Being Christian and Transsexual: Life on Planet Mercury

Just like one side of Mercury is always facing the sun and extremely hot and the other side always faces away and is extremely cold, there appears to be very little middle ground between the two sides of my identity.  When transgender people find out that I am Christian, they may be polite, but I can sense it leaves many of them a little cold.  And many Christians (or those who identify with the prevailing Judeo-Christian ethic in some way) are incensed to learn that I identify as a transsexual.  They are hot with anger.

There are probably people who assume that there is no such thing as a Christian transsexual or that it is possible to be one.  Correcting that misconception is part of the purpose of my blog.  Some transsexuals, who were raised with some form of Christianity, fled the church because of the negative and even hostile reaction to their coming out.  Hopefully, what I have to share will show that there is indeed a rightful place for them in the body of Christ.

My name is Lois Simmons.  My first blog post tells you more about me.  This page tells about the blog’s purpose.

What was the impetus for starting this blog?  Credit must go to the suggestion and encouragement of Dr. Joy Ladin, professor of English at Stern College for Women of Yeshiva University in Manhattan.  She is the first (and perhaps still the only) openly transgender employee of an Orthodox Jewish institution. She has also published a number of books of poetry, her usual writing medium.

I am also a writer and editor, but my medium is either non-fiction or historical fiction.  Other than dabbling with haiku (undoubtedly appealing to my math aptitude), I find much of poetry incomprehensible and the rest generally uninteresting.  So how did this Christian numbers and fact wonk connect with a Jewish poet?  I believe it could only be by God’s hand.

What drew me to Joy?  What we have in common, besides both of us being male to female transsexuals, is her strong need to reconcile her spiritual beliefs with her gender identity, a need similar to mine that influenced the course and speed of my journey.  I am publically acknowledging my profound appreciation for her kind remarks and amazing ability to tolerate my lengthy e-mails since we met.

This will be a site where serious subjects are discussed … often.  The emphasis will be on Christian topics … sometimes.  The emphasis will be on transsexual topics … sometimes.  It will provide personal glimpses of me … sometimes.  I will share things I have learned living part-time and full-time as a woman, including items on health care, fashion, shopping, cooking and so on … sometimes.  I will share my sense of humor to keep things from getting too serious … sometimes.

I won’t be able to share all of my humorous side, however.  You see, in real life, I am an incorrigible punster.  But a punster needs someone to feed the straight line, and you have to see the response in real time.  The beauty (or groan factor for some of you) of a pun is both its cleverness and its quickness.  That combination can only work in direct conversation, whether face to face, on the phone or in an instant message.

Who is this blog for?

- Any Christian transsexuals, to let them know that they are not alone, to provide encouragement, and to provide a response to those who would point a finger of condemnation at them.  If time and resources allow, we might even be able to help you dialogue with your current church or help you find a church where you can worship freely that also matches your other beliefs.

- Any transsexuals who were raised in a home that taught a belief in Christ (for example, those who at one time considered themselves Christian, Protestant, Catholic and so on): to let them know that those who denigrated them because they are transsexual had no factual basis to do so.

- Any transsexuals who have a sense of spiritual emptiness and would have liked to explore Christianity but heretofore were afraid to.

- Anyone, transsexual or not who wants to read about another point of view or simply learn more.

- Anyone who has just found out that the person they thought they knew (family member, lover, roommate, friend, colleague, classmate, neighbor and so on) has always known deep down that their gender identity does not match their birth anatomy.

- Pastors and other church leaders who have either learned that one of their members is transsexual, or have heard about such an event in either a nearby church or another church in their denomination.  As part of getting wisdom and understanding as you are called to do in your leadership role, you want to learn more to handle your current situation or to be prepared should it happen in the future.  Hopefully there will be some of you, after testing the spirits and finding my writing generally sound, will even be willing to take a bold position of support.  I understand that sort of thing will take time.

