An Open Letter to My Church from the Mother of a Transgender Child

“Adultery, fornication, and LGBTQIA+ are in direct opposition to God’s law and heavenly plan.”


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/11466
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Sadly, this same story is repeating itself in many Adventist homes. The church should be a place for love and acceptance, and instead it has become a place of condemnation. There are some Adventist churches where a transgender person can be accepted, loved, and affirmed, but such churches are few, and completely nonexistent in many parts of the world. As an ally my heart bleeds when I hear of cases like yours. This should not have to be.

The only good news in a case like yours is that you can tell your trans daughter that there are other Christian denominations that are fully affirming of LGBTQ+ individuals, but the sadness that the church you grew up in has no place for your child is slow to fade, I am sure. I continue to grieve for all the LGBTQ+ friends and family members who have no place in the church I grew up in as a third generation Adventist, and I grieve for this church of mine that has so little compassion for the LGBTQ+ community. There are few cures cures for such wounds and the only comfort I find is knowing with my whole heart that Jesus loves all His LGBTQ+ children with a full and affirming love. I just wish my whole Adventist community saw them like He does.

May you and your family know the depth of Jesus’ love, acceptance, and affirmation.

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“He who is without sin may cast the first stone…” The GC President had a lot of things to say and it seems that matters such as LGBTQIA+ deserves special condemnation and is apparently the most pernicious of all apparent human deviant behaviors (outside of Gods plan). Based on what criteria is this so much a crisis for the faithful that it would require a special branding and recognition amongst all other human conditions and behavior?

Are homosexuals such an existential crisis and affront to God that He who “knew them before the were born” calls upon the GC President to call them out for special condemnation?

Are they guilty in utero and by their day to day presence in the universe a stench to God as some claim and the source of all manner of calamities and ills in the world?

How can one claim that they can or should condemn our dear fellows?

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A very sad story. So sorry you and your family have had to go through this. I have relatives who have come out as gay relatively recently. It is heartbreaking what some young people go through, the depression, the struggle, the feeling that they wouldn’t be accepted if they walked into an Adventist church.

Many like to assume they are God, judging how He would treat people in various situations. The understanding some people have of God is tragic. It’s no surprise so many are leaving the church.

What everyone needs to realise is God is up there and loves all of us no matter what. He died on the cross for everyone. End of story.

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It seems you may have meant to another post

Not sure what you mean here…

Wow, she writes expressing her feelings about her child, and the negative impact of cultural pressures the church places them in, and you twist it around so that you feel aspersions are being cast on you! Just wow.

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Maya, Thank you for sharing this intimate and personal story, and addressing the very sad, and problematic statements of Ted Wilson. Although I can say with certainty he has had ample opportunity to know the truth of what modern science, medicine, mental health experts inform us on theses topics, and what worthy diligent biblical scholarship informs us, (by SDA scholars at SDA institutions) on the wide range of variation of humanity, that make up the alphabet soup of LGBTQIA+ and beyond, he choses to ignore the science and biblical studies that create an accepting position. The wide expanse of his proclamation is truly tragic. As a child in the SDA church, in an SDA university community, I wondered about the biblical statement that even the “elect” might be “deceived”, and lost for eternity. I wonder no longer when I read statements like Mr. Wilson’s…

I am so glad that you have taken the approach that you have! Love that girl for all she is worth, and she will most certainly thrive and be able to stay in love with Jesus…

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There was no mention of any invasive or other medical intervention in the article.

Neither the author nor the commenters spoke “judgement”.

The comments are inflammatory, off-topic and aggressive with an only to obvious aim of provoking either an individual commenter or a group of them into reacting.

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Go inform yourself on such topics. If you actually knew anything about trans issues you would realize your comments are extremely insensitive and thoughtless, not to mention ignorant. Not all trans people seek complete bottom or top jobs, and even the role of hormone therapy might vary. There are places where you could learn about these things, and I hardly think those of us here or in the trans community have any responsibility to teach you about this, especially given you show no actual interest in knowing the answers to your questions.

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Thanks for sharing this personal journey with us. It breaks my heart and almost daily I hear stories similar to this one of how there is no room in the church for us who comprise the LGBTQIA+ community as well as our families and supportive loved ones. This is probably easily almost 50% of the church, but the likes of the church leaders who refuse to stand up and listen obviously aren’t interested in what is happening to a large demographic of the church. Sadly there is no place for us in the SDA church. If the church won’t listen, they can’t hear and if they can’t hear, they have no love.
Since you wrote with a pseudonym, I am not sure who you are, but if you haven’t already reached out to SDA Kinship, please do so and we will get you connected to other parents of LGBTQIA+ individuals. Together our voices can make a difference. If not for the church leaders, for others who are silently going through the same things we are and are told that they are at fault or bad parents. Email me at: info@sdakinship.org

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Deep thanks to Maya K. Olivetti for sharing the heart wrenching reality of their family’s journey. Thank you for speaking out. Your story brought deep tears. You are not alone, and the posturing of some leaders does not speak for all Adventists, albeit too many.

First of all, why do you say they are confused? How do you know?
Secondly, please stop reducing gender identity to one’s genitals.
“Gay lifestyle” is as much of a thing as “heterosexual lifestyle” is. There are as many lifestyles for gay people as there are for heterosexual people. Some of them healthy, some of them unhealthy.
So yes, churches need to be affirming. And supporting. And caring. And loving. Always.

