The Horror of Coming Out

comingoutI am not a person who frightens easily. As a horror fan, I have read Stephen King and watched scary movies since I can remember. I love Halloween and all things spooky. I have found few things truly scary… until now.

More than snakes or spiders or anything that creeps in the night, the scariest thing I have ever experienced was coming out.

For starters, I am not out in public. Few people know the real me and that is fine with me. As a person in the public sphere, its easier to maintain the illusion of who I am rather than have everyone know the truth. I’d rather be like Eowyn, a girl inside and a guy outside.

But I have told a few and the experience I had put the scare into my defintion of scary.

None of the  people I have come out to have outright rejected me. I have heard horror stories of people claiming to be Christian who do unspeaking things to people who come out. I have come out to five people, besides my spouse, who I considered friends. Thankfully they were all very gracious and kind and supportive. I have sworn each to secrecy and to their credit, none of them have spoken to anyone about it.

Of course they’ve also avoided speaking to me about it too. Thats the rub. The horror of coming out for me didn’t come in the moment. It came afterward as only one person(my spouse) ever spoke to me about what I revealed to them again. Months have passed and not a word. Not a phone call or a text message or an email. Most of them haven’t said anything to me since that fateful day.

Are they confused? Or scared? Did I drive them away by my news?

I started to think: No wonder other LGBTQ people are so afraid. If this is what happens when good, supportive people hear the truth, can you imagine the others?

Coming out is a scary time, no more scary than for the one revealing themselves. And we need support. I know I do. I don’t let just anyone in on my secret identity.

So to those I’ve come out to…and to the rest. I want to say…

Listen closely, cis hetero friends. If your friends come out to you, listen to them. Listen to their pain, their questions, their concerns. They are opening a window to their heart to you. Listen and don’t judge.

But don’t stop there. Call them up a couple days later and ask them out for coffee. Spend some time with them and help them understand who they are. We all need friends. And we’ve chosen you to be our friend.

Coming out is scary and we need people surrounding us who will listen and care. Will you step up to that challenge for someone??

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Is it REALLY Sinful??

targetSin…

Most of the time we assume we know what this means. “Sin is sin is sin is sin” we hear others say.

But what if it’s not? What if there are different kinds of sin and some “sins” that aren’t really “sins” for God??

For starters… what IS sin??

The Greek word for sin is ἁμαρτία (hamartia) and it literally means “missing the mark.” It’s an archery term. Imagine shooting at a target. When your arrow goes in the ditch you have ἁμαρτία, you have sin. Sin is connected with mistakes, not morality.

The New Testament uses THIS word as “sin”. Thus when John says, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” What he is taking away is the world’s ἁμαρτία.

So we have to ask how can we ἁμαρτία against God? How do we “miss the mark” as far as God is concerned?

Sins Against God

Sin is defined in the New Testament in a variety of ways. In the Gospel of John, sin is defined as “not believing in the one who the Father sent.” Not trusting Jesus is the only thing John defines as “sin.”

In the synopic Gospels(Matthew, Mark, Luke) sin is different. God’s commandments are boiled down to two: Love God and love your neighbor as yourself. Sinning against God, missing the mark, then is in disobeying God and NOT loving God or neighbor as God has commanded you to.

Social Sins

So what about all the rest of the commandments?

Well…each culture and society defines their own “sins”, their own ways their people can “miss the mark.” Most often when people say that someone has “sinned”, they’re referring to these commandments. These commandments that AREN’T given by God, but are given by the society in which we live. For example, the Bible lists many “sins” we don’t consider to be so sinful in our culture…

  • Thou shalt not… plant two different kinds of seed in your field.
  • Thou shalt not… wear two different kinds of clothing.
  • Thou shall… go to the Temple when you have sinned and offer an offering for God.

These are sins against culture. Yes, they are in the Bible, but we don’t consider them sins today.

In the same way, Western society has certain “sins” that it holds to be true like…

  • Respectable and privileged men shall dress in a suit whenever they attend events where they need to use their privilege.
  • Boys and girls shall play with different things right from childhood. Girls may be allowed in certain circumstances to play with boys toys, but boys are absolutely not to play with girls toys.
  • Certain careers are confined to boys or girls. Child care is usually reserved for women while physical laboring jobs are reserved for men.
  • Men cannot wear skirts, blouses, or other women’s clothing and should be looked on with suspicion should they be seen wearing such clothes or shopping in such areas.
  • You should fully identify with the sex of your birth. Any deviation is against God’s will and is perverted.

