Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Sex Change

If you have a friend who derives excitement from amputating his own leg and ask for your blessing to carry out that operation, what is the most loving thing for you to do in that situation?


Allow him to amputate his own leg or tell him that there is something wrong with his thoughts?


Any normal person would have chosen the latter, and so would I.


So these 3 churches, Bountiful Harvest, Shepherd's Centre and Assembly of Love, that blessed the wedding of Joshua Beh and Jess Chung, do they really think that they have done something very loving, allowing and condoning a sex change (and then marriage) when the deeper problem lies not with the sex but the depravity of the mind?


The media is trumpeting the fact that those who backed this wedding are "loving, open and understanding". But you don't love a person with toothache by giving him sweets when he ask for it. You love him by bringing him to a dentist.


To be open and understanding, let's look at the facts. I recommend this article by Paul McHugh, a psychiatrist-in-chief at John Hopkins Hospital - Surgical Sex. I quote him:


"We saw the results as demonstrating that just as these men enjoyed cross-dressing as women before the operation so they enjoyed cross-living after it. But they were no better in their psychological integration or any easier to live with. With these facts in hand I concluded that Hopkins was fundamentally cooperating with a mental illness. We psychiatrists, I thought, would do better to concentrate on trying to fix their minds and not their genitalia."


Isn't this exactly what the Bible also teaches:


"For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles." (Romans 1:21-23)


"For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error." (Romans 1:26-27)


On what grounds, if not on the authority of Scripture, that these 3 churches decide to bless this union of same sex? (Notice I still use same sex because I don't think going through a sex-change operation means a person's sex is changed. You can remove the gonads, but not replace them. Read here)


NECF has responded by saying:


“It’s clearly stated in the Bible. There is no such thing as creation of half-half. Therefore, biologically and genetically, there is only male and female. Therefore, there is no chance it (the marriage) will be condoned by the Christian church. As a religious group, we have to follow the religion based on the Bible.”


IMHO, I think this calls for a certain measure of Christian discipline on the 3 churches by the community of Christians in Malaysia if they continue to stick with their wayward beliefs.


Any thoughts?

31 comments:

Sze Zeng said...

“IT IS NOT OUR CHOICE TO BE BORN LIKE THAT!!!”


Here is their problem. They believed that their body is not working rightly because opposite-gender hormone is being produced more in them. Thus, they argue that it is not by their own choice that they have the inclination to be the opposite gender. They have been ‘determined’ by their genes. In this instance, they embraced genetic determinism; their genes determine their character/behavior/psychology. Souls and transcendent minds have no part in their physical development. This worldview is naturalistic.

Let’s look at this in a different paradigm; if more estrogen being produced in a male body, it is still produced IN a male body, not from a 'female soul'. And genetically they are STILL male. Thus, if genetic determinism is true, their argument is self-refuting. At first, they argue that it’s their body’s mechanism that determines their sexuality. That means the body mechanism is working in an already determined sexuality. Thus, their sexuality can’t change unless their genes stop functioning consistently. But it is absurd for genes to work inconsistently because that would undermine natural laws. So, it is self-referential absurd for them to argue from Genetic determinism and from Naturalism.

If you realized if Naturalism is true, there is no such thing as SOUL or transcendent mind. Thus Homosexuals, Hemaphrodites, and transsexuals hardly able to build their case on the premise of Naturalism, thus most of them would turn to Supernaturalism:


“WE ARE OPPOSITE INSIDE!!!”


We are born naturally with opposite gender on the 'inside' but are trap in a 'outward' body. In another way of saying, a soul trapped in a wrong shell. With this kind of argument, they have to presuppose some kind of Supernaturalism. In this view, they are giving a picture of confrontation between 2 forces; their inner self (souls) and their outward self (physical body). They justify their position by rendering more significance to the inner self rather than to the body. They need to bring in some sort of reincarnation theory into the argument. Thus this argument is metaphysical. But as far as Evangelical Christians are concerned, this is another argument for the truthfulness of Christian beliefs.

