My Believe Out Loud Piece – Wondrous Confusion: How My Gender Shimmers In The Fluidity Of Being Bi

While I identify as bisexual, my sexual orientation has been a point of confusion for me throughout my life. In my latest Believe Out Loud piece, I explore the fluidity of my personal experience of gender and how it contributes to whom I am capable of loving.

Here is an excerpt from the post which can be found on Believe Out Loud’s blog:

My sexual orientation confused me for decades and continues to do so occasionally, even now.

Like many, I thought the question I was answering for myself was, “Who do I love?” when I was also struggling to answer the question, “Who am I?” I finally saw that a large part of what I experience as being bisexual arises from the fluidity I experience among the complex elements of gender. Let me try to explain.”

I encourage you to continue reading this post and to offer your own reflection. How have you experienced various components of your gender identity or expression and sexual orientation?

13 Responses
  • Donna on November 5, 2013

    Hi Janet,

    Interesting post.

    Without sharing too, too much, I was always resistant to “feminine” clothes, as well as bright colors, with the primary underlying cause being that I didn’t wish to draw attention to myself or my sexuality. The secondary cause: plain female clothes (though in themselves still promoted a more masculine appearance) were just far more comfortable. How women can bear wearing high heels is beyond me…

    Also, I think some of what you talk about in the article is a result of your and later my generation’s pushing the boundaries of traditional gender roles and the introduction of androgeny. Really I would say that’s where I fit. While I identify solidly as and with women, I really prefer to be seen as a person, as “Donna,” without highlighting any part of my femaleness (sexuality).

    In early adulthood, I was fortunate to have a mentor who talked with me about God, sexuality, being gay, etc. She remains the wisest person I’ve ever known. Her one expression to me some 25 years ago, remains with me: “God is far beyond our conception of sexuality.” After much thought on that, I concluded that we are made in God’s image on a spiritual plane, not the physical, and that it is our need to fit God into a gender role so that we can relate to God (just as we try to fit God into our political and other worldly concepts).


  • Janet Edwards on November 6, 2013

    Dear Donna,

    Thanks for you comment and I agree: we share a lot in our experience, perspective and choices.

    The one thing you say where I would differ is making such a hard distinction between the spiritual and the physical with regard to being made in God’s image. I think that division has great limitations. I’m wary of it.

    I think the physical (the created world including our physicality as humans) is all made in the image of God. Scientific study of it all is good and proves to me that the intricacies of our bodies or of the biosphere or of the universe reflect the grandeur of God, the wideness of God’s mercy because it is all made in the image of God. I can’t dismiss the physical as you seem to or have I misunderstood you?

    Thanks, again, Donna, for sharing your thoughts here. Peace, Janet

  • Donna on November 6, 2013

    Hi Janet,

    You’re welcome. Thank you for this space and for sharing ideas.

    I see your perspective without a problem. A better way to express my conclusion is that we shouldn’t take that scripture literally and extend it to the point of anthropomorphizing God. My point of reference is Jesus’ transfiguration: we are in God’s image because God is in us and has given humanity what He has given nothing else in creation (save the Heavenly Host, intact or fallen): the ability to choose to commune with Him, which is not dependent upon the physical.

    I’ll stop there because if I continue on, I will get into a very long explanation of how anthropomorphizing God would conflict with other key elements of our faith and my eyes can’t take that much computer tonight.

    I agree with your statement: “Each one of us is “male and female” as created by God, in the image of God who is both male and female and also beyond these binaries.” My conclusion/belief is on the “beyond.”

    Shimmer is such a nice word…

    May you shimmer always –


  • Janet Edwards on November 7, 2013

    Dear Donna,

    Thanks for clarifying your approach to knowing that God is beyond the binaries that has been inherent in anthropomorphizing God. I am basically of the same mind and we are in good company including great Christian mystics like Meister Eckhart and Soren Kierkegaard.

