I don't think any post will adequately do justice to the feelings that I have. Suffice it to say, I wanted to share some of the encouragement that I've received over the last month. I won't share anything negative. What is the point with sharing such things anyway. I've noticed for me personally, negative things totally cloud my mind. It's why I can have 10 people offer support, but it's so easy to remember the one that does the opposite. Yet, these are some of the words, advice, and encouragement that I've received.
- "Congratulations on so many levels my friend"
- I've always regarded you as one of the kindest people ive ever known. You exude warmth and acceptance towards others and you will get the same in return from me. I hope the road ahead brings you some peace after such a long, difficult struggle. Take care!
- Wow! I can't even imagine how difficult this has been for you. I have huge respect for you and have no doubt that all of you will handle this with grace and strength. All my best to you.
- Dude, you are awesome and I will always respect you.
- I'm standing with you Stephen and wish you all the best. If you don't want to be at church right now that's ok--but if at any point you want to be--there is room on my pew for you--girl or boy
I won't lie, I've bounced back and forth many times since coming out on whether or not I want to go through everything. In the end, I'm going to stay the course. I admit, it's a little more challenging than I first thought, but I have a feeling that it's going to be so much more worth it. Gender Identity Disorder or "Gender Dysphoria" as it's often called is something many don't understand. The problem that I've been having is that many don't want to understand. They feel that if they speak harshly, or poignantly enough, that I'll "come to my senses". In my opinion, this applies more to those who are faithful attenders and believers of the LDS or Mormon church.
The LDS faith believe that gender is an essential characteristic of pre-mortal, mortal, and post-mortal life. As a result changing ones gender may likely be a cause for being cast out by God. I have prayed and prayed so many times to have these feelings removed, but it never happened. For those of the Mormon faith, I shall attempt in my own clumsy way to explain why I believe God is different that the God I was raised to believe in, why he has not removed this burden, and what will be his reaction to my transition.
I have always been taught that God is a perfect being, and as a result, even though I was always told I don't have to be perfect, I need to strive to be like God. Unfortunately, my sense of self worth became based on that sense. Unless I was acting perfectly in the way God wanted me to, I was in and of myself a failure.
I guess the big question is: Is transitioning ones gender a sin?
When a child is born with a cleft pallet, a surgeon will skillfully operate and fix the error. Similarly, a variety of circumstances while young, may cause a child or teenager to get braces. The braces are applied by a qualified professional, and in the long term, provide more than just straight teeth, they provide a sense of confidence to the individual, because they no longer have any social stress associated with their teeth.
Why did God allow this, or any other host of ailments?
In the New Testament, John 9:1-3 it says:
1. And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.
2. And his disciples asked him, saying, "Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?"
3. Jesus answered, Neither has this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.
I share this because I believe that I am much like this blind man. God has a purpose for all of our trials. For the most part, our mortal minds are not able to comprehend the bigger scheme of things, and so we are often required to live by faith.
How will God react to this? I don't know for sure, but I hope it will be the same as the person that had their cleft pallet fixed. He will be proud of the courage we had, will teach us as only he can, and work with us to achieve our eternal goals.
In the meantime, I share this scripture in John 13:34: "A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another."
How did Christ show his love?
John 9:6-7 When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, and said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Send.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing.
Christ spent his time healing. It would seem from this experience it was not always free. The ailed had to search him out, and ask in faith for the blessing desired. He then healed their body.
I believe that he is going to heal my body.
I leave the experience of a friend who shall remain anonymous. Her experience is outlined here.
Of course, I just may be completely out to lunch, but my heart tells otherwise.