From an Evangelical point of view, we believed that science (strictly A Posteri knowledge) and Christian Truth are compatible.
Through faith in the Scriptures, we know that God doesn't make mistake. He wouldn't put a female soul into a male body. This is also the reason why His word is clear on gender issues such as the one in Romans 1:26-27. To Him, there is no way He will do that, if He does, then, that would ridicule Romans 1:26-27, which is His own words. (I am giving my opinion as an Evangelical).

Why not you sympathize with Stalin and Hitler? They were just carrying out their beliefs throughout their lives time to develop their countries. Why not even me? I was born and grew in a materialistic and sexually bombarded culture. It was so natural for me to inherit the gene of materialism and uncontrolled sexuality to live as who i am. If Christ asked me to die to myself and carry my own cross, i think that is an arrogant proposal one can make. It is SO natural for me to be cynical and Freudians (Sigmund Freud’s anthropology/psychology). If God would want to condemn my natural state, which i was born with, then God is being unfair. Add to that, i have inherited the origin sin in me that is none of my making. It was the fault of Adam n Eve, not me. Thus, i think God must be crazy for holding me accountable if i am UNABLE to choose UNNATURALLY, which is His will.

Can that be a sound theology? Nay.

discordant_dude said...

I think the arguments pivot around the possibility of gender neutrality at birth. The cases of a person’s chromosomes, due to genetic mutations, fail to produce the hormones necessary to develop the typical sexual organs, challenge the traditional mode of gender assignment which is based primarily on physical characteristics. In such cases, the treatment can be either the assignment of gender at birth by the choice of one’s parents followed by a subsequent social conditioning consistent with the gender or to leave this group as it is, classifying them as the third gender. These presupposed that a person can be gender neutral at birth and gender identity is wholly a social construct. Many transgender advocates appeal to this presupposition even to cases where a person may not be diagnosed with any genetic disorder e.g. Jess Chung?

Of course scientific facts have also challenged the premise that one can be born gender neutral. Paul Hugh’s article shows the possibility of mistaken gender reassignment at birth resulting in psychological problems such as depression or suicide. A preferred treatment is to delay the assignment of gender till a later age to let nature take its course. Scientific research on this matter can be pretty complex but suffice to say that the presupposition of a clear delineation between male/female can be achieved, and IMHO, provides a stronger case than gender neutrality.

This is in perfect consistency with the teachings of Scripture when God declares in creation that He made man in his own image, male and female he created them (see Genesis 1:27). There is a creation order in God’s sovereign design which is not only reflected in our nature as male and female, but also in our effort to nurture this relationship, reflecting God’s relationship with humankind.

One more note – I like NKW’s definition of nature as “that originally intended by God” rather than “that which I’m born with”.

Anonymous said...

Emotion is understandably high when discussing Jessie's case. But Christians must not easily disregard "the other side" as liberal, unscriptural or even emotional.

Thanks discordant dude for pointing out the case of those born “without sex”. Of course, I would like to refer to cases of hermaphrodites/intersexuals where one is born with both male and female sexual organs (rare but true).

Firstly, allow me to comment on sze zeng's. You mentioned "estrogen produced in male body". In doing so, you have failed to define what in fact constitute a "male body". If an overwhelming amount of the hormone is produced in a body with a penis, an amount unmistakably more "female" than "male", do we still consider the body a "male body"? If biology is to be taken as a whole, factors defining the gender are definitely not confined to the "gonad" (to use dd's term).

Granted nature (i.e. genetics) has an insignificant role to play compared to nurture in determining gender, what is the percentage of male children brought up in environment conducive for alternative sexuality development actually become or "feel more" female finally? Of course, such person may endorse homosexuality or alternative sexuality as part of his moral/ethical upbringing, but would not his male disposition incline him towards his own sexuality, whatever that is? I realized i m making here a very hypothetical observation, but for the lack of laboratorial resources, kindly allow the inferior argument.

And I would like, technical as it may, to distinguish between homosexual and transsexual. I believe in the case of homosexual, it is a man, conscious of his male gender, whose sexual preference is man, whereas in the case of Jessie, it's a case where a man believes/thinks/feels/whatever that he is a woman. Therefore in preferring another man sexually, Jessie is doing so conscious of himself as "herself". (The former case and not necessarily the latter, i believe is the object of Paul's condemnation in Romans as pointed out by sze zeng)

IF, and ONLY IF, this is the case, are we being loving in stopping Jessie from amputating himself? Yes if it's a limb, but what if it's an "extras" of which if it's not removed will render Jeffrey a freak all his life? Yes, of course, live with God-given body. Am I saying that Jessie is being victimised by God? No, even as I am convinced that those who are born terribly handicap are not victimised by God. But is she victimized by man? Yes, even as I believe those born-lame who are not given the opportunity for corrective measures in view of the advancement of technology are victimised by Man.

