My interview on Protect Your Noggin

Julie and I Zoomed with Jeff and Stacie Mallinson for an hour-long conversation for their podcast, Protect Your Noggin. Listen here: https://www.protectyournoggin.org/podcast/no-regrets-the-wild-transgender-journey-of-greg-eilers

This is my fifth podcast and the second time Julie and I talked with Jeff. In 2016, Jeff and his friend Dan van Voorhis came to Indianapolis to chat with us for their podcast, Virtue in the Wasteland. We talked so long that we recorded in three parts, which they posted as two episodes:

Episode 1: http://www.virtueinthewasteland.com/episodes/2016/10/4/ep-196-the-trials-of-gina-eilers-part-1?rq=the%20trials%20of%20gina%20eilers

Episode 2: http://www.virtueinthewasteland.com/episodes/2016/10/4/ep-197-the-trials-of-gina-eilers-part-2

On the new podcast, Jeff talks about the trouble that brewed for his interviewing such a renegade as myself, and the openings it created for important conversations to take place.

He recently learned about my memoir. Emailing me his kind assessment, he asked Julie and me to appear on Protect Your Noggin. We spend most of the hour discussing key themes from the book.

You, too, can ride the Roller Coaster with me, either in print or as an ebook:

How do you react?

When something big has happened in your life, how do you want others to react? If you share good news, do you want hooray and good job and hugs? If you share bad news, do you want commiseration and compassion and hugs? And if you share news that’s hard to reveal, do you want others to listen, to truly hear you, to dig in with their love for you … and hugs?

This piece is about how people have reacted when a loved one or colleague told them they are transgender. To set the stage, I return to an event of thirty years ago.

Back in the days of my working in an office, one afternoon a car veered off the road, came into our parking lot, and hit the car of one of my coworkers. Her husband worked nights and they lived nearby, so she called him.

Some of us were in the parking lot as he arrived. Exiting his truck, he was huffing and puffing and screaming bloody murder: “We’re going to sue!” He did not wait for anyone to speak. He asked no questions. He only began ranting. His embarrassed wife tried to calm him.

I had never seen such a display of someone with no concern for anyone else, who took no control of his temper. Any respect I might have had for him was out the window.

Our immediate reaction to a big event can set the stage for everything to follow. Think of your first impression of people upon meeting them. It’s the same idea.

As my books are gradually finding a wider audience, I’m hearing from more folks—the trans persons telling family of their gender dysphoria, and the family members of trans persons. I’m struck by the first reactions.

I return to Julie’s first reactions to me. Before we married, I told her I was a crossdresser. Her reaction was to calmly say she knew nothing about this, that she wanted me to teach her, and that she could tell this was an integral part of who I am.

Twelve years later, when I was crushed with gender dysphoria, I told Julie I didn’t know if I would survive if I had to remain male, that I might need to transition to living as a female. As previously and according to her nature, she calmly replied, “We’ll figure it out.” (Here’s what I wrote about it, in 2016: https://eilerspizza.wordpress.com/2016/03/07/well-figure-it-out/)

If Julie had replied with the “We’re going to sue!” equivalent—“I didn’t sign up for this”—I can’t imagine our marriage surviving or, perhaps, me surviving.

As I went public about my experiencing gender dysphoria, the initial reactions ranged from understanding to judgmental. When I announced I was transitioning, the hardest ones to swallow were “The devil is leading you by the nose” and “You’re following the ways of the world” and, addressing the severity of my suffering that was leading me to try transitioning, one pastor said, “Surely, it’s not that bad.” That ended our relationship.

Many first reactions were two quotes of the Bible. First, that God created males and females. Second, that men shall not wear women’s clothes and vice versa. Every time these reactions were presented, the person thought they provided the absolute judgment and the case was closed.

I wish I’d kept track of how many times I was told, “God doesn’t make mistakes.” Of course, this is true. Also of course, it has nothing to do with the topic. Using this with a person whose sense of self is in conflict with his biological sex, that it can’t be because God doesn’t make mistakes, is akin to telling a person with cancer that it can’t be because God declared “good” the creation of everything and, clearly, cancer is not good. I guess these tumors are all in these folks’ heads.