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[quote=“aoa, post:17, topic:22099”]
So yes, churches need to be affirming. And supporting. And caring. And loving. Always.
[/quote/}

I don’t recall that Jesus was always affirming. He addressed Peter as Satan on one occasion.
He always loved, but that does not mean always affirming.

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I don’t think you understand the meaning of “affirming” lol
Defined in this context as “offer (someone) emotional support or encouragement”.
I don’t know what Bible you read but Jesus consistently treated those who were suffering in an affirming manner. The Pharisees on the other hand expressed your words and attitude consistently. It was they that He pointed out who had the greatest need of transformation of the heart and in great danger.

Irrelevant and conflation…has no connection to the context or circumstance

Compassion, attentiveness and yes affirmation is what God expects.

Many in our Church and Christians in general seem to be confused and think this should only be applied to those they themselves deem worthy. This attitude and approach is a greater danger to the soul than anything else and will be the downfall of many followers of Christ.

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I am so sorry for what your daughter and your family is going through! Your words echoed in my soul. Please tell your daughter, for me, that God created her with infinte redemptive unconditional Love. She is His princess and no one can take that away from her.

Jesus never instructed us TO JUDGE, but to be His witnesses. The GC President is surely not following Jesus in His words (and so many attitudes!!). He has no LOVE in him according to Jesus when He instructed us to “Love your neighbour as yourself”.
As Mother Theresa so well said:
“If you JUDGE people, you have no time to LOVE them.”

Unfortunately, Love is fading away in Human hearts. We are living the end of this Earth as prophecised. So we are living difficult times. Church is no longer a place of refuge…
When Jesus’ returns she will be uplifted up, in a new glorified body, and will live on a New Earth where Love, Justice, and Peace will be its foundations. She will be happy as never ever before.

It is not really important what the GC President says and those following him!.. What happens here is just temporary. Please, tell her, for me, to keep her eyes in Jesus. God left eternity in her soul.

I am praying for her. May she be strong and courageous because God loves her. May she believe, and rest in the loving arms of her wonderful Father in Heaven. May He bless and keep her always.

Much love from Lisbon :heart::heart::heart::heart::heart::heart::heart:

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I don’t think we can reduce it to one’s genitals, but to decouple it from generic sexual function, which is much much broader than people imagine… is absurd.

Trans conceptualization is riddled with contradictions, and this is one of big ones. If gender doesn’t follow sex, then what exactly is “feeling like a man in woman’s body” mean?

Yes, you could point to the cultural understanding of ehat man and a woman is, and say… well, that’s what it is, but one is then still making a metaphysical claim one can’t back up. If gender is something not innate and is a learned “assignment”… where’s that identification comes from? What does it point to? How does it know what is “male” and what is “female”?

One can’t say that both, gender is a construct, and that it’s an innate feeling.

Can one be uncomfortable with one’s body? Yes. Do psychological conditions related to body dysmorphia exist? Yes. There’s a clear anchor in this case. “I don’t like that I’m too short, or tall” , or I don’t like my leg and have a desire to cut it off." , etc.

Gender dysphoria is a metaphysical claim that points to an alleged construct that shouldn’t be related to sex? It’s an extremely incoherent position.

It doesn’t however mean that people should be marginalized. It also doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be pointing out a problematic conceptualization that can’t reconcile its own semantics. It likewise doesn’t mean we should rework the entire concept of gender to make people feel better about their subjective self-assessment of where their comfort on traditional scope of identification resides. One can’t claim that traditonal is incorrect, and then point to it and say… I feel like doing one of those things.

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I am not sure you get this either. When the woman taken in adultery was brought before Jesus, he affirmed her, but did not affirm her behavior. “neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more.”

Do you know how to do that? Or are you unable to affirm a person and not their behavior? It is a delicate matter. I said I had sympathy with this young woman and her family, but not the behavior You folks took it was impossible to do. I must affirm both to be legitimate.

My example was not conflation. Peter had just noted that Jesus was the Christ, and he was given a great compliment and message to tell the world. Then Jesus called him out as a messenger of Satan. So, he affirmed the person, but not the behavior. You guys have a hard time with that.

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Three things are worth noting from the medical community.

We have always had and will always have transgender church members we know nothing about. 1/20,000 women have xy chromosomes and lack the hormones to develop as males. One of these women was a married Academy teacher. No issues, no problems, so why can’t this be so for others?

On occasion pediatricians have to assign a gender to an infant with hormonal variants or genitalia under/over development. Half of these children will grow up to believe they were assigned the incorrect gender. Anyone that says gender is cut and dried and binary is simply ignorant.

I had a three year old patient with a fixed and persistent gender dysphoria for longer than a year before we lost contact. Three years old! Normal, alarmed but ultimately accepting family. You can’t explain that as anything but biologic.

Any view of LGBTQ+ people that does not acknowledge medical facts will not ring true. Loving others requires the ability to have empathy, listening to and believing another’s story and imagination to see your self in another’s shoes. This seems quite difficult for our current leadership and many members.

Thank you for telling life stories that encourage us to love better.

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When our church no longer encourages empathy and love for all fellow humans we have lost our way… When support for animal rights is encouraged over love for our fellow humans we have truly lost our way. When our church supports only specific gender identity individuals and not all humans we have truly lost our vision of a church showing God’s love to all…

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