The 4 in 1 post

Retirement: fifth anniversary

June 30 marks five years since I retired from being a parish pastor.

I’m still bummed out about it.

I still consider it to have been forced on me, having preferred to keep my gender dysphoria in check instead of leaving the ministry in order to address it.

I still wish I were a parish pastor.

I’ve accomplished a lot the past five years. I’m grateful about that. I have a lot more in mind to do. But I still wish it didn’t have to be this way.

Greg’s return: one year ago

July 9 marks one year since I made public that I had ceased experiencing any sense of being female, that I gradually got used to the idea that I would resume living as a guy, and that by late May I had been living full time as Greg.

I lived as a transgender woman for three years. I did everything a person can do to transition sexes.

It all feels like it was a dream.

If it were not for all of the evidence that I transitioned, I might not believe it had been real. When I ponder it, I find myself physically shaking my head in disbelief.

All my life, I wanted to feel like a guy. For the past nearly one-and-a-half years, I have. I wish I didn’t have to go through all that I did to achieve it, but I am thankful that I finally arrived at this wonderful wholeness.

Hormone update

I have passed the seven month mark since resuming hormone therapy. Each Sunday, I inject a low dose of estradiol (estrogen). The purpose is to protect my bones, muscles, and joints, and to stop the infernal hot flashes I had been having multiple times a day since May 2018.

When I started feeling like a guy at the outset of 2018, I stopped my hormone therapy with my endocrinologist’s permission to do so. I feared continuing to take estrogen would upset my sense of self.

In a few months, I started feeling sluggish. Then my muscles felt like mush. My knees protested when I got out of bed in the morning and when I walked stairs.

By autumn, I could hardly run. I returned to my endocrinologist. I had researched my condition and was quite sure what she would tell me. She immediately confirmed that my hormones were too low.

We debated whether I should take testosterone or estrogen. Long story short, we settled on estrogen. With either one, I feared upsetting what I believe to be a delicate balance with my gender identity. In November, I resumed weekly injections and held my breath.

Within two weeks the hot flashes had ceased and my muscles and joints were beginning to feel better. After a month or so, my body was back to normal. Best of all, I experienced no fluctuation in experiencing myself as a male, and I continue to feel great.

This spring, because I got my muscles healthy and worked at losing weight, I improved my running to where I was in late 2017, which was the best I had run since retiring. Last week, running six miles, I ran my fastest pace of the year.

The more weight I lose, the better I run. I love that, but . . .

Greight Loss on hold

I have put my Greight Loss on hold. I am grateful to have lost so much weight so quickly—twenty-eight pounds since my high of 260 in February—but the thing has occurred which I feared.

In my initial Greight Loss post, I explained that I intentionally put on weight last year so that my breasts might appear as man boobs. It worked.

Then it didn’t work. I hated carrying the extra weight.

Since I successfully adjusted to living as a guy with this busty chest, I hoped I could lose some weight and not be too self-conscious about my breasts. As I passed the twenty-pound mark in weight loss, my chest stood out so much more. It really bothered me.

Yet, I didn’t want to stop losing weight. I carried on.

Nearing the thirty-pound mark, I finally had enough. The rest of me shrinks, but my chest remains the same. When I go out in public, I have to select my shirts carefully, to disguise my chest. I have to wear a sports bra when I run, and that makes them even more prominent.

A few weeks ago, I began the process to see if our health insurance might cover the cost of my having a double mastectomy. I await word from them. I am not overly hopeful it will be covered. If not, I’m going to have to put up with these breasts for now.

I don’t know what I’ll do about losing more weight. I’d love to take off another thirty pounds.

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Another brick in the wall

“Male and Female He Created Them” is the latest paper released by the Vatican in which the pope of the Roman Catholic Church seeks to state his church body’s position on a contemporary issue. http://www.educatio.va/content/dam/cec/Documenti/19_0997_INGLESE.pdf

The title tells the entire story.

Don’t waste your time reading it.

Theologically, there is much with which I agree with the pope when it comes to how the Lord created humans, what His design is for the family, marriage, and sex and gender. When I dealt with my own gender dysphoria and transitioned, living as a transgender woman for three years, I grappled with God’s Word, with my Lutheran understanding of sex and gender, and with every religious and ethical issue being transgender presented to me.

I was able to retain every theological belief, all which I hold dearly. I learned that I could deal with my gender dysphoria as a physical malady, as any Christian makes use of earthly gifts and ways to achieve healing and find wholeness. I didn’t have to trade one for the other. I have come to know many transgender Christians who hold the same beliefs.

In “Male and Female He Created Them,” the Roman Catholic Church seeks to understand sex and gender issues theologically, that her congregations and leaders might educate according to Roman Catholic theology.

Fair enough.

So, what?

