Well of course I knew I wanted to write something for this blog round up so the logical thing to do would've been to have this piece written up well in advance right? NOPE! That is NOT how this writer works. When I face a deadline - I literally write on the day of that deadline. I really hope that God never calls me to write a book because those deadlines I hear are pretty strict. Anyways, I tend to wait last minute. My CRS asked for a testimonial - it got written the morning I was supposed to hand it in, in fact I was thirty minutes late running it over to her office. My churches SPARK mission team asked if I would write a letter for a the church wide newsletter - I wrote that an hour and a half before it was due and I had a week to prepare. This blog is completely voluntary. No one asked me to write it at all. I felt called by God to write something. So here I am writing on my iPad at 1:35am, with Christian hits blaring in my ears as I type away. Now to get down to the bulk of this post.
What does my transness call me to do and be in this world? Very simply put - it calls me to be my true self and to live as my true self which is a transgender male who happens to identify with the United Methodist faith and I'm in the process of becoming a member of my local UM church.
My transness calls me to be a trailblazer for other transgender and queer people to make their paths easier if I can. I have the strength to fight whereas some do not have it in them. If I can bear the brunt of the battle and lessen the load, well then my purpose has been completed.
My transness has just recently came to light in my life because I just came out October 15, 2017. But it has greatly affect how I go through life. I instantly found out that those who accepted me as a cis-gender lesbian where not all so accepting of me as a transgender male. Don't get me wrong I lost far less friends when I announced my transition than when I announced I was a lesbian. I guess you say it came in phases, so it affected how I went through life in phases. I had to learn to give people their processes. Particularly a friend of mine of 18 years.... It took her from October of 2017 until end of Jan 2018 to even start calling me Brian and accepting the whole trans thing.
My transness has greatly affected my faith and how I navigate it. To go back a little bit to my last paragraph. When I came out as a cis-gendered lesbian, I was kicked out of my local church that my three boys and myself had attended for over a DECADE!!! I was told by the lead "pastor" I couldn't believe in God or worship God and be gay and the associate pastor said I'll try and treat you like a human being. I had left that office with nothing, not even my faith in God, that had been torn away from me by men I had trust and one I called my father. Then a wonderful woman in a 12 step fellowship had me deal with some of my cramps d had me met with another recovery person who happened to be a pastor. That meeting led me to having an open mind and a willingness to allow this wonderful woman of God, Anette V Gerber (lead pastor of First UMC of Greensburg) into my life and allow God to use her how He saw fit. Everyone, myself included, calls her Net. Net has been extremely instrumental in my life since meeting her. Don't get me wrong. It took forever for the walls to come down. But eventually I ended up calling her my pastor which I swore I would never do again and I claimed First UMC of Greensburg as my church again never thought I would claim a church as mine. Net has been huge supporter in not only my transition but in my rebuilding and healing of my faith as I heal from the abuse and trauma from the old church. Currently I am taking new member classes to make my attendance at First UMC of Gbg official and make myself a member and not just a guest. Net has loved me from the moment I came, just as I was, just as I am, hurts and all, first as a cis-gendered lesbian and now as a transgender male. It is amazing to me the stark contrast in pastors coming from a pentecostal background going to a United Methodist background.... Net is a one of kind, what you see is what you get kind of preacher. She loves all who grace the doors of First UMC of Gbg. I am ever so grateful that God sent her ahead of me.... He knew what I needed for sure.
As far as what does my transness call me to do and be? First and foremost.... This is tied directly in with my faith. God made me transgender. Notice I didn't say he made a mistake when he bore me in a female body. I believe he had an express purpose and part of that was so that my precious three biological sons James, Koda Bear and Eli could be birthed into this world whereas they wouldn't have been. My life where I was raised and socialized as a woman has given me advantages as well. I am sensitive and more in tune with my feelings and I am more apt to talking about my feelings which as someone in recovery REALLY helps. But back to my point, God made me transgender. He created me as Brian, He gave me his stamp of approval. A person with an experience is no longer at the mercy of a person with an argument. No one can any longer tell me that God didn't make me this way when as I am praying to him he addresses me as Brian and using he/him. God I do believe has called me into some type of ministry which in today's climate in the UMC is difficult for transgender people but not impossible. 2019 there is going to be a special conference that can bring about a lot of change for us as a denomination as we see where we fight for full inclusion of LGTBQAI people.
God has called me to be my true self. That means I cannot pretend anymore. I cannot wear the mask anymore of the gender I was assigned at birth because it was never mine to wear. Just like being a Pentecostal is not the theology that matches up to the bible for me. My true self is a transgender male United Methodist who will fight for the ordination of LGTBQAI people, same sex marriages and full inclusion in the life of the church for all LGTBQAI people.
I think I have said enough in this post. If you have stuck this far, thank you my dear reader.
I want to close with this scripture that my pastor gave me and she calls it a breath prayer. Do this whenever you are overwhelmed or anxious , find a quite place, You can only say it when you exhale....
You will keep in perfect peace, the one whose mind is stayed on you.
You are beloved!
Peace of Christ,