Wednesday, March 6, 2019


To weed her friend list a friend of mine on her Facebook wall whether people support gay marriage or not. I told her I support gay marriage the way I support the sun. Or the moon. They exist whether I support them or not. They don't ask nor need my support, or approval. Thinking they do would be quite silly. But yes, of course I do, most of my friends are queer. Still, that's the principle.

Seriously speaking though, the whole marriage thing is a rather interesting question, since it almost always involves the church somehow. To me that's doubly problematic since I'm an Atheist, more or less. I find the whole idea of a "church wedding" with priest and everything somewhat archaic tradition, and feel a wedding should be an union between two people, and their families, not imaginary friends of theirs. So I sort of hope people would grow up and learn some day to tie the knot without religions involved.

Well, a few years ago we had a big hand-twisting over here over gender neutral marriage. The law was voted on the parliament and it was passed, but only barely. The gay people had had a possibility of registering their relationship even before that, granting them all the rights of a married couple, minus a right to adopt children. What was discussed now however was marriage, and some people felt it would be wrong to force priests to wed gays against their religious beliefs.

And yes, when I say "the church" I mean the church, not a church. Now, I know that in States there are... what, hundreds of bigger and smaller churches spread all over the country. And I have understood it's possible to be asked on a workplace what church you belong to, and that it may be unwise in the light of your career to say: "None, I'm an Atheist!". Good-bye, promotion.

In Finland, however, there is one big Evangelical Lutheran Church to which 70% of Finns belong to. It's more or less a part of state, and for hundreds of years it was solely the church's job to keep on tabs where people were born, where they lived and so on, all the census stuff. Finns are not very religious though, and most people who belong to the church do so only because it's sort of a thing you do. The Sunday services aren't a thing families go regularly or at all. In fact they are mostly attended by only people that are "publicly in faith" and elderly people.

Belonging or not belonging to the church however has become an important weapon in the gender neutral marriage battle. There is a certain Finnish politician from the Finnish Christian party (yes, we have one, but it's extremely small) who is very vocal about things having to with gay marriage, and whenever she opens her mouth in media the numbers of people resigning from the church sky-rocket. It's really easy to do, and there's even a website you can do it in less than a minute.

This has, in fact, been something that's hard to explain from people from States. During one of these resignation peaks I saw a comment on an international discussion forum, most likely from someone from USA: "How do you "resign" from a church? Just stop going there, it should send them the message!" Well, it doesn't work like that over here. 

Anyhow, when the gender neutral marriage was a hot potato, I was somewhat disappointed as I realized how big thing a church wedding still was to so many people. It seems that marriage and the church go hand in hand, no matter what. I would never, ever have a church wedding, though. Even the idea gives me the creeps.

Do you want to hear how I would like it to be handled? Well, in my ideal society marriage and the church would be completely divided. If a couple loves each other and wants to commit for life they could tie a juridical union, which could be called for example a marriage, and which would be the same no matter the gender of the people involved. It could be even between more than two people, making polyamory a legal, binding union.

If the people involved would also like to have a great big party with a band and all their loved ones present, they could do so. And if they are religious, they could invite also the holy person of that religion to bless their union. No religious organization would have to bless anyone if they're against the union in question, of course. But in that case the couple should ask themselves whether this is a religion or a church they truly want to be a part of?

Some time earlier the same Facebook friend had asked whether people believed there are more than two genders. The reason, again, was most likely tho weed out the bigots.

My answer? Well, as we all know many Native American cultures had four genders, and the wild animal kingdom has a wide range of interesting variations when it comes to gender and reproducing.

I have many times wished we could "all be just people" but with human species the gender has become incredibly over-emphasized during the last couple of hundreds of years. Male and female body don't differ that much from each other, but fashion emphasizes the differences insanely. Gender dictates how you're being treated, sometimes the whole course of your life. Those who don't feel comfortable in the small box that is called being a man, in early 21st century western culture often go to the other extreme, or they feel they have to.

The whole sexual landscape, or should I say battleground, is filled nowadays with classifications and labels, and many people seem to have the need to define themselves with a long list stating what kind of -sexual one is. (I am chastisexual, among other things, it's a word I came up myself.) So it seems the issue of gender is coming more and more important, not the other way around.

I don't know what I am, and I've had to make use the same smörgåsbord of labels everybody else uses: demisexual, sapiosexual, gender fluid, you name it. I also like the terms female man, or feminine male. I have had to use the labels, since for many people I have talked with on-line, there seems to be only two options, whether I'm a man, or I am going to get myself operated woman, no middle-ground.

I know I am physically a male and that will never change, but at the same time I have never been comfortable in that role socially, and what is expected of me. For years I got "You are a 20-year-old woman" results from "highly-scientific" on-line tests. I merely found it hilarious, because I found the role of a traditional manly man extremely distasteful. Like I said, I don't know what I am. All I know is that without this whole idea of being non-binary I would be even more depressed, and feel even much more of a failure as a man.

But still, there are days I hope the gender roles would all just go away, and everyone could be whatever they want, and wear whatever they want. To simple be people. I wear skirts and knee-high stripey socks while I'm at home, because that's what I feel most comfortable and pretty in. Or to put it the other way, this way I don't feel ugly, which was the situation before something "snapped" inside my head year and a half ago. I had never looked myself in the mirror and thought "Damn I look good" before that happened. But still, I don't have guts to go out in a skirt, thanks to gender roles.

I know I shouldn't complain. I live in a culture, in Scandinavia to be exact, where the gender has much less impact on your life than in other parts of the world, even less than in USA. Also, there are no gender pronouns here, we're all "hän" in Finnish, unlike, say, in Swedish where there's han and hon, meaning he and she. The word for woman isn't derived from the word for man, Mr. and Mrs. (as well as Miss) are completely different words, and people seldom use them, but use people's first names (or, if you want to be formal, both first and the last name) instead, and so on. So yes, trans people do have it a bit easier over here, I'm proud to say.

Did this answer the question a slightest bit? I have no idea.

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