Resources on Transgender

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Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 28 2015 11:27 PM

The first transgender person I ever heard of was Walter Carlos, the composer and electronic musician, who became Wendy Carlos. Back then it was unheard of. I knew her back when she was a "him" from his Switched-On Bach recordings (synthesizer versions of Bach's music), and then was pretty shocked to hear of her conversion to a female. You could still tell by looking at her wrists, that she had been a man, because they were much larger than a woman's more delicate wrists.

Of course now it's more commonplace, but still makes many people uncomfortable. Christians in particular, because we're not quite sure what to make of this phenomenon in light of "male and female he created them." Did God make a mistake in some people and make them male on the outside but with a female soul (as Bruce Jenner claims s/he has always felt s/he had). I'm not sure about this female soul thing, but there definitely are intersex people, who have either both male and female organs, or have the organs of one gender but chromosomally or hormonally they are the other gender. So it isn't just a matter of how a person "feels" about what gender they are. I've seen a helpful chart that shows gender/sexuality as multiple continuums not just one.

One of the couples in my church has a daughter who was born male and transitioned to female, and they have fully accepted her new identity, though it took them a while to come to terms with it.

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 28 2015 11:47 PM

The above deal with Albanian burrnesha  which while not specifically transgendered provides a social position for a portion of the transgendered community.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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GaoLu | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, May 4 2015 7:18 PM

I had (back during the hippie era) a friend who self-identified as being asparagus or something like that. I wonder if there is a chart for that?   

He even wrote an autobiography and gave me a free signed copy which I can't find. Tolly Burkan, AKA Tolly the clown, sort of started the global fire-walking interest. Years ago I think he called it "On fire for the Lord," or something like that.  He claimed to be a Christian at some point, though I don't know his current status.  

His case isn't really transgender, but it might be trans--[what]?     

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Dan Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, May 4 2015 10:32 PM

That would be, I suppose, trans-species.Stick out tongue It has been said God makes no mistakes but in a fallen creation many things go awry... I just hope all God's children can find happiness and wholeness.


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Everett Headley | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 5 2015 7:52 AM


Thanks for the article on Sworn Virgins, I had never heard of that.  Very interesting. 

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Dan Starcevich | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 5 2015 1:11 PM

I think Robert Gagnon's work is the definitive source for dealing with historical, grammatical, issues

He was also on a recent Unbelievable! podcast in a heated discussion with a gay affirming anglican theologian. It is worth a listen.

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James Hiddle | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 5 2015 5:20 PM

Gao Lu:

I had (back during the hippie era) a friend who self-identified as being asparagus

Wow I had a friend that self-identified himself as being broccoli Stick out tongue Big Smile

Sorry couldn't resist. I think you meant aspergers.

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Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, May 6 2015 10:24 PM

James Hiddle:

Gao Lu:

I had (back during the hippie era) a friend who self-identified as being asparagus

Wow I had a friend that self-identified himself as being broccoli Stick out tongue Big Smile

Sorry couldn't resist. I think you meant aspergers.

No, he probably really meant asparagus. He added the parenthetical comment "(back during the hippie era)" so the friend was probably doing drugs.

Asperger's was virtually unknown back then anyway. Hans Asperger described the symptoms in the 1940s in German, but the term "Asperger's Syndrome" was not in use in Dr. Asperger's lifetime (he died in 1980). It was popularized by a paper published in 1981. It only entered the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) in 1994.

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Veli Voipio | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jun 5 2015 12:43 AM

I received the NEAR EAST ARCHAEOLOGICAL SOCIETY BULLETIN journal set some days ago. It has an interesting review:

Eva Cantarella. Bisexuality in the Ancient World. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1992. Translated by Cormac O Cuilleanain. 284 pp.

Mark K. Fulk,
Department of English,
Miami University,
Oxford, OH 45056

In academics, the subject of homosexuality has recently become a major area of interest, due in large part to the fight at the political and social level for rights and status. With the discovering of “Gay Studies” at many universities, academics have also turned their attention to the status of the homosexual and bisexual in societies previous to our own. Though much of this type of scholarship is devoted to furthering current political aims, Eva Cantarella’s volume resists an overemphasis on contemporary trends and agendas in favor of solid and informative scholarship and documentation.