The reactions I’ve quoted all served to shut down the conversation. In some cases, I suspect that’s what people wanted. It’s like with an in-person conversation, when someone says, “Well, I just don’t agree!” and leaves.

In other cases, they kept writing to me on social media and using email, but never came off their initial reaction. While they might have been convinced that I wasn’t making my case, because of their initial reactions I feared they had their minds made up and there would be no budging.

I won’t make the joke, “Don’t confuse me with the facts,” but I’ve thought it often.

On Super Bowl Sunday, I received an email from a woman. She’d just found my books, bought both of them, and was midway through reading. That evening, she had finished them.

Here are the opening words of her review of my memoir, A Roller Coaster through a Hurricane:

Suppose you found out that a terrible fire had left your adult child a burn victim? You would look for every answer that might minimize your loved one’s suffering. If you found the memoir of someone who himself was a burn victim and had been treated by the finest care available, you would scour that book, searching for understanding of how your child feels and any clues to effective treatments.

Now, there’s a first reaction for the ages.

Her full reviews are worthy of reading. Here are screen shots of both. Following them are the links to both pages, where you can read many more excellent reactions.

Book reviews: feast or famine

The screenshot, above, tells the ratings story of how my book, Ministering to Transgender Christians, is being received.

Well, almost. While the seven 5 star ratings and sole 1 star rating is real, it doesn’t reveal this: the seven folks who’ve rated the book have posted reviews, while the only person to click 1 star didn’t say a word.

I can imagine why the person gave the book 1 star, but I don’t want to be left to guessing—though I admit my initial thoughts were not exactly kind toward the person: “That punk,” I murmured, “If they can click on one star, they can have the guts to tell me what their problem is.”

I’d love to hear from that person. What didn’t they like? Where did they find me to be wrong? What can they tell me to improve or correct my text?

The ratings might be feast or famine, but the reviews are all feast. Here are the two received since I last posted reviews, beginning with this screenshot that captures Katie’s full review:

I’ve messaged with Katie a number of times over the past few years. I’ve appreciated her evenhanded and compassion-filled approach to things, and all the more so because she is a Lutheran and a Bible study leader, speaker, and writer.

I also like Katie’s title: “Important book for anyone especially moms.” When I began writing Ministering, I thought I was talking specifically to Lutheran ministers. Eventually, I saw that my audience was wider, and changed my focus to any Christian leader who might find themselves in need of this information. Yet, what I’ve so far seen is that parents are being helped by this book—and, based on reviews and messages I receive, they are my largest audience.

Included is the parent who posted the most recent review:

The screenshot only captures the first half of it. Click here for the entire review: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08FHBNGQV/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_tkin_p1_i0#customerReviews

I’ve shared many emails with this parent. They are a Christian who is conservative and traditional in every way. They struggled greatly with their child’s transition. Now, having read both of my books, they have been able to reach out to their child and reconnect.

Though parent and child have vastly different views on important things, they are striving to understand and love one another. For this, I rejoice.

If you know anyone who would receive value from my memoir, A Roller Coaster through a Hurricane, or from Ministering to Transgender Christians, please reach out to them. Click the pics, below, to go to either book for ordering.

Kimberley Beregrove: kindred spirit

Rare is my meeting a transgender Christian with whom I match up in important ways: Christian faith, integrity in every aspect of life, conservative attitude, and an intense desire to proclaim the Gospel and teach about gender dysphoria and transgender.

Recently, I met this rare bird in the person of Kimberley Beregrove.

I met her through another person, who learned of my books through Kimberley mentioning them in one of her many YouTube videos. That person emailed me—and she and I also matched up in the important ways mentioned, above—and told me about Kimberley.

I connected with Kimberley and we immediately hit it off. The first time we talked, it was for over three hours. She’s a long-haul trucker, so she has time. While I’m not a truck driver, I am known to be a long-haul La-Z-Boy sitter, so, yeah, I can pull off a long conversation.

I mentioned Kimberley in my last post, because in a couple of her videos she said something to make my heart sing, which goes to why I have published my first two books.

In her video, “Update on my marriage,” she tells how it took her wife’s reading my story to finally grasp what her husband experiences—the struggle, the agony, the desire not to have gender conflict, the inability to simply rid oneself of it, and remaining in faith toward the Lord Jesus.

Kimberley begins speaking about me at 3:12. At 4:08, she starts talking about how her wife reacted.

