I’m putting this out less because it’s a recent thing, and more because it’s a topic that comes up for me somewhat regularly. There’s not much need to guess that I’m transgender, and anyone who knows me knows that my family, Evangelical Christians that they are, did not agree with my ‘choices in my life’. For the most part, it’s been silence between me and my family over the years since I came out, but there was one letter that father sent me. It’s been years now, but I still think back on bits of it, not in regret, but to remember that there are people who, knowing as much as they do about me, are still convinced that I should just ‘not be disabled’, stop being trans, move to a city I’ve only been to for a weekend, and be a good little Christian boy.
I’ve always meant to respond to this, but I’ve never really been able to parse the feelings out into words concisely. There’s really just -so much- there that I can’t keep it together.
Anyway, enough of that, I’m going to repost the letter here, redacted to hide the identities of people who weren’t directly involved in this (even if, by all counts, they’re as transphobic as the rest of my family)
October 28, 2014
Over the last several months I have felt compelled to reach out to you but I have been reluctant to do so by telephone because I was afraid that what I wanted to tell you would cause anger or resentment which could lead to an argumentative conversation or a disconnected call. I have prayed about this and it has been laid upon my heart that since I am good at writing words that I should instead send you a letter. I realize that as personal letters go it is far better to hand write them but both you and I know that my handwriting is some of the worst in the world and I did not want to force you into deciphering what I had written. The decision to read this letter is entirely up to you. You can read it in its entirety, read only parts of it, throw it in the trash or burn it and that is fine because you have something very precious to God and that is free will. My choice was to pray and write this letter as a means of not only expressing my love to you but also to explain what I am feeling and why I have taken the actions I have, both now and in the future.
Let me begin by letting you know that this letter represents my personal views and opinions. While your mother and I do share common beliefs and values I will not presume to speak on her behalf. I will likely mention her thoughts on certain items but that is only because we have had conversations about them. I will also be quoting Scripture in this letter and I want you to be aware that I will only use the Holman Christian Standard Bible version. I want to be consistent in my writings and the usage of different translations could be construed as me cherry picking certain meanings that I feel are more applicable. Just so you are aware, I am also using Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible to research each of the quoted Scriptures to make sure I have a good understanding on what it means. While I believe in the strength of the Holy Spirit to help me in understanding God’s word, I consider myself too much of a novice to not seek confirmation of my understanding.
As you read this please remember that as I am your father and you are my son, I have always, do now and will continue to, love you and nothing will ever change that. You will always be a part of our family It may be difficult at times to understand that seeing as we have such difference in beliefs and ideologies but my love is a constant you can always count on. After writing about four pages of this letter I have returned to this paragraph to insert something I feel is of great importance. Please do not take this letter lightly as it is written with love. I guess you could also say it is a type of tough love because I know these words may seem harsh but understand that I believe them to be the truth. It is also something that is very difficult for me to write. Some of these sentences have simply flown onto the screen while others struggled to find life. Son, and I do not use that word loosely, I truly do love you.
During the last few years I have come to recognize that while I am a Believer in Jesus Christ, I have not been leading the life that God demands of me. I failed in my responsibility to God and it took me far too many years to ignore the temptations of Satan and the world. God laid on my heart the need to return to his loving embrace and I was reminded that the Bible says “But if we walk in the light as he Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7) God not only sent Jesus to wash away my sins but He also desires that I have an eternal relationship with Him as well as my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. Your mother and I have since found a wonderful church but it might surprise you to know how big it is since I have always had an aversion to crowds. I believe I mentioned once that I thought that Faith Church in Trexlertown was too big but First Redeemer is even bigger with over 4,000 members. Your mother and I were sitting in a Dairy Queen and I suddenly pulled out my phone and looked up the name of a local church that puts on these large Christmas performances and when I got home I sent an email to several Bible Fellowship class leaders looking for guidance as to what class we should choose. That following weekend we attended Bible Fellowship and then enjoyed a wonderful service in God’s house. Since that day over two years ago, we have both become members of the church, I sing in an awesome choir and I have gone through believer’s baptism. We have been welcomed with open arms and have become members of not one but two bible fellowship classes, one that meets on Friday night and the other on Sunday morning. Both Matthew 4:4 and Deuteronomy 8:3 remind us that “Man must not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” I have discovered that I was hungry and thirsty for something that the world could not provide me and that was a closer relationship with God, a better understanding of His powerful words, and the closeness of our fellow brothers and sisters. You might also find it interesting that I now listen to some of the music groups you did during high school; Third Day and The News Boys.
