Dear Reader

Dear Reader,

Now I have gotten the responses I expected. A lot of you from the church world are really, really angry. You have made that clear. You are “disgusted,” “embarrassed” and above all else, sad. Some of you are sad for what my family and I have been through. Most of you are sad I have disappointed you. Today’s blog is for you.

Here is the truth. I will leave you alone. I will not try to return to your world. No one has to visit my blog. If you like, you can block it on your computer. I think we will both be happier.

But the subject is not going away. People like me are in your church right now. They are struggling and feeling hopeless. Almost half are considering ending their lives. I have heard from them. There are far more than you think. They love their church, but few are offering them any real hope. They are likely to either lose their own lives or lose most everything else. I know you would like them to go away, or you would like them all to be flamboyant cross dressers or drag queens you feel you can easily dismiss. But they are not. They are good people trying hard to be better people. You can pretend they are not there, but most of the developed world has come to realize it is time to let them live in some semblance of peace.

Time magazine recently suggested we have reached the tipping point on transgender issues. Just about every professional medical society in the world sees Gender Dysphoria as a legitimate diagnosis. Even the DSM V declassified it as a disorder. You can believe all these people are wrong if you like. It’s up to you.  But I would ask you to think about one thing.  In the rearview mirror, prejudice looks pretty ugly, from Galileo being placed under house arrest for his belief in a sun-centered solar system, to African-American people being forced to the back of the bus, to women not being given the right to vote.  Unfortunately the church was the culprit in the first, and complicit in the latter two.  Hardening of the categories is a dangerous illness.

My guess is that most of you will be furious with me for a while, and then you will forget about me, shaking your head when someone brings up my name. It’s all right. I knew that would happen when I chose to come out. And you will not take the time to really study what it means to be transgender because, well, you have more important things to do. Most people probably feel that way.

It’s not that I do not understand your anger. I was a person of influence. People trusted me. You feel I broke that trust and you are afraid my influence might remain among people who are more vulnerable. I understand where you are coming from, and I respect your right to see life as you feel God has led you to see it. Obviously, I see it differently.

So, let’s simply part ways. You don’t try to contact me, and I won’t try to contact you. I will build a new life, and you will go on with yours. And the world will go on turning.

Paula

PS.  For those who choose to remain, I will continue to write a weekly column.

Copyright c 2014 Paula S. Williams. This document is not to be reproduced or conveyed in any media, neither print nor electronic, without express, written permission of the author.

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5 thoughts on “Dear Reader

  1. I’ve read your posts and read the replies. As a younger reader who knew you only as a guest pastor, I see this all quite differently. Take religion out of the picture: you’re a grown man with a loving and supporting family. The way you’ve chosen to live isn’t hurting anyone, you’re not abusing yourself or others – so really, why the hell is everyone making such a big deal? I, for one, don’t see you any differently. You’ve simply changed your name. If anything, I feel badly that you’re going to have to go through the headache of all that paperwork changing your name at the Social Security Administration.

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  2. Paula,
    i know that I have not seen you in many years but when I heard about your blog, I felt compelled to reach out and let you know that you and Cathy are in my prayers and to show you my support. In my 45 years on this planet and within my own life struggles ….you and Cathy have always been and continue to be two people, as individuals and as couple, that I have looked up to. I know that God has bigger plans for you and will allow you to continue your journey….just in a different way. You have touched so many lives, I know, because you have made an indelible mark on my life, even though the last time i saw you guys were so many years ago.

    Wishing you and your family much love and peace,

    Kimberly Schumann

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  3. Dear Paula- I am blessed by your candor,your desire to live as an authentic human being and as always by your inspirational words. I met you when you spoke at Emmanuel Christian Seminary in our chapel where I was the Chaplain. You were welcome to me then and will be always-as a follower of Christ.
    I will continue to read your good words if you are willing to write them.
    I am confused why others might think that you could stop being “an inspiration”?
    Is the incarnate Christ not alive within you? Has the blood of Christ lost its power? Has the same God that raised Christ Jesus from the dead become powerless in the face of all of our human struggle?
    Let us all pray that none of these things are true, for if they are, then we are among all people to be pitied and the Jesus is not full grace and truth! .
    Central to the gospel is the reality that the name of Christ is born by human, clay vessels.
    Thanks be to God who loves us and trusts us to bear in our very bodies the death of Christ and life of the Spirit. In you, I see both. You Paula are my family-the family of God.
    Grace and Peace-Rev. Heather E. Holland

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  4. I left the church over 20 years ago because I couldn’t reconcile the disconnect between people who were Christians during church, and then minutes later at coffee, engaged in hateful speech behind someone’s back, judgments, and a tendency to ignore people in need. I thought it would get better years back when the “What would Jesus do?” campaign was popular. Surely people who were faced with ambiguous situations could decide how to behave with that simple reminder. Society didn’t seem to change for the better then, and certainly many of you should be ashamed at how you are treating Paula. I can’t explain how she is feeling or what has led her to this point in her life, but I can still accept her. If you would talk with her for a few minutes, you would see that she is happier and there is a sense of calmness about her that was missing before. People are different, and that is what makes the world amazing and sometimes challenging. It is sad that some of you are missing out because of a quick judgment that you made.
    Diane Sasnett-Martichuski

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