There are others, but you get the drift.

These commandments are NOT commanded by God. They are made up by humans and for humans. And thus, since they are of human origin, they can be broken freely. God doesn’t care. God doesn’t care whether you identify as a girl or a boy or someplace in between. God doesn’t care who you spend your life with or how you mold your body. God doesn’t care how you sin against your society. Your society cares. God doesn’t.

Where do you get this crazy idea?

Actually… from Jesus!

Jesus himself sinned against his society. When the disciples were gathering wheat one Sabbath, they were approached by a bunch of Pharisees. “Teacher, why do you teach your disciples to sin against the Sabbath?”

Now you should know that the Sabbath commandment IS part of the Ten Commandments. So you’d think that Jesus might stop them from sinning IF the sin was against God. But it’s not.

Instead Jesus says, “The Sabbath was made for man. Not man for the Sabbath.”

In other words, feel free to interpret those words as you choose. It’s okay. You’re not sinning against God. That’s a society sin.

What’s your point??

Perhaps we should focus more on “hitting the mark” at the things God truly cares about. God wants us to love. Love him but also love each other.

That’s enough to keep us busy for the rest of our lives!

p.s. Even if we do sin too…(and we will!) Jesus forgives our sins(At least that’s what I believe). So… don’t worry so much. Live, love, serve!

 

Introducing our Fourth Visit: Steven!

picforblogMay I present  our fourth Visit! Thank you all for participating!! May God bless you in your journey!

1. What is your name and where are you from??

Steven Spear St. Louis

2. How do you identify, preferred pronouns?

She/her

3. What do you do for a living?

Disabled

4. Tell us about growing up and how your experience relates to your life today.

I have always been gendered female even when I didn’t want to be 

5.  Describe the moment you decided to transition. What inspired you to make that decision in your life?

Two years ago I was in a Bible study and someone made a comment that TG people should be shot and I was angry etc

6.  Explain the process you went through to transition to the person you are today.

I shaved and untucked my hair from under my hat

7. What are your hobbies?

Facebook, cooking, and painting

8. Tell us about your faith. What do you believe about life, God, the universe, and everything?

I am a follower of Jehovah God the Father, the Son, the Holly Spirit…

9. Describe yourself in a single phrase or sentence. I am…

I am very blessed

10. If you could go back to the past and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?

Follow Jesus not Christianity.

11. If you could go back to the past and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?

 

Thank you! I think you choose great questions

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Describe the moment you decided to transition. What inspired you to make that decision in your life?

 

 

 

 

  • Explain the process you went through to transition to the person you are today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • If you could go back to the past and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?

 

  • What question or questions have we forgot? What would you like the world to know?

 

A Visit With Barbara

picI have the privilege to introduce our third Visit! Barbara! Thank you, Barbara, for sharing your story with us and for touching our lives with it. May you be a blessing, even as you have been blessed!

What’s your name and where are you from?

Hello! My name is Barbara Marie Minney. I was born in Parkersburg, West Virginia, but my family moved across the river to Eastern Ohio when I was fifteen years old. My wife, Marilyn, and I have lived near Akron, Ohio, for the past thirty-seven years.

How do you identify, preferred pronouns, and where are you from?

I identify as a transgender woman, and my preferred pronouns are she, her, and hers.

What do you do for a living?

I am currently retired. I had a successful career as an attorney in a highly political environment, and was recognized as one of the best attorneys in my specialty. I received a Bachelor of Arts degree with high distinction from Ohio Northern University in 1975, and I received my law degree cum laude from the University of Dayton School of Law in 1978. I began my career as an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, and then spent the next thirty-four years in private practice representing public school districts all across the state of Ohio. I became a partner in two different law firms and co-authored three books, one on sports law and two training guides for paraprofessionals. However, success brings a whole lot of stress and pressure, and my job became all-consuming and was constantly on my mind. I retired at age sixty after practicing law for thirty-six years. Now, I am called on to consult every once in a while, and I volunteer at name and gender change clinics for transgender people.