During the course of modifying my lifestyle into something more pleasing to the eye of God, I found myself revisiting not only my current life but also my past life. In doing so I realize that I need to do something that has not always been easy for me to do. Billy, I want to offer you my sincere apology for not raising you in a true Christian home. As your father and a Christian I was expected to maintain a home that would nurture you in the word of God just as God expected of Abraham, “For I have chosen him so that he will command his children and his house after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just. This is how the Lord will fulfill to Abraham what He promised him.” (Genesis 18:19). Abraham was not only a man of God but he also took great pains to make sure his family honored and worshiped God. As your father and the head of the household, it was my duty to make sure our home was a Godly home filled with prayer and worship. I am not saying we needed to become zealots but I am acknowledging the fact that I failed to lead a family to worship God. The saddest part of all is that I had a wonderful example staring me right in the face and that was your grandparents. They took steps to help you lead a Christian lifestyle that I was not.
The Bible goes on to say “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6). This verse commands me to instruct you with the words of wisdom from God so that you may be kept from sin and the snares of Satan. The intention is to prepare you to live a Godly life and to become a believer in the salvation of Jesus Christ so that in your older days you would not only continue to believe in the word of God but become another stepping stone for His word as you passed it on to your descendants. I have made a great number of mistakes during your youth and reflecting on them causes me great pain. I cannot help but wonder about the choices I made and the impact they had on your life and the decisions you made. I believe that my failures put you in a situation that you were unprepared to defend yourself from. The Apostle Paul wrote to the Ephesians and told them to “Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics of the Devil.” (Ephesians 6:11). This armor is the stalwart belief in Jesus Christ and a strong understanding of God’s holy word. It is designed to protect a person from the temptation of sin and the evils of the Devil. It is difficult to put on armor if you were never given any or it was of such a weak quality that Satan could sweep it away with a flip of his finger. No matter what any person tells me I will always wonder if I am responsible for you being tempted by Satan and an ungodly world to choose the life you have.
I realize that the comments and observations I am making go against your beliefs as to what is right and wrong. For you the concept of a person being born with the wrong sex is acceptable and much of society agrees with you. I must point out however that in the eyes of God this does not make it right. As I understand the Scriptures, God does not make mistakes. Our God, and in this I mean the entire world, has created each and every person who has walked on the face of the Earth and will continue to create each one in the future. I know that God has personally created each one because the Scriptures state “For it was You who created my inward parts, You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I will praise You because I have been remarkably and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, and I know this very well. My bones were not hidden from You when I was made in secret, when I was formed in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw me when I was formless: all my days were written in Your book and planned before a single one of them began.” (Psalm 139:13-16). I also know that God does not make mistakes because He is perfect. The works of man are imperfect but not those of God. “The Rock — His work is perfect; all His ways are entirely just. A faithful God, without prejudice, He is righteous and true.” (Deuteronomy 32:4).
I know I am sounding harsh but when I started to write this letter I made a promise to myself that I would be honest and forthright with my words. As you may recall, words can be some of the most powerful tools a person can use. Some of these powerful tools include such things as the Declaration of Independence, The Constitution of the United States of America, The Magna Carta and of course those words printed on so many sheets of onionskin paper, The Bible. Billy, I have a strong faith in my God and Jesus Christ. The words of God help me to understand life and what is going on around me. They tell me that the choices you have made are wrong and it is through faith that I believe and accept these truths. In doing so and in order to be truth to my faith, I must take the stance that your choices are not what God wants you to do. There is no uncertainty that it might or should be acceptable because God has said it is not. You were born as my son with the given name of William [REMOVED]. I will never be able to acknowledge your desire to be a female. I will always refer to you in the masculine form. I realize that the court system has granted you the right to change your name but I will never acknowledge that name. I will always refer to you as Billy or William [REMOVED].
Before I continue any further I would like to clarify something. You may interpret what I am writing as simply my own thoughts but that is not entirely correct. My thoughts on these matters are based on the word of God and how the Holy Spirit helps me to understand them. You will note that I say the word of God and not simply The Bible and that is a clear choice. The Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy of Rome “All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). What Paul was saying was that all Scripture is the word of God presented to man by way of divine revelation and that we may consider those words to be the infallible truth. The prophets and apostles did not speak for themselves, but what they received of the Lord and they delivered to us. So while they are my own thoughts they are inspired by the word of God and I have gained comprehension of their meaning through the Holy Spirit.
