The Scarlet Letter T, by Suzanne Ford.
I am a proud out trans woman living with her family in northern Marin County. My transition began almost 5 years ago with a painful admission to my wife. Yes, I am a woman and wanted to live my life as a woman. Over time I revealed that I had known since I was about 5 or 6 that I was not the boy everyone thought I was. A lifetime of living a brilliant disguise soon fell away.
That decision and life seem far away now. My wife and son have accepted and loved me for the woman that I am. We have remained together as I came out first socially then professionally. God has been big enough to allow me to face and conquer every obstacle placed in my path. Except one, my church: Christ Church North Bay.
I initially accepted a job and chose to live in Novato because my pastor and his family had moved here from Ky. The family, through a church in Louisville, had helped to turn around my life. Alcohol and drugs had become my coping mechanism as I fought my identity and anguish. After leaving law school I somehow found these beautiful people and their church. I was clean and sober and began the long road to recovery. That was over 16 years ago.
I have been sober many years and live a peaceful life as myself, Suzanne. However, my family and I are no longer part of our church. My pastor and his wife no longer treat me as one of their children. In fact they do not speak to me anymore. They detached from me once I began transitioning and later returned to Kentucky.
The present minister stood with me outside the church the first time he saw me as Suzanne. He said in no uncertain terms that I could not come to church presenting as female. This would be too damaging to the children. I was stunned. How could my family turn their back on me? What about all the relationships we cherished? Surely they would not banish us. Turns out, yes they would. I have never attended any function in the church again.
I reached out one last time, hoping the rejection would not be permanent or at least a last goodbye. About a year ago I went back hoping to attend just one Sunday with my son so that we could see everyone again. I sent a text to the minister and he asked me to meet with him. His answer was,” It wouldn’t be fair to the church family to process your present gender identity on a Sunday morning.”
Again I was crushed. We had been very close to many people in the church. My wife has remained in a book club with a few ladies who are still active in the church. However, not one person has remained close to me. It’s as if I vanished!
I write this to convey the pain in coming out. What it costs to be me. We like to think that here in Marin County this doesn’t happen. Yes I am a very privileged white trans woman and my obstacles pale in comparison to my sisters of color. However, the loss cuts deeply. The heart of Christ they taught me about must be breaking.
Story by: Suzanne Ford is an out transgender woman living in Marin County, who works in the corporate world and was recently elected as Treasurer to the Board of San Francisco Pride. She is emerging as a prominent member of the Transgender activist community in the Bay Area and is kindly and courageously sharing this story.
Comment by Melanie, Publisher:
We are publishing a series of stories about Churches and the expulsion and rejection of LGBTQI people in areas purporting to be liberal. We are doing this to help identify those, so when people research perhaps they can have advance warning. Many join churches thinking they are truly diverse, affirming and accepting, until its time to come out and at that point are already invested in the leadership, friendships and community.
Christ Church North Bay touts it diversity as can be seen from the screenshot below.
Christ Church North Bay notes on its website: “WHAT TO EXPECT Whether you have never walked through the front door of a church or you have been a part of other church communities, it is our goal that you feel welcome as you walk through our doors. When you come in you will be greeted by a friendly usher who can help you find a seat or answer any questions you may have. You can expect lively worship and music set in a casual atmosphere. ….. All visitors are welcome!”
Unless you are transgender!
Christ Church North Bay is a part of Kingdom Ministries USA. “Kingdom Ministries International is a relationally-based spiritual family within the Body of Christ, composed of local churches and ministries who have submitted themselves together to glorify God and His Kingdom, serving His purposes in discipling the nations until Christ returns, and glorifying Him together throughout eternity.”
BY MELANIE NATHAN
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