Tell us about growing up and how your experience relates to your life today.

I had a fairly typical, middle class childhood, grew up as a boy, and spent most of my life as a man. I grew up in a family of educators. My mother was a teacher, and my father was a teacher, principal, superintendent, and supervisor. He actually began his career teaching in a one room schoolhouse in rural West Virginia. Although, I did look up to my father because of what he accomplished in his life, I always had a difficult relationship him. He had high expectations, and doing your best was not good enough. Perfection was always demanded. He also showed little emotion, and thought that asking for help was a sign of weakness. I think that this led to my life long struggle with low self-esteem, anxiety, and depression. I was suicidal at times, but never actually attempted it; although, I did think about it a lot, including ways to do it. However, both of my parents did the best that they could, and did give me the tools to be successful in life, for which I will always be grateful. I spent a lot of time alone as a child and sometimes felt lonely and isolated, but I did participate in the usual boy things like sports, and I played the trombone in the band through my sophomore year in college. Music became a huge part of my life and served as a great escape, and still does. I always spent a lot of time reading, and books also play a big part in my life. I have a younger brother, but we have never been particularly close. However, my experience was so much different that the experience described by most transgender people. I did not have a sense at a young age that I was the wrong gender or born in the wrong body. In fact, I repressed my gender issues for the first sixty years of my life. I did try on my mother’s clothes as a young teen, and was always drawn to talk shows, books, and articles that featured crossdressers or gender issues, but I really did not think too much about it at the time. Looking back on it now, I guess that I just considered it part of the normal exploration of a teenage boy. I met my wife, Marilyn, around 1976, and she truly is my soulmate. I do believe that it was God that brought us together. I like to tell people that I picked her out of a book, which is actually true. Prior to the Internet, dating services sent you a catalog with pictures and descriptions of various women. Marilyn was the only one that I contacted, and our first date was on Friday the thirteenth, which also happened to be her birthday. We were married in 1981. We have certainly had some struggles and very dark periods during our time together, but our love and respect for each other helped us survive and persevere as a couple. Describe the moment you decided to transition. What inspired you to make that decision in your life? I transitioned in January of 2017 at the age of sixty-three when I started hormone replacement therapy. I have been criticized for not beginning my transition sooner, which was painful and disturbing.
However, the fact of the matter is that I was not ready, and it just was not feasible for me to transition before that time. In fact, I always thought that a full transition would never be feasible for me and that I would always be a part-time woman. However, everyone’s journey is unique, and I tried to trust God to let me know when the time was right. I also needed my wife to be absolutely on board with my transition, and it finally became obvious that going back and forth between being a man and a woman was not enough and was very confusing for both of us. In addition, I was retired, and both of my parents were deceased.

Explain the process you went through to transition to the person you are today.

I need to begin by saying that my transition was not strictly mine alone. We had to transition as a married couple, which in some ways was easier, because we were there to support each other. However, in other ways, it made things much more complicated. I engaged in crossdressing periodically throughout my life but always felt guilty, and I mostly repressed my gender issues for the first sixty years of my life. My journey to transition really begin in July of 2012, when I went on a self-imposed retreat, and that became the turning point when everything came out. Marilyn was out of town, and I decided to go away by myself, which is something I had never done before. This trip ended up being an odyssey of getting in touch with my feminine side. It seemed like I was being guided by a Higher Power. I went to a metaphysical shop and discovered Shiva Lingam Stones, which balance your feminine and masculine energies. I also “met” and became friends online with a crossdresser that lived very close to me, and she told me about a monthly event for crossdressers that she regularly attended called the Girls’ Night Out (GNO). The following week, Marilyn and I actually met my new friend and her wife at another event, and we have become good friends with both of them. I did a lot of thinking on this trip and came to two conclusions: I had lost a lot of my life through worry, depression, migraine headaches, and not otherwise being in the moment, and I could no longer deny my strong feminine side. We began to attend the GNOs with them, and yes, I did look hideous my first time out in public, but no one seemed to notice. There were also a number of other wives and girlfriends that attended these events, who provided support and comfort to Marilyn. We also did a lot of reading, and books and articles by such writers as Helen Boyd and Peggy Rudd were very beneficial. We also begin attending some support group meetings but found their usefulness to be limited. I began therapy in September of 2016 with a counselor who specialized in gender issues. She was the fifth counselor that I had been to over the past twenty-five years, and I truly believe that it was by the grace of God that I found her on the Internet. She was the only one that really took my gender issues seriously, primarily because it was just not within the realm of experience of the others. She helped me to discover who I truly am. The turning point came when my counselor told me that it was no longer a matter of accepting my female self, but a matter of accepting my former male self. She also asked me what I was resisting: was I resisting being transgender or was I resisting because I have concluded that I am transgender?

