A bittersweet 25th anniversary

St. John, Port Hope

I’m a mostly happy person these days. My children and grandchildren are well and thriving. I am healthy, and at age sixty-four can continue to do the physical things I enjoy, namely jogging, gardening, and yardwork. I am pleased to have become a writer, have published two books that have been received well, and have two more in the editing process, including my first novel. Oh, and I can’t forget that I’ve learned how to cook, and love, love, love it.

Best of all, I enjoy the faithful love of the Lord Jesus and the abiding love of my wife Julie.

I have a full, splendid, blessed life. So, no complaining here.

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June 23, 2021 marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of my entrance into the holy ministry, when I was ordained at Trinity Lutheran Church in Guttenberg, Iowa, and then installed at St. Paul Lutheran Church in McGregor.

It was a sweet day. Lots of family and friends were able to be there. The congregations packed the churches. The folks extended the warmest of greetings. My little family and I immediately felt that we belonged.

Three years into my pastorate, I received calls to be pastor at other congregations. First, the Lutherans in Readlyn, Iowa, called me. My first wife Kim and I visited. We could easily have fit in there and loved it. Yet, I sensed I was to remain in place.

A few weeks later, the Lutherans in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, called me. We didn’t visit. It didn’t take long to realize that I was to remain in place. The very day I informed my two congregations I had returned that call, I received the third one, this to Hemlock, Michigan.

Because Hemlock is only two hours from my hometown of Montague, the members thought I was a goner. But, nope. After serious consideration, I was certain I was to remain in place.

That was 1999. In 2001, before I even had the call from St. John, Port Hope, Michigan, by the time I hung up the phone with the pastor who phoned to ask if I were available for a call I had the confident sense I would receive the call and take it.

I did and I did.

It’s wasn’t that I was ready to leave McGregor and Guttenberg, or that I was not happy there. It was purely the strong sense that I was to go.

I was pastor at St. John, Port Hope, for thirteen years, until my premature retirement in 2014. Until my health, due to the gender dysphoria that was crushing me, forced me to retire from the work I loved so that I could figure out how to get healthy. The gender dysphoria that forced me to leave the work I didn’t want to leave. And the people I didn’t want to leave. And the village and county I didn’t want to leave. Even the house and yard and garden I didn’t want to leave.

It was a health situation, as with more common things such as cancer and Parkinson’s, that happened to me—that no matter how hard I tried, how deep into talk therapy I plunged myself, and the medical means I used to ease my burden, I couldn’t lessen my pain so as to abide in my condition and remain in Port Hope—that forced the terrible decision upon me: I had to retire.

At the age of fifty-seven. When I was still going strong. When I still possessed the attitude I adopted soon after becoming a pastor at the age of thirty-nine: I wanted to be a full time minister for at least thirty years. And, thankfully, at a time, after thirteen years together, when the good people in Port Hope still wanted me there.

I set a retirement date. When asked if I would push it back two months, I easily agreed. And then I took a month’s sick leave, hoping to regain some sense of health, and upon return announced that I was trying to remain as pastor, to rescind my retirement. Ultimately, I should have known better. A few weeks later, I announced a third retirement date. This one stuck.

Today, June 23, 2021, on the twenty-fifth anniversary of my ordination, I am one week away from the seventh anniversary of my retirement. And it still hurts. At times, the wound is as fresh as it was the first year Julie and I were in Indianapolis. I continue to feel my work was unfairly taken away from me.

That last sentence might sound as if I am bitter about it. Really, I’m not. I’m sad. It hurts. And, yes, I find it unfair. But, hey, loads of things in life are unfair. I’m not unrealistic. I’m human.

Where would I be without the Lord’s and Julie’s love? And my family? And my renewed good health? And the writing, jogging, gardening and yardwork, and cooking, all which provide me with fulfilling work? And the numerous transgender persons I’ve gotten to know, many to whom I’ve been blessed to minister?

During the weeks preceding my retirement, I assured the folks in Port Hope I was not retiring to nothing, that I was confident the Lord had more work for me to do. “I know I will have a third career,” I said, “I just don’t know what it is going to be.” And, a third career I have cobbled together. I am pleased about the ministering I’ve been able to do and thankful to have been, and continue to be a useful person.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

We all have things in life we wish we could have kept from happening. Paths on which we longed to continue to walk. I’m not unique in where I am, wishing I were still a pastor and not being able to be one.

