A Love Letter To Transgender People From A Transgender Priest

I want you to know that I see you.

I see you sitting in the pew, with your parents, as your pastor talks about what an abomination those transgender people are. I see your face burn with the recognition that he’s talking about you. I see you slink down in your seat and hope to disappear. I see you.

I see you facing the dread of back to school shopping. Longing to wear dresses and colors and instead being forced to wear the drab slacks and button downs. Because no one knows who you really are and you can’t tell them yet. But I see you and I know you.

I see you the first time you tighten that tie around your neck and breathe deeply gathering up the courage to walk out the front door. I see you when you have the courage to leave. And I see you when you take the tie off and go watch TV instead.

I see you struggling to find words (and clothes) to match the gender you are because your gender doesn’t fit in a world that separates everything out and quantifies it in categories. I see you defying those categories and I see you worry because of it.

I see you google “dating a transgender person” and reading article after article about how hard it is to love someone like you. I see you close the browser and delete your dating profile.

I see you working three jobs and starting a GoFundMe to help pay for your transition. I see you hustling to have enough money to eat. I see you feeling beaten down by everything.

I see you when you face violence. All types of violence: physical, emotional, spiritual.

I also see you when you claim your identity. I see you for your first shot, as you’re coming out of gender confirming surgery, as you buy clothing that fits you for the first time.

I see you as you march, holding the transgender flag. I see you as you fight, fist up, for your right to exist.

I see you getting up out of that pew and leaving that unaffirming church never to return. I see you finding a new community that welcomes you with open arms.

I see you asserting your identity by insisting that people use your name and pronouns.

I see you finding someone who loves you for who you are and who realizes what a gift you are in their lives.

I see you existing. And surviving. And thriving.

I want you to know that you are seen and loved just as you are. I want you to know that you are not a disruption, a burden, or a too-expensive-cost, no matter what the president says. No matter what your pastor says. No matter what your parent says. No matter what your ex-partner says. These things are not true.

What is true is this:

God loves you not in spite of your transness but because of it. God has gifted you with your unique and beautiful identity. And God loves you because of your identity.

You are fearfully and wonderfully made. Whether you choose to medically transition or don’t. Whether you are binary identified or nonbinary. Whether you “pass” or not.

You are beautiful just as you are. In all of your various identities.

You are needed. You are celebrated. You are a gift.

You are lovable and worthy and strong.

You are amazing. You are seen.

You are loved.

If you’re a cisgender supporter of transgender people, a couple things to note: you can support by sharing this post, by donating to the Queer Theology summer fundraising campaign, and by staying tuned tomorrow for an article about how to actually really truly be an ally to transgender people in the church and in the world.