Where I see the paper lacking is in addressing those who long to be faithful Catholics, who do not espouse views that are opposed to God’s Word, but who, nonetheless, experience real issues of sex and gender which the Church rejects, who seek understanding from the Church and long for the same temporal, physical, and emotional wholeness as do those who experience any serious condition.

I find the paper to be nothing more than another barrier of separation between the Church and those who grapple with their sex and gender. Reading it, I heard, “There. That’s that. Onto the next issue.” I did not hear, “Here is how we will lovingly care for our people who carry these burdens, so that they know the Lord loves them the same as He loves everyone else.”

With this paper, the pope didn’t make anything better. He made it worse.

He created more division between the Christian faith and everyone the Church wants to know that Jesus Christ is the Creator and Savior of all.

It’s just another brick in the wall.

Still a trans advocate (3)

I also have a secular version of the presentation.

On March 14, I gave my second Transanswers presentation. This time, I addressed eighteen pastors and ministry leaders.

They were attentive throughout my ninety minute talk, sprinkling it with their excellent questions and important insights, which brought to blossom the time we spent together.

This is always an area to bring out much discussion.

I mixed in short readings from my book, “A Roller Coaster Through a Hurricane,” which served to enhance my talk and demonstrate what is to be found in the book. I was pleased afterward with how many purchased a copy.

Transanswers is where my heart is, to develop my new career of service and education. Based on the two times I’ve presented it, the need is clearly there.

I expand on each of these to provoke Christians to think deeply.

Might I present to you? To your church? Workplace? School? Group?

How far will I drive to do so? For starters, I will gladly go to the states which surround Indiana. If the occasion is such to entice me further away, I will certainly want to discuss it.

Still a trans advocate (2)

I’ve just been published in a book.

Not my book, but as a guest in another book.

As Gina.

I’m writing about it as I continue to demonstrate that my resuming living as a male changed nothing in my quest to educate regarding gender dysphoria and advocate for transgender persons.

It was a year ago when I received an email from my former therapist informing me that the editors of this book on transgender health and aging were seeking short pieces from older trans persons. The book covers every topic imaginable regarding emotional and physical healthcare for trans persons, and the guest essays provide personal insights into the topic.

At this time last year, I was still living as a female, but I was not feeling female at all. No one, outside of immediate family and a few friends, was aware of what I was experiencing. I knew that if the sense of being male persisted I would be resuming living as a male, and then making it known. Indeed, by mid-April I was going back and forth how I presented depending where I was, then in late May I was back to Greg full time, and on July 9 I made it public.

By the time I decided to submit a piece for the book it was mid-April. I wrote an essay and sent it to the therapist who told me about this opportunity. She sent an encouraging reply, so I submitted my piece.

I submitted it as Gina. I felt a bit disingenuous, not acknowledging what was going on with me. I reasoned that I didn’t know what would transpire, and I was still living as Gina, and I was legally Gina.

In early May, they informed me that my essay would be one of ten included in the book. I was not back full time to Greg, so I left that be. They informed me they would send me a book upon its publication. I received it on March 16.

Regardless of my resuming living as a male, everything I wrote remains true. In the essay, I reflect on an event I had attended in April, mere days before writing the piece. My endocrinologist invited me to a presentation to over one hundred medical professionals of IU Health. A nurse, who has a trans son, gave an excellent presentation, educating about gender dysphoria and one’s being transgender. I then spoke to them for a few minutes regarding my experience transitioning in Indianapolis. Then, I sat with a group for ninety minutes, fielding their questions.

In my essay, I focused on the many doctors trans folks see while transitioning, and the variety of specialists I saw as a trans woman—from two eye specialists, to an oral surgeon, to a podiatrist, to a cardiologist. I stressed that even though my providers all are in the IU Health network, and IU Health admitted they were behind the curve with transgender healthcare, I was pleased to report to them that the care I received from this host of doctors, along with the many nurses, technicians, and office staff I saw, took great care of me.

Transgender persons need good healthcare. They need to know they will be treated seriously, and with respect. And, they need people such as myself, who have been there and done that, who are able to speak up, speak out, and speak loudly, to advocate on their behalf.

Still a trans advocate (1)

I was recently interviewed on the show “The Gays of Our Lives.” You can watch the video or listen to the audio:

Don’t be fooled by the silly take on the name of the old soap opera, Lissa and Avery take seriously their work interviewing a variety of folks to “decipher the gay alphabet and bridge the gap between the older and younger gay community.”

In February, they interviewed a trans friend of mine, who, like me, transitioned later in life, and did so as a public school teacher in the Indianapolis area. My friend told Avery and Lissa about me, and my unique story of having transitioned and then resuming living as a male.

I jumped on their asking me to be on the podcast. I long to show that I remain an advocate for transgender folks. I need to demonstrate that I have not disavowed all things transgender, as one trans woman asked me if I had. I will make and take every opportunity to speak up, speak out, and speak loudly for transgender persons.

