New Blog: Diary of a Muslim Transgender Girl …

The more I write, research and share my cult experiment, the more parallels I see to other societal blights and diseases: abusive relationships and domestic violence employ the same seduction to destruction social engineering; drug addictions mirror dependence on high-demand groups; racism mirrors the paranoia and fear cultivated (cough, unintentional pun, sorry) in “school’s” petri dish.

Homophobia attacks identity in a way that rings familiar to me — its message to the gay, lesbian and transgender population: as you are, you are wrong; thus, you can’t be who you are.

Transgender people probably experience the most extreme in heinous attitudes and violent behavior — imagine living a life in which your innate identity does not match your outer shell; imagine that the very foundation of who you are is so threatening to cultural norms that some would be willing to resort to violence to silence you. If you have trouble imagining this plight, an Indian woman calling herself Arena — born into a male body —  writes beautifully about her experiences in this new blog: Diary of a Muslim Transgendergirl

A dear friend of mine, a classically trained vocalist, is building Butterfly Music, a non-profit that creates choirs to give voice to marginalized groups — those whom societal forces try to silence, or sweep away, including transgender folks. She is helping Arena publicize her story through this blog to expose the cruelty innate in efforts to suppress a human being’s essential identity.

The only common denominator between Arena’s life and my little 5-year cult adventure is the fundamental issue of identity — pesky esoteric questions of who am I? and why am I here? made me vulnerable to a group that offered answers. Though I often say my “school” days were more ridiculous than damaging, recently an un-“schooled” witness, and dear friend, said to me,” ‘school’ was killing you.”

Sounds dramatic, yes? Truth be told, the longer my tenure, the more dead I felt; I was evolving into an empty shell, my days metamorphosing into the “school”-dictated “life I never wanted”. The group compiled the sum total of my weaknesses into my cult identity, the woman I never wanted to be:  unemployable, entitled and helpless Jewish American Princess.

The “ideas”, the constant inner monitoring through “self observations” and the fear of displeasing upper echelons ate away at my psyche. Constant analysis of every, thought, feeling and movement parsed out, flattened and shoved aside all personal nuances for this one-dimensional, cult-defined, person-hood. And “school” called all of this naval gazing “evolution”. Like any good cult, it put the magnifying glass on my faults until those faults identified me and that’s what “school” does to most of its students — although I suspect those with a lot of money get more slack.

I call these types of practices cultic identity theft and it is a form of psychological violence. Arena’s case goes far beyond what I’ve experienced; her world sends her a constant message: your identity threatens our existence, therefore you cannot be who you are. I am grateful that my cult days are over — I am grateful for the choice to walk away, embrace my fundamental identity, and start a new, feeling stronger than I ever have — thanks for the lesson “school” — as Tom Waits says in his classic, San Diego Serenade, I never saw the morning, ’til I stayed up all night. But that’s another topic for another post.

In the meantime, I hope this young woman gets the same chance, somehow, someday, to be fully embraced and loved for who she is; she longs to move to the states — I hope someday she can. I think the parallel attack on her identity is worth sharing on cult confessions, if for no other reason than to shed light on how damaging these attacks on identity are and in hopes that someday the world at large will find the practices completely unacceptable, perhaps even criminal.


3 thoughts on “New Blog: Diary of a Muslim Transgender Girl …

  1. Gerda says:

    I rejoiced when I read this blog post, because I think this is the point and meaning (at least one) of any time spent in a nefarious cult, and any kind of suffering: compassion and understanding for others who suffer, and a helping hand to lead them out. GSR, our experiences are similar in other ways, for what I discovered in the cult also showed me the larger grinding-down-systems in which we are caught up. With greater awareness, we can stop giving our energy and participation to them.

    A friend send me this today, and I thought other readers might find it interesting:

    Bless you, GSR, for using your gifts to help and not to harm. May one day the others still ensnared (even Carol!! as unlikely as it seems) wake up and do the same.

  2. Hi Gerda –
    Thanks, again, for your comment. In re. to this …

    ” … our experiences are similar in other ways, for what I discovered in the cult also showed me the larger grinding-down-systems in which we are caught up.”

    I’d love to hear more about your observations. I believe the more awareness we can build around the “larger grinding-down systems” the more we can counter them — yes, those societal memes and messages contribute to and support cults like “school”. It’s weird. The phenomenon of victim blame, for example, directly contributes to the secrecy and shame.

    Shame is a major force in silencing those who truly need to and should, absolutely, be speaking out. I often feel like a crazy woman for continuing this crusade — most people move on, yes? But I feel compelled to expose this group, it’s practices, the resulting damage and how these practices are echoed, even bolstered by the larger societal context.

    All grist for another post …

    Anyway — I’d love to hear more from you about this topic!

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