Author Topic: Ministry vs Sanity  (Read 921 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Natalie42

  • Visitor
  • *
  • Posts: 8
  • Reputation: +1/-0
Ministry vs Sanity
« on: November 16, 2019, 04:09:42 pm »
I think I'm looking for some feedback and possibly advice.  Wait...that's almost the same thing, right?  Mods, if this doesn't fit in this child board, please feel free to move it.  Also - there may be some triggers in here, please read carefully and have your fingers on the alt-tab buttons!

Here's some context:
MTF hormonally transitioning Christian person here.  AMAB, married for 20+ years (and counting for now), several kids (all in high school), former minister (I cringe when I think about the hate I spewed - I owe a deep and sincere apology to the LGBT community).  A social transition would completely end my marriage (her words) and would end what I currently am able to do in our current church.

So I have built quite an influential life as a male.  I have a wife and children, and these relationships are of immense importance to me.  And not just to me; I think there's strong grounds in Scripture for doing everything I can to keep my roles I've been assigned/given/volunteered as a result of my male body.  Philippians 2 speaks volumes of humility and putting others ahead of ourselves.

As a male-bodied person, I have a strong influence in our church as well.  I teach little kids very effectively, providing a positive male influence where many have no father leadership.  Other male-bodied persons in our church look up to me in an unofficial way (I have no leadership position here), I look like a good example of what a father should be, and I have gained the respect of the knuckle-dragging Neanderthals (a.k.a., alpha males) here.  As a family, many have communicated what an immense encouragement we are.

Everything I do here is a good thing!!  I sing a strong baritone (always wished I was a tenor), play a mean trombone (always wished it was a clarinet or cello), and act in the occasional drama performance.  <not allowed> - now this all sounds like I'm bragging.  I'm not, I promise!  We just do a lot!!

At work, the influence that I have is because I'm male.  I've built a strong team (we suck at sales, but we're a strong, strong family who has saved one person from committing suicide, another from an abusive relationship, and helped several others get promoted), and I am convinced that I would lose that, even though I work for a very welcoming and affirming corporation (we have an internal LGBT networking group that sponsors several PRIDE rallies and parades nationwide).  Most of my team are strongly binary in their perspectives.  They'd accept a person who transitioned, but I don't think they'd respect me the same.

But if I continue with the hormones, I risk losing ALL this.  I attend an Evangelical Free church, which while the organization and the local congregation would accept a same-sex attracted person, they would be required to be celibate.  They did issue a statement stating they only support heterosexual relationships and marriages; it's kind of a blanket statement about all LGBT variations.

I used to be fairly strong against homosexuality and the rest of the rainbow, but that's because the closet and I were really good friends.  Had to keep that door locked!!  Anger was the only way I knew how to keep it locked!!

I feel that God is using me in a way that I love being used by Him!  I deeply and sincerely LOVE the little kids I get to work with.  I deeply and sincerely LOVE the wife and children I've been given!

But dysphoria is a mean beast.  This body is wrong, and the hormones are only doing so much.  I want to be accepted by the rest of the women in church AS a woman, not just as a sensitive man!!  I want my mind and body to be as closely aligned as they CAN be!!  I am torn!!

If you need to express your disgust at what I used to be, please feel free to express that.  Just please remember that that is my past, and it is not what I am now.  I am deeply sorry for the hate I spoke and taught.

Help?  Any thoughts or advice?

Offline KateR

  • Kate
  • *
  • Posts: 762
  • Reputation: +5/-0
  • Gender: Female
Ministry vs Sanity
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2019, 05:55:52 pm »

No disgust, just empathy.

I think all transgender people, with any religious belief, and any life on this Earth, eventually face this dilemma.

There are no easy answers; only the prioritization of the choices we need to make for our personal care and to survive and thrive. 

I do want to digress a moment and be clear my transitioning is not a choice. I’m not ‘deciding’ to become female. Inside, I have always been female. This is me allowing myself to be the real me, the person I’ve always been, and it is the only route I can take because I am done lying about who/what I am.

I hate to be ‘The Grinch that Stole Christmas’; however in transitioning there will be loss.  It can’t be avoided. 

If you’re lucky, as I have been - so far; your losses will be acceptable.  So far, my immediate family, that I dearly love, are working to be supportive and accepting.  (It’s a transition for them also.)  I wasn’t that close to those who are rejecting of me, so there’s not much emotion to deal with related to those rejections.

Peoples beliefs are strong, and we can’t directly fight that.  We can only fight it by acknowledging our existence and following Jesus’ example of patience and forgiveness. 

Even so, prejudice may cause the need find a more accepting church family.  In my case, I’m Catholic.  I used to be in state leadership of the Knights of Columbus.  I gave that up because I couldn’t live any longer the way I was.  In my last parish, It was clear I would never be accepted by either the men or the women, so I chose to find, and have succeeded in finding, a new Catholic Church that is accepting of me.

I work in Tech Sales.  My age, and gender assigned at birth was an advantage to me.  I chose to give up my ‘male privilege.’

Walking from a building to my car, alone, gives me pause because I feel more vulnerable, and AM more vulnerable.

Even with what I have given up, I’m a much, much happier, peaceful, and more productive person.  I can easily live with myself.  I’m not keeping any secrets.

I wish I could share a more uplifting and hopeful message.  However, I can’t.  All I can offer are my prayers that you will find peace in whatever decisions you make.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
« Last Edit: November 17, 2019, 06:32:21 am by jkredman »

Offline Natalie42

  • Visitor
  • *
  • Posts: 8
  • Reputation: +1/-0
Re: Ministry vs Sanity
« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2019, 03:14:21 pm »
Thanks, Kate.  It's encouraging to know I'm not alone, even though after having lurked here long enough I already KNOW I'm not alone.  :P

It's the keeping of secrets sometimes that's the hardest.  I would love for my church family to know who I am and to accept me for who I am (two separate but connected concepts).  As for finding a more accepting church family, my kids have strong connections (and ministry involvement) here, so uprooting that would cause even more pain.

Currently I'm also in counseling (this one is #5), and while she is not affirming, we have uncovered a number of underlying issues of self-esteem (someone from an ultra-conservative background having low self-esteem?  who-da thunk it!), general dislike of men, etc., that have helped with issues, but the dysphoria never goes away.  I'm hoping she'll come to recognize a biological source of GD instead of just a "nurture" source.  She's helped more than the previous 4; I'm willing to work with her a bit longer.  Who knows - maybe she'll help uncover a reason besides biology (for me, at least). 

Yeah, it's a choice.  I don't have to make a final, ultimate choice yet, but I'm dreading that day and hoping it never comes.

Oh, and thanks for extending a measure of grace to me instead of condemning me.  :)