God doesn’t make mistakes, people do

Art by Leelah Alcorn

Art by Leelah Alcorn

The suicide and suicide letter of Leelah Alcorn haunt me. They have gripped my heart and not let go, squeezing tighter every time I think about them. And, I think about them often.

Leelah’s suicide affects me so deeply because, like her, my child is differently gendered — putting him in the group of children who have the highest rate of suicide attempts in the world.

That could be my child. That could have been my brother.

We grew up in very religious home. We went to youth group on Wednesday nights and church every Sunday. If you didn’t go to church, you didn’t go anywhere else.

Starting in seventh grade, at age 12, I was taught that being gay was one of the worst sins a person could commit and being transgender was unspeakable. When I was in high school and my brother came out I was afraid to tell the people at church. When I did, my pastor made to cry tears of shame and fear. That was the day my disappointment in and separation from organized religion began.

Then, along came C.J. The more gender nonconforming my son became, the less I wanted to do with church. The thing I heard – and continue to hear – most about my son is something that Leelah often heard.

“God doesn’t make mistakes.”

Art by Leelah Alcorn

Art by Leelah Alcorn

Religious people use the saying in their opposition to those who are differently gendered. They hope to mean that God makes everyone cisgender — with bodies and genders that align. He doesn’t. Just as not everyone is white and right handed with blonde hair and blue eyes. They feel that if my son is gender nonconforming, it’s a mistake and it’s my fault.

My son, with his boy body, girl brain and pure heart, is not a mistake. My unconditional love for him is not a mistake. No part of C.J. is an inaccuracy, error or blunder. He is perfectly created by – if you are a believer – a God who does not make mistakes. My son and Leelah were perfectly made.

God doesn’t make mistakes, people do.

Often they make mistakes in God’s name. The bulk of the hate mail I receive (I’d say at least 80 percent) is from religious people who say outright or strongly imply that they are speaking on behalf or at the inspiration of God or his son Jesus Christ. They spew vile, hateful, graphic words at my family and me in the name of a god who explicitly preached to spread love. When people write those things to me and press the send button, I picture their God and their Jesus in heaven shedding a tear and shaking their heads. This is not how he intended his disciples to witness. Of this I am sure.

And, that is not how he wants parents to parent the children he has given to them. Bullying your child into the path of a semitrailer is no way parent. No way to be a human being. No way to call yourself a Christian. That’s a lot to have to answer for at the pearly gates on judgment day. I hope Leelah’s parents and all other homophobic and transphobic Christians are prepared when that day comes.

About raisingmyrainbow

RaisingMyRainbow.com is a blog about the adventures in raising a fabulous, gender creative son.
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76 Responses to God doesn’t make mistakes, people do

  1. jolenemariep says:

    Amazing post, so true

  2. Hello, I have been following you for a long while, however not consistently. But I am grateful for your story, for your parenting gives me strength. I am a bi-sexual women…. however I at times feel like a man in a woman’s body, I guess that’s what it means in a way to be bi-sexual, meaning you have both aspects of life within you at your core. I have always felt this way, however I never came out until I was 25 because I felt so much fear and hatred from others. There were many times that I went down the dark spiral of abyss of hatred of others, allowing people to judge me, and a greater part, me judging myself and hating myself for being this feeling creature. You said it so well, we are all simply meant to spread love, however many humans make mistakes because they are wanting to cast blame or hatred onto others for their pain. My mother was and still is one of my greatest bullies within this, She mentioned to me that I am her greatest fear incarnated. The one thing she was most afraid of when she was pregnant for her children and they were growing was that one of them would come out as gay. She is still in denial that I enjoy both sexes, and personally I feel a deeper attraction towards women, but I haven’t fully expressed that to her, because she keeps denying me and my values and what I love and who I am at my core. I’m not sure she will ever understand me, nor do I expect her to. But that feeling of unworthiness and hatred has been so grand at times. I am thankful for the love of the universe, the acceptance of others along my path for they have helped me gain some added footing under my feet especially after I felt as though my footing was ripped completely out from under me at the hands of the hate and vileness spewed on me by my own parents. That distasteful hatred judgemental belief system has to be eradicated from our minds. My heart hurts not simply for the pain in which I have personally felt through my journey but the pain in which I know that all other LGBT children and adults alike face within. I am grateful that you are growing a strong son who will be able to navigate his own in this world once he leaves your nest. Love is and always will be stronger than hatred and fear. I hope for one day where all beings can live happily, healthily and in enjoyment of their personal lives without being pained by the backlash of others ignorance. This I dream for on many levels. May peace, happiness, love and many rainbow blessings be sent your way.

    Namaste

  3. grasping@straws says:

    I wonder if those on the religious “right” (those making nasty comments/sending hate mail and condemning anyone who doesn’t fit into their ideal mold of how/what a human being should act/”be”) would feel so judgemental and quick to condemn if one of their children came out as LGBT?