I would now like to address one of the largest rifts between you and I and that is your perception that you suffer from a Gender Identity Disorder. I feel you deserve an explanation as to why I feel the way I do as well as what I believe God has to say about it. As I stated before God did not make a mistake when He created you as a male. You may believe that He did but that is simply not the truth. As to how God perceives your behavior His words state that “A woman is not to wear male clothing, and a man is not to put on a woman’s garment, for everyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord your God.” (Deuteronomy 22:5) and “Don’t you know that the unrighteous will not inherit God’s kingdom? Do not be deceived: No sexually immoral people, idolaters, adulterers, or anyone practicing homosexuality, no thieves, greedy people, drunkards, verbally abusive people, or swindlers will inherit God’s kingdom.” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10). You may say that the passage from Deuteronomy does not apply because today almost every woman wears what could be considered men’s clothing but if you stop and thing about it that isn’t true. There are differences between men and women’s fashion. Women’s blouses button opposite to men’s and their slacks are designed differently but you already know this. Moses received this Scripture from God prior to the Israelites entering the Promised Land in the year 1410 B.C. which was a time when women did not dress in men’s clothing. Men are not to be effeminate and to do so is considered to be an abomination to God.
So why should this affect me if it is something that you are doing and are not forcing upon me? This affects me for a couple of reasons. The first deals with the fact that not so many years ago you had professed your belief in Jesus Christ as you Savior and that you believed he had forgiven you for your sins. This belief means that you are my brother in Christ and I must stand up to protect you. I will admit that I have wondered at times whether your belief in Christ was genuine but the truth of your faith is between you and God and I must take your earlier beliefs as genuine. I am charged by God to bring you back into the family of Christ. “If your brother sins against you, go and rebuke him in private. If he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he won’t listen, take one or two more with you, so that by the testimony of two or three witnesses every fact may be established. If he pays no attention to them, tell the church. But if he doesn’t pay attention even to the church, let him be like an unbeliever and a tax collector to you.” (Matthew 18:15-17). I have prayed in the name of Jesus Christ for you to cast off this transgender behavior and come back to the family. Many times I have gone to the alter at church in view of the public to silently pray for you. I have also talked to you in the past about this behavior and how it went against my beliefs and my faith. I was raised in a time when this type of behavior was considered offensive and it saddens me to see it being embraced more and more by not only society but by the courts as well. I have spoken to pastors about you and asked that they pray for you as well to which each have said they will. I have discussed during both of my Bible Fellowship Classes how your decision has brought a weight on my soul which has caused me to be both sad and angry and how it was destroying my relationship with God. This letter can be considered a final attempt but I am not really closing the door on you as I will always be willing to listen to what you have to say and pray that you will either reaffirm your belief in Christ or accept Him as your Lord and Savior. I am putting this matter into God’s hands as He is the one able to perform miracles and He is so much better than I am.
The second reason this affects me is that I am commanded by God to keep my distance from those sinners who believe as you do. I already quoted Matthew above that I should let you be as an unbeliever and a tax collector to me. In addition God provides me with several other mandates that include:
- “Run from sexual immorality! ‘Every sin a person commit is outside the body.’ On the contrary, the person who is sexually immoral sins against his own body. Don’t you know that your body is a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought at a price. Therefore glorify God in your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:18-20)
- “Do not be mismatched with unbelievers. For what partnership is there between righteousness and lawlessness? Or what fellowship does light have with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14)
- “Stay away from every kind of evil.” (1 Thessalonians 5:22)
- “Now I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause dissensions and obstacles contrary to the doctrine you have learned. Avoid them, for such people do not serve the Lord Christ but their own appetites. They deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting with smooth talk and flattering words.” (Romans 16:17-18)
Keep in mind that what I wrote earlier which was that there will always be an open line of communication for you to reach out should you feel the need to do so.
I am about to discuss something that is likely to remove a source I have utilized in the path just to follow some of your life. I will understand should you decide to change your profile from public to private. Not very long ago I happened to read on your Facebook page that your religious view was Wicca. I looked this up and found that this is a modern pagan and whichcraft religion. While the rest of the information mentioned that there are a variety of gods and goddesses worshipped it was clear to me that this is a worship of false gods and such a practice is sinful in the eyes of the one true God. Please remember that our God is a jealous God and He has gone to great lengths to remind us through His words.
- “You are never to bow down to another god because Yahweh, being jealous by nature, is a jealous God.” (Exodus 34:14)
- “Do not have other gods besides Me. Do not make an idol for yourself, whether in the shape of anything in the heavens above or on the earth below or in the waters under the earth. You must not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the father’s sin, to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing faithful love to a thousand generations of those who love Me and keep My commands.” (Exodus 20:3-4)
- “I am Yahweh, and there is no other; there is no God but Me. I will strengthen you, though you do not know Me, so that all may know from the rising of the sun to its setting that there is no one but Me. I am Yahweh, and there is no other.” (Isaiah 45:5-6)
- “Little children, guard yourselves from idols.” (1 John 5:21)
- “Those who cling to worthless idols forsake faithful love,” (Jonah 2:8).