Kimberley does not live full time as a woman. Indeed, it’s only been since this past summer that she goes on the road as Kimberly as she lives as Peter at home. She is the very rare trans person who is willing and able to present as both female and male which, indeed, is an important display of her integrity of spirit.

At the 10:40 mark, Karen speaks of the impact on her from reading my books.

Kimberley’s most recent video is a great example of how she discusses being transgender and Christian, and using hormone therapy as a viable medicine for the gender dysphoric Christian. I highly recommend this video to you.

In “Transgender acceptance,” I like how she uses one’s being left handed to one’s being transgender. I’m left handed. I didn’t choose to be left handed. And no one chooses to experience gender conflict and transgender.

I encourage you to check out Kimberley’s homepage, where you’ll see her dozens of videos. The amount and variety are not nearly as impressive as the content and her ability to gently and respectfully discuss every topic.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6MiiwWpRS-Ttn_PNyO61ng

Keep up the good work, Kimberley! Your gentle spirit, desire to teach, and proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ fulfill what our Lord encourages in us, in Mathew 5:16: “Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Amen to that!

30th anniversary: the day my life changed

Typically, when we ponder that people are talking about us, it’s focused on their gossiping—spreading negative news about something we did or has happened to us. We don’t know who is talking, but we are confident the conversation is not making us look good.

In 1990, I had no idea people were talking about me. That the conversation was good. That when I finally learned about it on December 7, my life would dramatically change.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This is where I was in those days: I was thirty-three and had met all of my life goals:
• I was married and had four children.
• I owned a home in my hometown.
• I was established in a job, in town, where I intended to work until retirement.

I wanted to be married, be a father, stay in my hometown, and be a lifer where I worked. Check, check, check, check. I’d accomplished all of my goals. I was all set to enjoy the life I’d established.

A year after we’d had our final child, I was itching for a new adventure. I wanted to be a minister, but saw no way it could happen. It would mean years of school, uprooting my family, quitting my job and losing my income.

It. Was. Impossible.

That September, Jan Pobursky came calling. She proposed the craziest thing: go to seminary and I’ll support you until you graduate.

Jan’ more-than-generous offer got my wife Kim and me talking. But, it wasn’t enough to get us to a decision. It still felt impossible. By December, we were stymied.

As autumn fell, I had no idea I was the topic of discussion by my boss and the owner of the company. They were looking for a new manager of our branch in England. They wanted someone who knew every aspect of the company, who would be able to establish in England how we did things in Montague.

Only person filled the bill. That person was me.

They were talking England as Kim and I were talking ministry. What if the two had never come together? I can’t begin to imagine where life would have taken me, or my marriage to Kim, and everything else that transpired for me.

(Here’s the full story: https://eilerspizza.wordpress.com/2015/06/06/pastorized-1-of-2/)

Just when I thought I was set for life, I wasn’t. Looking back over the thirty years since the talk about me was presented to me, I marvel at all I accomplished, all I experienced, all that transpired.

Would I change any of it? As I am confident most of you would say, I’d quickly dispose of all of the hardships. Yet, as I was recently telling a friend, with hardship comes growth. With struggle comes figuring things out to get past the fight, to reach a new peace. In the end, nope, I’d not request the removal of the seemingly bad stuff, because out of it came so much good stuff.

I am especially pleased to have put my story into print, and to follow that with the book that I find to be the culmination of my life’s work and experience.

The feedback I am receiving is most gratifying, as with hearing about, and then from, the person to whom I will introduce you in my next post.

What she said in one of her videos was more than wonderful—it happened because I told my story.

I am continually inspired to keep doing things so that when others talk about me, it is for good reason—and it helps them through their struggle so that they reach a new peace.

Moms contact me the most

Far and away, I hear most from the mothers of trans children and trans young adults. These women have found my blog and are now reading my books. They are searching for information, longing to understand, grappling with the new reality transgender has presented.

Last week, a mother posted the following review on my book page. The full review follows the photo.

