Seeing and knowing other men as human beings instead of sexualizing them has been a life-changing transformation.

I was a child of divorce.  My father was a violent man; my mother was clinically depressed; and in my adolescence, I was sexually abused. As a child, I wanted to be a girl and hated being a boy.

At 14 years old, a counselor encouraged me to embrace a gay identity. He said things would get better if I did.  So during my freshman year of high school, I came out to everyone. But things didn’t get better for me.

When I was 16, my suicide attempt was interrupted by a neighbor lady inviting me to church.  She later told me the Lord had told her to do so. I found myself surrounded at her church by men—young and old—who were praying for me, moving me to tears by their care for me, and ending my suicidal thoughts that day. But, as powerful as that moment was, I still needed so much healing.  My deep need to feel loved and accepted persisted, and I continued to embrace a gay-identity.

At age 18, I began living like a woman and even competed in professional pageantry for about 2 years. One night, when taking the make-up off of my face, I couldn’t even recognize myself in the mirror.  That terrified me. I had to admit that my efforts to become Miss Gay Texas were leading me nowhere. Many of the men around me were getting sick and dying--I didn’t want that to be my story.

On a Sunday night in December, when I was 20 years old, I met Jesus in a very experiential way. I surrendered my life to him.  Jesus was and will always be my only hope for real freedom. His Church is my family and my home.

I then began to read many books and attend a paid program that ministers to those with gender confusion. So many painful issues in my life were addressed there. Over time, I began to accept and be at home in my own skin as a man.

Seeing and knowing other men as human beings instead of sexualizing them has been a life-changing transformation.  I'm so thankful for the new life God has given me. Today, I enjoy life and get to point others to the hope I've found.

Bree Stevens