So, no complaining. A heart filled with gratitude. Thankful for the eighteen years I was blessed to be a parish pastor. And, at the same time, sad that it ended so soon.

One of my all-time fave photos: as I depart after having been installed at St. John, Port Hope, my dad and I grab each other’s hand.

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.

Men: how do your wives describe you?

A recent article in USA Today grabbed my attention. The topic was how differently men and women (in traditional, heterosexual relationships) have responded to the pandemic, and how many husbands have not been supportive of their wives with coronavirus protocols. The article caused me to reflect on my experiences with men and women.

Here’s the article:

As I write, keep in mind I speak of generalities and not stereotypes. A stereotype is something such as “All Germans are stubborn,” where a generality is “Germans are blond-haired and blue-eyed.” Generalities can turn into stereotypes, usually unfairly. Sometimes, they are earned. I fear in the discussion here, men might have earned a stereotype, and a negative one at that.

Regarding the pandemic, women tend to take it more seriously than men. More men than women believe it is a hoax, or are “COVID-deniers.” (That more males than females have died from the disease, might these be greatly contributing to this?)

Women obediently wear a face covering in far great numbers than do men. And mind their distance with others. And refrain from potentially unsafe gatherings. Again, this is in general.

That’s one aspect, but here’s information from the article that prompted me to write: when wives appeal to husbands to mask up, keep distance, and mind where they go, many men don’t listen, or they argue, and they do as they please. And, in the process, leave their wives frustrated, unsupported, going it alone. For the woman in the article, she reached the point where she’s speaking of divorce.

These things remind me of differences I saw when I was a pastor, and with my current experience with parents who have transgender children.

At my church in Port Hope, Michigan, we had a church school. Few fathers attended the meeting of the Parent/Teacher League. Parent/teacher conferences saw mostly moms sitting with their child’s teacher. While fathers were far more visible at big events—such as talent shows and science fairs—they lagged behind mothers.

In all of these instances, might the men have been working? Yes. And, in the old days—say, when I was a kid—that explained most instances of dads not being available for these things, but these days? When women are working in numbers nearly equal to men?

I occasionally asked women about their hubbies. “Oh, he’s hunting,” was the, um, stereotypical response. Another comment made by women—well, I bet you know it: “When he gets home from work, he’s done working for the day. When I get home, I have to make supper, do the laundry, and help the kids with their homework.”

Are stereotypical reasons behind why more men don’t attend parent/teacher conferences, and other occasions typically handled by women?

When I received calls of concern over whatever-it-might-be, I suspect it was easily eight out of ten times that it was the wife who contacted me, regardless of the situation.

Because I was familiar with this, when I sat with couples I was preparing for marriage, I stressed to the men the need for them to be supportive of their wives, not to leave everything in her hands, to step up when a situation calls for it, to remember their marriage vows and be the person they promise to be.

Some men did well—remember, I’m speaking in generalities—yet, for all of my appeals, over the years my attitude became that I found women far more responsible than men in vital areas.

It’s way more than women stepping up and taking action. In everyday life, it’s men simply not being supportive. They don’t want to hear it. They don’t want to be bothered. They have other stuff to do. So, instead of getting roped in, many men avoid.

These are situations I observed, things I heard, where I was personally involved.

What causes this difference in men and women? The age-old areas at which we point are the way males and females are built, testosterone versus estrogen, how we’ve been socialized, nature versus nurture.

I don’t exclude any of those areas from having at least some effect on all of us. Do these mean that we—all of us—don’t have brains and hearts? Cannot men figure it out? Care deeply? Unite thinking and caring for their wives’ sakes and change their behavior?

I’m pleased to report I know many who do. I also know far too many who do not.

Where it concerns transgender, I see this exacerbated. Of all the parents who have found me because they have a trans child, read my blog or/and books, and then contacted me, only one has been a father.

And, regarding transgender, when I inquire about the husband/father, the women often report that these men don’t want to deal with it. It is not unusual for them to be offended by transgender, and that it has entered their home has left them deeply disturbed.

Not only is it left to the child’s mother to help their child and to become informed on the topic, these wives and mothers don’t have these husbands and fathers to lean on. Because of the sensitive nature of this subject, these women often find they can’t bring it up to family and friends, so they are left to go it on their own.