When we look to people to show us God, we’re often disappointed. When we look to God to show us people, WOW. Thank you, Greg, for looking to God to show us people. This book is the most loving, calm explanation of the gender identity conversation that our children know and embrace as second nature. Greg explains the terminology, explores the science, and most of all speaks humbly and openly from his own experience. Thank you for the mirror into our common discomfort with differences, for dissolving fear by bringing the unknown into the light, and for lovingly taking our hands as we join you in your desire that we step out of the littleness of our hearts towards others and into the abundant grace and immeasurable love of our God, who knows us all as we long to be known.

To read all of the reviews, click here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08FHBNGQV/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_tkin_p1_i1#customerReviews

Of 37 star ratings given to my two books, 36 have given the full five stars, with the other at four stars. That a 97% rating. Both the ratings and the reviews demonstrate that the books do the job for which I wrote them: to enlighten and educate.

Some folks find me via Facebook. My profile is Greg Eilers, in Indianapolis. I’ll be glad to receive a note from you via Messenger. Here is my profile: https://www.facebook.com/porthopepizza/

Others message me through my website, https://gregeilers.com/. On my homepage, see CONTACT US on the top right of the screen. I’ll receive your message in my email, and will reply to your email address.

I keep private all persons who contact me. I never reveal information that will break confidentiality.

I typically reply the same day, and always within twenty-four hours.

Some folks prefer to keep our correspondence via email. Many like talking on the phone or via video chat. I’m happy to oblige whatever works best. I’ve received long emails and provided equally detailed replies. I’ve had long conversations on the phone and via video. I have time for you and a desire to be of service.

If you have read, or will be reading either or both of my books, please consider posting a review. If not a review, please give them a star rating.

As you see from the review, above, you can post anonymously. You can do so as an Amazon customer or use an alias.

The more reviews posted, the more the books will receive credibility and attention, the more people will learn of them and might be helped in their struggle and desire to understand.

All of the moms, and all of the relatives and pastors and friends, who have reached out to me have one thing in common: they want to understand. Understanding comes from knowledge. Knowledge comes from reading and learning. That’s what my books and this blog provide: knowledge to foster understanding.

Understanding allows us to be compassionate—and whatever our situation in life is, we all long for others to show us compassion.

I hope no one hesitates to contact me—moms, dads, siblings, pastors, friends, Christians, neighbors, coworkers, grandparents . . . and trans persons, from whom I am still contacted. I am here for you all.

The holiday giving season is upon us. My books make great gifts to anyone searching for information and help, assisting all to open doors and build bridges.

Find my books here, both print and ebook versions: https://www.amazon.com/Greg-Eilers/e/B07N7FM54X?ref_=dbs_p_pbk_r00_abau_000000

Content as a guy

Every Sunday, I inject estradiol, a synthetic form of the female hormone, estrogen. I just hit the two year mark since going on a low dose of it.

After completing my transition from male to female, I stopped hormone therapy. After a few months, my bones, muscles, and joints hurt. My doctor said it was because my hormone levels were too low.

My sex hormone levels resemble those of a genetic female. Indeed, at the last check of my blood, my estrogen was high, so my endocrinologist had me reduce my dose by twenty-five percent. See the tiny bit in the syringe? That weekly dose keeps my bones, muscles, and joints strong.

Because I no longer produce anything but a tiny bit of testosterone, my sex hormone levels are reverse from what they should be for a male. Yet, I feel completely male. I’m nearly at the three year mark since it started.

It was the day before Thanksgiving in 2017 that I completed the last of my operations: facial feminization surgery.

The day after.
Two days after surgery.
Before and after.

I spent the final five weeks of 2017 with a splendid case of euphoria, feeling absolutely giddy. I’d done it! The seemingly impossible! I’d completely transitioned and I finally felt right. I was done with the years of seeing a therapist, figuring out how to navigate my inner turmoil, taking every step in transitioning—medical, social, legal, surgical—and I was ready to finish my life as Gina.

Christmas 2017. My smile reflects how I felt.

My euphoria didn’t make it seven weeks. The second week of 2018, I couldn’t figure out what was going on inside me. Within days, I knew what it was. I’d returned to the old fight, a male and female striving for dominance in me.

Soon, I realized it wasn’t that—it wasn’t a fight between the two, but rather that I felt completely male and I couldn’t believe it. I’d just completed my transition, and now I feel male? Now??? I was angry, confused, and lost.

