Guilt is pretty interesting for me to ponder in all my readings about crossdressing or blogs written by crossdressers. I’ve read a lot online over the last 15 years and it seems there is one huge theme that stands out to me. The basic message mature crossdressers give to younger crossdressers is this – “Learn to accept yourself. Crossdressing is a part of you. It’s a beautiful wonderful thing. You’ve probably felt guilt about it a lot in your past. And maybe you’ve thrown out all of your female clothing many times, only to buy more again. Your problem is that you are still trying to quit, when really you need to embrace crossdressing as a good part of your life, and just learn to control it. You only feel guilty about it because of what our culture says or what the Church says, and you should really give that guilt away and no longer let yourself feel guilty for doing it.” Basically they are saying, if it feels good do it, and don’t let your conscience bother you about it. Whatever you want to do, God still accepts you and loves you. Unless you are a mean person, or you murder people, then maybe you should feel guilty.
I am just thunderstruck about this way of thinking. You would think that if you feel guilt about something, perhaps that is a sign that maybe you are doing something wrong. Maybe that means you should reevaluate what you are doing and try to stop. But how often do crossdressers do this? Not often. Instead of actually doing something different to get rid of the guilt, like asking for forgiveness or trying to stop the action, the approach seems to be, just keep doing the action over and over and eventually it will become so normal to you, that you won’t feel strange or bad about doing it anymore. Instead of accepting that maybe you are doing something wrong, just try as hard as you can to tell yourself that you aren’t really doing anything wrong. Tell yourself that the majority of people out in the world who think what you are doing is crazy and messed up, well, they are really the messed up ones and they just don’t understand.
Imagine a parent telling a child something like this. The child tells her mom that she is feeling bad about lying. “Oh honey, I understand that you feel guilty about lying. But lying is a part of life. You need to learn to embrace lying as a part of what we need to do in this world. It’s part of who you are. Just keep telling yourself it’s okay to do, and get rid of those feelings of guilt.”
In my theological education, I had some classes about caring for the youth of our country as pastors. We learned that there has been a big shift in our culture. 50 years ago everyone felt guilt about the sins in their life. They wanted a pastor to tell them how they could find forgiveness from God. And we would of course point them to Jesus as we should. But my professors said that these days, kids have learned not to feel guilt. Many of them just don’t know how to feel guilty about things they do. For them it’s more meaningful to talk about God accepting them and loving them, (which isn’t a bad thing). But they said that instead of trying to tell kids today about how they can have forgiveness in God, first we need to teach them how to feel guilty as they should. If they don’t think they are doing anything wrong, then why would they think they even need forgiveness? For these kids, guilt is an achievement. They just don’t feel bad about anything that they do, and therefore can’t understand why they would ever be punished either.
Murderers who feel bad about what they did are not so scary to me. Murderers who don’t feel any guilt about killing people, those are the scary ones. Those are the ones we would say are psychopaths. And yet, crossdressers are telling other crossdressers, “stop feeling guilty for what you are doing! Force that guilt away! Bury it!”
We must get our culture back to realizing that guilt is not a bad thing. Guilt is a good thing! God made us to feel guilt when we do something wrong. It’s not a feeling we should try to get rid of by rationalizing sin away. We should only get rid of it by experiencing God’s forgiveness. Crossdressers are buying into the culture. Everyone wants to be loved and accepted no matter what they are like, no matter what they do. “How dare you say I should feel guilty for what I am doing! You should just accept me as I am!” No one wants to change how they live. They will live like they want to and not let anyone make them feel bad about it. And in the case of crossdressers, they won’t even let themselves tell themselves that they should feel bad about it. Instead they plow through the feelings of guilt and keep on pushing and keep on straining and striving to be able to keep crossdressing without feeling guilty about it. And eventually it seems, at least on the surface, that they’ve succeeded. They’ve rejected the guilt feelings enough. Crossdressing becomes normal. They have rationalized that they are just misunderstood and its everybody else who is wrong about crossdressing. They have rationalized away even what God has said. And then they are free to crossdress without those annoying feelings of guilt.
To any crossdressers out there, especially young ones, I implore you to think of guilt as God’s gift! It is not something to ignore or dismiss. God gave it to us for a reason, to help figure out right and wrong, so that we can live healthy good pure lives as he wants us to. God gave us guilt so that when we mess up and sin, we can go to God in repentance and forgiveness.
In the New Testament, the people that Jesus judges the most are the Pharisees. They were the people who were sinful in their pride, arrogance, and legalism, but they didn’t realize their guilt. The people that Jesus praises, are the drunkards and prostitutes who know their guilt and run to Jesus in repentance and ask for forgiveness. Feeling guilty is not a horrible thing. It’s what draws us to God and then we get to experience the joy of forgiveness through Jesus. If we make ourselves forget our guilt somehow, that is when we are in danger.
A passage to reflect on, Luke 18:9-14:
9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood up and prayed about a himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’
13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”