Summary and links

Well. Now you all know why I said in the introduction that my Unwrapping the Onion series was intense to write and publish! I had no idea how it would be received, but the response has been amazing.

Some of you have come over from where this story was summarized and linked at Jezebel, and many of you have left sweet encouraging comments. Thank you. In fact, I’ve been pleasantly surprised that the comment section has been so great, ever since I wrote the post on comments to announce that I would begin to censor anything that lacked respect, I have only had to delete two comments, out of several hundred that were left! This is some of the most positive reactions to our story we’ve had to date, we are grateful for your encouragement and the chance to hear your stories.

Emails and comments keep trickling in, telling of each writers experience with someone they love who happens to be transgender. Their father, their brother, their boyfriend, their sister, their spouse, and in some cases them self. Every story is different, and yet every story told lets all of us know we are NOT alone! I have also received very moving emails from religious readers who still do not affirm LGBTQ, but stuck with me through the whole series and relate that this is not as simple to handle or easy to dismiss as they may have thought. Thank you for sharing your stories with me, I’ve read every comment, and if I had time to reply to each comment I would. I do plan on responding to each email, thank you for your patience.

To answer a couple of the questions posed in the comments, yes we are aware that many Christian groups are LGBTQ affirming, and we have looked into which churches are in our area. And to the people who have left comments concerned about “selfishness”, don’t worry. No one is being forced to do anything for anyone else, I am not making my Hunnie become a woman because I happen to have same-sex attraction, and my Hunnie is not forcing me to remain married to her. We have discussed everything at length and continue to do so. This journey has not been out of obligation, we are just grateful that somehow we are still compatible and able to be together.

I also wanted to thank my good friend Libby Anne. She works as an editor and she generously offered to edit the Unwrapping the Onion series after I wrote it, and she did a great job spotting the mistakes I missed and helping to split the story into nine parts. I’m so grateful for her help and her friendship. She has also been there for phone calls and email vents as the drama of coming out has unfolded. Libby Anne is posting the first chapter in her “Raised Quiverfull” project today, and it is going to be very interesting. You should go check it out!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03519675898483081005 Mrs. Searching

    I am very grateful to you for writing this. It's been intense to read as well, and I'm still processing a lot of the things it has made me think about. I'm so glad that you are able to remain together as a family. Tradition is only an appearance, not an emotion.

  • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

    Aw, thanks!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03079852628674185384 Karen

    I commented previously on content; now I will comment on writing. You've done a terrific job of telling your story. Perhaps you should consider writing for money!

  • http://exlaodicea.wordpress.com berenike

    I expect most apostolic churches wouldn't have any problem with your marriage, really. Bit weirded out by the transsexual thing, perhaps, but no problem with your marriage as such that I can see!

    Most interesting series of posts, I can't imagine how much hard work it must have been to write! Thank you very much for putting it in.

  • Paula G V aka Yukimi

    Yep, thanks a lot for the effort, it was a very interesting trip and beautifully told.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17904858990740505588 Molly

    Okay M, I will totally admit I ask this partially out of personal interest, but the other part stems from the idea that there are others out there who could benefit so here it goes… are you planning on expanding on your journey of "coming out" to your respective families? Again 1/2 selfish interest here, but I'm terribly curious as to how each side has taken this news and if (which I hope) they've been at least receptive to your "new" family. P.S. I totally accept that this might not be something you want to delve into. I just wanted to put it out there =D

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13674332089949439989 Melissa

    It did take a lot of time and effort to write, it's part of why the blogging has been so sparse as of late.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13674332089949439989 Melissa

    Thank you Karen, I would love to get paid for writing someday. :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13674332089949439989 Melissa

    Thank you for continuing to process! I'm glad we get to stay together too.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13674332089949439989 Melissa

    :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13674332089949439989 Melissa

    I agree, there are probably many people who could gain from more detail of our coming out story. But there are also people who could lose. So we won't be going into detail at this time. :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04738076740941616678 Rebecca

    Your courage to share all of this here is beautiful. Thank-you for sharing and being honest with us. You and your family remain in my prayers as always :) .

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17904858990740505588 Molly

    Understood completely =D Hope the hunnie is enjoy her classes and the new job is treating you well!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15281930134938224057 kfsullivans@charter.net

    Thank you so for sharing your story. What a story it is! I have been greatly blessed by the love and compassion you have shown one another.
    Praying that you will find employment and community that will embrace and encourage the most authentic people you are.

  • Anonymous

    Hi Melissa,

    Thought I'd let you know that I just now saw your story online at yahoo dot ca -http://ca.shine.yahoo.com/blogs/shine-on/christian-wife-stands-her-man-becoming-woman-181554850.html

    … Zoe ~

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05236124925740583773 Autumn

    I just wanna say that I've really loved reading about you and your Hunnie's journey. You are both really incredible and amazingly brave and courageous. As a teenager I have learnt a lot and for that I thank you. I wish you and your Hunnie and children a long happy life.
    ~
    Autumn

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12230627343407777031 Zarina

    Wonderful to read your story Melissa, heavy stuff.
    If you ever need a break, feel free to post some of your kids cute antics :) You have such a lively bunch, they are wonderful to read about in your words.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06970040936630236032 Karyn

