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Why do we toss our gold out with the garbage?

1,435 words

When you punish those transcending the very divisive norms keeping you locked in pain, you punish yourself.


Looking beyond pain relief

Have you ever noticed how the vast bulk of social norms seek to relieve your pain, without resolving your root needs behind your pain?

  • Economic norms expect you to relieve your painful need for food and shelter by fitting you into divisive norms of employee or employer, without resolving your deeper need to find purpose in what you economically do for others.

  • Judicial norms expect you to relieve your painful need for fairness by fitting you into divisive norms of court winner or loser, without resolving your deeper need to function fairly with all in society.

  • Political norms expect you to relieve your painful need for accessing contested resources by fitting you into divisive norms of liberal or conservative, without resolving your deeper need to balance your social and self-needs.

When only relieving such pain, and not resolving deeper needs behind the recurring pain, we routinely kick the can down the road. We normalize problems. We standardize our mounting pain.

As the pain builds, we cling tighter to these pain-relieving divisive norms. We find their familiarity comforting. “It’s their fault!” we agree to tell each other. To responsibly resolve those needs—to remove the pain itself—can be downright frightening.

“For most of us,” writes Margaret and Gordon Paul in their book Do I Have to Give Up Me to be Loved by You?, “the pain we feel is preferable to the pain we fear.” At least we know how to handle our familiar discomforts. How in the world can you handle the unknown path to fully resolve your needs never fully resolved before?

Compelled to resolve needs

Nature does not bend to our norms of convenience. Unresolved needs spring their consequences upon us. The less resolved our needs, the more the resulting anxiety and depression persist.

Nature inexplicably pulls some of us to prioritize resolving needs over relieving its pain. We’re compelled to transcend popular pain-relieving norms to responsibly resolve these underlying needs. We innately replace widely accepted adversarial norms with conciliatory resolution.

I am one. I count myself among these “transspirits” compelled to transcend divisive problem-perpetuating norms to connect at a deeper level to resolve needs. Nature focuses me on the disciplined path to responsibly resolve such needs, no matter how much pain I might risk.

Among the tools nature uses to compel me toward deeper spiritual balance is sexual energy. That may seem ironic to those dividing sexuality into conventional spheres of good versus bad—who regard anything unfamiliar as bad. But they’re probably unaware of asexuality.

Compelled to be sexually different

Asexuality is a broad term, so allow me to be more specific. I am actually demisexual—someone who only experiences sexual attraction after a deep emotional connection has formed. I am spiritually and sexually compelled to connect more deeply with others to resolve each other’s needs.

Much like the Apostle Paul, “I do not burn.” But others have burned in anger when I could not fit neatly into their familiar sexual norms. Including girls who flirted with me. As a demi, it never crossed my mind to objectify her, sexually or otherwise.

I simply could not jump to the opposite extreme to pursue her as an object of my desires. Instead, I was spiritually compelled to engage her as another human being whose needs had to be negotiated with my own. I enjoyed here flirtatious attention, and yearned for opportunity to follow up with generous attention to whatever she may need of me.

Throughout my youth, I intimated my interest in girls. I frequently opened myself to starting a friendship. I anticipated the path to get to know each other better. All quite common among acers like me.

Then…nothing. Later…innuendo. “He must be gay,” they assured themselves. Interestingly, they never asked me personally. With one exception in college, they never walked down the spiritual path I was on, to personally connect one-to-one on any meaningful level.

Hating my unfamiliar love

When returning interest in a girl flirting with me, some would taunt my interest. It only takes one traumatizing incident to turn off this demi. And one day that’s exactly what happened.

Two girls in the lunch room flirted with me and invited me to come over. So I did. As I approached their table, one of them quipped, “No one is interested in you!” They both laughed aloud, as I cried in silent shame.

I limped away from what proved to be the most traumatizing incident in my life. At that moment, I promised myself to never again to be so naïve as to believe any girl in this hate-filled xenophobic place.

Twice, I almost overcame this trauma. In the first, I invited a girl who repeatedly flirted with me to check out the spiritual group I participated in a couple times a week. No response. In the second, I came within seconds asking her to go with me to the prom. That too failed.

If they couldn’t accept me at face value, then how could they ever appreciate my inner spiritual world? How could they appreciate my spiritual compulsion to connect across arbitrary boundaries, including gender constraints? How could I ever disclose my yearnings to be more openly feminine?

Compelled toward gender holism

Not only was I demisexual, I was spiritually compelled to holistically integrate my innate feminine and masculine energies. I was spiritually compelled to be transgender. Resistance proved futile. My body compelled attention to my spiritual need for deeper responsibility with its arsenal of sexual energy.

This sexualizing phase of my transgender experience quickly faded once I took responsibility in being innately gender integrated. By early 1993, I felt the liberating joy of fully owning my body’s potential for full feminine and masculine expression—despite the risk of painful rejection, or worse.

Again, such spirituality cuts against the grain of those around me. They apparently could not take full responsibility for their sexual feelings, or their sexual being. Eager for relief, they projected their shame onto me—someone they refused to personally know.

Instead of solving sexual problems by resolving the underlying needs, they targeted me for being so different from them. Ironic! My full responsibility was so unfamiliar to them that they believe it must be worse than their current lack of responsibility. Go figure.

Worse indeed

What better way to spread sexual violence than to falsely accuse, wrongly convict, and then sentence a demisexual trans person to register as a sex offender for life? No evidence required. What better way to perpetuate pain than avoid it or be adversarial toward it—as if pain, instead of the trouble it reports, is bad.

Whenever excluded on the basis of this paradoxical injustice, I experience it as privileged sexual violence. You may be a privileged sex offender without even knowing it. Transcending familiar pain-relieving divisive norms for disciplined need-resolving pain removal tends to attract may foes. But this spiritual compulsion keeps me on target, no matter what the struggle.

My way upward apparently starts humbly downward

I continue to struggle to find meaningful employment. But undaunted in my commitment to live my life purpose and trust the economics will follow with due preparation.

I continue to struggle to find justice by overcoming this wrongful conviction. But unpersuaded in my ironclad commitment to innocence and resolving needs of all victims.

I continue to struggle to find an audience receptive to my Udemy course. But undistracted in my calling to bridge political polarization with loving respect for each other’s needs.

This all quite humbling. I’m practically a nobody, with a vision to start a brand new academic field studying need, called anakelogy. It provides fresh perspective for solving many problems. For example, providing the foundation for psychosociotherapy, to fill gaps left by psychotherapy.

For now, I’m turning one page at a time. For now, my life feels like a slow read. With a spirituality grounded in nature, in reality that can be empirically measured, I stay true to these commitments the best I can, and more.

If I must endure the permeating sexual violence of being maligned as the sexual problem others fear, so be it. Ironically, I am actually the solution they desperately need, but seem to avoid. Let them find that solution with their commitment to love.

Ultimately, that’s what matters most, right? Love.

Depolarizing Politics

Steph Turner is the founder of Value Relating, offering a viable alternative to stigmatizing psychotherapy, by inviting clients to speak their truth to power.


Steph is a self-described transspirit, which is a kind of sacred misfit. By transcending conventional limits—gender norms, religious identities, political polarities, and more—Steph experiences a unique connection in life. And suspects others do as well. This blog shares that spirituality, and affirms others of a similar state of being.

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