Reply To: Transgender People of Faith


I am a 70-year-old, heterosexual partial transsexual with a strongly male self-perceived gender with a strong desire to look and be female and gets easily aroused when I cross-dress.

I also take low doses of HRT: spironolactone and estradiol. Have hypoactive gonads but cannot tolerate testosterone replacement. Taking testosterone causes my red cell count to increase significantly and puts me at risk of stroke or heart attack.

I cross-dress in private only but nearly fulltime. I have good reason to believe that my mother took diethylstilbesterol (DES), a strong hormone disrupter, during her pregnancy with me.

I first had desires to “see what it was like to look like and/or be a girl” at age 14. I cross-dressed using my mother’s clothes for about two years and then stopped for many years and did not regard myself as a cross-dresser until age 53 just after the death of my mother in 2002. At the time I was experiencing great economic distress that greatly disturbed my wife. Rather suddenly I developed intense, incessant desires to cross-dress full time. My feelings were so distressing that considered committing suicide. I called our local university’s emergency room and asked them what I could do. They recommended a call a local transgender support group, Engendered Species. I was able to speak with a compassionate cross-dresser who was married to a fully transitioned MTF transsexual who convinced me that a live cross-dresser was a better contributor to family and society than a dead one. Eventually, I became a founding member of a local Tri-Ess group.

Six years prior to this time, I suffered a mid-brain bleed complicated by acute hydrocephalus requiring emergency placement of a ventriculo-peritoneal shunt. Though not outwardly impaired much, I developed severe chronic drowsiness and a significant loss in executive function that required me to close my surgical practice only 5 years after opening it and after canceling my disability insurance.

I had to work as a janitor, a waiter, an auto parts deliverer, a bookstore and department store housewares salesman, a junior high math and health teacher, and a health care career college adjunct professor in medical terminology, biology, microbiology, chemistry, anatomy and physiology, pulmonary pathology, and health care administration until I was asked to resign due to my inability to make lesson plans and submit grades for my students in a timely manner. I subsequently applied for and received designation as being totally disabled and live primarily on disability income.

I also underwent two years of counseling with a specialist in sex addiction who was a member of my faith. I received therapy focused on treating an obsessive-compulsive disorder. I had cognitive behavioral therapy, exposure response therapy, and “Come-to-your-senses” therapy without effect. In then received medical and psychiatric therapy that included trials of treatment with a variety of anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications. I also received what is called intense psychotherapy. Eventually I found that a combination of St. John’s Wort, Luvox, anti-OSD SSRI, and Vyvanse, a slow release pre-drug form of dextro-amphetamine used to treat ADD in children, resulted in the complete disappearance of any desires to cross-dress for a year and a half.

Unfortunately, I developed the serotonin syndrome and had a small frontal lobe “lacunar” stoke and had to be taken off all these meds. In order to stay awake and do medical research, I had to resume cross-dressing. Shortly after I disclosed these developments to my then separated spouse, she divorced me.

I am a devoted Christian, an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with full privileges, a part-time medical researcher and avid scientist.

I am a veteran of 35 years of marriage. Though divorced and living by myself, I still see my ex-wife frequently more as a separated husband than as an ex-husband. We often travel together to see our children and grandchildren.

I am a father and former tutor of four learning challenged but highly successful and strongly religious children. Each required years of tutoring by me to overcome serious weaknesses in inductive learning.

My oldest son is a professor of art and animation and a Sunday School president. My daughter is a Tony Award-winning soprano, a premier voice teacher and a Gospel Doctrine teacher. My second son is a tenured professor of mechanical engineering who got his bachelor’s, master’s, and doctor’s degrees in mechanical engineering from MIT. He lectures all over the world on constraint-based design, nanotechnology, materials science, and nano-fabrication of complex mechanisms and serves as a bishop. My third son got his bachelor’s in mechanical engineering from Harvard and his master’s and doctor’s degrees in mechanical engineering from MIT. He has published a paper in Science solving a previously unsolved problem in preventing aluminum batteries to decompose. He serves on a High Council. All are married, and three have had children giving me eight lovely grandchildren.

My bishop son and my ex-wife have very negative feelings toward my cross-dressing. My three other children are more compassionate and accepting but prefer never seeing my cross-dressed.

I have never cross-dress at church and stopped cross-dressing in public three years ago at the request of my church leaders who gave me full temple and priesthood privileges as a result.

By writing letters to the current world leaders of my church regarding the plight and suffering of transgender members of my faith, I believe I succeeded in significantly changing my church’s attitudes toward persons struggling with gender dysphoria. My daughter is friends with a daughter of the First Counselor in the Church’s First Presidency.

Now our world leaders have expressed in writing in a friend of the court communication with the Supreme Court that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints acknowledges the reality of gender dysphoria and related conditions and believes that affected individuals need to be treated with love, compassion, and understanding and that reasonable accommodations for their conditions should be allowed. I consider this one of my greatest achievements.

Respecting the attitudes and reactions of the majority of non-transgender people and respectfully and charitably informing intelligent, truth-seeking, and compassionate members and leaders of my faith of the feelings and challenges the transgender population face has resulted in major progress in the acceptance of transgender people by a hither to rather antagonistic Church.