    Just wanted to let you know that I found your story via a link to the Yahoo story which was posted on a Facebook group called "I bet this turkey can get more fans than NOM." :-D The FB page started as a bit of a lark, created by a gay man who was getting sick of NOM's antics, and in one year has grown into a popular and influential page for LGBT and all human equality. They now post serious stories as well as humor, and I'm very glad they led me to read your story and your spouse's. Keep following your hearts, follow your path, step by step, and keep surrounding yourselves with supportive, caring people.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13674332089949439989 Melissa

    Thank you Rebecca

  • http://www.facebook.com/kamalini.socha Kamalini

    Melissa,

    I just want to say THANK YOU for your honesty and openness throughout your blog!!! I discovered you when someone linked over to your Unwrapping the Onion posts from Glennon Melton's blog Momastery, and I'm deeply impressed… not just by your wonderful openness and vulnerability, but by YOU! Your sweet nature and gentleness, your loyal and unconditional support of your spouse through EVERYTHING, and your thoughtfulness and intelligence are so moving and lovable. Not knowing anything about you ahead of time, I feared that the story would be about your "unwrapping" of your own inner self and preferences, and would include leaving your then-husband so that you could pursue the lesbianism that you had decided was the real you. I cringed at this prospect simply because the breaking apart of families, however necessary it may be sometimes, is usually a sad thing. Imagine my blossoming delight as I gradually realized that I was reading no such story, but was instead in for the oh-so-rare treat of hearing an example of unconditional love and support, working together through unexpected challenging things without judgment, and evolving into a stronger, happier and healthier family unit… together!!!! I nearly cried… and there are probably many others who did when they read your story! And then I went on and read so many more of your posts… I stayed up all night to read them… WOW. I am NOT a Christian, I actually belong to a non-Abrahamic faith tradition (it’s from India, though my family and I are white Americans physically), and my upbringing was nowhere near as intensely fanatical and oppressive as yours (I had all the free time in the world while growing up and tons of love lavished on me)… but, my father being a fundamentalist type (or conservative), it was similar in many ways, and my personality is similar to yours in many ways (I believe), so I really feel able to get where you're coming from, understand and relate, and boy is that a feeling of relief for me in the midst of this secular modern culture where gender stereotyping is considered caveman-ish, college is an expected step for kids of both genders (I too didn't go because my father preached about how it wasn't necessary and could even be harmful for girls), casual premarital sex is normal and birth control is a given. I feel like a fish out of water so often in the midst of my more modern friends… and felt like I was finally on home turf when I read through your blog!!!! So THANK YOU!!!! <3 <3 <3

  • https://me.yahoo.com/apashiol David

    I really enjoyed your story and have waited to the end before commenting.

    I just wanted to add my best wishes to all the others that have been expressed to you and your family. Your bravery, love, and commitment are very inspiring.

  • http://pepsquad.livejournal.com/ pepsquad

    your read was excellent, check out Canyon Walker Connection she's a straight woman doing a lot of work towards LGBT inclusion in christian spaces.

    i loved your story, and think you and your partner sound like wonderful people.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10079585115981856591 AlGalMom

    Too tired to be very coherent, but your writing is compelling enough to keep me awake until 4am :) Just want to say that I see God's hand in your life–your courtship story and your coming out story, He loves you two and put you together, and you're (y'all're?) a testimony to His love. I can understand why it would be hard to know what or how to believe at this point, but I fervently hope your journey brings you through to a deeper knowledge of His real and abiding love.

    Are you familiar with Jennifer Knapp? She is a musician that was very popular in the Christian music scene for a few years in the 90's (her first album, Kansas, is absolutely amazing). She disappeared for a long time, and recently reappeared on the music scene. She's come out as a lesbian, and is really active in trying to make a home for LGBTQ Christians/people of faith. Anyway, in case you haven't heard of her, you might find that what she has to say resonates with you. (Please remember that I am writing this at 4 am! Sorry if it is incomprehensible.)

    Also there is a gorgeous StoryCorps from a couple of months ago about a couple that made a similar transition and stayed married. The spouse without gender dysphoria made the comment "I didn't fall in love with a body part, I fell in love with a person." A fairy tale, indeed.

    Oh, at one point you made a comment about substitutionary atonement (didn't follow that link, lest I forfeit ALL of my sleep tonight–I, too, have four energetic children to face in the morning) but George MacDonald has some interesting critique of that notion. Anyway, might be good for a google.

    Peace to you and your family.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00796660973217278240 Sayrendipity

    Mellisa, I was raised much like you and yet completely different. Thank you for your story. And to all the people you mentioned that were calling you selfish? I Just have this to say…

    "After all those prayers to the Lord for a good god fearing man, thank you God for giving me the woman I desired." You just had to unwrap her together, your partner and you, slowly discovering Haley for who she is. That the two of you were able to speaks volumes.

    I truly look forward to following you in the future. Tomorrow I am going to read those corporal punishment links. I get the feeling they are going to bring back the sort of memory I need to brace myself for. Till later.

    Angela

  • Bethany B.

    I have just finished reading both your courtship story and this one, and found both stories to be wonderful, and it’s fantastic that despite the teachings of your upbringings, you’ve been able to make your life one that makes you happy. All the best!


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