Several men filled the table alongside me. They and myself discussed Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology. Though I would be the only female, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to discuss the deep realities of God. After all, having found myself in all male groups for most of my life, I wasn’t fazed. Entering into a riveting discussion about marriage (actually, since we all pretty much agreed on the premise, it was not all that riveting.), we shifted our focus to gender and gender roles. This would have been fine because we mostly agreed on these facets as well. However, we could not leave theory well enough alone. I do not remember what instigated the direct question, and though designed solely to be a sarcastic joke, it rendered me speechless. The Elder presiding over the class turned to me and asked something to the effect of (again with much jocularity), “So, what about you? Ya ever wanted to be a man? Nice burly beard (as he reached to scratch his own)?” Utterly astounded and visibly shaken, my sole utterance was, “I would rather not say.”
I recall my first encounter with terms associated with transgender identity. Still being referred to as “transsexualism,” I stumbled upon a documentary. Men and women altered their sex characteristics because they felt their biological sex did not coincide with the gender they felt inside. Their testimonies enraptured me. All the while I sat in silence with my finger on the previous channel button because I knew if my dad walked into the room, it would be the end.
At the age of six or seven, My grandparents brought over some old furniture and had conscripted my slightly older brothers to give a hand in moving it. Having always been excited about lifting heavy things, I dutifully stepped up to the challenge. However, I was quickly shot down by my grandmother who insisted that I get out of the way and let the boys handle this. When I inquired why all the fun should be left to the men at hand, I was quickly informed that men were stronger than women and we should let them handle it so we don’t get hurt. I simply quipped that was a ridiculous notion. However, it quickly became five against one as my older brothers were happy to take the side of the adults in the room. I was crushed. This is my first memory of coming to understand that somehow boys and girls differed in some way other than the obvious physical discrepancies. More importantly, girls were inferior. If I desired to do that which only boys were supposed to do, obviously something was seriously wrong with me. At that moment, I desired nothing more than to be a boy and do the things I loved without being berated for it.
Several years later, when the time came for “the talk” (and by talk I mean the puberty talk), I am not sure if my mother simply dropped the ball or had no idea that I needed more information. I was devastatingly unprepared for what would take place during puberty. Once the inevitable moment brought the realization that I would ultimately grow up to be a woman, I knew I had to put a stop to this. Ultimately, I would take on a short hair style (well, shorter) and sport over-sized baseball teas with a few makeshift alternatives to hiding the female body. I not only passed as a male, I was exclusively referred to as a handsome young man until I was about eighteen. Unfortunately, passing as a male only brought its own heartache. For every case of mistaken identity, my heart groped at the reality that posing as a male would never make me a man.
Before viewing the aforementioned documentary at sixteen, I believed myself to be utterly alone for about ten years. Now, not only did others exist who knew my pain, I also had a name for it. The comfort was short-lived. I attempted to begin a discussion with my father and was shot down immediately with rationalizations and detours to ensure me that I did not know what I was talking about. It would be years later before I would admit to anyone that I ever struggled with such a thing. Ultimately, this is merely a taste of what I would do to myself to pursue manhood. Yet, the pain endured and a woman remained. Though I have come to grips with the reality of how God made male and female, the battle is far from resolved. Some days are easier than others, but the Lord has given me the strength to endure the temptation to pursue the complete altering of my body. Unfortunately, many scars remain from my failed attempts as a child and teenager that will likely persist. Though I have asked for this to be taken from me time and again, the Lord has declared that His grace is sufficient. He has called me to help others who know this burden and to bear it with them. My desire is to aid those struggling with Gender Dysphoria to know God’s heart for them and how they as distinctly male or female display God’s unique image through sex based distinctions.