I’ve had trans women tell me that what happened to me, when I stopped feeling female, scares them, that it could happen to them. Because they have invested so much into transitioning and finally find themselves whole inside and happy with life, it is a jarring notion to think they could lose it all. Indeed, when it happened to me, for three months it rocked me hard, so I get it.

Thus, the importance of my making it known that I have not gone anywhere. That my resuming living as a male was not a disavowing of all things transgender. That I continue to advocate for issues related to experiencing gender dysphoria and living as a transgender person.

For their part, Lissa and Avery are doing important work by interviewing a host of people from a variety of backgrounds. Their winning personalities make them easy to like, a joy to work with, and a pleasure to listen to.

Thank you, Avery and Lissa, for having me on the show. Keep on keeping on with your good work!

Help me promote

Of the few dozen folks from whom I’ve received feedback regarding my book, readers can’t put down my book, they find it riveting, and they state this is a story that needs to be told.

That all is as wonderful as I could possibly ask!

And now I will ask more.

I don’t have a publisher behind me. While I am working on in-person promotion and selling in bookstores, those things will take weeks and months to accomplish.

For now, you can help. If you believe in my story, please promote my book.

Who is A Roller Coaster Through a Hurricane for?

  • It’s for those who have a family member or friend who is transgender, who has transitioned, or who is struggling with gender dysphoria.
  • It’s for those who are in the midst of the gender identity conflict, who can benefit from a sympathetic voice, who can use a book to share with those they are aching to tell: “Read this. What Greg went through is what I’m experiencing.”
  • It’s for those who have transitioned, who are dealing with the fall-out, who could hand the book to their loved one and say, “Read how Greg was rejected and cast out. Read how deep goes the hurt. This is what I’m going through, what you’ve done to me.”
  • It’s for Christians, who could use a faith-lift, to see how a fellow Christian was strengthened by the Lord, who walked through the valley of the shadow of death and now enjoys green pastures.
  • It’s also for Christians who reject all things transgender, who need to be educated, to have their eyes opened and their hearts poked so that they might realize we’re all in this together.
  • It’s for the spouses of trans folks, for whom Julie can serve as a model to help them abide with their marital vows.
  • And, it’s for everyone who enjoys a human interest story, who can identify with a person who’s been put through the paces of suffering, of learning, of growing, of triumphing in the face of adversity.

With that, I kindly ask you to please share with your family and friends.

  • Click Share on the Facebook post of this, or share one of my several posts regarding my book.
  • Share a link to my website: https://gregeilers.com/
  • If you have read the book, review it on your Facebook page.
  • Share the link to my Amazon book page (see the end of the post for that).
  • Bloggers, share it on your blog.
  • Talk with whomever fits any of the seven It’s for categories.
  • Do what several have told me they have already done: purchase it for someone who would benefit from reading it.

If you’ve read it, I always appreciate your feedback. If you are an Amazon customer, you can write a brief review on my book page. The more reviews, the more the book will be promoted on Amazon.

Thank you, friends!

My book is now in print!

A Roller Coaster Through a Hurricane—One Wild Ride: My Journey with Gender Identity is now available in print. You may order the paperback edition here:

The back cover copy:

Greg Eilers was at the center of privilege: a respected minister in a conservative church, a middle-class male in a rural community, a family man with a wife and kids. But he harbored a deep secret—a lifetime of questioning his gender identity. In 2013, the questioning had morphed into crushing gender dysphoria, and Eilers found himself in a battle to save his life and sanity. He also found himself in a conundrum: gender identity issues don’t fit with a traditional life and conservative values. How could a man who followed all the rules, and made the church his life’s work, be transgender?In 2015, Eilers transitioned to female to resolve the internal struggle. The road to inner peace, though, was rife with sacrifices. Transitioning took him from the job he loved, put his relationships to the test, and cast him to the margins of society. Scorn replaced privilege. Then, 2018 brought a development just as confounding as 2013’s struggle, and Eilers faced yet another transition.Through it all Eilers held firm to his faith, and found room in the Gospel for an outcast such as himself. He resolved to speak out—to share his story so others would know they’re not alone, and to speak up—to educate the public about transgender and bring dignity to a highly misunderstood group of people.A Roller Coaster Through a Hurricane is a memoir, a unique transgender experience, and an inspiration to the Christian church to lovingly minister to transgender persons.

What readers are saying

17 of 18 readers have given the book FIVE STAR reviews. Snippets from some of their reviews:

  • Richard wrote: [Greg’s] superb and very readable style draws you in and tells you stories – important and true stories of human pain and resilience.
  • Colleen commented: When I started reading this story, I could not put it down. And now, I’m reading through for the second time. I am entranced all the more.
  • Jocelyn said: I had the hardest time putting this book down. I really enjoyed learning about a condition I don’t know much about and getting to know a genuine and wonderful human.