If I had a pizza for every time I’ve been told this:
“You need to write a book.”
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
When I abruptly left the ministry, I assured everyone that I was not retiring in the typical sense of the word. My reply to those who expressed dismay at my no longer serving as a pastor was that I was confident the Lord had another career for me. I told them I intended to continue to serve my fellow Christians, but I didn’t know what shape that would take.
That was 2014. At the time, other than talking to a handful of church leaders, I could not speak about my gender dysphoria. Thus, I had to remain vague about what I hoped to do after leaving the ministry. But, already then—during the period when I had no idea whether I would be able to hold on as a male or would attempt transitioning—I was confident that I would eventually go public regarding my gender issues.
Why? I was going to be public about it for exactly the reason I learned by having done so in 2015, because the world was in the dark about gender dysphoria, and because I found the Christian Church, and especially my Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, to be completely unequipped to work compassionately with trans persons.
I knew that I wanted to do two things. First, I endeavored to write my life story, with the emphasis on my gender issues and all that I have learned and experienced. Second, I was determined to get to a point where I could make presentations to Christians, to educate them about transgender matters.
I am pleased to report that my plan is taking shape. In September, I reached important stages toward the two goals. Indeed, they were in themselves goals realized.
- I have completed the first draft of my book—forty-nine chapters and more than 100,000 words.
- I have made my first transgender education presentation to a church group.
“Riding a Roller Coaster through a Hurricane”
The working title of my book is borrowed from Julie’s description of my life in 2013. She said, “You are like a chrysalis that is riding a roller coaster through a hurricane.” In this, she captured how fragile I was as I lived through a most tumultuous time.
Having written my life’s story, I have a first draft done. Two friends are reading it, providing feedback, looking for errors and anything helpful they can provide. I am also reading it, searching for errors and looking for ways I can improve the text, either through addition (especially things I forgot to write) or subtraction.
The next step is the tough one. Should I pursue publishers, submitting a book proposal? Or would I be wise to search out a literary agent? Or should I go straight for self-publishing? Julie and I don’t have much money to spend, so that will temper anything I do.
I could use your concrete assistance.
I have read up on how to write a book proposal, seek a literary agent, and self-publish. Where I am lacking is connections. The saying was created because of the truth it contains, that it’s not what you know but who you know. If you know a literary agent who might be interested in my story, please reach out to me. If you have connections with a publisher which could be the right one for my book, please contact me.
I truly am in need. This task is daunting to me. I will proceed because I believe in my story, find it one that needs to be told in detail, and hope that the book can open doors to the education I want to do.
My desire is to educate, whoever and wherever. My first hope is to give my Transanswers presentation to Christians, either to congregations or to pastors. I have three versions of it—one for Christian lay folks, one for ministers, and one for a secular setting, such as the workplace.
Four weeks ago, I had my first opportunity, presenting at a local church. I am pleased to report that it was well received. The folks paid close attention during my just-over-an-hour talk—no one drifted to looking at a phone, which is today’s ultimate test!—and then they had numerous excellent questions, so many that we did not have time to cover all of them.
Three ministers were in attendance, the resident pastor and two retired ones. One of the retired pastors wrote to me that he found my presentation to be “educational, inspirational, and courageous.”
If you are in the Indianapolis area and have interest in my presentation, please contact me. If you are farther away and would like me to come to your place, I bet we can make it happen.
I continue to feel great. I’ve not had even the tiniest blip of gender issues.
In mid October, I have a meeting scheduled with an important church official. I am hoping good things come from that, getting my foot in the door to educate pastors.
I have one Transanswers lined up for a group of pastors, but because of full schedules I wasn’t able to be fit in until next spring.
Even as I work on getting my book published, I intend to write a book specifically for pastors, to help them in understanding gender dysphoria and ministering to transgender Christians.
I am sixty-one years old. I have all of the passion I had when I was a young man. I am raring to go.
Bring on career number three!