I have also seen Twitter conversations where you agreed with treaing Christians in the manner that the Nazis treated Jews. Someone mentioned that “Pretty soon, Christians are going to have to start wearing a yellow cross” to which you replied “Ha! They voluntarily wear those gold cross necklaces already!” You have also posted “Personally, I go by the belief that religion is a personal and individual relationship, and there’s really no right or wrong deity. As long as you’re trying to do good and make the world a better place, isn’t that what’s really important?” I believe you have neglected to recall the Scriptures you were taught in your youth regarding good deeds and getting into heaven.
- “He saved us — not by works of righteousness that we have done, but according to His mercy, through the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit.” (Titus 3:5)
- “For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift — not from works, so that no one boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
- “Jesus told him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me’”. (John 14:6)
Your apparent rejection of the Trinity; God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, is something that I found very difficult to accept and I do not know that I really have. I do know that I will keep this in my prayer as God has impressed it upon my soul and also because of my love for you.
This section deals with my personal and political beliefs. I realize this may anger you but I said I was going to be open and honest and this is part of what I am feeling. As a veteran of the United States Marine Corps and one who associates with a large number of veterans, I must admit that I am dissatisfied that you are collecting disability and medical benefits from the Veterans Administration. The reason I am dissatistfied is because you do have the ability to work a sedentary job such as in a call center or doing some other type of computer work. I know this because not only did you tell your mother and I that you had been told this in the past by someone in the Veterans Adminstration but I also notice that you have regular postings on the internet and not only on Facebook. If you were to be gainfully emplyed you would be able to receive medical benefits and your wages would be high enough that you would no longer qualify for VA medical. I have worked with actual combat veterans who are unable to obtain necessary increases in the disability perentages or required medical treatments because there is too great a demand in place now. These are men who are either seriously disabled or retired and on a fixed income. It may seem callous but every time I hear or read about your VA claims I get angry as I feel it is an injustice. You have also indicated your desire to maintain your status as a recipient of the welfare state. I know this because when you told your mother and I about your current housing assignment which has a maximum residency stay, your mother asked what you would do when you had to leave to which you responded it was not a problem because there will be a new program you are eligible for. While I am a registered Republican voter I vote my conscience. I will always vote for and support actions for religious freedom, pro-life, marriage defined as between one man and one woman, business being able to deny abortion type products/treatments, the right to bear arms, repeal of the Affordable Care Act and to defend our country against any attempts to convert it to socialism. I will also support all the rights granted under the Constitution of the United States of America, including the freedom of self-expression.
I realize that this letter is rather lengthy so please forgive me. This has been building in me for some time and I only have a couple of topics left. I have come to recognize that I have not been a good steward of God’s gifts and possessions. Everything I own is not really mine but belongs to God and He has placed them into my care. I am not an owner but a stweard for God. “The earth and everything in it, the world and its inhabitants, belong to the Lord;” (Psalm 24:1). I am charged by God to manage His possessions wisely which I have interpreted to mean in a way that glorifies God. “His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave! You were faithful over a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Share your master’s joy!” (Matthew 25:21). What this means to me is that I need to be careful to distribute my possessions in such a manner that God would be pleased and that means I should not be contributing to anything that is considered sinful or against God. What I am about to tell you is tough for me to write but it must be said. A few years ago your mother and I worked with a law firm and established our wills as well as setting up estate planning. We both have our own wills as well as family trusts. Your mother and I have each listed as the primary beneficiary of each other’s estates. As to our contingent beneficiaries, we did not feel comfortable leaving all of it to you so 20% was allocated to you and the remaining 80% was allocated between your cousins, the children of [REMOVED] and the children of [REMOVED]. Recently I have felt a calling from God to change my contigent beneficiaries. I am going to put you in for the sum of $1.00 and the remainder of my estate will be divided between a religious organization, most likely something associated with First Redeemer Church, and a veterans’s organization, most likely the Marine Corps League Foundation.
I am unable to include you in my estate as I believe you would not use the money for anything that would glorify God. You have made multiple mentions on the internet of your desire to have a sex change operation and I cannot allow any of my estate to be used for such a sinful act. The reason for leaving you $1.00 is because this indicates that my desires were a concience act. If I do not do this you might be able to contest my will and try to secure it all for yourself. Let me point out two things regarding my intentions. First, these are my intentions and do not reflect anything your mother may or may not do. She is responsible for making her own decisions and I respect her for that. The second is that this does not need to be a permament action. Should you decide to change your ways, and you are able to prove that it is sincere, I would be willing to discuss putting you back into my will. The choice is yours and I hope that you will pray about it.