A quick note to my Jewish readers: many of the verses that I will be discussing in terms of the Bible’s views on transsexualism come from what Christians call the Old Testament: (i.e., your Bible).  This is not surprising, since these are the Scriptures where God lays the basic groundwork of His message to His people and the entire world.  My hope, if you have read this far, is that you will come back for future posts to read my discussions about these verses.  But even when I use verses from the Christian New Testament, you might find that they have a close connection to Bible verses with which you are familiar.

This blog will …

- Not be a place to trash transsexuals.  We get enough of that elsewhere.  This site is to be a sanctuary for members of the transgender community.  Questions and differing points of view are welcome if stated respectfully and decently.

- Not be a place to debate the merits of Christianity.  That is not the purpose of this site.  Either you believe in Christ or you are seeking Him or you don’t believe.  I will respect your decision on that matter if you respect mine.  This is my blog and what I believe.  I am secure in that belief.  Furthermore, I have enough familiarity with Scripture to know that I cannot save anyone, and therefore will not try.  Salvation is the work of the Holy Spirit.  If while reading this blog, the Holy Spirit convicts you and you receive Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, I would love to hear about it and will rejoice with you.  (Please use the contact form that I have added to the top of the page.)  But I know that it is the Holy Spirit that deserves credit for it, not me.

- Not tolerate people who are disrespectful to others, who are hateful and hostile in any way, shape or form.  If you disagree with me or someone else and you cannot find a respectful, intelligent way to express it, please take it someplace else.

- Not be distracted by other issues.  This is not to say that other issues are not important.  It is simply that they are not the focus of this blog.  I get into enough trouble on my own without looking for more.  Christianity and transsexualism will be the topics of this blog, except when I talk about my next favorite subject, me!

I thank you if you decide to subscribe and I thank you for stopping by to check us out if you don’t.  I know what it is like to be a lurker, so feel free to do so if that makes you more comfortable.  But if you decide you want to become a regular, please find your way to the “subscribe” link.

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven. – Ecclesiastes 3:1

God bless,

Lois

11 thoughts on “Being Christian and Transsexual: Life on Planet Mercury”

  1. Carol Phelan said:

    Congratulations, Lois! I have known you for more than 20 years, and I am so glad to find you comfortable in your skin, finally! I am also glad that you are going to do this blog to help others that may wrestle with their identity as a transgender person due to their love of their faith. I too believe that God loves who they are, and doesn’t judge them by their outer trappings. May God bless your endeavor and use you to help His children. All of His Children!

    • Hi Carol,

      Please forgive the overdue reply. Thank you for your ongoing support. I want anyone reading this to know that you have been consistently at the head of the line in this regard. Not only were you first to publicly support my blog, but you were the first to send a positive response (an e-mail at 6 AM, no less!) to my coming out letter almost a year ago today). Thank you for standing up and being counted. And thank you and your family for what they do for the Lord as each of you are called.

      Lois

      • Carol Phelan said:

        God bless you for reaching out to others and sharing your journey as a person and a Christian. May you help others to love themselves as God loves them. He loves us all, and He made us all. His work is beautiful, in all its forms, and He wants us to be happy. He cares not what skin we wear, He loves us all on the inside. He loves the person, not the trappings! And, His true followers understand this. When did Jesus ever say, “Hate thy neighbor, for they are different than you.”

      • Even more than loving our neighbor, as Christians we are called to love our enemy. It can be a difficult position as a practical matter, because implicit in that command is that we still recognize that they are acting in enmity against us. We have to hold onto both the grace and the truth of the situation at the same time. Go to far one way and we drift into hatred. Going the other way, we become a starry-eyed Pollyanna, possibly endangering ourselves and others. Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. (Romans 12:17-18) There is a difference between vengeance and self-defense. There are some with whom it is not possible with whom to live at peace because they make it so.

        As far as the rest of your comment, the very reason for this blog is that, after nearly 25 years of searching, I find no verse in the Bible that says that God judges us for our identity. Our actions, yes. Some of our actions will be found by God to be precious: gold, silver, jewels and so on. Others will be found to be wood, hay and stubble, and will be burned up. I have had to repent of more of those than I want to admit. But for our identity, who we know ourselves to be inside, including male or female? No.