    I am interested in your handling of one thing that gives some power for me to human images for God (both male and female). That is the way Jesus “anthropomorphized” God, most often in addressing God as Father and also in the parables of the Kingdom. I obviously hold these lightly as words used to help us grasp what is essentially ungraspable and having limited application to God, not rock solid be-all-and-end-all fact. I do honor these images as Jesus’ word to us. How do you take them?

    I know you will give this your prayerful thought. Thanks for that.

    Peace, Janet

  • Donna on November 7, 2013

    Hi Janet,

    It’s an interesting conversation to be sure. For tonight I can say only briefly that my understanding of the parables is that they provide only a portrait of the mind of God. Jesus’ presentation of God is one of sower, shepherd, father – a more approachable Almighty than that of the Old Testament, where God is Almighty creator, protector, warrior, judge & jury, and litigator.

    From our own traditional concept of male=masculine and female=feminine, God seems to move from the Old masculine to the New feminine, and yet retains both while still referred to as “he.” Meanwhile, the third aspect of God, the Holy Spirit, while also referred to in the masculine, defies all traditional human convention.

    In this I would say, God is both and beyond. Unfortunately, it is not until a day yet unseen when the veil of God’s nature will be lifted… what a day that will be!

    All in all, what I see is that the natures we have tied to gender and physical body parts, God has not (to our knowledge).

    I may revisit after a re-read of the scriptures…



  • Janet Edwards on November 8, 2013

    Dear Donna,

    Well, we are agreed that God is “both and beyond,” and that our human natures are tied to gender and physical body parts whereas God is not (except to the extent that God is best known to us in the physical person of Jesus, perhaps).

    My question for you, Donna, relates to your earlier comment that our being made in the image of God stems from Jesus’ Transfiguration and our ability to choose to relate to God. I can see that our freedom is an expression of God in us and yet it is important to me that being made in the image of God is in the creation story. It is tied to the creation of our bodies, not just the blowing of God’s breath into them. Your thoughts?

    Thanks for them. Peace, Janet

  • Donna on November 8, 2013

    Hi Janet,

    I’d like to be clear on this. Our being made in God’s image does not stem from Jesus’ transfiguration.

    Though we are made of the clay of God’s creation, it was not the body that was first corrupted but the mind and soul by desiring more to have God’s knowledge than to be in communion with Him. What we don’t know is what life was like before sin. It was most certainly, all of it, good. But what does that mean with regard to daily life? to being in communion with God? to talents and abilities? to gender and sexuality? We don’t know because all we have ever known is life after sin, a fallen state of corruptibility where the body and soul are at odds.

    It’s not until Jesus, as our faith declares, that our sins are redeemed, should we so accept Christ as our Redeemer, and we are able to be good or acceptable to God. Jesus, the fusion of both God and humanity, gives us glimpse of what Eden must have been like: everything said and done is for the glory of God, to never hunger or worry, to never be scarred or if wounded, then healed, and so on.

    I’m not saying that we are like Jesus – God’s begotten – but that because of Jesus and through him we are made acceptable in God’s sight. Hundreds of years of striving within a punishment mentality with Israel could not bring humanity back into right relation with God: only love and forgiveness could bridge that gap in the form of Jesus. That doesn’t cure the human body of its nature, nor the human spirit of its wanderings, so we are also given help and comfort and power in the form of the Holy Spirit. Through the Holy Spirit, we can commune with God as Jesus did, heal as Jesus did…do all the things that Jesus did, if only we would let our faith loose into God’s hands and will.

    Neither am I saying that God hates us unless or until we believe on Christ. On the contrary, God loves us so, we cannot possibly fathom the depths of His love. However, it makes perfect sense that God would want that perfect communion with only those who truly love Him.

    All of that being said, my reference to the Transfiguration is to highlight that we are like God in spirit but not in physicality. When Jesus communes with the Heavenly Host, his spirit literally transcends, transfigures his bodily flesh. It is a prime example, I believe, of what is important to God when in perfect communion with God: the soul (not the flesh, not gender). And it is also an example of God’s transcendence of the physical. If death could not hold Him, no physical form can fully contain God.

