sometimes somebody will have a mortal body that doesn’t properly convey the true gender of their eternal spirit. As with this website they appear to believe in the Proclamation on the Family as it is actually written, and not necessarily in interpretations that are forced onto it. I could include a quote from the article but the whole thing can be read in about a minute and a half so hop on over to check it out.

UPDATE: A commenter on the above-mentioned blog entry pointed out another such entry at No More Strangers. Here’s one cogent quote from that post:

There is no reason for the LDS church to feel threatened by children like Kristy. After all, what could possibly affirm the premise [more] that the gender of a human being is eternal and unchangeable than a person who is born in an unfamiliar body and yet knows his or her gender regardless? While Kristy’s embracing of the gender binary is not common to all gender minority people, it plants her firmly on a path consistent with LDS doctrine. Kristy is a woman spirit who was born in a male body. She is taking the appropriate medical measures to correct this problem. While her gender is eternal, the discrepancy with her sex is simply a result of being born to a fallen world where problems have been known to arise. It really can be that simple.

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