What hobbies do you enjoy doing?

I enjoy reading and listening to music, especially jazz. I also do a lot of writing. I keep a detailed journal, which I share with my counselor and my wife. It lets them both know what I am feeling and thinking and serves as a basis for discussion. I have also written poetry since I was in college, and I am working on a collection of transgender-related poetry. We also like to travel and go for drives in our little red Miata.

Tell us about your faith. What do you believe about life, God, the universe, and everything?

I have always been a very spiritual person. I grew up in the Methodist Church and attended Sunday school, church services, and vacation bible school. Marilyn and I continued to attend a small Methodist Church after we were married. However, we became disillusioned and gave up on organized religion. I believe that it is possible to have a direct relationship with God without the intervention of a church or a preacher. I am a Christian, and I find it to be both ironic and comforting that I feel closer to Jesus now than at any other time in my life. I also help administer two groups for transgender Christians and their family and friends on Facebook. I recently came across this, which really spoke to me and has provided me a lot of inspiration and strength: “The devil whispered in my ear ‘You’re not strong enough to withstand the storm.’ Today I whispered in the devil’s ear ‘I am the storm.’”

Describe yourself in a single phrase or sentence. I am…

I am sometimes indecisive and a procrastinator, but in the end, I always show up and do what needs to be done. If you could go back to the past and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be? Worry is a waste of time and energy, because most of the time, what you were worried about does not even happen.

What question or questions have we forgot? What would you like the world to know?

As a Christian and a conservative, I really have no community. I am not welcome in the transgender community nor the mainstream community, so I do feel isolated at times. This does make transition difficult sometimes for those that share my views, and my small group of close and supportive friends is extremely important to me. I also have been very lucky. I have not faced the violence, discrimination, and adversity that a lot of my transgender brothers and sisters have faced, and my heart goes out to them. I am also very lucky, because I have been married to the love of my life and soulmate for almost thirty-six years, and she is my biggest supporter and a huge part of my story. We recently presented a workshop entitled “Your Partner is Not the Same Person You Met: Strengthening Your Relationship During Transition.” We are always open to other opportunities to share our story as a couple, and we are thinking about recording our presentation and putting it on Youtube.
Thank you for the opportunity to tell my story.

A Visit With Sheryl Stewart

And for this week… another Visit to post. Thank you, Sheryl, for sharing your journey with us!

A Visit with Sheryl (O’Donnell) Stewart

Sheryl Stewart

What’s your name and where are you from?

My name is Sheryl Stewart. I presently live in upstate NY, USA

How do you identify, preferred pronouns, and where are you from?

I am a woman (although transgender, I identify as female) and my preferred pronouns are she, her, hers, I already answered where I am, but I was born in Canada.

What do you do for a living?

I am a retired clergywoman and RN. I still supply a pulpit in tandem with two other clergy.

Tell us about growing up and how your experience relates to your life today.

Growing up, I always felt female and the local girls who were my friends noticed my level of comfort as a girl when we played dress-up. They were fascinated by a “boy” who was so girly and were supportive. I suspect they wanted to see how girlish I really was. This caused tension at home after I got my ears pierced but I had plenty of girls who kept supplies for me so that I could dress and act normally as a girl outside my home. The other girls’ involvement just increased after my first real kiss from a boy and as I started to have boyfriends. Many guys were turned off by me, but those who weren’t did not consider themselves gay I did not consider myself gay, but I understood many people believed that. I lived as fully as a girl as I could, including tampons for about a week every month (which I kept quiet about with the guys) and regular anal douching when I became sexually active. I had to try to pass as a boy at school, but that was it. My experience relates to my life today in that I never really stopped being female; I just stopped hiding it.