How long would it last? That was the big question. I didn’t trust it. When I experienced it in 2013, in the first months after I started hormone therapy, it endured for six weeks. And when, in 2014, I stopped and restarted hormones two times and it returned, it remained fewer weeks. Would this be like those times?

Did I want it to last? At the time, I did not. (It wouldn’t be until the end of April that I finally felt I could trust it and embrace feeling exclusively male.)

I hesitated telling Julie. The end of January, I finally did. She was so flummoxed, she said almost nothing. The look on her face said, “Are you kidding me?”

Unlike in 2013 and 2014, this time it remained. I came to realize it was because my hormones finally settled into place—no more fluctuation of my testosterone—reverse for a male, but perfect for my messed up endocrine system.

By April, I was living more as a man than a woman. In May, I was back to male all the time. In July 2018, I went public.

And it stuck. I am thoroughly and completely content that I am a male.

These days, it’s hard for me to look at photos of me as a female. Though I lived as Gina for three years, and it only concluded in 2018, those years seem a lifetime ago—as if they were someone else’s life.

That’s an interesting observation, because it is how I felt when I experienced myself as a female. In those days, my entire previous life—fifty-seven years!—seemed like the life of another person. It was as if I was looking at the photo album of a different person.

And, now? Looking as me as a female is surreal, that it can’t possibly be me, but has to be a different person.

It doesn’t matter that I have the surgeries to prove that I transitioned. They don’t affect my feeling male.

I can’t avoid the surgeries. They affect me, every day. Indeed, all I have to do is smile. There it is, the numbness I continue to experience in the top and sides of my head.

While I wish I hadn’t had to go through all I did to get to this point—who wouldn’t avoid the years of struggle, the rejection and strife, the surgeries, the cost?—I believe I had to. Therefore, I regret nothing.

I learned so much—and now have substantive proof that my condition is hormonal—and have put it to good use. Last year, I published my memoir. This year, I published Ministering to Transgender Christians. With those books and this blog, I’ve been blessed to help many people—transgender persons, family members, pastors, and more.

After fifty years of gender conflict, I finally experience and enjoy inner contentment.

Book news

Getting the word out

I’ve been working to get copies of my second book, Ministering to Transgender Christians, into the hands of pastors, church leaders, and others.

  • I mailed copies to all of the thirty-five District Presidents of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS), where I used to be a minister.
  • I also sent one, with an impassioned letter, to LCMS President Rev. Matthew Harrison, which is the third time I’ve written to him in the hopes of getting his ear.
  • I sent books to some others in the hopes they might review and promote it.
  • Two dozen were distributed to ministers at a pastors’ conference.
  • And, in a generous, surprising move, a friend purchased a copy and sent it to a pastor who hosts a radio show. Thank you, friend!

If you know of a church leader, book reviewer, or other influencer, to whom I might send a book, please contact me. You can find my email address by clicking on my profile photo, or you can message me via Facebook.

32 of 33 reviews are 5 stars!

And the one 4 star review reads as well as those that have given 5 stars!

If you have read either or both books, and have not left a review, would you do so? You can get to both books here: https://www.amazon.com/Greg-Eilers/e/B07N7FM54X?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1&qid=1603110844&sr=8-1

The more reviews each book has, the higher up it will appear in searches. Thank you for helping me promote the important information of both of my books!

Reviews excerpts

Highlights of the first four reviews of Ministering to Transgender Christians:

A pastor begins his review, “This is a remarkably helpful book for pastors and laypeople alike because it discusses the struggle of transgender persons in a way that educates while consistently pointing to God’s grace in Jesus Christ.” He notes, “The discussion of myths or what transgender is not is a particular helpful part of the book that seeks to break down stereotypes and foregone conclusions.” And, he nailed exactly what I am seeking to promote—the Gospel: “That’s really the greatest part of the book: the reminder of the Christian Gospel, the ‘Good News’ that God’s love is for everyone in and through His Son Jesus Christ such that we find our identity in Him above all. The reminder that Christ came not to condemn the world but save it helps reorient the reader from a position of judgement to one of mercy and compassion.”

Colleen generously suggests, “There is no other book today that offers the understanding and compassion that Church leaders need, to minister to the needs of the transgender Christians in their congregations,” concluding her helpful review with, “This book is a godsend for those who experience gender identity dysphoria and who have put their faith and their trust in Jesus Christ. It reminds all of us that the love available to us in Jesus Christ is available to every person on this planet, even the transgender person. If you are struggling with gender identity dysphoria, this book is for you, as well!”

