Friday, 19 August 2011

Trying to 'Fix' someone

I recently read a post by someone who is dealing with being transgendered and their other half wants them to see someone who might be able to help them by 'fixing' them I found it a fascinating read, especially all the comments that people left. If your on Pink Essence then you can find the original blog there.

The person that they were being referred to is at http://www.prodigal-ministries.com/.

I have to admit if my other half suggested that I saw someone because she thought he could fix me then I'd be heading in the other direction as fast as I could. Even if he was a legitimate counselor and was bound by patient confidentiality I'd be wary of going to him if my spouse had already spoken with him. I know that mine has her head part buried in the sand and is hoping all of this will go away but who knows what she might say when talking to someone, especially if she thought that they might be of help to her in getting her own way.

Several years ago I had started the process of getting a referral to Charing Cross and told some close church friends what I was doing. They were stunned and didn't know what to do but suggested that I might like to try counseling. They knew of a couple that had moved down to our area from London and who were trained counselors as well as Christians. I agreed to see them and went to where they lived. They were a lovely couple and we chatted, we even prayed but they didn't have the experience to be able to deal with me properly. They did offer some suggestions as to places I could try. I looked up each of them and decided that I really didn't like the look of anywhere that was suggested. They were either too extreme in their outlook or took the stance that they could "fix" a person.

Since then I've come to terms with who I am and how it impacts on my Christianity. It has stopped me doing some things that I was involved in but that is mainly because it would either be confusing for the children that I was teaching at Sunday School or would be a distraction or even downright dangerous for the work I was doing as a Street Pastor. My faith is still strong and if anything I've developed more of a tolerance for people and their differences and a deeper love of my fellow men and women.

Last year I came out to the leadership at my church about the fact that I was transsexual and planned on transitioning. I'd told the same church friends I'd previously told that I had an appointment to see a psychiatrist in order to get a referral to the local gender clinic and they decided that they couldn't continue to support me on their own and that our vicar and his wife should know so that they could help provide support to my family and I. I agreed to that and also to going along to meet up and to have some prayer ministry. Before I agreed though I made it absolutely clear that if anyone tried to pray for me to be cured and to remain a man that I would walk out and have nothing more to do with it.

There are now about 22 people at our church, out of a congregation of nearly 150, who are aware of what is happening. So far nobody has rejected me and no-one has tried to quote the bible at me, not that they could apart from the obvious verse buried in Deuteronomy. A couple have spoken to me briefly about it and have said that if they can help they will but they don't see how they can. One admitted that she was trying to get her head around it and if she had questions she would ask me them if it was ok, she did then go onto say that she'd have to be a bit more careful about what she said to me in jest, I had to laugh and tell her that she should carry on as she'd always done and not worry about it.
Another one came up to me at the end of a church weekend and asked me how I'd been over the weekend. In response to my "I'm fine" she said "OK, and now how have you been really?" I somehow don't think that I'm going to be able to fob her off with the usual responses that people give to questions like that. I think she might be one of the few people I know that really is tuned into what God has to say to her.

All of these people are ordinary Christians living ordinary lives and showing me just how loving and caring people can be and I wouldn't be without anyone of them. However, if they even remotely suggested that I could be fixed so that I stayed the same person that they've known for years I'd walk away there and then, having told them what I thought of their suggestion.

The thing that I do find really interesting is that the one group of people that I would have thought would have been more supportive are the pastors organization I as part of. The coordinator was really helpful and listened when I told her about what was happening and as I updated her through the initial months of seeking help. At the end of last year I thought that I might be able to go back with them but they needed to discuss things. Early this year I got a letter from the chairman of the management team telling me that they had regretfully decided that I couldn't go back, I understand their reasons. In March I had an email from the coordinator asking how my appointment had gone with the psychiatrist. I told her what was happening and have not heard anything since.
Now that has been a real disappointment as I expected more from them than to simply ignore me for the last 5 months.
Just to be clear though I'm not knocking them for what they do because they do incredible work at times when most people are out having fun and the only other people that are around are bar staff and the emergency services. They are all volunteers and do what they do out of love for their fellow man.

4 comments:

  1. I'm sorry, but the thought occurs to me that with friends like those pastors, you have no real need of enemies!

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  2. I still know a couple of them but of those there is only one that knows what is happening. I'm only in contact with her via Facebook. The others attend my church and apart from one, whose wife knows, I'm sure that the rest don't have a clue.

    I think that my disappointment is really with the way things have been handle since I told them that I was transitioning and doing it now. The lack of even the shortest email to see how I'm doing isn't inspiring and where I would have thought about getting involved again post-transition at one point I don't think that I could get involved with something where you can be off going through a major life changing event and nobody contacts you.

    If they expect me to get in touch with them to keep them up-to-date then its not going to happen.

    I've got some friends coming down in September and we'll be out on the Saturday night. It will be interesting if we bump into any of the pastors to see if anyone asks how I am and why I'm no longer involved. If they are around then with the group I'll be out with I'm pretty sure that some of them will make a bee-line to talk to us. I fully expect us to stand out a mile.

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  3. I generally don't agree with 'fixing' cos it seems to me to miss out the whole idea that your ARE made in the image of God as is in multitude of differing ways that perhaps some in leadership positions may not be able to accept.
    That's different than suggesting in considering how to suggesting in your consideration of how to deal with the whole internal gender/external gender presenting that you should consider all the implications and that prayer may be a part of this.
    Regards Caroline (Mc1)

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  4. It was clear from the first time that I sat down with our vicar and his wife exactly what they and my position was.
    They are being very supportive and will continue to do so but if it looks like my family are getting hurt then they have said that their focus will be on supporting them. I'm happy for that to be the case as I have other friends who I can lean on for support when I need it.

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