Written by Danny Blackwell
and published by Transgender International Fellowship
. Quoted verbatim. See Information on Re-publishing
Understanding and Ministering to a Transgendered Person
was a gift from my wife, this second blue jean jacket, and the first
one was a gift from my older brother when I was seven. A lot of things
happened between these two gifts; things good and bad, things that
added to me and things that took away from me. I don’t remember what
became of the first jacket all I remember is the pleasure of having and
wearing it. Struggling with gender identity tends to fill us with mixed
messages and confusing memories also. The second jacket didn’t ignite
the same type of joy but it stirred up the coals of smoldering
masculinity and fanned the flames of what God wants to restore. Between
these two gifts I have tried to fit into clothes and roles not of my
So I’m left with a dilemma, do I continue in
futile attempts to block pain and escape being male or do I embrace the
Master Tailor’s call to put on restored masculinity. The Lord used that
jacket to help me to see that being male is not ugly, dirty, or
something I can put on and off but God’s gift and it is for me. Funny,
the jacket felt big and stiff with many empty pockets but the Lord, as
the Master Tailor says gently, “I am with you and you are not alone”.
unfortunately is not as easy as putting on a jacket but one of God’s
greatest gifts is our gender identity and rather than continuing to
discard it, we must embrace what God is able to restore. Sure I lost
the first jacket but it was restored to me in love from my wife. So
also God calls us to willingly face our losses and allow Him to clothe
us again with His great gift, restored gender identity. Fortunately we
are not called to accomplish this task on our own for He uses His Word,
people, and counselling. The Lord as the Master Tailor guarantees His
work and He never fails. As it took time to make and like the jacket;
so change in us will take time but by getting closer to the Lord, we
are restored and healed.
“You are not transgendered, why are you
here?” The person before me who made that statement assumed that
because I wasn’t dressed as a woman and was part of a restaurant
gathering for transgendered people, I was a mystery to that person. My
answer to Susan (not real name) was I am a pastor and I care. Susan
almost fell off the chair and said “Christians don’t hang around us…”
could have easily answered Susan’s question with, “I use to be
transgendered…” Transgendered can be defined as someone whose thoughts,
lifestyle, or behavior crosses over gender boundaries thus a man might
feel that he should have been a woman and visa versa. It is a continuum
on one end where those who only wear clothes of the opposite gender to
those on the other extreme who feel that they should be the other
Being transgendered is like being in a
borderland, an area somewhere between accepting one’s male or female
identity, that is God given. The Lord, who walks in that borderland,
calls us to minister His heart and freedom to people there, as He is
able to set people free.
For those in this
borderland there has been from an early age a sense that they were
different, for some, it expressed itself in wanting to do opposite
gender activities or play. For others there was a cross gender
identification that was rooted in abuse, neglect or a sense that the
other sex was treated better growing up. A lot of issues come together
and in focus that puts one on the path to a transgendered lifestyle.
There is a point that a decision may occur in a person’s life to go
beyond cross gender experimentation to full gender transition and thus
become the opposite sex at least in appearance for XX cannot become XY.
This transition happens through multifaceted medical and psychiatric
disciplines coming together, over time, to achieve the person’s goal.
The cost of achieving this goal goes way beyond financial expenditures
to impacting extended family relationships as well as possible
irreversible medical procedures.
Does God care for
people in this transgendered borderland? Yes, for we are all people who
have gone our own ways and tried to meet our own needs without Him
until His love reaches out to us with arms that say I love you, I died
for you and I can change you….
What is the best way for us to minister to transgendered people in their particular borderland?
best example of this is seen in John 4, where the Lord rather than
bypassing Samaria ministered there. First, we must go to them just like
Jesus did. Then we must follow the three ‘L’s’ look, listen and love.
Jesus sat down at a well and reached out and transformed a woman who
was a despised person in her culture. He reached beyond the Jewish
cultural norm of the day, stepping out of a comfort zone.
a transgendered person is really no different than reaching anyone else
for we are all the same. As we go to them and earn the right to be
heard by listening, the Lord will work through our lives. We have to
love them actively and use words if necessary as doors open. It is
important to walk through those doors and serve. One example of that
might be to look at their practical needs. Some seasonal holidays can
be really lonely if one does not have financial resources or family
support. Our ministry must be balanced and offer hope in Jesus’ Name.
Finally, the greatest hindrance to reaching these people or any other
is our attitude.
He cares therefore we must care no matter, thus we are called to care:
There is HOPE Psalm 107
Acts of kindness build bridges i.e. cold pop, buying someone a hot dog and listening to them.
Church community dinners open doors – we must make friends to share Jesus
Don’t be afraid to be yourself and be a servant of Jesus.
Realize that it is their turf, and respect it.
Be prepared for opposition from Christians.
Thus be ready to listen and talk to them.
Be there for the long haul. Go the distance with them.
Don’t reject people if they fall, fail or let you down.
Walk with them as they take steps toward redemption.
Remembering rejection is something that can open the wounds from the past.
It is going to take God moving on their lives as a result of our prayers.
We are faced with people who have a strong sense of community and if we don’t stand along side of them, we will loose them.