Trans Ban Policy Anniversary
A year ago the handbook changed and few people thought much of it. For me, I suddenly went from being a regularly attending temple recommend holder to a member with restrictions, but nothing in my lifestyle had changed.
I have always been a staunch follower of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, even though I grew up in Florida. My high school identity was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I attended early morning seminary and then carried my scriptures around with me to always have them with me (before I had a smartphone). I went to BYU like my parents, served a full-time mission, and then returned and married in the Temple. My roommates and companions will all testify to how important obedience and the Church were to me.
After my husband and I graduated from BYU, we got a house near his work and were eager to start a family and move on with our lives. I was unable to find a job or get pregnant and was instead left to face the monster of depression and despair that had plagued me for as long as I can remember that I usually suppressed by being busy. I dove into scripture study, general study, and attending the temple, but it was only in applying the principles of relying on modern medicine and therapy that I was able to be healed.
Applying these principles in faith, I discovered that being trans isn’t a social choice, but the cure for a disease of the mind and body called gender dysphoria. There had never been anything about me that explicitly didn’t fit within what is acceptable for a woman, even if I hadn’t been the feminine perfection that has men lining up for dates. But yet, there was still something wrong that had nothing to do with having short or long hair or wearing pants or dresses, that still left me feeling suicidal and depressed. It wasn’t until I acted in faith by trying a new name and pronouns in a limited setting that I started to taste the relief that was in store for me. It was a small and simple act of faith, akin to reading the Book of Mormon (which is now where the restrictions begin).
I testify that I have been healed through the Atonement of Jesus Christ because I acted in faith and sought out the best medical professionals to help me. I can join in with Alma and claim that there is a joy that will erase all the pain from living the wrong gender. To de-transition in order to re-qualify for a temple recommend would be denying Christ and the miracle He performed in my life. I will not because both Gd and I know it, so I cannot deny it.
I hope sharing my story will amend some of the wrongs from when I adamantly supported the Church in opposing LGBT rights. I now know that it is wrong for anyone to live against their eternal gender (fluid or not, binary or not) and that is wrong for anyone to pursue relationships against their eternal attractions (or lack thereof). The confirmation I got after completing this turn-around was the statement from President Oaks about removing the policy of exclusion, “treat homosexuals the same as heterosexuals”. While the Church isn’t applying it as fully as we all would like, it lets me know that Gd is with us and that all will be made right through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
Editor’s Note: For more information on the 2020 changes to church policy impacting transgender members, please see New Church handbook provides some clarity but minimizes LGBTQ identities.