Tuesday, July 26, 2016

In Between

I mentioned in my last post that I was fairly open about who I was until I was nearly 16. In this post I'd like to talk about that. At the end of April in 1990 a friend of mine invited me to come to church with her. It was a couple of weeks later but I went to church with her. The people were friendly and made me feel welcome. After the preaching an invitation was given and I went forward. I made a profession of faith. Many things in my life changed for the better but the fact that I'm transgender did not change. I never said anything about that and did as I was told. I started using my legal name all the time, I started wearing skirts and dresses all the time and many other things. I was all about looking like a girl because that's what I was told. I was told it was wrong for me to look or act in any way like a man. For many years I played the part mostly out of fear. Yet I knew I was still a boy and nothing could change that. I was afraid of losing friends and of being told I could no longer attend church where I was at the time. Having the approval and acceptance of the people at church was very important to me so I went in the closet and stayed there for many years. I got so tired of trying to be who I wasn't. At first I was just wearing pants outside of church. Then I started wearing men's underwear but still no one at church knew. I finally left that church and came out of the closet. Since then it's been a bit of a struggle accepting myself because of things I heard while attending the Baptist church. Though I had come out of the closet somewhat I still lived a fairly secret life. I knew a lot of people in my area and a lot of people knew me, I was afraid to live more openly than I was. Then a wonderful thing happened, I went to a three week program held on the campus of Lees-McRae College. After the program I decided to go back to school so I was away from home for nearly 4 years. Now back home I've found I don't know as many people nor do I see all the people I did know before college. I consider that a blessing because I'm not living in fear of seeing those people and what they will do if they find out I'm transgender. Also I now attend a church where I am welcome and accepted just as I am. I no longer have to hide or pretend, live a secret life. Being free to be open and authentic is an awesome thing. Having to hide, pretend, or live a secret life was miserable. Having to live in such a way just to be accepted by others isn't worth it. If you have to hide who you truly are because of your "friends" they're not really true friends and they're not worth your time.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

When It All Began

At the age of 4 I started telling people "I'm a boy and my name's John". A couple of years later I started talking about wanting a sex change. This was the late 1970's to early 1980's and I lived in the belt buckle of the Bible belt. At that time where I lived the words homosexual, gay and lesbian were not a part of people's vocabulary so I didn't have a name to describe what I felt, but I knew I was a boy even though I had the body of a girl. I was fairly open about who and how I was, talked openly about wanting a sex change. For the most part my family was accepting and supportive, I was one of the fortunate few who didn't get thrown out on the streets. Then in May of 1990 a lady that worked at my high school invited me to come to church with her, it was a Baptist church. I went and even made a profession of faith according to their criteria and that's when I went into the closet. Even though I thought very often about having a sex change and still knew I was really a boy I ceased to talk about it. I tried to do everything I was told. I got rid of my pants and shorts, started wearing skirts and dresses all the time and let my hair grow out real long. I could look the part but on the inside I was utterly miserable. I was living a secret, double life. I stayed with the Baptist for 16-17 years mostly out of fear. I was absolutely terrified to be who I really was, be open and authentic. Having the acceptance and approval of the people I went to church with was very important to me though honestly I don't know why. After all those years I left the Baptist and came out of the closet, by that time I was in my early 30's. Because of things I had pounded into my head from behind a pulpit it's been a struggle accepting myself for who I am just the way I am but after many years I've been able to do so. Currently I'm not able to transition but I do live as openly and authentically as possible. Maybe one day I'll be able to transition and would love to be able to. My life now is a lot better since I'm no longer living in the closet or living a secret, double life. I now attend a church where I am accepted, supported and loved. Yes, such a church does exist in the belt buckle of the Bible belt and it's amazing. I now have a fairly large support group in the area where I live and I'm free to be my true, authentic self and it's great!