Matt is a young transgender man (meaning he was born female, but self-identifies and prefers to live as a male) who’s been commenting on my blog for the past eighteen months. His comments are invariably intelligent, thoughtful, and encouraging of others.
Engagingly forthcoming about what it’s like for him to be in his early twenties, transgender, and a Christian, Matt’s been nothing but a blessing to this blog.
When he first started commenting here, Matt did so under a female name—being, I’ve assumed, his birth name.
Almost a year ago today, Matt, then still posting under his female name, wrote in one of his comments:
I thought I would leave the organized church. I thought I could be strong in the knowledge that being queer was okay with God and that’s all that was necessary, but the human hate and the silence, it gets to me.
Just as I thought about leaving, I went straight to my church home after work and prayed in the dark and quiet sanctuary, just me and God. I was soothed. I came to your blog, John, and was reassured. There is still a place for me, in God’s heart and His church. Thank you.
One month later he wrote:
I resent the people who stare, ask intrusive questions and judge when I’m out holding my partner’s hand.
I resent the lack of laws protecting my job and my life if I were to be outed to the wrong people.
I resent having to hide how much I love this person and my life, from the church of all places.
I resent that I cannot marry my partner.
I resent needing so much strength just to live my life.
A month after that, he began posting under the name of Matt, the name he’s used since. Soon after impementing his new name he wrote as part of a comment:
I stay away from my church, though it is painful to, because it’s just one more place to be heavily closeted at. I go by myself sometimes during the week, when the sanctuary is dark and quiet and it’s just me and God. Although my job is in a secular field, I am completely closeted there as well. I spend a good 3/4 of my life pretending.
In the (sort of) same vein of your post, I wanted to share something I have going on this Thursday [being today]. I have made a date with my mom and stepdad to treat them to dinner, and at this dinner, I will come out to them as transgender, as Female-to-Male. I will explain to them what’s been happening in my life for the past year, explain my plans to transition, what that entails, what that means for me and them, and allow them space to ask questions. A trusted friend of mine will be calling me the morning of to get me in the right spirit and mindset, and encourage me.
I have heard and seen story after story of painful coming-outs from my trans siblings. I want to acknowledge that gender transition is an intense experience, with a lot to talk about, a lot to think about, and a lot of feelings to feel. But I want the overall theme (for every person) to be about joy, love, and new possibilities. I am tired of hearing the hurt, and pain, and rejection. So I want to start with me. I have no control over what others will say, but I want to create a transition story that will give others true hope that they, too, will still have those most important to them during and after their journey.
Right now, I feel like the actors must feel backstage before a play. I have that same feeling of stage fright, like I have been preparing intensely for this moment, and things will be permanently altered the moment I step out and say what I need to. I am having fear, and mistaking fear for not wanting this. But I realize that it’s just plain fear, fear of change, knowing the enormity of it all. So if you need someone to pray for, or just would like to, I would really appreciate that.
I also just want to acknowledge everyone here, for encouraging me and loving me this entire time. It really means more than I can put into words.
Please say a prayer today, or send some loving thoughts to, our brave and tender young friend Matt. Pray that his parents respond to his sharing with nothing but love and support. If anyone deserves to be treated well, it’s this good and honorable young man.
[Update: Matt tells how it went here.]