“That thing isn’t even human!” Those were the words I found coming out of my mouth when I encountered my first transgender person almost forty years ago, and I regret saying them to this day. It pains me that I could be so heartless to even think of another human being in such a hateful way.
Not long after, I stopped into a Christian bookstore and got into a conversation with the store clerk. To my horror, I discovered that he was a transgender male. A few minutes later, a transgender female walked in with an acquaintance of mine. I was about to have a panic attack when my friend suggested that we all hold hands and pray together. Here I am holding hands with a transgender person on both sides of me, trying to keep from breaking free and running out the door, when I heard the words just as clearly as if someone were standing next to me saying, “Karen, these are my children and I love them just as much as any of my children.” I didn’t quite understand it then, but a seed was planted.
Fortunately, I’ve since grown and become more enlightened in my spiritual walk. Back then, I didn’t know any better. I was ignorant about the issue and just believed what everyone else told me to believe. In the past several years, I’ve been meeting wonderful transgender people and several have become friends. They’re kind, loving, and good-hearted people who just want to live their lives in peace.
I get that it’s hard for many to understand this issue because we have no way of relating to those who have these experiences, especially if we’re heterosexual. Instead of judging and dehumanizing these beautiful people, we could educate ourselves so that we can understand where they are coming from and why they go through the transgender process.
Once I really understood and embraced Jesus’ teachings to love one another (no exceptions), as well as all the other great spiritual masters’ teachings to do the same, it really helped me to open my heart to loving all people regardless of any perceived differences. I also learned to overcome my fear and ignorance. 1 John 4:18 states, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.”
Chaz Bono (formerly Chasity Bono, daughter of Sonny and Cher) recently wrote a great book titled “Transition - Becoming Who I Was Always Meant to Be,” and I would highly recommend reading it if you would like to become more knowledgeable on this subject. You can also check out transformationjourneysww.com for more information. I met Gabrielle Claiborne, one of the founders and a trans woman, and found her to be absolutely delightful. If you can open your heart and get to know trans people, you’ll learn that they’re just like the rest of us.
“It matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be.” J.K. Rowling
Published in the Cookeville Herald Citizen newspaper March 24, 2017.