Describe the moment you decided to transition. What inspired you to make that decision in your life?

I’d gotten to feel trapped by this male persona in my professional life. I felt so dishonest. I reflected oN the Creation Story, often quoted against me, and realized if there was a disharmony between body and spirit, I’d be truer to God by respecting the spirit breathed into me that I would be by “obeying the clay.”

Explain the process you went through to transition to the person you are today.

I sought a position in a small city and got counseling, hormones, etc. As soon as I could (3 years), I left active ministry, went to Nursing School as a woman, working as a female Home Health Aide while I got my BSN and changed over my documents to reflect my gender properly. I got my GRS/SRS in 1991, my present husband (who was just a very supportive friend at the time) traveled with me and camped near the hospital during this process. He started asking me to date him a few months after this time! We married on Valentine’s Day, 1992, and we are still together.

What hobbies do you enjoy doing?

I read, write (Children’s meditations), garden, and enjoy online RPG (Farland, Forbidden Garden).

Tell us about your faith. What do you believe about life, God, the universe, and everything?

 

I could, and have, talked for years about my faith. Luckily, my denomination (UCC) accepts me and so does the DOC, with whom I also have partnership. If you want a real answer, just look up the Gaines Congregational Church UCC on Facebook, log into the archives, and download any sermon preached by Sheryl Stewart. After reading a few, you’ll have your answer.

Describe yourself in a single phrase or sentence. I am…

I am, and I am becoming, a daughter of God and a sister of Jesus.

If you could go back to the past and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?

I would say, “Be real sooner, and buy a few duplicates of your favorites clothes when you find them; they wear out and you’ll never find their like again, girl.”

What question or questions have we forgot? What would you like the world to know?

I don’t think you forgot anything, but you might mention that, though it s not easy to start lactating, a transwoman can breastfeed. It is best not to have augmentation before you try as you do get a few problems with severed ducts and scar tissue.

A Visit With Colleen Morgan

A Brief Introduction to the Visits

A few months ago I started reading biographies and autobiographies of trans people. They were fascinating! I’ll probably eventually review some of them here.

But one question always puzzled me. What do NORMAL trans people think? The biographies and autobiographies that sell are celebrities or people who have gone through extreme transitions or lived crazy lifestyles or who had been on drugs. Biggest of all… none of them had anything resembling a faith in anything. The more I read, the more I wanted to read about someone that was, well, normal. Someone like me.

The interview below and those who follow are those very people. Normal, trans folk who are at one place in their transition or another but who have all agreed to share their stories with the larger world. I am thankful for each one of them for sharing their journey. I hope that their stories can bring hope to your hopelessness. Our community is a community of story, of transition and transformation, and its time to let our stories be known. Let the storytelling begin!

So without further ado… May I introduce Colleen Morgan

Colleen_2017-12_v4What’s your name and where are you from?

My name is Colleen Morgan.  I’m from the Detroit metropolitan area, but I’ve lived in northern Alabama for the past 10 years.

How do you identify, preferred pronouns, and where are you from?

I am a transsexual woman.  I was born as a male. I live as a woman, so my preferred pronouns are female.

What do you do for a living?

Most of my career has been in the Information Technology industry.  I currently am self-employed. I provide a portfolio of services to small business in northern Alabama, which includes legal services, business support services, software application development services and compliance management.  I am active in my local business community.

Tell us about growing up and how your experience relates to your life today.