    Your question on freedom I’ll have to ponder, but briefly it is God’s Law, the Covenant (the Ten Commandments) and Christ’s Redemption of our sin that provides for our freedom. I’m not talking about the Law of Moses. If you think of it, in Eden there was only one law, and through free will we chose to break it. In the Covenant, there are ten laws and they are not impossible to keep, in fact they are really quite easy if the first one is grasped fully. God is not restrictive or prescriptive in what we can or cannot do aside from the Covenant, even though Moses was.

    You’ll have help me some with why being made in the image of God is so important to you and how you see an expression of God and freedom in that. Do you mean specifically God’s creation of the human body?


  • Bill on November 10, 2013

    This may not be welcomed here, but just in case:

  • Donna on November 10, 2013

    Hi Bill,

    Viewed this earlier this week when it was released online. Love it…


  • Janet Edwards on November 11, 2013

    Dear Donna,

    You have shared a lot of complex ideas. Let me try to answer your questions.

    Being made in the image of God is important to me because it is the foundation for how we are to love our neighbors. We are to receive every person we meet as a beloved child of God, created in God’s image.

    I recognize that is not all we are. As you say, we are all sinners who have fallen short of the glory of God. We are created in the image of God and fallen sinners. The question for me is: What part of that description of who we are as human beings am I to focus on? For centuries the emphasis has been upon our being sinners–that’s where the church started.

    I think we are participating in a great shift to focusing on the first part of that confession–our being created good by a loving God. It is the more humble place to start in relating to other people, in my opinion. This is the place where Jesus starts with us, as I know Him, and I want to follow Jesus so it’s the place for me to start. And it takes a lifetime to cultivate that welcoming approach to people which I think Jesus lived. Does that make sense to you?

    Also, I just do not make the sharp distinction between the body and the spirit that you seem to make, Donna. This bifurcation of people comes, as I understand it, from Greek philosophy. It is in Scripture and, unfortunately, has been the source of strife since the first Christian believers between those who emphasized our spirits, as you do, and those who recognize the holding together of the physical and the spiritual. These may be categories that help us some in understanding ourselves but otherwise, I prefer to hold our bodies and spirits together in my sense of our being human.

    There’s more that could be said. I’ll stop there for your further thoughts.

    Peace ,Janet

  • Donna on November 12, 2013

    Hi Janet,

    I suppose I am surprised to hear these things from you… It’s not the theology I’ve been taught.

    I can grasp that we are valuable to God because of His love for us and His creation of us. In us there is His spark of divinity through which we are connected to God. But I can’t grasp that we are of value or good (that is, presentable to God) in our own right, not without Christ. If so, what then did Jesus die for?

    We were indeed miraculous when God first created us, but we corrupted that perfection and the relationship with God, as the story goes. I agree, even corrupted, the body is an amazing work of art, but it does not make us good – perhaps to each other – but not to God. Even Jesus said, who is good but the Father?

    So I beg to differ, Janet, and even find this thinking somewhat disturbing. We are not representative of God’s creation in Eden, which God did call good, prior to our sinning. Through sin, we became a corrupted derivative made good and acceptable only by Jesus Christ, the grace and love of God.

    What am I missing?


  • Why on December 26, 2013

    Is demonic possession still present into society?

  • Bill on December 31, 2013

    Hello “Why”, I wish I had an name to address you, but…
    IMO from reading the Bible and using scripture only, I would have to say that yes, demonic possession is still present today. However, it isnt possible for the true believer to be possessed. God and satan cannot live in the place ( our body). Therein lies the problem tho. Many will say they believe, yet they dont. ( scripture says so). Keep in mind even satan “believes” that Christ is the son of God, so “believing” is more than just saying I believe Jesus is who he says he is. Believing is also obeying…Jesus says so….

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