You've probably heard of the ex-gay movement. You may have even heard of the ex-ex-gay movement. Odds are slim that you know anyone that is ex-transgender. But have you ever known anyone that is ex-ex-transgender?
You have if you've read my blog.
In 1997 I confessed to my wife that I'd cross-dressed most of my life. After her initial shock wore off, she began to accept and integrate this part of me into our marriage. This was an activity that I'd never told anyone about, much less participate in with another person in. In late 1997 I began to realize that I might not be a crossdresser, but that something deeper was hidden underneath all the shame. My wife, the love of my life, had told me in no uncertain terms that if I was a bisexual or transsexual, our marriage would be over. Those two facts were playing a tug of war in my mind for months that caused me to go into a cycle of depression. In January of 1999 things finally came to a head, this looming thing was something I knew that I couldn't hide from myself any longer. Crying curled up in a ball in the middle of my bed, I realized I couldn't rid myself of this. I didn't want to die, but I couldn't keep living this way. In the desperation of the moment, I cried out to God.
For the next two years, I dove head first into the bible. I joined Horizon Christian Fellowship South, led by Pastor Tony Smith. The church was very bible centered, and the services were more educational than they were emotional. My days and nights away from the church, my head was either stuck in a bible, or on the net researching and or debating theology.
I felt part of my call was to evangelize online with other men that had suffered through gender dysphoria and were struggling with this sin. It was the early days of the Internet then, blogs were still years away. The only place you could freely post your thoughts were either on AOL discussion boards, or on Usenet. I started a group over at Dejanews.com called Nikao (which in Greek means overcome, conquer, or victory). I spent hours writing and debating on Usenet, the power of Christ's redeeming love. My growing obsession blossomed and I decided it was time to start making preparations for Bible College.
The very thing I thought would save my marriage, doomed it. The deeper I immersed myself into Christ, the angrier my wife became. She said "you're just replacing one part of your life with another. As long as you are in that group (Nikao) you're still in it, just from a different angle." She saw how radically it effected my behavior, turning me into someone she couldn't stand to be around. On August 25th, of 2000, the wheels fell off our marriage. My wife of six years hated me so much she physically assaulted me. Her assault and time in jail solidified the end of our marriage.
In the traumatic days that followed, members of my church were supportive, albeit, distant. With the impending divorce and custody battle, I leaned on my pastor for guidance and support. In my fight for custody, I asked him to go to court with me. Knowing that my wife would play the transvestite defense, I asked him to stand before the court and testify to my church activities and my attendance. He told me he would "pray about it" and get back with me. He never did. Needless to say, I lost custody of my daughter.
In November of 2000, I started seeing a therapist about my gender issues. One of the most profound concepts she ever taught me was the difference between desire and action. She said something to the effect that "you can modify your actions, but you can't modify your desires." Desire is a physical response to an external stimuli. You can say you don't like chocolate, but you can't make your mouth stop watering when you smell it. You can be ex- transgender, gay, bisexual, in action, but not in desire.
Coming across a post entitled "Transsexual Fraud" at Trading My Sorrows.com blog, reminded me of my ex-trans past. With the media exposure and growing cultural acceptance of a more fluid gender identity, I'm sure that these types of online ministries will pop up more and more (to join Reality Resources and New Hope Outreach).
"Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them." - Matthew 15-20
The ex-trangender life I experienced was anything but peaceful, truthful, or accepting. My hope is that my fellow human beings who are dealing with the challenges that come along with gender identity variance look at the "fruit" of their life and decide to follow the path which is the most fertile for fruit to grow.
In the end I'm not really ex-ex- anything. I'm me. I hope that anyone that in my situation finds a path to this much peace and truth. I hope they find an orchard full of the fruit like the one that continues to fill my life with blessing after blessing.
cross posted from Transadvocate.com