Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 5:16 KJV)
There is a transgender rights activist group called Transgendered Menace. They have done some good work advocating for our rights, but I have a small problem with their group. It’s the name. Yes, I understand the point. People see us as a menace, but we aren’t going away just because of that therefore the “menace” will be around for awhile.
My problem from a Christian perspective with the name is that none of us is called by God to be a menace (except maybe to Satan). I would prefer that the name be Transgender Blessing because that is what we are called to be, a blessing.
Now, I can see the objections forming right now. You expect ME to be a blessing to THEM. Do you know how they treated me? Do you know what they said to me? Do you know how many churches threw me out? No, I don’t know. I know how they treated me. I know what they said to me. I know I had to leave seven or eight churches before finding a good church that accepted me. But you see none of that really matters. Because whatever they did or did not do to me is irrelevant. Jesus said: “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;” (Mat 5:44 KJV) This is not optional. We are to be a blessing. It is a command. Now, unless you have a good explanation about why you disobeyed a direct order from the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, we have to start finding ways to be a blessing to those around us.
Of course, there are sometimes practical challenges in fulfilling this command. Some people turn away from us and refuse any attempts from us to bless them. This is hard to take, but I would suggest that those are the very people who need God’s blessings most of all. So what are some ways we can be a Transgender Blessing in our daily lives?
1. Let Pain Call Out to Pain. Most of us have faced painful experiences in our lives. That means that we have a natural empathy for those who are hurting. Many times those who oppose us most vigorously are those who are in the most pain. Look past the insult to the hurting soul. If you have been hurt, do not return the hurt, you would simply be adding pain to pain. Instead, go down on your knees before God for that person. Ask God to help heal that person’s pain. And in the process of praying for their pain, you will be amazed to find that your pain fades as well.
2. Get Involved in the Life of Your Church. I do understand that we are all in churches representing various levels of acceptance. Some of us are open about our transsexualism. Others of us are not. So there may be some practical limits to this suggestion, but still I think there are various ways we can show forth God in our lives by our service in the local assembly. One way is by regular attendence and supporting the church financially. Another way, is to be involved, even in a small way with the normal ministries of the church. Buy a candy bar from the Sunday School kid. Bring some brownies to the bake sale. Come to mid-week services. Help clean the church. And if you have greater acceptance levels offer to teach Sunday school and take part in the various women’s (or men’s) ministry activities.
3. Be Friendly (Even if they are not). There was a woman in our church who was always pretty cool toward me. She said little to me and her look at me cut right through my soul. The Lord led me to make a special effort every Sunday to shake hands with her and smile. It took about three or four years, but one Sunday she stopped me in the parking lot and said, “I have to apologize to you. I really misjudged you.” We are now on very good terms. She even asked me to speak to the church Women’s group once. I believe that it was due in no small part to my being obedient to God in his command for me to show myself freindly.
4. Meet the Practical Needs of Others. If you know someone is sick, can you take over a casserole for dinner? If someone’s car breaks down, can you offer a ride to church or the market? If you have a skill which might help a brother or sister in the church can you lay that skill on the altar and use it to glorify God in meeting their needs? Jesus didn’t only teach the people, he fed and healed them. He met their practical needs as well as their spiritual ones.
5. Finally, and most important of all, Pray One for Another. Sometimes, we toss off a phrase like, “I guess all I can do is pray” as though this were a small thing. Prayer is powerful. Prayer unleases God’s power to work in this world. And the first place he starts working is in your heart and life. For the past couple of months our church has been having daily prayer with our families at 7:30 p.m. Each church family at that time turns off the TV, Nintendo, Radio, or Computer and spends a half hour in prayer and Bible reading. I’ve noticed such incredible spiritual growth in my life and my ability to help others has grown exponentially. In my prayer time, God keeps giving me ideas and direction for this and other ministries. And you know there are times when I can feel the prayers of Gods people going up for me, for Emergence or for Inspiration On-Line. And when that happens it’s like my batteries have been recharged and I can run a little bit longer.
No, I am not a Transgendered Menace, and I may not be a total Transgender Blessing yet, but today I’m pledging myself to God to turn away from the first and pursue the second with all my heart.
A retired college instructor, Terri Lynn Main holds a masters in psychology and has provided counseling for scores of transgender individuals. For eight years she directed an online ministry to Christian transsexuals called Emergence Ministries. She has written more than 20 transgender-themed short stories. She currently lives in Reedley, Calif., with her four cats. She continues to write, publish and teach online courses.