In truth, this text could become a standard for the discussion of homosexuality in the ancient world. Surveying with depth and detail the many different discourses concerning sexuality in Greece and Rome, Cantarella considers numerous kinds of texts and histories. In her consideration of Greece, for instance, she gives prominent attention to legal arguments alongside more traditional considerations of Plato, Sappho and the lyric poetic traditions. One of her key texts in this section is Aeschine’s court speech Against Timarchus. Reading this work as an “expression of popular morality,” (p. 21) Cantarella uses the text to structure her understanding of the boundaries of the socially sanctioned practice of pederasty in the education of young men.

A large portion of Cantarella’s work on ancient Greece centers on a detailed historical compiling and reading of references to homosexuality in prominent as well as less familiar authors. Along with close attention to Plato and Aeschines, Cantarella also considers in detail Xenophon, Plutarch, Aristotle and others. Her survey and readings provide the range of sources and issues involved in any discussion of homosexuality in ancient Greece.

Not only does she consider male-male forms of homosexuality, but she also gives ample attention to lesbianism and impressions of lesbianism by contemporary male writers. Giving detailed attention to Sappho, Cantarella concludes that female-female homosexuality provided more of a “counterculture” for ancient Greeks than the socializing influences of male-male homosexuality (p. 86). Her conclusions regarding lesbianism in ancient Greece are as follows:

The homosexual relationship (between women), although linked by context and culture to the period of a woman’s life when girls changed from the status of virgin to the status of married women, seems to me devoid of the institutional education value which was attached, in male initiations, to intercourse with another man (p. 84).

When she turns to ancient Rome, again Cantarella surveys the range of different discourses about homosexuality. Using the Greeks as a point of comparison, Cantarella demonstrates how a shift in the use of homosexuality occurred.

Cantarella once again relies heavily on legal sources, though she by no means neglects literary and other historical documents. Two legal pronouncements that she gives significant attention to are the Lex Scatinia, passed in 149 B.C., and the Lex lulia de adulteries coercendis, passed in 18 B.C. With these and other documents, Cantarella surveys the different attitudes towards homosexuality in the ancient Roman society. Using these sources to construct the attitudes, she turns to key passages in some of the major Roman poets (particularly Catullus, Lucretius, Virgil, Horace and Ovid). In her analysis of Catullus, for instance, she demonstrates how his poetry situates itself between the two cultures of Greece and Rome, giving nuance and insight to some of the more obscure portions of his verse. In conclusion, she claims that “Catullus … lives out his heterosexual and homosexual love affairs in an absolutely identical way” and truly typifies a more modern understanding of the idea of bisexuality (p. 128). Likewise, Cantarella manages to offer insight and depth of interpretation to the other authors she considers in this section of her history.

Finally, and perhaps most remarkably given the current political climate, Cantarella historicizes the Biblical (particularly the Pauline) injunctions against homosexual behavior. Without either arguing that they are misinterpreted and apply only to a specific subset of male-male homosexuality, or dismissing them, Cantarella places them in their historical context and shows why and how Paul could arrive at this injunction that applies to all male-male homosexual behavior.

Always providing ample translations of the more important excerpts under consideration Cantarella’s volume stands as a hallmark of the type of scholarship needed to more objectively discuss issues still volatile today. I would highly recommend this book to the scholar of ancient Greece, Rome, and Biblical studies. However I would also recommend this text as appropriate for undergraduates and graduates interested in ancient articulations of homosexuality and also as an excellent way of isolating key texts and references to these notions in the ancient world.

Fulk, M. K. (1996). Review of Bisexuality in the Ancient World by Eva Cantarella. Translated by Cormac O Cuilleanain. The Near East Archaeological Society Bulletin, 41, 90–91.


Amazon seems to have a newer edition 

Gold package, and original language material and ancient text material, SIL and UBS books, discourse Hebrew OT and Greek NT. PC with Windows 11

Posts 934
Matthew | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jun 5 2015 8:17 AM

Rosie Perera:

And you may already know this, but it has been removed in the current 5th edition of the DSM. Or I suppose I should more accurately state it was merged and has become part of autism spectrum disorder. 

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