May gets right to the point: “If you are serious about Gospel ministry or being involved in a church community, Ministering to Transgender Christians is a must-read in order to enable the Church to reach out to one of the most oppressed, misunderstood, and rejected people of our time.” She concludes just as strongly: “It is no longer a question of ‘if I need to know this information,’ but ‘when I need to know information.’ One day, there will be a transgender person at your church. One day, you will find yourself talking a transgender person and have the opportunity to share the Gospel. This book is vital for giving you a shared language with these people so the love of Christ that you show them may work in their heart.”

Finally, Medicjac says a lot with a few words: “This book addresses so many of the issues I was struggling with, in a clear manner.”

Find the full reviews here: https://www.amazon.com/Ministering-Transgender-Christians-Resource-Christian/dp/B08FRJLQBG/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=greg+eilers&qid=1603111721&sr=8-2#customerReviews

Medicjac also left the most recent review for A Roller Coaster Through a Hurricane: “This book has been a lifesaver! As a Christian with a son who is transgender, this book has been invaluable in giving me insight and hope. I strongly recommend this book for anyone who is struggling.”

To ride all of the Roller Coaster reviews, click here: https://www.amazon.com/Roller-Coaster-Through-Hurricane-Identity/dp/1796811645/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=greg+eilers&qid=1603113266&sr=8-1#customerReviews

Coming in 2021?

I’m busy writing my third book! If all goes well, it will be available next year!

My second book: coming in August!

Too many church bodies, and individual pastors, church workers, and Christians, have done and continue to do a disservice to transgender Christians. Knowledge is lacking in what it means to suffer gender dysphoria and all that can result from it, especially transitioning sexes. In the reports, articles, and suggestions for pastoral care I’ve read, I’ve wondered if any of the writers have ever talked with a transgender person or done any thorough study of the topic.

In these pages, I endeavor to provide helpful information and sound doctrine as I explain about gender dysphoria, discuss God’s Word, and provide a path toward compassionate spiritual care for transgender Christians.

I am in a unique position. Because I’ve been there and done that both as a minister and a transgender person, my experience is vital in key areas. As a transgender woman, I received the long arm of the Law when I craved the sweetness of the Gospel. Only the faithfulness of the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, can take credit for my not ditching Christ and the purity of His Word.

Having been a minister, my heart is with pastors and all in positions of service in the Church. With gender dysphoria and transgender persons, you’ve been presented with new, unusual things which, on the surface, according to your education and experience might seem cut and dried. You want to do right by the Lord, and you want to do right by the persons you serve. It is my desire to help you, to provide the assist you need so that you might, indeed, do right by the Lord and His people.

The book’s title and subtitle declare my motivation. I’ve written in equal measure for the sake of transgender Christians and for the sake of the Church.

My prayer is that you find me faithful to the Word of God in all I write. My hope is that the Church would have a compassionate heart for a group of people who want to love the Lord, but whom, too often, are rejected by Christians.

The six paragraphs, above, conclude the first chapter of my new book, Ministering to Transgender Christians.

Where my first book, A Roller Coaster Through a Hurricane, is the story of my life, this book is its culmination. Contained in these 128 pages explains how the book came to be:

  • from a young age, a strong sense of justice and truth were formed in me, both which I have found lacking in how trans persons are treated
  • summarizing the story I detailed in my memoir, from my suffering gender dysphoria, to my transitioning, to how I was treated by my fellow Christians when I was transgender
  • what I learned along the way about the suffering of trans persons and the misunderstanding of them, both of which are especially acute for transgender Christians.

Since 2013, when I began telling pastors about my gender dysphoria, and especially during the three years (2015-18) I lived as a trans woman, I recognized my fellow Christians needed two things so that they might treat fairly their brothers and sisters in Christ who are transgender.

1. A proper understanding of gender issues

Too many Christians believe trans persons are mentally ill or have given in to a sinful desire. I detail what gender dysphoria is and what might cause it, keeping separate sexuality and how we experience gender.

