Thursday, January 21, 2010

ex-Catholic in a dress

st_pats Last June, when I spent a long weekend in New York City en femme, I visited Saint Patrick’s Cathedral.

This was a big deal for me. I was raised a Roman Catholic and my religion was the source of much needless guilt about crossdressing throughout my life. I overcame the guilt years ago and now I was entering the church for the first time en femme.

I thought that my visit would be like spitting in the eye of the Church of Rome. "Take that for all the pain and suffering you brought down upon me for so long." Instead of feeling vengeful, I felt wonderful. Your prodigal son has returned, but your son is now your daughter!

I stopped attending church about ten years ago. I began doubting the existence of a God about that time and about a year ago, switched from being an agnostic to an atheist.

“You’re too scientific,” my daughter said upon hearing that news.

I don’t know about being “too” scientific, but I do hold science in a much higher regard than religion.

So, why did I feel “wonderful” when I attended Mass en femme at Saint Pat’s last June?

Do I have some doubts about atheism like I do about religion?

Did I feel spiritual because I was in such a spiritual place?

Was it nostalgia for something that had previously been part of my weekly routine?

Was it simply the thrill of being out en femme in a new venue?


  1. Well wondered Staci - I think you hit all the right points about the "why" you felt wonderful. Let me add one more:

    It is an awe inspiring space, even absent all the religious baggage. Placed as St. Pat is right in the heart of a thrumming exciting place, and yet seeming miles away from the hustle & bustle, feelings of wonder are inspired regardless of faith tradition or wardrobe.

    So glad you enjoyed it.

  2. Yet again, you post something that hits home with what's going on in my life right now. I went to church as Michelle for the first time this weekend, visiting a Unitarian church on my way home from the great First Event conference outside of Boston. I belong to a Unitarian Universalist Church, so I had some idea of what to expect. I also knew that even if I was clocked as a mess-in-a-dress I'd still likely be welcome :)

    I'll say that there was no novelty of attending en femme. It just felt good. It was particularly poignant going over MLK weekend, with all of the talk about civil rights. I sat quietly in the back wondering if anybody else in the room felt that they still had to fight for their rights as we still do.

    I had a great time meeting some of the congregants, and even caught a sneak peak in the amazing church archives which date back to the 1620s!! If only my great-great-great-great-great ... grandmother could see me now! :)

  3. Such places are, as Petra said, specifically designed to be "awe-inspiring".

    As such, they were as much propaganda tools as they were places of worship.

    My feelings towards them now are based solely on an artistic appreciation of the often beautiful architecture.

    Whilst I often find that aspect of such buildings stunning, I regard the original reason for their existence (as a symbol of the political and social rule of organised religion) unacceptable in today's world.

    I too am an ex-Catholic, and am now an athiest, thank God. ;-)


  4. Well as a Lutheran and a Crossdresser I would say that finally the Holy Spirit is moving in your life. You've opened a side to you that human institutions may condemn but that I firmly believe God does not. He looks on the heart.
    I am currently gathering my courage to attend a church service en femme. Within the Lutheran church many congregations are ipening their hearts to the entire LGBTG community, bringing God's acceptance to all.
    Human hands constructed the cathedral, but God truly dwells there.

  5. Although I still consider myself a Catholic and a believer in God, I do not practice my faith because of the scandals and the Church's views on those who are transgender. I guess the reason I say I still consider myself a Catholic is because of the strong ties my Italian family had to the Church when I was a kid. I think it was wonderful that you visited that beautiful church en femme but only you can answer the question as to just why you were there. If you actually followed the mass and prayed along with others, then I suspect there is still a believer in you but also some hatred (perhaps too strong a word) of the church that turned its back on you and me.

    Calie xxx

  6. It feels good to integrate your life, I think.

    My partner and I attend United Church of Christ and we are always replaced warmly there. She misses the church in which she was raised, but we go where we are welcomed.

  7. I am glad that you are no longer a churchgoer.

    In religions, there is no god. In temple, there is only man-made holiness that comes from sumptuous visual-audio ornamental whose purpose is so obvious—to enchant and enslave the feeble-minded. These are what all religions, including Marxism (communism) do. I regard Marxism as a religion that promises all the sweetest things day-dreamers can imagine and constantly asks absolute submission and endless sacrifice.

    The universe and all the wonders in it (which are truly wonderful and sacred) are one thing. But the holy scriptures that contain all kinds of incredible lies and cruel words and deeds of God are totally another. Do not mix or confuse the former with the latter. Religions are the system of indoctrination and exploitation by means of claiming that their mythical characters are the cause of the sacred universe. Religions are truly the worst false-assumption and sin man can commit. The reason so many people worship false gods/ savior is that they do not read histories about how man have developed religions.

  8. If you are spiritually inclined the ability to make peace with that you were raised in can be great comfort.I'm glad you felt at one there in your new life.