My internal sense of being is in affinity with my assigned sex at birth. Therefore, I feel strongly identifying as a cisgender male. That notwithstanding, I grew up having a (strong) compatibility of both masculine and feminine mannerisms. The liberty and freedom given to me by my parents, courtesy of my status as the only child allowed me to express myself in ways and manners that showcase my queerness, this experience formed the bedrock of my gender identity.
My family, particularly my mother gave me the opportunity to embrace my queerness and express my gender in unconventional ways at the time, without fear of family prejudice or social expectations. Inasmuch as my family background is unbiased about gender expression, there was equally a challenge in navigating peer pressure and social conditioning relating to gender roles during my adolescent years.
In other to claim and own my identity and at the same time authentically express my queerness amidst been in constant company of bullies and gatekeepers of toxic masculinity, I embraced weight lifting to buildup my muscles and learnt some punching skills for self-defense but at the same time, I never lost touch of my feminine gesticulation and hobbies such as singing, dancing, cooking and housekeeping which are socially conditioned as female roles.
As a Christian, there has been some church’s doctrine that has limited the expression of my gender identity as a young queer man. Particularly doctrines that dealt with dress codes and distinctions between male and female, this have had been a challenge in the expression of my feminine mannerisms within the Christian community. The idea that there are different roles for male and female within the family and the church have been of great concern to me as a person who do not conform to the extreme definition and social expectations of gender roles.
Therefore, I have come to believe that irrespective of the laws and commandments inscribed in the Old Testament, since the biblical authority is placed on Christ, the word incarnate and not just the bible as a written document; there is a need to take into consideration the words of Paul in 1 Corinthians 12:12-27 that “now we are the body of Christ and individually members of it”. Personally, this is the foundation of my first hermeneutic approach towards the dialogue of inclusion for queer folks in the church.
Testifier – Uchenna Samuel.