Tonight, I drew a bath, not because I was depressed but because I was happy and I didn’t know how to handle it.
The previous night, over dinner, i came out to my closest friends. To my relief and delight they were supportive and accepted me for who I am.
And when my friend’s wife announced to the table, she was gonna steal me away from the boys cuz I’m on her team now, i was lifted.
And so tonight, in those baptismal bath waters I found myself singing, truly singing, for the first time in five years. Songs of worship came wafting out of my unchained heart. Turns out, all this time there was a stopper on my heart. And now this pathway of the heart to heaven was open, as it was before. The Holy Spirit like clarity. And I realized not only was I singing “I Love You Lord,” I was singing that God is good and trustworthy. Such relief to be able to believe again that God is good! To know that I know that I really do trust God.
And then came the waves of giddiness. Uncontrollable laughter. Smiling ear to ear like…who knows. The euphoria was overwhelming. I begged it to stop. Which of course it did. Which of course it came back for one more go on the Euphoria-Go-Round.
I am free.
Thank you, my magical friends.
Your unconditional love is the Deep Magic of Aslan.
Mark A. Yarhouse’s book, Understanding Gender Dysphoria is a seminal book for me. Because as someone who grew up in the American evangelical church, I needed to hear an initial voice coming from a fellow evangelical who was a psychologist specializing in LGBT issues. In his book, Yarhouse outlines three frameworks through which people tend to view the phenomenon of being transgender:
Integrity Framework saw the binary of male and female as tied to biological features (at its most rudimentary, gentitalia and chromosomes) and therefore immutable.
Disability Framework saw that people who experience gender dysphoria should be treated with compassion since they do not choose to feel this way. Yet this view stays within the traditional Christian view that being transgender is still somehow wrong.
The third framework is Diversity. This view is more prevalent in the broader secular culture. Our gender diversity (which may or may not be binary) and our sexual diversity (LGB+) should be celebrated as contributing to the diversity of our common humanity.
Yarhouse wants to suggest a fourth framework that draws upon the best of the three frameworks: what he calls the integrated framework. He wants to affirm the traditional Christian view of the integrity framework, while operating with the compassion of the disability framework, yet wants to move beyond its condescending and pathologizing view. Then why not simply move to the diversity framework? Because the integrity framework doesn’t seem to allow one to embrace the diversities of human genders and sexualities and celebrate it as something good in and of itself.
Yarhouse’s integrated framework wants to live within the tension of holding onto traditional Christian beliefs while embracing the latest clinical, psychological research into the subject matter.
It is now three years since I’ve been in therapy. Today I found myself having to leave work in the middle of the day because I was roiling under a wave of depression triggered by…gender dysphoria.
And when I’m under this wave, not knowing which way is up or down, and the only light penetrating the depths is the acute knowledge that I’m trans—I have to remind myself that I (indeed no trans person) chose to be trans. We just are trans.
Lately I find myself no longer needing Continue reading →
Friday night. After church. Sitting alone in my car. I could not stop the tears. Depression came over me like a wall of water—a tsunami wave. Exhausted I pulled the lever to adjust my seat and laid there, staring up at the ceiling of my car. There in the darkness, the only words God seems to whisper to me these past three years of my struggling with gender dysphoria came to me again: I AM with you. Such puzzling, empty, infuriating words of comfort.
Then, out of nowhere a new understanding opened up in me:
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