I grew up as a boy in a working-class family in Detroit, Michigan.  My father was a bus driver and my mother worked in various administrative positions. Both of them eventually retired from the City of Detroit.  When I was about 4 or 5 years old I began to realize that I was different from other boys. Although I had a reasonably happy childhood, I didn’t seem to fit in with most of the other boys.  It’s not that I was unhappy; I just knew I was different from the other boys I knew. At about the age of 10 or 12, I read an article about Christine Jorgenson, the first transsexual woman in the country.  I knew then that this was what I was. I lived a rather typical youth. I went to a prestigious high school (we’d call it a magnet school today), where I graduated as a “C+” student. I went to college, where I received straight “A’s”, thinking I’d like a career in engineering.  My heart was not on college, so I dropped out. During my late teens, I read all that I could find about transsexuals, but did not act on anything I learned. I was drafted into the Army, where I spend two and a half years serving in Germany with a nuclear missile unit. I did well in the Army, being promoted to Assistant Chief of Section of a missile launch crew.  During my late teens, I had read all that I could find about transsexuals, but I did not act on anything I learned. After the Army, I enrolled in college where I was an “A” student. My plan was to be a family practice doctor, so I was in pre-medical classes. However, I became involved in student government and married a woman who also attended my college. During this time, I thought more seriously about acting on my transsexual perceptions of myself, but I did not.  Instead, I married, thinking it would “fix” me. I did not tell my wife about this part of me. In fact, I had told no one about this. I dropped out of college, went to work in the retail automobile industry. After one child and 5 years of marriage, I decided to act on my gender dissonance. I walked out of my marriage, emotionally, and we divorced. However, I was confused. I was now a father and had a responsibility to my son. I began to attend church regularly. So, I turned away from dealing with my gender dissonance.  My wife remarried and a year or so later, so did I, again thinking this would “fix” my problem. We had a daughter. And 5 years into this marriage, the tension was too intense, so I secretly began to see a counselor who had experience with transsexuals. She was convinced I was transsexual. About 6 months into this counseling, I told my wife about my situation. I also told my parents, siblings and my ex-wife. It did not always go well. About 6 months later, just before I was to begin hormone therapy, I backed out of it, began to work with a psychologist whom my pastor recommended and started working on salvaging my marriage and learning to be the best husband and dad that I could be.  We had another daughter. But, my wife wanted out, so the marriage failed. I determined to commit myself to seeing my children to adulthood and focused my time on them. During this time, I also completed a bachelor’s degree in business management. I had a successful career in I.T. corporate sales. But from time to time, the gender tension would become too great. For a short time, I experimented with hormones, without the assistance of a physician. About four months after I started taking estrogen, I was diagnosed with lymphoma. For years, I thought the estrogen was the culprit in my cancer, but I’ve since been told that is unlikely. I survived cancer treatment. I continued to focus on my children.  The youngest left the home in 2006 to join the Marine Corp. Late that same year my mother was visiting from Alabama and suffered a seizure. We learned that she had brain cancer and that my father had early dementia. So, I focused on taking care of my parents for the next three years. They both died. I had moved to Alabama to take care of them and I decided to stay in Alabama. I began to build a new career, servicing the I.T. needs of small businesses and being active in the local business community. But, I lived a life of quiet desperation and depression, until January 2017, when I hit some kind of “tipping point”. I sought out a therapist who would help me transition to living the remainder of my life as a woman.  I began to process of transitioning my life. I told my children about the changes happening in my life.
Describe the moment you decided to transition. What inspired you to make that decision in your life?

I was not “inspired” to transition.  In fact, I wish I did not have to transition.  I wish I was not afflicted with this transsexual malady.  It was not really a decision, either. It took me months to understand what caused me to hit this “tipping point”.  I came to realize that I was living a death spiral. I finalized realized that I was committing what I call “passive suicide”.  My health was declining. I wasn’t managing my business well; it was failing. I was on the road to losing my home. I really didn’t care if I lived or died.  The only reason I didn’t take my own life is because, it doesn’t belong to me. It belongs to Jesus Christ. But, I was on the road to dying and becoming homeless.  I saw three paths in front of me: continue on my current path and be homeless in a year and probably dead within 2 years; take medication and live the rest of my life in a medicated stupor; or transition to living as a woman.  It really didn’t seem like a choice.

Explain the process you went through to transition to the person you are today.