The profiles of a number of gender dysphoric and trans Christians shows that members of churches large and small, in cities and rural counties, are affected. These Christians long to be faithful to the Lord. They didn’t choose this vexing situation, and they have to find a way to live with it.

2. A way forward

Understanding is vital, but more is needed. I lay out a thorough, step-by-step guide to providing spiritual care to gender dysphoric Christians, along with insights for helping family members and congregations.

I am especially excited about the how to section of the book. I am not familiar with a resource to guide Christian leaders, lay persons, and congregations in specific ways to compassionately minister to their members who suffer gender dysphoria or have transitioned.

When and where will the book be available?

All that’s left of the publishing process is for me to receive and review the proof copy, which should happen in a few days.

The book, in print and ebook versions, will then be available on Amazon, just as is my memoir, A Roller Coaster Through a Hurricane.

2019: 3 unthinkable things

2019 was mostly an excellent year. I achieved an older goal and a newer one, both which had seemed insurmountable, even unthinkable. Along the way, another unthinkable thing occurred, one that cut deeply.

I’ll get that one out of the way, so that I can end on a high note. In the spring, I was told that if I continued to go the local transgender support group, there were some who would not attend. Because I did not want to be a roadblock for anyone, I elected to stop attending.

Julie and I started going to this group in January 2015. We attended most meetings. We received support and provided it. Because Julie was able to grasp transitioning in a loving, compassionate manner, she was especially helpful to SOFFAs (significant others, family, friends, allies). With my pastoral experience and natural gift for gab, and because I experienced every step in transitioning, I too offered my share. Indeed, the Christian faith was a familiar topic, especially those suffering rejection by Christian family members, and I regularly provided insights and understanding.

A year earlier, I had resumed living as a male, so why would I want to continue to attend? The reasons were numerous. This had become my group. I had made some good friends. Retirement from the ministry had ripped me away from people; this group filled a void. And, because I like helping others, I could continue to be helpful.

Even more, what I experienced in feeling male after transitioning proved beneficial. As I related what was going on, others opened up. I broke the ground for some to admit that they don’t always feel strictly male or female, and it sometimes scares them because they transitioned.

A young trans woman approached me about what she was experiencing. She visited at our house a few times, where we had long talks. Soon, she resumed living as a guy. He’s doing fine now, feeling he’s sorted through things. I was happy to help him.

Others admitted that my detransitioning scared them. I suspect that one or two didn’t want me at the meetings because they feared what happened with me could happen with them.

One of those trans women unfriended me on Facebook, without saying a word. She and I had been close. It hurt a lot.

Indeed, the Facebook unfriending became rampant. No one told me, of course; they simply did it. I had to figure it out, recognizing I was no longer seeing them in my newsfeed.

Many didn’t unfriend me, but they’ve kept their distance. Only one local trans woman has acted the same toward me as she did when I was a trans woman.

I found it all so absurd. Some of the same people, who cry for acceptance, now rejected me. I was the same person I always had been, but by no longer identifying as transgender they turned from me.

They turned from me the way they hate how others turn from them.

And so it goes. There is no one group of people fully able to do for others what they ask from them.

My final meeting came right after I received my memoir in print. I brought it to the meeting. Before leaving, I addressed the group. I read some paragraphs, showing them how I was still supporting them. My final words to them were, “Whether or not I see you again, I will be speaking up for you and educating wherever I can.”

In 2020, I will publish my second book, Ministering to Transgender Christians.

That’s a nice segue to the older of the two major goals I achieved in 2019. I had long been wanting to write a book, which I thought would be a novel. (That sits in my computer, unfinished and untouched for years.) Ever since my therapist, in 2013, told me to write what I was experiencing with my gender dysphoria, I had been compiling my memoirs. In September 2018, I completed the first draft.

At that time, I knew nothing of self-publishing, so I had no clue whether I would be able to get it into print. When I learned that I could, cost free, publish it through Amazon, I was elated and took the plunge.

The other previously unthinkable goal, which I’ve only had since taking up jogging year-round in 2016, was to log one thousand miles in a year. I hit the mark the first week of November. As I type this on December 30, the following screenshot from my app reveals where I stand for 2019.

My 2020 goal? 1,200 miles—to average 100 per month.

My second 2020 goal? Publish my second book.

My third 2020 goal? Get cracking on promoting my books and my program of transgender education.