The following was written by Christian parents who are an active part of the Strength in Weakness ministry. As you’ll see, this couple has two wonderful children they love very much, one of whom has fully transitioned to female. To respect this family’s need for confidentiality, we have changed their names and any other identifiers. As a Christian organization that offers help to Jesus-followers who live with unwanted, same-sex attractions and parents of LGBTQIA+ children, we have the privilege of encountering courageous people like this time and time again. We believe that there is a way to address these controversial, multifaceted, and emotional issues in a manner that doesn’t lower the traditional Biblical sexual ethic and yet, at the same time, uplifts the love, mercy, and compassion of Christ. We trust you will find that this moving account exudes both attitudes. We thank this mom and dad and their two adult children for allowing their story to be told.
- Guy Hammond; Executive Director, Strength in Weakness Ministries
Tim chose to return to school and received a degree in massage therapy. He also took some anatomy courses at the local university and did so well in the course work that he was asked to be a teacher’s assistant in the cadaver lab. Loving this area of study, he decided to apply for med school and was accepted. During all of this, Tim was still receiving counselling, which we thought was for depression but discovered later that, in part, it was to deal with the conflicting feelings he was suffering from regarding his sexual identity.
Not long after, we received an email with the subject line: “I Love You”. The email read, in part, “This is hard for me so I hope you will take the time to read it fully. I know I have asked a lot of all of you, and your understanding and love have been more than I expected. I hope that love will extend a little further into what I have to tell you…I am transgender”
Our hearts dropped to our toes, and the tears began to flow. As we read about his journey, Tim explained how he had secretly always wanted to be a girl and that the years of battling depression, being in a gay relationship, attending med school, and learning more about humanity had brought him to this conclusion, to transition.
Heartbroken beyond words, our first reply (via email) communicated our undying love but expressed how sad we were that he felt he needed to go to such lengths to find himself and be happy, especially when knowing that it was only through God that he would truly be able to do so.
Like most parents, our first thoughts were, “What did we do wrong; how have we failed our children?” and “What will people think?”
The day after, Tim announced on Facebook her new status, so now all our friends knew. Many questions weighed on our hearts to which there seemed to be no answers. We prayed and cried out to God.
“I called out your name, O God, called from the bottom of the pit. You listened when I called out… You came close to me when I called out. You said, ‘It’s going to be all right’.” Lamentations 3:55-57
As a father, Ed was devastated. This was our only son, and it felt like the death of the son we knew. We prayed and decided to go visit Tim and speak with him face to face. Before the trip, he asked if we would join him in a ceremony to “bury” Tim. He now wished to be called Tina. We declined and told him that we were not ready for that.
When it came time to meet in person, Tim presented himself as a female, wearing a dress with a padded bra for breasts, makeup, and other feminine accessories. He had already begun taking estrogen hormone therapy, and his hair had grown out to shoulder length. Seeing his appearance altered felt very awkward for us, but we tried to act as normal as we could. We went out for dinner and then strolled down to a dock to visit some more. While there, some young men hanging out in the area spotted us and made fun of Tim, now Tina. This made Ed feel incredibly defensive for his son, and he had to push down the urge he felt to physically fight these men.
After going to church in the area that Sunday, we met Tim at the pier to talk again. Ed did most of the talking as he stated our conviction: “We don’t believe God made a mistake; this is a choice you have made, and we don’t agree with this.” The tension was thick as Tim came back at us with his defenses. Ed tried to end the conversation on a positive note, but that did not work; the damage, it seemed, had been done.
We walked back to the car and said we would see him later for dinner that evening, but later that afternoon Tim canceled the appointment. We did not sleep that night, and on the way to the airport the next morning, we dropped by his house to hug our son and express our love for him. Within days, he changed his phone number, and we were cut off, unable to communicate with him. Soon after, we received another email announcing that “Tim is Dead”. We were devastated. Tim told us we all needed time to grieve and it was more than he could bear to watch, so he would be cutting all ties: no phone, no Facebook, only the occasional email. We kept sending messages via email expressing our love and our interest in his schooling and career.
Ed felt very sad and lonely. We talked to a few trusted spiritual advisors at our local church who offered us love and support, but no one had any pragmatic advice on how to deal with this heartbreaking and confusing challenge in our lives.