So one of the questions I was pondering today, in an idle moment, was "why do I concentrate upon the transgender/transsexual blogosphere, and pretty much ignore the atheist one?" Both, after all, are things I am keenly interested in; both are part of me. I've been an atheist almost as long as I've known I'm "different". (That would be a mean of about 42 years at this point, but who's counting?)
I think part of it is that atheism is something I am; it's intrinsic in a different way to wanting to "put on a dress". (Oh I know, I shouldn't tweak certain folk so! :-) ) As a kid, I was taught to question, but not too deeply. To not pry into things I shouldn't know about. I also knew that revealing I liked skirts and dresses and pretty things would get me a Daily Beating. Somehow, I knew that telling of my complete lack of faith would be worse.
I remember, quite well, when I "became" an atheist. We were discussing Noah's Ark in Sunday School. (I think it was a Monday night. Which probably explains a lot...) I could not reconcile The Flood with God's Mercy. I had something I later came to call "an insight". Meaning, all of a sudden the thoughts I'd been having coalesced into a whole - and I "saw" the solution. Except I didn't, at 5 years old, quite have the vocabulary to explain what that solution was. To be honest, it didn't frighten me until a few years later, when I glimpsed what it might mean. And then, a few more years later, when my Granddad died, I became very frightened by it all. Don't forget - this was before the days of the Internet and the World Wide Web. I grew up in a religious household; church was a fixture, belief a matter of fact. After my Mom had a life-threatening illness, she became more religious, my Dad less. I dove into work - I'd left school at 16 and was now learning a trade. (Tom brown had good school days; I couldn't wait to see the back of them.)
In the meantime, I'd done the "usual"; I remember my Mom had some nail polish. She wasn't (and isn't) one to wear makeup, so nail polish was really extraordinary. In a fit of Nirvana (and well before the group of that name), I applied some. ... Have you ever tried to take just-dried nail polish off? When your parents unexpectedly come home? Let me put it this way - nail scissors are useful and slow. And I'll ignore the time I was prancing (yes, that's what I was doing) in the back garden in a skirt and heels when I heard Mom and Dad opening the front gate. Never have I moved so fast...
When I bought my own house (at 19), I thought I was Free. I wasn't. Considering that I have never liked my home town, I am still baffled why I bought a house in it. Thirty-odd years later I knew why; it's not a pretty tale, and one I don't care to recount. Anyway, No More Bibles. No more stringent rules. No more clean dishes. :-) I was a typical young bachelor, but with a secret "hobby". And then, one day, I was reminded of why I'd moved out. I got home from work; for some reason I actually drove the 32 miles directly, instead of taking the "shortcut" through Scotland or Devon (yes, it was about 300 to 500 miles of shortcut... What can I say? Gas was cheap, I had a nice, fast car and the sun was shining!) My Mom was in the bedroom window. My pool table was in the back bedroom; I moved into front in the summer. Hence - that (wonderfully) Bright Orange pencil skirt, at the very least, was now known to My Mother.
(Oh, how I loved that skirt! And the 1950's lilac dress I also owned at that time. :-) )
She'd "dropped by", as she did. And had decided to make sure I was picking up after myself. Well, considering that I never quite felt the need to do anything like that - there was more ladies-wear than menswear upon the various surfaces of the bedroom. A short time later I was asked if I was gay. "Gay" being a relatively new term back then, but "better" than "homosexual". I said "no". Because I'm not. I like the ladies; I just happen to deeply desire to be one. What can I say?
Somewhere in there I began to question my atheism. It was a phase that didn't last long. I think the doubts survived until I got through the door of some old Anglican Church. (I'm not Anglican, but it happened to "there". I think it was in Scarborough. Or Yarmouth. Perhaps Southampton? I forget.)
You know, after writing all this - which might or might not be published - I have finally figured out why I am interested in, and write about, being transgender, about skirts and frocks and being pretty (... yeah, well). And I don't write about belief, or my lack thereof. Londoners don't visit their city; New Yorkers rarely visit theirs. I've lived in both; when I first was in either, I went to the sights. But I live atheism. I'm a tourist when it comes to my gender. I live in neither gender, and while I want to live in one, I don't. I can visit it, sometimes - but I visit both genders. I am neither, nor am I either.
Huh. Go figure.
PS You know how the words "neither" and "either" can be pronounced ee-ther, nee-ther, aye-ther, n-aye-ther? (Let's call the whole thing off... ) I use either [...] pronunciation as required; I wrote the title as "neether, not aye-ther"! ...
Anyhoo, I just realized that.