Sometimes I get asked to review books, and although I don’t take up the opportunity very often, at first glance I really liked the subject matter of a book called An UnSpoken Compromise: A Spiritual Guide for LGBT People of Faith written by: Rizi Xavier Timane, PhD, ASW. As the subtitle would reveal, the audience for this book is fairly limited, targeting mostly LGBT or lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender people who happen to come from Christian backgrounds, and desire a religious perspective of support for who they are. When I chose to read the book, I was not aware of the subtitle. I would have waved this book off as something not for me, mostly due to the religious point of view. Rizi Timane is deeply passionate about his faith, and desires to extend that passion to others who may be confused about their place in the world due to many misguided religious teachings about “appropriate gender roles” in society.
None of that matters to me as the reader. What I was really interested in was finding out about the author, a female to male transgendered individual, and others in similar situations. I wanted insight into the life and mind of a person with a gender identity that his or her physical anatomy totally opposed. I was also very interested in what his predicament was like while living in a place I have no knowledge of, Nigeria. Instead, Timane took for granted that his audience would all be suffering members of the LGBT community, mainly transgender and Christian. So I learned about his personal turmoil, but not about what gender dysphoria actually means from an insider’s perspective. I did get a sliver, in one passage where the author briefly glossed over the physical anomaly known as intersex, but the main crux of the text dealt with overcoming religious discrimination. So I didn’t get what I was looking for, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy the read.
I can see how An Unspoken Compromise could be a very empowering text for those who have suffered at the hands of family, friends and religious communities who are not accepting of their LGBT identity. Timane offers an educated analysis of scriptural verses that speak of homosexuality and condemnation, and argues that most of these examples are misunderstood because they are often taken out of context to support bigotry against LGBT people in contemporary times. It is written for a very select audience, but nonetheless, the words Timane offers to this audience are soothing and reassuring. I hope that anyone who needs such condolences reads An Unspoken Compromise and finds peace in Timane’s words.