One last time, I stress that I’m talking in generalities—strikingly dramatic generalities.

Men: for the sake of your wife—to whom you have vowed your love and devotion—and for your children, wake up to your shortcomings.

Women: if you’ve seen yourself as the one who is the guilty party, do the same.

Women: if you are carrying the load, I commend you. Whether it’s the pandemic, or kids in school, or a trans child, or any of the other many areas of life, keep up the good work.

Men: if you are the husband and father needed by your wife and children, kudos to you. Continue to shine your love and concern for your loved ones.

It’s as simple as treating others the way we want them to treat us.

Do you like it when others don’t listen to you? When others are unsupportive of you? When others are stubborn? When others are unavailable? When others leave you frustrated and upset?

Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. And nope.

So, don’t be that way. In this particular conversation, men, break the stereotype. Give your wives someone they want to brag about: “Oh, I never need to remind him to mask-up. And he makes sure the kids wash their hands when they get home.”

Yeah, be that guy.

More LCMS transgender misinformation

The article pictured above appears in the January 2021 issue of The Lutheran Witness. I found the information wanting, the focus wrongly placed, and the reader left with the wrong attitude toward gender dysphoria and transgender persons.

Scroll down past the photo of the magazine cover to find the letter I sent to the author.

In my review, you will see regular references to the author’s previous article—How do you know whether you are a man or a woman?—in our seminary journal, Concordia Theological Quarterly (CTQ). You may read my review of that article here: Scholarly article on gender dysphoria

I also refer to Swyer Syndrome. To learn more about it, click here: https://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/diseases/5068/swyer-syndrome

Finally, I note that with this letter I sent the author a copy of my book, Ministering to Transgender Christians. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08FHBNGQV/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_tkin_p1_i0

As with every time I have communicated with persons in the LCMS, and all of the critiques I’ve put on this blog, my goal is to help correct wrong information, that the LCMS might accurately see gender dysphoria and transgender persons.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I write regarding your article in the January 2021 The Lutheran Witness. With your previous article in Concordia Theological Quarterly in mind, if I didn’t know you wrote this LW piece I would think it was authored by someone else. In your CTQ article on gender dysphoria and transgender, I found you to have presented a lot of good information. I didn’t agree with all of it, yet it was the best thing I’d read from anyone in the LCMS. This LW article sounds nothing like the CTQ one.

You might not have written the subtitles, yet it is noteworthy that the quote of Ephesians 4:15—that we speak the truth in love—did not happen in the text. Key areas are either inaccurate, misleading, or false.

After referring to our creation and of marriage as reflecting our relationship with the Lord, you wrote, “Anything the devil can do to distort that reflection, he will do.” Though you did not specify transgender, that is the topic of the article, and so that is where readers’ minds are, so they are set up to hear you saying that the effects of gender dysphoria are the doing of Satan and, therefore, of a spiritual/sinful temptation nature. Indeed, that this article appears in this issue dedicated to living a “Chaste and Decent Life,” with features on pornography and immodest dressing, further lends itself to presenting gender dysphoria as a spiritual issue and living as a transgender person synonymous with worldly, ungodly living.

Further, you wrote of sexual ethics, which also set up the reader to hear this: gender dysphoria, and believing one is transgender, are ethical issues, and not the experiencing and addressing of a physical malady.

Writing about transitioning, you use “want” and “wish.” These are incorrect, and reinforce that gender dysphoria is a sinful desire. Gender dysphoric persons, including those who find they need to try transitioning to see if it helps ease their pain, don’t want or wish to be the opposite sex. Rather, they experience themselves as the other gender.

The gender dysphoric Christians I know want and wish they could be at peace with their birth sex, or their dysphoria is so intense they wish they’d been born in the biological sex in which they experience themselves.

And, try as they might to remain living in the gender in which they were identified at birth, striving to do so through trust in the Lord, spiritual care, talk therapy, and outright determination, sometimes they cannot. Indeed, in your CTQ article you rightly noted that intense talk therapy is rarely successful in alleviating gender dysphoria. To this, I can attest. I went into therapy with the desire to be at peace with my male self. I forced two therapists to address every last possibility why I was in conflict. I sought every means to lessen my pain, including placing myself under the care of two brother pastors when I was still in the ministry, and two more pastors after I retired.

