Coming out as transgender is scary

Public forum for those seeking support for their experience in the LDS Church.
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grobert93
Posts: 18
Joined: 30 Nov 2015, 16:05

Coming out as transgender is scary

Post by grobert93 » 28 Aug 2018, 14:21

I grew up an active truly believe member of the church. I believed in the teachings of gender roles and was almost emotionally offended when I learned that some people "challenge" the will of the Lord by saying they are attracted to the same gender. I was determined to always view those as lost and my faith as an opportunity to serve them until they found the right path again.

I did the active member things; received the Priesthood, became an Eagle Scout, served a two year mission and even went to BYU-Idaho for college. Got married to a member in the Temple and started a family. Throughout all of this, I have encountered opposing opinions, questionable doctrine and have questioned my faith, but luckily to have come back to the fold as a worthy priesthood holder.

However, about two years ago when confronted with medical concerns I made the sudden decision to become less active as It felt easier to avoid church, avoid getting callings and avoid being given talks and having to socialize. I had already experienced great difficulty in the YSA ward post-mission and pre-byuidaho. But to see myself become the person I viewed as a struggling pre-apostate member was a shock even to me.

Last year around this time, the idea surfaced that I could have very well been a female. While the topic of transgender was in full force in society and even in the church to a certain degree, this was a new concept that became personal and difficult to understand, especially with new struggles we were facing. It was quickly dismissed and we moved forward.

Now a year has passed and after some personal pondering, the answer has become clear again. I'm a transgender. The details of the situation are still a bit cloudy, but I know that either I was not medically and physically developing correctly as a female in the womb, or by some great plan God intended on me being in the "wrong" body. Either theory has some validation from memories of my own struggles engaging in the gender role of a male. If I were meant to be a female, then it would also help explain the bucket list of struggles that have been building up in myself my whole life, due to my well meaning but semi-toxic family.

I am coming here for support for a few reasons. It's as though I had prayed about any other significant life changing event such as joining the church, serving a mission or validation to marrying someone. I have received validation from the Father that I am transgender / meant to be a female. And yet, my fear of both the church's current stance on the whole LGBTQ situation, coupled with my parents traditional conservative and semi-toxic views of the same issues has led me to fear believing and acting upon what I feel is right. I declared it to my wife first, and she supported it 100%. I declared it to some close friends both from the mission and at work and in my youth-hood stake. Almost everyone has been fully supportive even if they didn't agree.

But I'm still scared.

I want to feel less scared about my future coming out to my parents that will have to happen eventually. I want to be less scared about accepting myself for who I truly am and loving myself for it. I want to be less scared to go out in public with a change in appearance. I know it's right, but I'm scared.

This is all new, unexpected and yet right.

Help?

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mom3
Posts: 3660
Joined: 02 Apr 2011, 14:11

Re: Coming out as transgender is scary

Post by mom3 » 28 Aug 2018, 15:21

Have you sought out a counselor?

This might require their skill more than ours.

I would reach out to Natasha Helfer Parker or Julie de Azevedo Hanks. Even if they can't take on new clients they could point you in a good direction. Both are long time members of the church and are very nuanced and aware counselors.
"I stayed because it was God and Jesus Christ that I wanted to follow and be like, not individual human beings." Chieko Okazaki Dialogue interview

"I am coming to envision a new persona for the Church as humble followers of Jesus Christ....Joseph and his early followers came forth with lots of triumphalist rhetoric, but I think we need a new voice, one of humility, friendship and service. We should teach people to believe in God because it will soften their hearts and make them more willing to serve." - Richard Bushman

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DarkJedi
Posts: 6085
Joined: 24 Aug 2013, 20:53

Re: Coming out as transgender is scary

Post by DarkJedi » 28 Aug 2018, 15:56

We can love you and "support" you (kind of in the same way we sustain leaders) and help you feel welcome here. But we can't help you tell your parents, bishop, or anyone else nor can we tell you how to even approach it. Other than that, what Mom said^.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

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Minyan Man
Posts: 1525
Joined: 15 Sep 2011, 13:40

Re: Coming out as transgender is scary

Post by Minyan Man » 28 Aug 2018, 16:34

I agree with everything that has been said. There has to be support groups in your area. It helps to surround yourself with people who know
what you're going through. You should be able to learn what they went through, experienced & suggest a personal strategy to maneuver
through. They should be able to describe the pitfalls to avoid too.

How has your wife & children reacted so far?

I wish you the very best on your journey.

DoubtingTom
Posts: 253
Joined: 22 Mar 2017, 12:13

Re: Coming out as transgender is scary

Post by DoubtingTom » 28 Aug 2018, 17:45

One thing that has helped me immensely during my transition is hearing other people’s experiences that I could relate to.

May I suggest you listen to Laurie Lee Hall on mormon stories podcast. Here’s the link:

https://www.mormonstories.org/podcast/laurie-lee-hall/

Laurie’s story is not an exit one, although she ultimately was excommunicated. But she still participates in the church and now attends actively. She is also active on facebook and would probably welcome you reaching out to her. I loved hearing her experience and her faith.

Curt Sunshine
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Posts: 16137
Joined: 21 Oct 2008, 20:24

Re: Coming out as transgender is scary

Post by Curt Sunshine » 28 Aug 2018, 22:16

I have a good friend who is transgender female (biologically male). She is planning on reassignment surgery in the near future. She will continue to attend church no matter what happens, and she has said it will be a relief finally to not have the Priesthood she never felt she should have received in the first place.

It is very hard. I am not saying you need to stay or leave or anything else. That has to be your call. I know people who make it work to stay and people who have to leave to maintain their mental and physical health.

Also, to reiterate what others have said, find a good counselor. The DSM-5 listing of clinical disorders no longer lists being transgender as a disorder. That is a wonderful change. The new diagnosis is for "Gender Dysphoria" - which focuses on significant distress caused by being transgender. Some transgender people feel little if any stress associated with their gender identification - mostly those who have been dealing with it for a while and have a good support system. Many transgender people feel significant distress, and a good counselor can be invaluable.

God bless you on your journey. I am glad you found us.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

Roy
Posts: 5129
Joined: 07 Oct 2010, 14:16
Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: Coming out as transgender is scary

Post by Roy » 29 Aug 2018, 11:32

I have no wisdom to contribute. Your situation is not easy. I believe it was Elder Oaks that said something to the effect that Transgender individuals are an area where we as a church have not had much in the way of "light and knowledge" revealed.

I welcome you and support you in my own limited way. I send digital hugs to say that I care about you.

I would also say to trust yourself. It must be frightening to feel that your biological gender at birth does not match up with your internal and spiritual identity - still, trust yourself.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

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SamBee
Posts: 5058
Joined: 14 Mar 2010, 04:55

Re: Coming out as transgender is scary

Post by SamBee » 29 Aug 2018, 12:54

Not much to add to this, just that if you're considering surgery or even hormone injections think long and hard before you do it. We rarely hear about them, but some people do regret it later, and you need to be 100% sure that's what you want as there is not much of a route back.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

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