Sunday, July 3, 2016


 Over the last few days, I have been thinking over the process that has brought me to where I am.  From my own experience, I realize that there must be others out there that were raised as religious conservatives who now identify as transgender. Coming to peace with a transgender lifestyle often means setting aside long-held religious convictions.  In my case, I have been a strong member of the Mormon faith all my life.  At times, some of happiest moments have come because of my faith.  For example, I served for two years as a Mormon missionary in Quebec, Canada in the mid 1990s.  For those not familiar with Mormonism, it is common for Mormon youth, typically ages 18-early 20's, to spend 2 years spreading the word.  Missionaries are assigned to a place of labor somewhere in the world by Church leadership, and are frequently required to learn a new language.  The missionary also pays his own way.  I realize it's often seems inconvenient when the Mormon missionaries show up at your door, but the missionaries are sincere.  The work can be very hard - in my case, there was a lot of rejection, and rudeness.  However, the work does grow on you in incredible ways.  The spiritual growth I experienced, far outweighed any negative experiences.  I learned an incredible amount about my faith, and also myself in what became an incredibly short 2 years.  Indeed, I was last most happy while a missionary.

So, now I am middle-aged, and recently came out as transgender.  I have struggled with gender identity all my life.  Once I admitted to myself that I was transgender, much of those internal feelings I have had for years began to make sense.  In some ways, I am grateful to finally know who I am, and I count myself fortunate to be transgender.

The biggest conflict that I now have is to resolve my new gender identity and my faith.  While the Mormon faith has not yet made policy on transgender members, there is a good chance that I could be disciplined or even excommunicated as I proceed with my transition.  It's difficult, but a choice I've already made.  I've begun to live a a female in certain settings (work, in the community), and I finally feel right as myself.  I do feel that God has had a hand in my recent self-discovery; it has probably saved my life in light of my struggles with depression.

So, I wanted to make an open appeal for input on this issue:  What has your experience been with long-held religious beliefs and your gender identity?  For those of you from more conservative faiths, how have you resolved the obvious conflicts?

Please try to be sincere.  This is a sensitive topic for many.


1 comment:

  1. Hi Rebecca. I was raised by an old-world conservative Catholic family. Italians. Everything revolved around the church.

    The last pope was homophobic and transphobic. The current pope says that those who are trans should accept their body as it is, as they were born.

    It's attitudes like these that have led me away from practicing Catholicism on a daily basis. When the priest scandal happened several years ago, that put me over the edge. I will never give up my religion because it is ingrained in me but I have ceased going to church.

    In the world of Catholics, I suppose I'm a sinner. In your religion, you could be banished.

    I've thought about going over to the Episcopal religion, which, in practice, is very close to the Catholic faith, but accepts the LGBT community.

    I'm really not sure where to go with all of this. I can't imagine converting over to the LDS church just as you could not imagine converting to another faith. I suppose its up to God to judge us and not the mortals.