I have gotten to know a number of transgender Christians, who have all had the same attitude, who have used talk therapy to find the strength to abide in their birth sex, who have used sheer determination, who have placed themselves in the hands of the Lord and the care of their pastors, and have strived in prayer that He might deliver them from this gender conflict. I can only think of one of these persons, who has so far found the strength to continue living in his birth sex, and one other who uses cross sex hormone therapy to ease his dysphoria—and it’s worked so far, though he had to have a double mastectomy because of excessive breast growth.

In your CTQ article, while commending all Christians to confession and absolution, you also said this experiencing gender dysphoria is not a spiritual issue to be specifically addressed with the Means of Grace. Yet, in this LW piece, I believe readers would believe confessing one’s gender conflict as sin is exactly what is prescribed.

Each of the gender dysphoric and transgender Christians I’ve gotten to know have gone the route of confessing as sin their conflict, believing it a spiritual issue before they learned more about its being a physical malady. They have strived in confession and absolution, receiving the Lord’s Supper, bathing themselves in the Father’s grace, clinging to Christ. They have longed to find comfort in their birth sex.

They know the lay of the land. They don’t want to transition. They don’t want to harm their marriages. They don’t want to disrupt their families. They don’t want to face rejection in every sphere of their lives. They don’t want to be kicked out of their churches.

They find themselves stuck. And, should they try transitioning, seeking the same physical relief their brothers and sisters in Christ seek from medicines and surgeries to heal their infirmities, they are condemned as sinners and kicked out of the Church. I also know that, firsthand.

They are left stuck between the heaviest of rocks and the firmest of hard places. Is it any wonder persons in this spot attempt suicide at a 2 in 5 rate? And the Church is doing nothing to help them.

It cannot be overstressed: gender dysphoric persons do not wish or want to be the opposite sex. They wish for healing and want some internal peace. When we continually misstate, with wish and want, their desiring to be the opposite sex, we do harm to them, because we arm with misinformation those who do not understand, those who do not accept this malady as a real, physical condition—people who, in their state of misunderstanding, end up condemning as unrepentant sinners those who transition.

It might not be the intention not to put the best construction on their situation, but that is what happens.

You defined dysphoria as intense unhappiness. It’s much deeper than that. I use a literal translation—ill feelings—to stress the physical ailment aspect of it.

“Unhappiness” gives people ammunition. You might hear this reaction, “They just want to be happy. Well, lots of us are not happy with many things in our lives. That doesn’t give us permission to sin!”

Happiness is not the goal of transitioning; it is a byproduct of getting healthy. Gender dysphoria is not intense unhappiness; it is intense distress.

Discussing our fall into sin, you wrote: “[W]e can fall into the trap of loathing our physical form and hoping to somehow transcend our biology. Transitioning one’s biological programming is an attempt to transcend that biology,” followed by, “Current trends in sexual ethics encourage people to find their identity by transcending their physical flesh. This encourages people to deny God’s good creation of their bodies. … It is contrary to the Gospel to claim that the immaterial soul is one’s real identity …” None of the gender dysphoric and transgender Christians I know agree with any of this. None have this attitude.

Attitude is everything—the starting point from which a person undertakes transitioning. The trans Christians I know do not listen to current trends in sexual ethics. They are not part of a so-called “transgender movement,” which disparages everything biblically true about our creation. Rather, these Christians are hurting intensely and are seeking physical, emotional, and mental relief—not to transcend their biology but to get their messed up biology into enough order that they can abide in their flesh.

These Christians I’ve gotten to know have flocked to me because they have found in me one who is as peculiar as them: Bible-believing, traditional and conservative in how they think and live, who do not deny God’s good creation of their bodies, yet experience this gender conflict. They have the same attitude as Christians suffering cancer, or a birth defect, or Alzheimer’s. They are living the outcome of Adam’s sin—physical harm to their bodies—and as with other ailments and diseases are striving to find some temporal healing.

They reject these silly notions espoused by progressive thinkers, that we can transcend our biology. They reject thinkers—Christian or otherwise—who claim the soul is one’s real identity. They know who they are, in their biological sex, and have no interest in denying it. Indeed, as I speak with them, I talk about our coming resurrection, and ask them if they recognize that they will be raised from the dead as their biological sex, finally free of this confounding sex-and-gender conflict.