In January 2017, I began to work with a counselor who had experience working with transgender people.  I began to plan how I might be able to transition in my vocation. I talked individually with the important people in my personal life.  I began to let my hair grow out. I started hormone therapy under the supervision of a local physician. I restarted electrolysis to permanently remove facial hair.  I began to dress androgynously. I became involved in a local transgender support group. In August, I began to meet privately with people in the business community with whom I had relationships.  I talked with them about my situation and where my life was going. By December 2017, I knew I had to transition completely, because so many people I encountered perceived me as a woman. And those whom I had known for a while were becoming confused by my appearance.  Beginning in January, I informed people whom I had already talked with, that I would no longer use my birth name, and I began the process to legally change my name. My name was legally changed in late February 2018. With the help of my physician, I changed my legal gender with some Federal government agencies and with my healthcare insurance carrier.  This in NOT a painless process. It has been emotionally excruciating at time. At the moment, it seems I am about to lose the most important personal relationship in my life.

What hobbies do you enjoy doing?

I enjoy learning and reading, especially about world history, technology, investing, personal relationships, world and biblical history and business operations.  I enjoy sailing and sailboat racing on big water. I enjoy officiating for youth soccer matches. I enjoy traveling through the back roads of our nation and visiting out-of-the-way towns, places and eateries.  I enjoy a variety of musical styles from Classical to Classic Rock & Roll, Country and Western, Blue Grass, and traditional Christian hymns.

Tell us about your faith. What do you believe about life, God, the universe, and everything?

I am an active, conservative, evangelical, confessional, liturgical Lutheran Christian.  I believe the Holy Bible to be the inerrant, infallible Word of God in the autographa. I do not subscribe to Darwinist evolutionary theory.  I am convinced of the veracity of Intelligent Design and that God created the universe, although I cannot say I subscribe to 7, 24-hour-day creationism.  I have served in leadership positions in almost every congregation in which I was a member. Most recently I was the Head Elder for my Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod congregation.

Describe yourself in a single phrase or sentence. I am…

I am owned by Jesus Christ and I long to glorify Him and to love my neighbors as myself.

If you could go back to the past and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?

Be honest in all your relationships and don’t hide your deepest thoughts from your spouse.

What question or questions have we forgot? What would you like the world to know?

It seems to me that the underlying assumption here is that this is a “happy” experience and I am finally being my “true self”.  Not so. I am not “happy” about transitioning. If it were possible for me to NOT transition and live my life peaceably being a grandfather to my grandchildren, I would jump at the opportunity to do so. I don’t want to disrupt my relationships with my children and cause confusion to my grandchildren by my transition. Yet, I see no viable alternative to transitioning. I’ve come to realize that, before I started on the path to transitioning to live my life as a woman, I was slowly dying. I was living each day, waiting to die a natural death.  Although I now have a sense of contentment and peace, which I’ve never experienced before, I would that it was not so.

You’re Our Hero! : A Poetic Meditation

Poet’s Note: This poem has been dancing in my head ever since I joined some trans support groups and found so many pcomic-superhero-chest-illustration_23-2147501841eople hurting. I wonder sometimes: Do they know how much their stories mean to some of us? Do they understand how we look at their actions, as one would look at a superhero? So I wrote this poem to explain… Enjoy!

You’re My Hero

I know you’re scared

I see you there in the mirror                                                                                                      Criticizing every feature of your body                                                                                   Wondering if you’ll pass today                                                                                                     And people will see the real you.

Raising your phone you smile                                                                                                             Or give that backward glance                                                                                                          And hope that the picture you see matches the person inside.

I see you there, frightened                                                                                                                 As you prepare yourself to speak to your parents                                                                       To tell them about the person you’ve discovered inside                                                          The person you’ve always been and you pray to God                                                             Your parents will still love you after they know.

So you tighten your binder                                                                                                              And step out into your own home                                                                                                       To confront your the people who’ve known you all your life.

I know you might be confused                                                                                                         As you ponder your own identity.                                                                                                    As you struggle with feeling neither male or female                                                                      Non-binary they call you. It fits who you are                                                                             The person you are inside.                                                                                                               It’s difficult to explain what that means but you try                                                                    and hope someone will understand.

I’ve seen all of you and I’m here to say                                                                              Something you need to hear.

You can do this.

You can be you. You can live the life you’ve always wanted.                                                   You are courageous. You are strong.                                                                                             You are confident                               .                                                                                              You are a role model to others you don’t even know                                                                  We who have to hide who they are from others look to you and smile.                                     We want you to know:                                                                                                                     You are brave. You are beautiful. You are fierce.                                                                         You’re our hero.