Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Ponies, people, the Bible, Jesus and me

Recently I spent a while chatting with someone using the nick ponygirl in a chat room. For over a year now she explained that she has lived as a ponygirl.

She has an owner … who owns five pony girls at the moment. Some of the things that she has mentioned:

  • It’s not a sexual thing.
  • She hasn’t been forced into it.
  • She is happy.
  • The ponies spend a lot of time restrained in various ways … mostly, I think, in ways that make it feel more like being a pony
  • They don’t talk
  • The ponies are trained
  • They are disciplined
  • They are well cared for
  • The pony that I talked with has access to the internet once in a while
  • Her family visit her every so often. They don’t find it easy … but they accept her choice. She doesn’t speak to them when they visit, but they do communicate by email

She said that the thing that she likes most is a sense of belonging.

In some ways, it’s not easy to understand why anyone would want to do this.

I think that quite lot of people would also find it hard to understand what it is that makes a guy want to wear makeup, a wig and a dress.

It’s not natural I’ve heard people say. I’ve even heard myself say it.

But is clothing natural? Plastic? Automobiles? Aeroplanes?

Maybe it’s really more about acceptability than it is about naturalness?

And different things are acceptable to different people.

Plastic, aeroplanes and just wars are acceptable to many people.

Pony girls and transvestites, gays and lesbians maybe to less.

There was a time when the Bible helped me decide what was acceptable and what wasn’t.

I was more of a “hate the sin but love the sinner” kind of person - as opposed to the “fire and brimstone” variety.

Nevertheless, the Bible was the final arbiter when it came to acceptability.

And yet looking back at those times, it was really my interpretation of the Bible that was the arbiter.

And my interpretation of the Bible was always flawed.

I think, in a way, everyone’s interpretation is flawed.

I mean … is it acceptable for women to speak in church? To commit genocide if God tells you to do it? To work on Sunday – or maybe that should be Saturday? To speak in tongues without an interpretation? To use contraceptives? To kill? To be gay? Lesbian? Transsexual? Transvestite? Pony girl? To manufacture weapons? To trade unjustly? To have two coats while someone else has none? To respond to one slap in the face with another?

Different Bible believing people have different answers to these questions.

Back in 1973, just after being Born Again, I remember reading a book Genesis in Space and Time by Francis Schaeffer. Even then it seemed odd to me that the author was adamant that the existence of a real Adam and Eve were fundamental beliefs, but that the story of creation in six days and the eating of the fruit of knowledge could just be viewed as allegories.

And I have had conversations with people that find it easy to own a whole collection of coats and yet condemn, absolutely, a whole series of perversions.

I know, for sure, that I am far from perfection. A little like Amy Ray’s friend:

My friend Tanner she says,
"Y'know me and Jesus we're of the same heart
The only thing that keeps us distant is that I keep fuckin' up"

And I do.

Back at Sparkle, I remember the policeman saying that his view of bad-mouthing members of the trans-gendered community was that it was similar to the racist comments that people make.

Not so very long ago, a man that lived in a Bible believing God-fearing part of the world had a dream:

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of "interposition" and "nullification" -- one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today!

Y’know. I think that pony girls, gay, lesbian and transgendered people are mostly just wanting to be free to be themselves.

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