Intended as a monologue confession, the only sounds were my silent screams. Sitting in my senior dorm room, my eyes viciously bounced in every direction except toward the young lady sitting in front of me. Her unquenchable gaze burned into my soul as she waited for me to finish the conversation I had initiated. Words failed me. Four months earlier, the Holy Spirit had convicted me that drastic action was needed to squelch encroaching sin. So, naturally, I justified my actions and ignored the Spirit’s prompt warning. In the end, I would plead ignorance, yet bliss was far from the turmoil I would entertain. I was in love with the woman sitting in front of me, and I had to put an end to it.
Four months of Paul’s impending declaration slowly shredding through the remains of my rebellion: “Take heed lest you fall.” However, I continued to rationalize. After all, it wasn’t “like that; I couldn’t be gay,” or so I kept convincing myself time and again. Having begun as a normal friendship, our relationship had exploded into an emotional and physical entanglement. In my defense, I was initially utterly ignorant of the signs and symptoms of being attracted to anyone much less a woman. Now I know what you are thinking, why in the world did it take her until she was twenty-two years old to realize she was gay? Great question. Answer: growing up I had bigger problems to attend to. Looking back, there were incidents where hints were evident; however, I was far too wrapped up in Gender Dysphoria to worry about who was attractive and who was not (more on that in a future post). Further, due to my ignorance of the forms attraction often takes, I simply rationalized. Further, for many years I was under the impression that being gay was essentially a choice. In fact, this resulted in one particularly awkward encounter. After all, if being gay was a choice, I simply deduced that being attracted to anyone must be a choice as well. Therefore, upon being asked the inevitable teenage girl question, “So, which boy do you like?” I confidently responded with, “Oh, I haven’t really chosen to like anyone.” Needless to mention this deduction was met with some interesting glances from the immediate and outlying parties. Anyhow, after becoming aware of the reality of the feelings that were present, I continued to deny the rapid plunge into death I was facing by continuing the course of my present relationship with this woman. Classic case of denial. After all, I could not be gay, and I ultimately refused to acknowledge that I could actually be gay; however, I knew something had to be done to avoid straying further into what I now knew to be sin.
Ultimately, my fears were in tandem with most all those who are forced or decide of their own volition to “come out” to those they love. Fears of rejection, misunderstanding, betrayal, or mere denial of the reality of the situation. After all, Homosexuality is considered to be the most heinous of sins and is merely a choice one makes for themselves when they wake up one morning and decide to rebel against God; therefore, a true Christian is incapable of struggling in this realm (insert sarcasm here). I simply knew that she would be repulsed and run as far and as fast as she could. However, the inevitable never came. Instead, she merely listened and told me she was there for me (she thoroughly denied any shared interests or responsibility in the entire process, but in that moment, that was the least of my concerns). Unfortunately for me, we spoke little of my attractions again. Every time I tried, it clearly caused severe discomfort in her; and, frankly, I didn’t even know how to go about discussing it. Speaking about it made it alive, and my only desire was for it to be dead. Not to mention I have this horrible propensity to make jokes when I discuss serious issues, and for some reason she did not seem to think jokes were appropriate for the subject. Alas, this and other struggles in my life would cause her to reject me in less than a year.
After the loss of this friend, it would be another three years before I would gain the courage to admit my predicament to anyone else. Further, it would also be this long before the Lord would allow me to know that I was not alone in my struggle. Before this time, I imagined myself as the only one in the world (or at least within near proximity) that while attempting to remain faithful to a biblical sexual ethic, still found myself attracted to the same sex. Praise the Lord I was wrong!
Once I came to this realization, I understood what God was calling me to do. He desired me to minister to others within the LGBTQ+ Community who feel alone and rejected in their plight. Further, I also desire to bring the truth of the Gospel to all those in the LGBTQ+ Community that believe it is not good news for them. Finally, not only do I desire to help others who are struggling, but I also understand that this mission is too great for one. By creating this site, I hope to bring deeper understanding to the unique issues Christians within the LGBTQ+ Community may face, as well as train others to be able to come to the aid of those who are fighting. It is my prayer that we would all work together and bear one another’s burdens.