  4. “I’m never going to have enough love to satisfy me. I’m never going to be happy.” The lack of hope is the first reason for suicide. Not stupid people, not unloving parents, not Christian people… I wish that Leelah will be the last LGBTQ person to feel so lonely so hopeless. Her death is our responsibility, of all of us, Christian or not, parents or not. Every time we see someone alone and do not act anything to comfort and support, that’s our responsibility, not God’s.

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  6. Brianna G. says:

    I keep rereading this and getting chills each time. I am 37+ weeks pregnant with our first child. I just couldn’t even fathom every in a million years treating this child like that. You said this so well. Thank you.

  7. Lori Berretta says:

    I have such a hard time with the whole religion/god thing. I am a lesbian in the south. I struggle daily with it… there is so much hatred, especially here in the bible belt. Friends try to get me to go to church… but their church has it written in their by-laws that gays are sinners and not allowed to be ministers to people… and I’m told, but our church is different… but it’s not. They seem to be all the same when you dig a little bit. And even the churches that welcome us still insist that being gay is a “sin”…. I have yet to hear any churches say that this is the way god made me so it’s perfectly ok… Most of the time I just want to say I give up, I’m an atheist. But I believe being an atheist in TN is worse than being a lesbian!

    I love your blog, and the above is so well written. You are such a wonderful mother!

    From another Lori in TN!

    • MM says:

      Lori, I just want to mention here that Unitarian Universalist churches actually are different. I’m sure that not all UU churches are equal, but in general they are very welcoming. I don’t think there is a concept of “sin” in UU religion, at least not as far as I understand it. Even if there were sin, being gay is perfectly fine. Also UUs are not expected or required to believe in God. Many people in my UU congregation do not.
      Below are a couple of references about GLBT policies etc:
      http://www.uua.org/lgbtq/index.shtml
      http://www.uua.org/lgbtq/history/index.shtml
      GLBT people are ordained ministers. UU churches have held commitment ceremonies and marriages for same sex couples for decades now.
      If there is not a UU church in your area, you can check out the church of the larger fellowship, which is an online UU congregation.
      http://www.clfuu.org/welcome/

      I’m sorry if this sounds in any way like I’m pushing religion. I don’t mean to at all. I’ve found a lot of friendship in my church and I wish I’d found it a couple of decades earlier. At least want to say that there are churches that are different.

      There’s also MCC which is a denomination explicitly for GLBT people.

  8. Cheryl S. says:

    AMEN. I’m posting this on Facebook.

  9. Lisa says:

    As usual, so incredibly well said!

  10. Eve says:

    I often wondered how God loving people can be so hateful. I doubt Jesus would’ve acted this way. God is love the bible says. People are just ignorant at times. Good post!

  11. Stacy Carter says:

    I have absolutely no doubt that you’re 100% right. CJ is exactly who he is supppsed to be. A beautiful child. And you’re an equally beautiful mom.

  12. Khai says:

    I have read everything I can find about Leelah’s story, her posts on Reddit, her tumblr back to the beginning, grieving for her loss, grieving for her parent’s loss, grieving, grieving, and I have not cried.

    Until this post, which reduced me to tears, unlocking the box where there can be healing. I’m so glad you exist, and that CJ exists, and that you exist together.

  13. Dani says:

    “My son, with his boy body, girl brain and pure heart, is not a mistake. My unconditional love for him is not a mistake.”

    No, they are not, Lori.
    Thank you for this.

    With blessings,
    Dani

  14. I find myself thinking of Leelah at odd times of the day; wishing she was alive and with a family who truly understands unconditional love. There’s been such an outpouring of support for her. If only she knew how much people cared.

    • Forgot to add, her parents took down her Tumblr page so your link doesn’t work. However there’s an archived version that can be found here: http://web.archive.org/web/20150101040547/http://lazerprincess.tumblr.com/

      • mdaniels4 says:

        Yeah, I’d guess they were so embarrassed by what they’d done, or at least I hope so. Wonder if it will ever sink in to them? I was appalled that mom posted after the fact about her sweet boy who was merely struck by a truck on 71, as if it were an accident that she or leelah had no part of.

        In the vein of why god would choose to send this child to her and her husband, I would venture to guess that it was to give them the opportunity to open their eyes and hearts, or someone else’s in that judgmental community, when without her that may not have been possible. Perhaps that was their lesson this time around.

  15. As Laura H says, you said it all perfectly and you’re an amazing mother and person. you act wonderfully and answer those evil words with perfect prose and understanding. your son is perfect the way he is, because he is. your a perfect mother because you’re supportive and chose to follow your own guts and your beliefs. Keep it up!

    Follow your heart and may 2015 bring light in the mind of those who have not understand the concept of goodness upon others.

    Jul’

  16. lbeth1950 says:

    Wonderful true post. No one’s sexuality nor heart is my concern. I needn’t make judgment of any soul. My role is love my children. Who knows what is in another’s sole? Who am I to presume I know the worth of a person based on the little I see

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  19. Carrie Pratt says:

    You are amazing…..and spot on…..as always.

  20. SM says:

    So much wisdom we all must have! 😊

  21. Kathy says:

    Watch the Lifetime movie “Prayers for Bobby.” It’s based on a true story and will move you to tears.

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