further to the post above (and apologies for the delay), here’s some detail.
I was born to 2 Jewish parents who in the Australian context are Liberal (roughly the equivalent of the Anglican church). I spent all my 13 years of schooling at an Anglican boys school that had compulsory chapel 3 mornings a week. (Note:my parents made the decision to send me to Brighton Grammar on pragmatic academic grounds: they didn’t like the Jewish schools at the time and thought this would be better for me. Fair enough.)
So I had a double-dose of religion. While I wasn’t told stuff directly like “you will rot because of your sins” etc, there was certainly homophobia. I remember the school chaplain taking religious studies in year 10 (1980) saying re homosexuals, “these people are sick, they need our help.” There wasn’t much room for femininity either. Brighton Grammar is equivalent enough to Melbourne or Sydney Grammar. (On a dry-humoured note, it was reminiscent of the 1939 classic film “Goodbye Mr Chips.” Oh, and I was cheesed off having to attend Jewish Sunday school – it meant missing some of World Championship Wrestling!!
Seriously, I mention all this because while these forces were very strong, although in all objectivity not as strong as some of the forces described by you Rachel, ultimately they could not overcome the real forces INside me: that the inside true force/soul/was to live as female.
Certainly there were pressures as I “came out.” My sister saying “keep it all quiet, the Jewish community will gossip and say x and Y’s son(sic) has gone mishuge (mad).” I don’t know if the Jewish community ever did that – and don’t care. I need to live as who I am.
I have now reconciled my faith with my true self. That “bush lawyers” can make up all the interpretations to suit themselves about sex, gender (or sexuality), but the real message of all faiths is about living authentically and respecting other people. The hierarchies who control the Abrahamic religions pick and choose to suit themselves as to which part of the scriptures they maintain – on what basis? None.
My faith is a mixture of Judiasm , Wiccan/pagan/magic and general humanism.
And I am happy, healthy and achieving my true potential as a human being.