Proud (Transgender) Woman to Wholehearted Christian
I was born male and felt the desire to live as a female since I was young. From age sixteen, I pursued this desire by dressing as a woman and taking female hormones. Eventually, I had a sex reassignment operation and legally changed my name to Desiree and my sex to female.
Longing to Be a Woman
For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be like a girl. I remember dressing up in my sister’s clothes and playing with my mother’s makeup. This way of thinking prevailed until I became a teenager and I realised that I was not okay with being like other guys. After a little research, I learned that there were many others like me and I had options.
After my operation, I was able to be exactly who I always wanted to be. I had tons of friends who loved and respected me. I graduated and had a great job lined up but still, I felt a void.
I started reading God’s word for the first time with an open mind. I had no religious background and I had very little understanding of what it all meant, but the Bible spoke to me as the truth. I had spent all of my life defining what the truth was and I was ready to have the truth defined for me by the Creator of truth. God’s word was a breath of fresh air to me.
Longing For Truth
The bible spoke to me profoundly, everything I previously questioned made sense to me. Jesus says “If you hold on to my teachings, then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). Being free for me meant that I no longer had to come up with my own truth, I no longer had to spend all of my days figuring out life, I no longer have to come up with meaning. What do I need to find fulfilment and joy in this life? It doesn’t fall on me. I was freed from that. I was able to depend on my Saviour Jesus, I don’t have to figure it all out because Jesus has.
The greatest part of God’s word was something being offered to me that was better than what I have found in life – an eternal relationship with God, one that cost a heavy price. I came to a realisation that God had been patient, I saw Him as a loving father who has been waiting for me to come to him. To have this relationship is incredible and Jesus laid down his life to give us that. There’s such relief in knowing there’s more to this life.
From before the creation of the universe and specifically before the creation of me. God already had my whole life in mind and a plan for me (Jeremiah 29:11). In Jesus, I have someone that I can follow and can lean on. Someone who carries and understands me perfectly and has literally shown me that he will do anything to have an eternal relationship with me.
Self-Expression to Self-Denial
My yearning to live as a woman has never subsided. It’s not because living as a woman was unfulfilling that I decided to go back to living as a man. It was because I desired to live in a way that pleased God.
In the realm of transgender, people will often say “It’s nowhere in the bible, how can you come at this conviction to return to being a man?”. My answer is, I was very much following my heart with what I felt was right and I loved being a woman. However, my heart was not surrendered to God, it was surrendered to myself. If our feelings are above God and his order of creation and his will for us, then it’s idolatry. Christianity involves self-denial, Christianity without self-denial is very attractive but that’s not Christianity.
Sometimes we feel like we get baptised and think life is going to be beautiful but the word says:
“Consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds because you know the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4).
We’re going to face tribulations and we need to have a certain attitude towards them. We take joy that something greater will come from our painful experience, it will refine our character. The act of persevering through helps us to become spiritually mature. My journey has provided the spiritual toolset that I need not just to make it through life and hang onto to God but to help others persevere through difficulties.
Living with Conflicting Desires
To be the most comfortable as a woman and my role in society is still unfulfilled. However, my desire to have a relationship with God has been fulfilled immensely. Given that is my greater need, everything else pales in comparison. God doesn’t fault me on my desires of having same-sex attractions or wanting to be female. Those unwanted attractions are inherent in me but I choose not to indulge in them. I still feel the pull from that and the pain but it’s no comparison.
And it’s for a finite period while we are on earth. When we are heaven, there’s no more tradeoff to make because we won’t have those desires. None of what is contrary to God’s will, will be plaguing us anymore. We will be surrounded by his glory and bask in this unadulterated joy. (Romans 8:18). The thought of that is something I hold close to my heart and I look forward to that day very much. That’s ultimately where our hope lies.
An Out Of This World Identity
You may think the logical solution to denying myself is to not think of myself as a woman and have a male identity. But it’s not, my identity is in Christ. I do want to uphold a maleness and I’m also appreciating that God made my gender specifically. Ultimately, having an identity in Christ is so much bigger than your gender or sexual identity. Our identity in Christ goes beyond this world and any of its construct. If that is our identity, it will spill over into every portion of our lives.
By Brandon Redler
Brandon Redler lives in LA and is involved in Strength and Weakness Ministry, a resource which helps churches engage with the LGBT community by faithfully navigating issues of human sexuality. In his spare time, Brandon enjoys feeding his inner child by going to Disney World as often as he can.
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