Growing up, I felt lost and overlooked within my family. I escaped that loneliness by being outdoors, building forts, picking blueberries or swimming in the lake. I loved being out in the woods alone or with other kids. But there we found stashes of pornographic magazines. As a little girl, I didn’t look like the women in those magazines, but neither did I look like the men. This was one reason that I never felt like I fit in among other girls or among the boys.
When I was 9, I saw a movie preview where I first learned about someone having a sex change operation. With this introduction to transgenderism, I began to believe I was a boy in a girl’s body. Knowing other people had a similar experience was comforting, but it became my dark secret. I was afraid to tell anyone, and I isolated myself from other girls because I believed I didn’t belong.
At age 11, I went to a church camp in the mountains outside Madrid, Spain. There I first learned about and experienced the love of God. I believed in Jesus, but as a teen, I continued to be attracted sexually to females. I never could connect to my emotions, which set me apart from other girls. I wanted to stop having these feelings somehow, but I never could on my own.
I was taught more about Jesus and began to live out my Christian faith. In college, I became attracted to a man from my ministry group, which at first felt awkward and unfamiliar. We began to date and soon married. We were married nearly 13 years. While enduring a divorce I did not want, I attended a women’s prayer group and developed healthy connections to other women. Their love and acceptance touched my heart and overcame years of rejection and misplaced emotions.
These years of healthy community among women helped me value and accept my femininity. Now, I no longer am sexually attracted to other women. I find joy in celebrating the unique aspects of my life as a woman, whereas before I rejected myself. During the years when I felt like a man trapped in a woman’s body, my heart was closed and isolated. But now, I realize I truly am a woman: I am passionate, hopeful, vulnerable and nurturing. I love and care for others in ways I never believed would be possible.