You read that right – my pinky toe. And to be specific – the pinky toe on my right foot. You might be trying to think ahead and are imagining me stubbing my toe against something, or maybe I dropped something heavy (like a hammer) on it and the ensuing pain led to some brilliant revelation that I’m about to tickle your brain with.
Well you’re wrong. No pain inducing events involving my little pinky toe are the catalyst for these words. What I’m talking about is a dreaded form of clinodactyly. Oh the horror you say? More likely your thinking “what on earth is clinodactyly”? Even more likely you’re thinking “how do you pronounce clinodactyly?” I think it sounds like a cousin of some ancient flying dinosaur – but in reality it’s a condition commonly described as “overlapping toe”. My right pinky toe overlaps the toe next to it instead of going straight forward (take another look at the image at the top and that’s what I’m talking about.)
Here’s the amazing thing, even though as much as 10 percent of the population has some form of clinodactyly affecting either their fingers or toes – no one knows what causes it. As toes go mine is the most common form, in fact the actress Jennifer Garner has an overlapping toe on her right foot and it hasn’t slowed her down a bit. Some have speculated that the position of the baby in the womb may be involved. Other researchers (hard to believe people are being paid to research this) believe it may be hereditary. A really interesting fact about all this is that people used to think it might be an indication of Down’s syndrome in a child. People who were afraid of a black cat crossing their path used to think it was a bad sign. Ironically others thought it was good luck. But we can see it so we know it exists even if we don’t know what causes it.
If God doesn’t makes mistakes – how come my toe does this? Well, of course God DOESN’T make mistakes, but in this fallen world that we live in – “stuff happens”. I heard two Christians therapists in a podcast just yesterday say that since your chromosomes gave you a male or female body, that “who you are” therefore MUST be the same male or female. Your penis or vagina dictate who you are. And they rode on the word “identity” (as in gender identity) which implies that perhaps it’s a choice or a “lifestyle”. And I don’t dispute that there are those that yes, probably did make a choice and perhaps hang out with others who are transgender and in their own way make it a “lifestyle”. They interspersed terms like “sexuality” and “biology” and “mental disorder”. Well, if you’re transgender then you know that your chromosomes didn’t determine WHO you are. And in all their discussion, they admitted that scripture doesn’t speak to someone being transgender, and yet they went the biological route as a “Christian” means of determining “truth”.
Don’t make the assumption they were hateful, they weren’t. They were trying to be loving in wanting to help people, but as someone who IS transgender the idea that I have a psychological or biological condition is disturbing – that with enough “therapy” I could be “fixed”. Well, since that approach (within the church AND with a Christian therapist) nearly killed me by driving me to suicide, I’m pretty sure that approach doesn’t work. They would in fact refer to me as “he” and by my birth name if they had their way – they said so, and I frankly find that absurd having had surgery twenty-five years ago.
So my little pinky toe – it just confirms that we are in fact WONDERFULLY made by Him. And yes we’re all different – even identical twins. There are cases of identical twin boys and one is transgender, one pair in particular it was obvious as soon as they could speak. Something else is going on beyond biology and since science doesn’t have an answer yet and you can’t SEE the condition, it must be in your head. Well, as those of us who have lived it, we can say it’s more in our soul – that part of us that no scalpel can find, no x-ray can see and no amount of therapy can fix (at least for those like myself.) I’ve written about how impossible it must be for those who aren’t transgender to wrap their heads around how it could even be possible – we don’t know but we know it exists because we live it. In fact, when you think about God, that He is everywhere all the time, that it doesn’t matter how far men may fly in space – He is there. That light from a star that has taken millions of years to reach us came came from a place that not only did God create it, there are places beyond that we aren’t even aware of yet. And even with all that combined that he knows your very hopes and dreams and the number of hairs on your head, we truly can’t wrap our heads around the magnificence of who He is, yet we know He exists.
So cut those around you some slack when they (having no clue what it is to be transgender) tell you what you need to do to get “better”, they don’t understand – how could they? Love them and be patient while hopefully they are doing the same for you, and if they’re not – you love them anyway as a child of God. One way or another, we all have our “pinky toe” that makes us special, don’t let others deny you yours.