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VickySGV

Fully out in church at last --

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VickySGV

I saw this quote in a post that Carolyn Marie put in the forum today, and decided to make it my own topic that I seemed to have forgotten to put in here in for a few weeks--

CNN News Article in CM's post

How did this happen? More Christians now know someone who is LGBT. They probably even know someone from their church. There are countless faithful Christians who identify as LGBT.

Last February I "came out" to my Episcopal Church priest and our church lay council (Vestry) in a letter that I hand delivered to Julie, my priest. She was VERY ready to accept the forthcoming "me" on her part, but surprise, she had already known other trans people.

In May, I was invited to a meeting of the Vestry itself, it had taken them some time to come to grips with what I was doing and their own feelings, but when I showed up as my woman "me" they noticed that "You (I was) seem much more comfortable in your own body and presentation!!" What can we do? What can we do for you?? My answer "Show your acceptance of me as best you can. Here is information you can let the other parishoners have, and TALK to me if you have questions." There was no hesitation in saying they could do that. (I had been a member there for 20 years.)

Over the summer I began wearing somewhat gender neutral clothing and making no secret that I was wearing a bra, and having my own hair combed in a style that could be taken as either male or female. I found out who was warmly accepting during that period and others who were just warming up. After the confession of sin and absolution in or communion service there is a part called "passing the peace" in which we can shake hands or exchange brief hugs with the other members of the congregation. It was here that the hugs I received from other women became woman to woman hugs, and even our choir master who is gay hugged me instead of shaking hands. A few men also changed the blacksmith grip they generally used for hand shaking into something gentler.

The last Sunday in September, I was not in church since I was in Atlanta for the Southern Comfort TG Conference and one FANTASTIC day at the WPATH Conference (3000 miles east of Arcadia CA). Even without being in church that day, I knew what would be happening the next Sunday.

On October 2, I put on my make-up and one of my good hair pieces, and an undeniably female blouse with a flower shaped ruffle at the neck. Two days before I had gotten a letter from the parish secretary with a reading the I as a "lector/intercessor" was to read during the communion service that day. It was appropriate I thought, that is was the feast day of St Francis of Assisi. Vicky was warmly welcomed albeit with one or two "my goodness I didn't recognize you's" and made "her" first reading of the Great Intercession that day.

Since then, I am fully in my transitioning self, and have been asked to become more involved in some things they never would have asked me to do before. Our parish IS having some membership problems, and maybe one of our hopes is to be sure the young people in our community know that we can warmly accept, and hopefully become fully welcoming to GLBT people. My priest and I had one brief talk a few days ago, we both think that maybe with the church seeing me that our next step will be a two dad or two mom family to help get our supply of tiny youngsters growing again.

I am finally feeling at peace myself and in my own spiritual journeys again.

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Guest Risu

What a great story Vicky and I am very happy that things have worked out so well for you. :)

I often worry about whether or not I should move away from my town where I live now once I fully transition since it is a rather religious little mountain town. Even though the largest church in the area here is openly not accepting of LGBT people, I think the churches view is not the view of each and every individual member. So while I am worried how my transition may affect my business I am not mortified and fearful that we will go under because of my transition.

I hopw more churches will follow these steps and I hope one day I can turn on my local christian radio station and not have to listen to intolerance and right wing propoganda.

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Carolyn Marie

While I am not religious, I can certainly understand the importance of being accepted and welcomed by your church brethren. I can see how much it means to you. I am very happy for you, Vicky, and hope that others will find the same level of acceptance in their church, mosque, or synagogue.

HUGS

Carolyn Marie

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JJ

That is wonderful Vicky and I am very happy for you.

There are many good and loving Christians and it helps us to hear about them rather than the tiny minority with the loud voices that are raised in hate or rejection who seem to dominate our view of Christianity all too often.

Hugs

Johnny

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Guest John Chiv

Vicky,

As someone who is accepted and loved and supported by his church as well, I am very happy for you.

John

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gennee

Thank you for sharing your lovely story, Vicky.

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Guest SeeJay

like my therapists the congration at church has rolled over a few times. i started in my mid-twenties after a friend and co-worker invited me. i was nervous but open the first few years. i only wore women's clothes then. (no dresses or skirts @ church) i wore makeup, jewelry and back in those days, my hair reached my waist. everyone soon knew i was a gay male dressing as a woman.

i'm am very fond of my religion. ten years ago i found out i had cancer. i am free now and healthy as a horse. that 9-11 months of treatments and surgery i leaned heavily on my faith and friends with faith. today i wear dresses and skirts most of the time. i have over a hundred friends in the church. oh i have attended district and state function for the church.

Loveya

SeeJay

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JJ

Can't say I'm fully out to the church but I did attend last week in full male mode-not a suit, our church is casual and there was not one suit in the church-with a male haircut so they have to be aware that something has happened besides the massive weight loss. The baritone voice may be a clue too. :)

With a county that has many times more churches than businesses and a population of less than 2000 we don't have a 100 members in church-about 30 maybe. But they are nice people. In the next few weeks I still want to go and talk to the pastor so he knows the story first hand in case questions do arise. Rumor and speculation are so much worse than the truth ever is.

Our church-like other good churches everywhere regardless of denomination-remembers and honors that the Lord said "The greatest of these is Love". Church and religion should be about that above all else. When it is they accept and embrace the person regardless of circumstances rather than reject and revile.

Johnny

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Guest OutOfSorts180

Hi Vicky, JJ and Seejay:

Thanks so much for sharing your stories. I am also a Christian. My church affiliation is Southern Baptist and they are very conservative. Not so sure I would be as welcome in my church as you were in yours.

Conversely, at least for those in church who are my peers and age, I know many of them to be very warm and loving people with a true love of God and Christ. So I do believe that at least with them, I'd be welcome, but not necessarily by the church at large.

You know, and this is something I had also shared with my GT, is that I very strongly believe that God has a reason and purpose for all of us. I believe that while I have felt all of my life that I was a girl, I also believe he had a reason and a plan for me to not act on my feelings until now. Otherwise, I wouldn't have married and met my wonderful wife nor would I have had my 3 wonderful kids. I do not believe they were a "mistake." I ended up getting a very good job and as a result, I'm fairly stable financially. And let's face it, from what I've read, going through a full MTF transition with GT, HRT, FFS, SRS and other costs, it ain't cheap. I also firmly believe that God has a purpose for me after I transition. It may be that will use me to reach out to others like ourselves that I wouldn't have reached out to if I had kept the status quo.

And you know...about 3 weeks ago in our Sunday School class, we studied Romans 14:1, "Accept him whose faith is weak without passing judgement on disputable matters." Now...I don't want to say I'm "weak in faith", but I can see where others would think I am (when I do come out). However, the part that is encouraging to me is the part I've bolded in this verse. So..maybe this is also an opportunity for my Christian brothers and sisters to really "obey" by accepting me. I guess time will tell.

God loves us unconditionally and he is with us regardless. So...KEEP THE FAITH!!!

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Michelle 2010

What a wonderful post and series of replies. Its heartwarming to see such acceptance. It can be lonely being Trans, and I can think of few things more horrible than to be rejected by a group of people who say they believe in God's love. I'm happy for those who have come out and been accepted. For those who aren't accepted, the good news is that there are churches that embrace all of God's children, not just the "chosen few"...

Best wishes

Michelle

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