Today’s guest post is by Faith, who previously shared about growing up trans and Christian. In this post she writes about how her faith and spiritual life have been affected by her transition.
I wanted to acknowledge that parts of this post may be difficult for some readers who have either left Christianity, and/or have been subjected to the theological ideas that Faith discusses positively in this post in abusive or damaging ways. These experiences can and do coexist together. The same theology or scripture can be affirming for one person and detrimental for another.
Faith’s experience isn’t my experience, in many ways, but to me it’s worth listening to and sharing because, in addition to it being her story to tell, it shows that religious faith isn’t and doesn’t have to mean just oppressive theologies – it can affirm equality and liberate people as well. And it shows that faith isn’t exclusively owned by people who fit or conform to the norm in various ways – it challenges the narrative about “what Christians believe about trans or queer people” as though “Christians” and “queer or trans people” are mutually exclusive categories.
“God is not in it” wrote a childhood friend after he learned of my transition. I shrugged off his Facebook message as the knee-jerk reaction of a fundamentalist and didn’t feel the need to spend time refuting what I know to be nonsense. But the text for the sermon the following Sunday kept prodding at me. “Let the redeemed of the LORD say so!” (Ps. 107:2, NRSV) Here I am to “Say so.”
I believe that transitioning is part of God’s plan for my life. Matthew 7:16-20 says ”By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus,by their fruit you will recognize them.” (NIV)
There is always fruit in our lives, whether it’s good fruit or bad fruit depends on whether or not we are following God’s leading. Back when I was resisting God’s plan for my life by suppressing my true self, there was a lot of bad fruit in my life. I was depressed and constantly anxious, I always had a knot in my stomach. My relationship with God consisted of begging God to take the drive to be a woman away from me, and being mad at God when that didn’t happen. I isolated myself. I had no friends and very few acquaintances. I ate compulsively. All I wanted to do was sleep, I would watch the clock until bedtime – sometimes going to bed as early as 7 PM. Sleep was my only relief from the constant reminders that I was not being who I was meant to be. I tried many things to distract myself but none of them worked for long.
Once I made the decision to transition and began taking action, the bad fruit fell away and the new fruit began to emerge. I am continually filled with joy, I don’t want to go to bed at night and I bounce out of bed before the alarm most mornings. My days are filled with prayer and praise to God, I can’t get enough of worship. I have friends now, and I build relationships instead of walls to keep people away. If God is not in my healed and transformed life, how did this happen?