By Susan, courtesy of PFOX (Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays)
I found the Lord in July 1980 at the age of 16. He already knew where I was but He was waiting for me to see Him. Even though I was born a girl, most of my childhood was filled with thoughts of my mother implying that I was not a typical Asian girl and not quite as good as my two older sisters. I didn’t enjoy what girls were supposed to be like, etc. Meanwhile there was always a nagging feeling that my father was missing out because he didn’t have a son. The words I chose to embrace from my mother were, “If you were a boy,” etc. or “You’re just like your father.”
When I was five, our family, except for my dad, went on a trip to Asia. At that time people who were in the plane’s boarding area could see their loved ones waiting for takeoff. I remember seeing my father hanging his head and looking so lonely. It was then that I decided that I was going to be the son he never had. I was sad to go but relieved too because there was some molestation happening. But the trip to Japan confirmed that I wasn’t feminine. I did not fit in.
When we returned home, I kept getting worse because the families I was exposed to (next-door neighbours, TV, etc.) all regularly said “I love you” to each other but my family did not. I did not realize that in the Asian culture they say ‘I love you’ by providing for you, taking care of family members, etc. I didn’t understand so I felt totally unloved by my real family. By the age of eight I came very close to stabbing myself a few times but, even though I was a Buddhist, I heard God say, “don`t do it.
At age 10 (March 11, 1974), I was raped. At this point disassociation really started occurring. While the rape was happening to me the sensation was akin to me going out of my body and the experience was happening to someone else. This started my coping mechanism for flight from pain: I’m a boy — all that ugly stuff happening to me is because of that body on the outside.
When I was thirteen, a local TV channel began airing softcore porn (geared more for men) after midnight , starting a 25 year habit for me. At this time I was aspiring to be a male rock singer like BTO which led me to have long hair. Nobody suspected my problem because I didn`t look butch. My father and I started having physical fights (but we are pretty good father & daughter now). I began to look into the Occult.
The Lord really protected me at this time — any relationships with women didn`t last when I told them I was becoming a male (straight or lesbian). On the other hand, men interested in me were all dedicated Christian boys but even during the date I was pre-occupied with finding them good Christian women because I saw me dating a male as being a homosexual and I wasn’t a homosexual.
During this time every rejection I felt, every time I wasn’t included in group activities, every failure, etc., I accounted to being a failure as a female. I began internally calling myself Steve while still answering to Sue. I decided to be the male. I decided to pursue a normal family where I would be the husband to a normal wife with kids.
I pursued relationships with normal women but they were short-lived because I felt as a Christian I loved them too much to be deceptive (I told them I wasn’t physically a male). The lesbians didn’t want me because I told them I was pursuing a sex-change operation. The lesbians were all after me until I told them I was having the operation to become a man. The local lesbian (women’s) club advised me that I could attend their meetings only until I had my operation.
After a while I notified my sisters and sought out my general practitioner. The doctor said she would approve the operation and that I needed to get further approval from a psychiatrist at a Gender Dysphoria Clinic. I had already been passing as a male for a long time even without the hormones. (You had to be living as a male at that time for one year). My non-Christian friends were calling me Steve.
During this time I started going to Christian Life Assembly. I wanted to stop the pain by becoming a male but I also didn’t want to lose my relationship with the Lord. After seeing the doctor many times and getting ready to go to the clinic, the time for disclosure was at hand. We were in the chapel and I exclaimed to some of the congregation, “Don’t call me Sue, call me Steve. Sue will be no more.”
Thank God for a pastor who was growing in the Lord. He began speaking life to me. A conversation I remember is when I stated I felt inferior because I wasn’t a pastor, he stated that he thought I had gone farther because I was the first Christian in my family. At this point many of my friends in the church began to really minister to me.
Many of my guy friends took me aside and let me still be one of the guys but I’m sure they prayed for me every day. I got together with 3 guys and we prayed with each other. My Christian friends also let me know about their own personal struggles so I didn’t feel like they treated me as inferior or like a project. By their actions my friends began to instill in me a desire to know The Truth and to live in the Truth. The truth is always the truth no matter how much we try to lie to ourselves. No matter how deceived we are in our gender we can never run away from what came out originally.
My prayer now became ‘Lord Change Me to who You want me to be.’ Either I believe that God will do it or I don’t believe in God at all. Either God is Truth (and all His decisions) or He is a liar. My pastor who was humble enough to admit that his 12 pastor staff didn’t have the resources to “fix” me referred me to Another Chance Ministries with Marjorie Hopper. Because she was also a struggler of trans-gender issues Marjorie knew better than to call me a lesbian. But I was perplexed as to why I was put in this ex-gay ministry when my being attracted to women was quite heterosexual because I thought of myself as a male. I was indignant when she insisted I join the woman’s group instead of the men’s group. I kept wondering what I was doing there. But this was the hand of God.
My small group leader Ruth took the brunt of my “I don’t belong in this women’s group” mentality and patiently started talking to me. Ruth never had lesbian issues but she ministered to me better than someone who had been in the lifestyle. She ministered God. As we went through the 32 week programme, she did not put me in a box but uniquely asked the Lord to speak to me. I stayed in the women’s group. It would be another 3 years (I was a small group leader) when Marjorie associated me with the L word.
The road to Wholeness in Christ means a break from the flight from pain. When we receive Christ we are broken vessels. As we continue to grow in Him, He takes these broken pieces and makes an object for His pleasure as He heals the pieces. In order to create the object the pieces have to be moved — they have to submit to the Potter even if it means they go through the fire again. Most importantly they don’t react in the same way they did before. As we desire the Lord to set us free we must realize that whatever coping mechanisms we used for our suffering must be submitted to Christ. Continuous surrender. Wholeness in Christ means to give God the final say. He is the only One who can be our all in all.
This began the journey of discovering the lies I believed about myself, lies I believed about others, the damaging effect of labels, inner vows, the importance of understanding inter-cultural practices and communication between generations, the importance of being a team player, that no business is new business (1st Cor. 10:13) — the thought that no one can minister to me because no one has gone through what I went through — is a lie.
BE PATIENT — BE WILLING TO CHANGE IN GOD’S TIME — NOT YOURS. I am no longer a transsexual and have no desire to be a man. I am happy as the female I was born to be. Getting out of transgender behavior was a choice I made, and the beginning of an awarding process of life change that I never imagined would be so wonderful.
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.