I am now into the last section and it involves Heaven. As a true believer in the salvation given to me by Jesus Christ and accepting Him as my Redeemer who can wash away my sins, I know I will be going to Heaven to be with God. I know that I will rejoice with your mother as well as your Grandma and Grandpa Hausman in Heaven and be reunited with our fellow Christian brothers and sisters. The biggest question for me is will I see you there and the answer is dependent upon the answer to a question, did you truly accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior while attending Faith Church?
The answer is Yes — If you did receive Christ then I will see you there. You must remember something though and that is once you have received salvation you can never lose it. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation: old things have passed away, and look, new things have come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17). As a Christian who is a new creature in Christ, in order to lose your salvation your new creation would have to be canceled and reversed. “For you know that you were redeemed from your empty way of life inherited from the fathers, not with perishable things like silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without defect of blemish.” (1 Peter 1:18-19). The word redeemed means a purchase that was made or a price that was paid. In order for a Christian to lose their salvation God Himself would have to revoke His purchase that He paid for with the precious blood of His Son Jesus Christ. “Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:1). Anyone who has received Jesus Christ has been declared righteous or justified which means they have been declared righteous by God. In order to lose their salvation God would have to go back on his Word and un-declare their righteousness. It is my belief that if the answer is yes then we would see you in heaven.
You should also remember that no matter what you do here on earth, you will be received in heaven in the form that God made you. You will recall back on page 3 I stated that God made you as a male and that is how you will be received in Heaven.
- “For we know that if our temporary, earthly dwelling is destryoed, we have a building from God, an eternal dwelling in the heavens, not made with hands. Indeed we groan in this body, desiring to put on our dwelling from heaven, since, when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. Indeed, we groan while we are in this tent, burdened as we are, because we do not want to be unclothed but clothed, so that mortality may be swallowed up by life. And the One who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave us the Spirit as a down payment.” (2 Corinthians 5:1-6)
- “Listen! I am telling you a mystery: We will not fall asleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the blink fo an eye, at the last trumped. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we will be changed.” (1 Corinthians 15:51-52)
God made you as He intended and you will be residing in heaven in what is known as a glorified body.
The answer is No — If you did not receive Christ as a sinner, you will not have eternal life. All who were born are sinners. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23). There is no escaping this fact and each person must make a decision to either accept salvation or reject it. Those who claim to have not made any decision at all have actually made a decision of rejection. If you are a sinner and you have not accepted the Salvation of Jesus Christ then you will not enter the Kingdom of our Lord and Savior. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23). There are other passages in The Bible that present the same fact of death for those you are not saved but I wanted to point out another passage to you. “But the cowards, unbelievers, vile, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars — their share will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.” (Revelation 21:8).
In your youth you were exposed to the concept of salvation and what was required to receive it. God made a promise to man that offered salvation to anyone who would accept it. “For God so loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). This gift from God is precious and He wants everyone to accept it. Jesus himself proclaimed this to those who would listen. “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in Me, even if he dies, will live.” (John 11:25). Jesus along with all of His children want you to accept the gift of salvation. “But to all who did receive Him, He gave them the right to be children of God, to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood, or of the will of the flesh, or of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12-13).
I pray that you have accepted Christ and asked for forgiveness of your sins. If you have not, I ask that you do so. If you have question, there are numerous resources available to you which include several of your family members as well as churches in your area. Help and guidance is only a phone call away.
If I have angered you in any way, please accept my apology. I wrote this letter in the spirit of love and I pray that you are able to see that. I will always be your father and you will always be my son, and I pray that you are able to see that. I will always be your father and you will always be my son. Nothing will ever take away the love I have for you. I care for you and while it seems rather harsh for me to push you away because of your beliefs it is something I must do. Call it tough love but understand that I do love you. As I stated earlier, you have been granted freewill to make your own decisions with regards to your life. You have commented numerous times against those who do not respect your wishes. I can respect your wishes but that does not mean I have to accept them. Please remember that while you want others to respect your choices and decisions you need to do the same as well. As a Christian I will continue to make decisions that you may find objectionable. You should know enough about me to realize that I will not compromise my values or my beliefs. I cannot allow you to bring your lifestyle into our home but I will continue to pray for you.
My arms ache to welcome you back into the family of God as well as our family.
Your Loving Father