My first week as a fifty-nine-year-old just might have been the most event-filled week of my life. Every weekday, I experienced a big step in the long road of transitioning.
9:30 a.m. At Marion County Circuit Court, I was the sixth person called before the judge. My petition for name change was granted. I legally became Gina Joy Eilers.
2:45 p.m. I departed the local office of the Social Security Administration. After an un-momentous number of keystrokes, my Social Security number now showed me as Gina Joy Eilers.
10:00 a.m. I met with three pastors of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS), the church body in which I was a minister for eighteen years. I previously announced that Julie and I were back to church shopping, desiring to be back in the LCMS. I long to educate LCMS pastors and laity regarding gender dysphoria and what it means to be transgender, and wrap all of this up in sound Christian theology. At this meeting, these pastors learned more about me and trans issues, and I spoke of my long range goals. Since all of this is in the formative stage, I won’t reveal which pastors these are, or where we are worshiping, but I am glad to say that for the past five weeks we have worshiped in a LCMS congregation and have been welcomed to continue worshiping there . . . and, as is my nature, I chat with the greeters, the ushers, and the folks sitting next to me in the pew . . . and no one has freaked out . . . and the walls have not come crashing down.
1:30 p.m. My weekly electrolysis appointment with Barb the Impaler is not unusual, but it deserves mention as an important piece in the entire puzzle which is transitioning. On this day, I received electrolysis which is required for me to have sex reassignment surgery (SRS), which takes me to . . .
3:00 p.m. I had my final appointment with a therapist for the purpose of securing a second therapist’s endorsement so that I can qualify for SRS. Because this surgery is so significant in the life of a trans person, World Professional Association for Transgender Health standards call for two therapists’ endorsements. After my second appointment, this therapist agreed with my previous therapist’s assessment that I am a candidate for SRS and is writing my endorsement letter.
8:30 a.m. After a hiccup early Wednesday afternoon, when the BMV told me I did not have the correct form to have the sex changed from M to F on my drivers license, I returned to show them that I did, indeed, have the correct information, that they had missed an “or” in their own instructions. An hour later, I departed the BMV with a new drivers license, with a new picture, my new name, and this important designation: “Sex: F.”
6:00 p.m. Last August, I did my first radio interview. That one was not aired live, but for a podcast, with a LCMS pastor and layman. On this day, I did my first live radio interview, with a station in Bloomington, IN, on the bloomingOUT program, which covers LGBTQ issues. It was a blast. I feel very good about how I efficiently answered their excellent questions, providing good insights for folks to learn what it means to be transgender. (A link to the show is at the end of this post.)
5:00 p.m. I had nothing lined up for Friday, so I thought I’d worn out my wonder-week. I walked to the mail box. Flipping through the few pieces, an envelope addressed to me aroused my interest. Going to my usual spot in the kitchen, where I prefer to leave mail for Julie’s attention—unless it is the latest Reader’s Digest, or it can immediately go into the recycling bin—I opened the envelope. It was from our health insurance provider informing me that I have been approved for my facial feminization surgery (FFS). While there should not have been a doubt that I would be covered—I met every qualification—it had been seven weeks since my doctor applied for coverage, so I had been antsy to get word.
FFS will allow me to literally put my best face forward. Looking more feminine, with a female ID, with credit cards that soon will bear a woman’s name instead of a man’s, and on the path to having my body corrected to match my internal identity, and to hopefully have the meaningful work of educating my fellow Christians in the LCMS regarding gender dysphoria and what it means to be transgender . . . well, whew, everything in my life is coming together in an orderly, wonderful way.
And an important aspect regarding each one of these things happened each of the five weekdays in my first week as a fifty-nine-year-old.
Wow. My wonder-week.
I am reminded of a verse from a favorite psalm, the 103rd: “Praise the Lord . . . who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” I am a walking, talking testament to the Lord’s faithful fulfilling of His promises. Through His indwelling Spirit, I apply myself to His Word and to fervent prayer, always seeking to know and obey His good and gracious will. Transitioning seemed like an impossibility for the Lord to bless, but all He does is bless me.
All He does is bless me.
And satisfy my desires with good things.
In my earthly life and in my sure and certain hope of eternal life.
For the sake of Jesus Christ my Lord.
Therefore, I love Him with all my heart. Alleluia!