Being a Christian and Being Transgender are Not Mutually Exclusive
I grew up thinking that they were. I don’t know what exactly was said in my family at an early age that made me think so, but from the moment I had this sense that there was something “different” about me, I knew it wasn’t something I could talk about – with ANYONE. We went to a conservative Baptist church and of course there was no one there I could dare say how much I felt like a girl, that somehow I got the wrong body when I was born.
I asked Christ into my life at age 10 and have been His ever since and yet felt like I wasn’t “allowed” to be who God made me to be. I grew up thinking the way I felt must be “wrong”, but it NEVER changed how I actually felt about my gender identity. It would be like saying feeling hungry was “wrong”. Think it and believe it all you want, but you’re still going to feel hungry for as long as you don’t eat – and YES, a belief like that can kill you. Now, there was never, ever a BIBLICAL reason for me to feel that way, it was just the way it was growing up like I did.
I can use my own father as a case in point. He has never accepted the fact to this day that his firstborn son is now his daughter. As a result we haven’t spoken in about 25 years as of the time of this writing. I always THOUGHT it was because of some Biblical belief that he held. When the Lord spoke to me and told me that I was OK, that Laurie was OK, that’s when I realized this wasn’t a Biblical issue. During one of the very last conversations I had with my father, I asked him “if I can show you that there’s no scriptural basis for having an issue with this, would you be willing to accept me?” I wanted to force him to think about why he was so against what I had already decided I needed to do. And I was just a little surprised that his answer to my question was “No”. It didn’t matter to him – he just didn’t like it, period. So it didn’t matter to him what the Bible said or DIDN’T say about my being transgender, his CHOICE was to reject me and go on with life with my mom and two brothers. And frankly the rest of my family has pretty much all gone along with that thinking, that there’s no Biblical basis to reject me and yet they can’t seem to find a Biblical basis to love me, and yes it’s a sad thing. Even sadder is that I’m not the only one.
The reason I tell you this is that if you’re a Christian and struggling with a family member or a friend who has told you they are transgender, please don’t get your personal feelings confused with what our Lord tells us. Your personal feelings are totally understandable. First, YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND IT. How could you? You are you and totally comfortable with who you are, because it’s WHO YOU ARE. You clearly perceive yourself as a man or woman and you have the body to match. Simple right? The very idea that somehow who you are is like an alien in the wrong body is inconceivable (and for you Princess Bride fans, yes I DO know the meaning of the word). What I DO hope you understand is that for a very tiny percentage of people, it DOES happen – and it can be horrible. Among people who are transgender, the rate for either ATTEMPTING or SERIOUSLY considering suicide is almost 50%, and I’m included in that number. That’s a CRAZY high statistic that no other group even comes close to. So try to understand that there is a REASON for that number. It could be from the rejection you receive by everyone you know and love, but it’s also from the fact that no amount of praying, therapy or talking about is going to make it bearable. I refer to it as being “disconnected” from yourself. Your mind, your very soul is one thing and your body says otherwise. As a Christian, when you come to the realization that God made you this way and you’re willing to accept that – a wave of healing comes your way, and at the same time perhaps a wave of fear because telling the people who you love the most is the hardest thing you will ever do.
I had my surgery in 1993. Many people have commented on how courageous and brave I was to go through with it all. The TRUTH is that it took no courage at all to actually go have the surgery done. I COULDN’T WAIT for that day to come. I had to live full-time 24/7 as a female for a full year BEFORE being approved for surgery by the professionals I was entrusting this process to (think for a moment about all the bathroom bills being tossed around by state governments and how they would suddenly make someone in this one-year period a criminal.) Surgery, piece of cake. My Dr. asked me before going in the operating room how I was feeling and was I ready and I’m all like “let’s get this party started!” Courage and bravery came into play BEFORE and AFTER my surgery in telling people I love either what I was planning or (in the case of “after”) what my life was like and that I wasn’t born female. Didn’t matter if it was over the telephone or in person, there’s always that fear of rejection and NO ONE wants to be rejected by someone you’re close to.
Let me finish up with a couple thoughts: Christian and Transgender? Yes, I’m a Christian. Luke chapter 23 tells us in verses 39-43. When Christ was hanging on the cross with the two criminals, one hurled insults at Jesus, but the other recognized that though he was being justly punished he saw that Jesus didn’t deserve to be on a cross. He said “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus said to him “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” All it took was the acknowledgement by the criminal near death that Jesus was in fact who He said He was, and Jesus told him that he would be with him in Heaven. Jesus IS the Son of God. He was born of the Virgin Mary. He was crucified and died. On the 3rd day He rose from the grave, has ascended to Heaven and sits at the right hand of God. I believe it all, Christ is my Savior! And YES, I’m transgender. Praise God for His goodness.
Being transgender is NOT something you choose. Being transgender can make for a very painful and complicated life. It’s NOT something you enjoy dealing with – it’s with you every moment. You’re born this way – no other way to describe it. Just as someone is born left handed, just as some child is sadly born with a birth defect such as Autism or a malformed limb, it’s just the way you are. It’s not a sin to be who God made you to be. God does NOT make mistakes. Regardless of how we come out of the womb, we are all fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14), He knew us before we were formed in the womb (Jer. 1:5), it is HE who made us (Psalm 100:3). It is when we try to go against and reject who it is God made us to be that we are sinning.
We are called as Christians, ALL Christians to love one another. 1 Peter 3:8 says we are to “…love one another, be compassionate and humble.” Yes, it’s hard. Those of us who are transgender have the same calling, and there are plenty of people that test that in our lives as well. Love, compassion, humility – always easy UNTIL we’re faced with something we don’t like that makes us uncomfortable. It would never even be mentioned in the Bible if it were always easy. BECAUSE it can be hard at times is EXACTLY WHY it has to be mentioned in the Bible time and time again, and we are to not just listen, but to do.