The Grace Letter
1998: Christmas Remembered
This is the fifth isue of Grace and Lace Letter to which I have contributed. It will be my most intensely personal article. The personal revelations are appropriate, even necessary, in view of the changes which have occurred in my life over the last two years.
Perhaps you long time readers have noticed a slight change in the focus of this publication. In the past, it was sent as a letter to Christian crossdressers; but the most recent issues have been directed, as on our front page, to our entire community, or as Lee would abbreviate it, "CD/TG/TS".
Why the change? Because in the past, Lee and her other contributors have had no background to relate to transsexuals. They had the "CD/TG" covered quite well; but they didn't have a writer who could speak to the particular spiritual concerns of the transsexual persons.
Now they have one.
I want to share with you the events which led to my acceptance of my transsexualism. Next to my own personal relationship with Jesus Christ, this acceptance is the most basic and profound experience of my life. It has caused the reordering of all my life's plans and priorities. Perhaps my story will encourage and strengthen others in the same position.
I have known from earliest memories: I don't fit in. I was never "one of the guys". As I remarked in group therapy, "I feel as though my whole life has been an out-of body experience." And from my teen years, I have been aware of the reason for my difference. And I was frightened, because I could imagine even then the enormous life changes which would result from admitting transsexualism. I simply wasn't prepared to make such fundamental changes.
So when I read in the medical school library the statement -- I believe it was in Benjamin's text -- "anyone who has had a sexual experience as a male cannot be transsexual," I was almost relieved. "So I am a crossdresser," I thought, "and I can experience this part of myself and retain a 'normal' life." I didn't realize Benjamin's statement was totally erroneous.
For two decades I persuaded myself, "I can crossdress once or twice a year at out of town conventions." I married, fathered a son, and became well established in my profession.
And I was miserable. I changed practice locations half a dozen times, looking for peace and fulfillment.
As I related in "Answered Prayers", I experienced great inner turmoil and prayed for deliverance from my transgendered nature. I could never understand how God would let me remain in such a dilemma. Finally He gave me a reassurance of His love for me as He created me. As I studied scriptures, I realized the verses quoted to condemn transgendered persons did not relate at all to our situations: they have been replaced by Jesus's new covenant of love.
So I found some peace and self acceptance. But I remained nervous and unhappy over my family situation. And with good reason: when I finally shared my story with my spouse, it was met with as much resistance as I had feared. The subsequent months were a tedious drama, in which it seemed every scene had to be played in sequence, until the inevitable separation. Only now that we know we will have separate lives can we finally speak as friends.
The drive toward fuller acceptance of my true self intensified. Like a hyperbolic curve, it increased slowly, almost imperceptibly at first, but accelerated and reached an "elbow" where the slope rose like a rocket. My whole life, waking and sleeping, revolved around Becky.
In seeking out others like myself, I met Lee Frances. Surely it was God's direction, not coincidence, that brought together two transgendered Christians living within five miles of each other.
The more I talked with others in the gender community, hearing their life stories, I became aware of distinct differences in the pattern of their lives. Many were secure in their identity as men with a strong feminine side, finding expression of their personality with temporary assumption of a woman's appearance. And they were happy to return to their male persona afterwards.
Was I supposed to feel that way? But I didn't. Every few hours of feminine expression intensified the need for more. I never wanted to give it up.
Others had a different pattern. They told me of years of frustration, dissatisfaction, and depression before finally finding peace. I listened to them and thought of the old Roberta Flack song, "Telling My Whole Life With Your Words." Because they were describing my life exactly.
And, of course, these persons were transsexual.
With fascination and fear I realized: I don't want to look like a woman part of the time. I want to - I must - BE a woman forever, as I feel I already am. And yes, that means I do not want to be a man. Never again.
Over months of thought, prayer, and therapy, I came to understand: This is nothing new. This is who I always have been. When viewed in this context, my whole life makes sense.
But what implications did this new understanding have for my spiritual life? I had gone through such a struggle to be confident that God accepted me and loved me as a crossdresser; did I have to start over and reconcile my transsexualism with my Christianity?
The verses usually quoted with regard to crossdressing (Deuteronomy 22:5 and I Corinthians 6:9) might be used in reference to transsexualism only by someone with no understanding of the situation. Neither I, nor any other transsexual person with whom I have spoken, consider ourselves a "man in a woman's garment" or "effeminate". I am not a man. I am a woman behaving appropriately for my gender.
How do I know I am a woman? I have the anatomy of a man. But just as surely as I know my anatomy, I know my soul - my spirit. And I have the soul of a woman. I did not arrive at this knowledge hastily. It comes from hours of study, prayerful meditation, and prayer. And I know I have the assurance of the Holy Spirit and the peace that passes all understanding.
And what of the argument, "You should not alter the body God gave you"? Does this apply to cleft palates, congenital heart disease, or even big noses? Who believes it is a sin to correct a ventricular septal defect? And so what is the difference with an unwanted part of the anatomy? Why can we not view our anatomy as a birth defect? In my opinion it is exactly that.
The part of me which is eternal is my spirit, not my body. The body is temporal and so, if my eternal spirit and my mortal body are in irreconcilable conflict, I may alter my body to resolve the conflict.
In summary, I can find no scriptural reference to transsexualism. I must rely on the guidance of the Holy Spirit to show me God's will in such a circumstance. He has done so, and I know His peace.
So I have accepted my womanhood, even with the implications for total change in every relationship in my life. My marriage is gone; my career will survive, but I will start over one more time. And I have never been more excited about life. In less than one year, I hope to be living and working full time as Dr. Rebecca Allison.
I hope, in subsequent issues of this letter, to keep you aware of God's working in my life as I continue this greatest adventure imaginable. I pray you will be touched and blessed also.