All of them recognize this truth. All of them rejoice in Christ’s gift of the sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life when there will be no more pain, where the former things will not be remembered.

Sometimes, when I introduce this topic, they don’t like the idea of being resurrected in their birth sex. They experience themselves so intensely as the opposite sex that to be resurrected in their birth sex sounds too foreign. I speak gently to them, reminding them that when they are resurrected the conflict will be gone, that they will be healthy. Eventually, they are able to rejoice that the Lord will, indeed, accomplish what right now seems impossible: they will live in peace and joy as their birth sex.

Onto the Church’s response. I appreciated the paragraph in which you suggest the church be neither repulsed nor affirming, agreeing with the sense of affirming in which you write. Sadly, in their repulsion, too many Christians link all transgender persons with liberal trans activists, yet there are many trans Christians who disagree with these activists’ ideas.

As you move on to how the Church should minister to gender dysphoric and trans persons, I don’t see a resolution for those who have transitioned. Perhaps, you were intentional, leaving to each pastor to minister according to each situation.

You wrote, “If someone you know suffers from gender identity confusion, love him.” What does this mean? Listen and be compassionate so long as the person doesn’t transition? Continue in that attitude if the person does transition, or now reject them?

We must ask: what if a Christian transitions? Does the pastor and congregation listen to this person’s confession of faith and how transitioning is viewed? Is this child of God to be excommunicated if they do not repent and cease transitioning?

In your paragraph beginning, “Furthermore,” you rightly acknowledged faith in Christ does not cause gender dysphoria to go away. Then, you reinforced that they are suffering a spiritual problem, instead of a physical malady: “Rather, people who know and love our Lord Jesus continue to struggle against all kinds of sins…”

The gender dysphoric Christians of whom I write do not “delude themselves” or “embrace the lies of the world” or “reject the intentions of their Creator.” They don’t “need to be admonished and invited to confession and absolution” for their gender struggle any more than we would expect a person striving with cancer to confess as sin their pain and desire for wholeness of being.

This point cannot be made too often or too strongly. These Christians hold the same faith you hold, believe the same doctrine you believe, long to serve the Lord and their neighbor to the glory of the Father as you long to do so. There is only one difference between them and you: they are stuck in a confounding malady that is misunderstood and disrespected for what it is.

In your CTQ article, you attested to gender dysphoria being a real, physical malady, when you stated that calling it an intersex condition is consistent with the evidence, and when you recognized that talk therapy rarely eases one’s struggle. Here is a portion of that section: “The hypothesis that gender dysphoria is an intersex condition of the mind/brain is consistent with the evidence. It also helps explain the strong resistance GD [gender dysphoria] has to all forms of psychotherapy and all current drug therapies. If this hypothesis is granted, one cannot argue that maleness and femaleness are determined exclusively by the genitals, gonads, secondary sex traits, or even chromosomes.”

You recognize that maleness and femaleness are not determined exclusively by the chromosomes, etc. Indeed, as only one example of this, women with Swyer Syndrome have XY/male chromosomes, yet they virtually always experience themselves as female. This is one vivid example of how our physical nature does not automatically line up with our experienced self. With Swyer’s, it is easily accepted as fact—a woman with male chromosomes—because it is observable. Most folks’ gender dysphoria is not genetically or otherwise observable. Does that make it less physically real?

Finally, here is how I would expect the average LCMS reader to take your LW article: “Some people are intensely unhappy with their bodies, and because they deny that physical biology is as important as their spirit—which is where we experience happiness—they find transitioning acceptable. They deny God’s Word regarding how the Lord has created us and, therefore, are sinning.”

I’m worn out, Scott. It’s coming up on six years since I went public with my gender dysphoria, and articles such as this continually appearing in LW and other places make me feel that, for every educational step I take forward, I’ve been pushed back five leaps.

Please, read my book. I provide specific, detailed information as to how to minister to gender dysphoric and transgender Christians. Evaluate all of my information, theology, and suggestions for spiritual care. Consider the Christians I profile. As I do in the book, bathe everything in the Good News of our Lord Jesus, so that the Gospel wins the day for hurting children of God.

Scott, might we work together to provide good information for the sake of our fellow Christians?

The Lord be with you!

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.


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.