The Truth of Being AFAB and Anabaptist
This is a speech written by one of our Advisory Board Members: Kris. They are a Non-Binary person who was raised in various Conservative Anabaptist Churches. They currently also serve as their community as the VP of Lititz Chooses Love and will present this speech on October 2nd 2022 for their Coming Out Day Celebration.
It's important to record and elevate the voices of LGBTQ Anabaptists and have open communication and dialogue about our experiences, we are human being worthy of human rights. We are capable of speaking for ourselves and sharing our own experiences. Please read with an open mind and heart, remembering that Kris is human and bravely sharing their experiences. -Mary
Hi, I am Kris.
This is Lancaster County, Amish country.
The land of the tourists coming to see the Amish.
When you look at me today you might be surprised, but I grew up in that world. I grew up conservative Anabaptist.
I come from the world where there are different rules depending on what gender you are assigned at birth. When I was born the doctor said "it’s a girl".
It’s a girl means a childhood of being taught from birth the need to be modest. The need to not think for yourself. As a child you belong to the male head of the house. He is the ruler. What he says is law, until you get married, then you belong to your husband.
Your wants don’t matter.
Your needs don’t matter.
Any abuses that happen to you as a person AFAB are your fault.
You tempted them.... it doesn’t matter if you were 3 or 4 and it is your own grandfather or cousin....
You weren’t modest enough.
You weren’t submissive enough.
Being raised conservative Anabaptist is being started on meds to make you quieter, more submissive and less emotional when you are only 7 years old. As well as not realizing how messed up that is until you are an adult and out of there.
Being raised AFAB in the conservative Anabaptist is being raised that you are basically a breeding mare...your job is to have children...to take care of the needs of your husband and children that is all you are there for.
being raised that way,
put on a head covering,
cover your legs,
don’t talk to boys,
don’t speak up.
My family thinks I am an abomination.
So many have this rosy view of the Amish and Mennonites and don’t know the truth of those of us who have lived it.
Do you ever think of the lack of freedom and bodily autonomy of those being raised that way?
Do you ever think of someone being told that who they are as a person is an abomination?
Or did you think LGBTQ just doesn’t happen in the plain community?
Did you know they have special places to send people in the community to drug them and hold them and reprogram them until they submit to the community rules.
I had a friend whose family sent them to a place like that. my friend was sent there from age 15 to 18.... conversion therapy and drugging.
Being told you are mentally ill.
Growing up trying to be a circle because everyone says you are a circle. If you aren’t a circle and a PERFECT circle... you are an abomination. but I AM NOT A CIRCLE!
Leaving the community is not easy. Many times, everything you have is linked to that community.
Leaving and living your truth means losing your friends.
Losing your family
Losing your whole community.
Leaving is not easy
Leaving means that you have gotten to the point where you would rather be condemned to eternity in a supposed hell then spend another minute where you are. It means that feeling like where you are right now is worse than any hell that religion could condemn you to.
I AM AN ABOMINATION.
I say it proudly now.
They have used it for years to try to hurt me.
I will proudly claim that slur used against me.
I have escaped from that world.
I stand here as a proud non-binary queer person and it may mean that I have no contact with my birth family but I WILL NOT BE QUIET
I will speak up
I will be there to try to help others who are being raise that way to learn that NO IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT. No, you DONT have to do this or that.
It is ok to leave.
It may be very hard. They may tell you that you are going to hell. Call you a Jezebel and an abomination but they are wrong.
Be true to yourself.
It doesn’t matter if the doctor said "it’s a girl" or "it’s a boy" neither is more valuable than the other. Both deserve equal rights. Both deserve bodily autonomy.
I am an abomination, outspoken, direct, SHUNNED, cast out, ostracized and yet I stand here proudly.
I speak to raise awareness. I speak to bring truth to light. I speak to bring up the idea that Anabaptist are human beings worthy of human rights
I hope to live to see the day when all LGBTQ humans born in the Anabaptist world are free to be themselves.
*AFAB and AMAB: defined as the sex you are assigned at birth, often used to help trans and non binary people describe themselves and more appropriate than the term "biological male/female" as sometimes AFAB/AMAB people may have biological characteristics of both female and male sex. Not to be confused with "straight, gay, lesbian, bi sexual or other sexual orientation" these are separate from Gender which is typically based on genitalia at birth while sexual orientation describes who you are attracted to.* -Mary