        I believe that God understands and forgives my struggles to discern the truth about my identity and what His word says or does not say in that regard, just as He understood and forgave my searching for spiritual truth before I realized that Christ is the answer and I surrendered my life to Him. But in both cases, once I discerned the truth, if I had rejected or avoided the truth and continued to live as before, that would have brought much harsher judgment upon me from God.

        There is one exception regarding the outer trappings: if we use them to intentionally deceive another person. But I am not doing that. I am not looking to get into a romantic relationship with anyone, and if someone approaches me in that regard and I have even the slightest interest in the person, they will be told about my transsexual condition early on. And in everyday life, the world is affirming that I am female and there is no deception. For example, recently when I was waiting to meet a dear friend for breakfast at a local diner, the cashier said to me while my back was turned, “Honey, would you like to have a seat?” I knew immediately that he was talking to me and that he would not have addressed a man in that manner. And when I responded, he did not correct me and tell me that he was talking to someone else.

        On a spiritual level, what affirms my decision is that there are some fruits of the Spirit that I have in much greater abundance than ever before: in particular, joy, peace and self-control. People might be fooled, but you can’t fool the Holy Spirit. And you can’t fake fruits of the Spirit.

        Carol, thank you for your continued interest and support.

        Lois

  2. Pat Scales said:

    Your mission statement is beautiful and well written. I had never before seen the Mercury analogy. While it would seem to fit your current situation I do hope that as time goes on that your workd, our society, becomes more like the Earth ~ constantly rotating, beautiful in its consistency and its ongoing changes and showing the richness of its beauty to the sun and the moon.

    Best of luck on the new blog.

    Pat

  3. steffie dees said:

    I am a life long crossdresser. 61 year old. Have been at le femme. 1. Year. My wife accepts me and goes out with me, and we are chritensi

    • Hi Steffie,

      It is good to hear from someone with whom I have two major parts of identity in common, and also share much of the same cultural experience, seeing we are the same age. As my high school classmates were wont to say, we must have gone to different high schools together!

      Most importantly, I am pleased that you have also found a way to reconcile these two parts of yourself. It is wonderful that your wife accepts you for who you are, supports you and shares this part of your life.

      Hopefully, I will see you again, whether on the blog or IRL.

      Lois

  4. Thank you for visiting my blog, and for your insightful comment on the post addressing pro-choicers! Your voice is so important. :)

    Could you do me a quick favor and answer this question I posted on Quora.com: In just one sentence, why are you pro-life/pro-choice?
    (http://www.quora.com/Abortion/In-just-one-sentence-why-are-you-pro-life-pro-choice)

    Thank you SO much. Shine on for His kingdom :)

    • Karen,

      Thank you for your understanding in our private conversations of the fact that I, once on the cutting edge of technology in the 70′s and 80′s, have fallen way behind the learning curve when it comes to places like Quora.

      May you also continue to shine your light for the Lord. It is so important for Christians of your generation to put your light on a hill and not under a basket, all the more the longer the Lord tarries.

      In Christ’s service,
      Lois

  5. well mercury is both hot and cold but not our lord .his compassion comes to us as does his mercy, so with his grace we might move forward in his will/pro-life

    • Amen, Christen. Friends and family may run hot or cold, or even lukewarm. There may be some people who accept one side of me, but not both. Some may even reject me in the entirety because of my identification with one side or the other. But I press on to bring each community into understanding with the other, as we have been given a ministry of reconciliation.

      Regardless of what people may do to me, as one who loves God and is called according to His purpose, I know that there is nothing, absolutely nothing, that can separate me from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus. Now that I live authentically and transparently as who I really am, no longer hiding and pretending behind a mask, I am closer to the Lord than ever before. It has also humbled me, stripped me of pride, as I am truly in awe that God would reach down and save me with a salvation that I didn’t deserve and couldn’t earn.

      Thank you for your comment, Christen. I appreciate it, and enjoyed reading your point of view.

      Lois

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