Jessica

Anonymous said...

[QUOTE]One more note – I like NKW’s definition of nature as “that originally intended by God” rather than “that which I’m born with”.[UNQUOTE]

I love that too...but alas, we all know that even us, the "normal" ones are not functioning as God's first intention. For the first Screwup, we need to accomodate congenital disorder, i.e. screwups at birth. This is not some invention of modern society, it's as old as human beings, minus perhaps Adam and Eve at the garden.

Jessica

Shoba al khair... said...

This is a difficult situation since the developments of technology have made it possible to carry through on deception in ways the world has never seen before.

There is nothing in the Bible about sex reassignment surgery, but everything the Bible says about male and female pertains to those who are confused about their gender. The most important principle is that God chooses whether a child is boy or girl, and our bodies tell us what gender God intends for us. If someone feels that their gender is mismatched to their genitals, then the solution is not to mutilate one’s body, but to cooperate with God to change one’s confused thinking.

“I am a woman trapped in a man’s body” is a familiar statement made by a gender-confused person, but it’s not accurate. The feelings are real, but the interpretation of the feelings are faulty. Several years ago, here in the U.S., Johns Hopkins University stopped doing sex-change surgeries because they learned that several years after the surgery, people weren’t happy. That’s because having a doctor change the outside, did nothing to change the heart, and the wrong thinking continued. Here is a link to a powerful essay written by the doctor who made the decision to shut down the program: http://www.firstthings.com/ftissues/ft0411/articles/mchugh.htm

Also, here are a couple of web pages that I think you will find helpful in understanding the regret many people experience post-surgery:
http://www.transgenderzone.com/features/sex_change_soldier.htm
http://www.realityresources.com/identity.htm

How do you counsel someone? Well, it depends on what they think. A person who is happy with their sex-change probably isn’t going to be interested in talking to someone who thinks differently about it. If they’re not happy, and suspect they made a colossal mistake, then pointing them to the grace and mercy of God is the best course. Sometimes we make decisions we can’t fix, and the only solution for a regret-filled person is to invite God into the mess they’ve made and ask Him to bring glory to Himself through it. God can make all things work together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Rom. 8:28). He honors our choices, though, and a person who has chosen to mutilate their body will have to live with a mutilated body. But one can do it to the glory of God.

Yoda said...

As an evangelical I am in agreement with the arguments brought forth.
Yet I always feel that our love for the truth must be coupled with our
love for people and that sometimes we need to do our theology with
tears in our eyes for the broken and with the awareness that we too are
sinners saved by grace.

God indeed does not make mistakes but we live in a fallen world and
people are as much the victims of their falleness as well as being
sinners.

We also need to distinguish between militant homosexuals pushing an
ungodly agenda and many lost and lonely gays looking for love and hope.

Sze Zeng said...

Granted NKW’s definition of nature as “that originally intended by God” rather than “that which I’m born with”

Jessica

In response to your question on how do we distinguish a male from a female even though the hormones level in some of them is averagely higher? I would stay with Shoba al khair’s remark “…The most important principle is that God chooses whether a child is boy or girl, and our bodies tell us what gender God intends for us.” And of cos by “bodies” I understand it as the physical bodies not at the hormones level. And gender cannot be distinguish by measuring the hormones level because it is irrelevant. For eg. In a man, estrogen has no known function, if too much of it, ”…may reduce sexual appetite, cause erectile difficulties, produce some breast enlargement, and result in the loss of body hair in some men.” (http://www.minou.com/adultsexuality/hormones.htm)

Given your definitions of homosexual and transsexual.
Homosexual- it is a man, conscious of his male gender, whose sexual preference is man.
Transsexual- a man believes/thinks/feels/whatever that he is a woman.

In the case of homosexualism, the bible is clear at condemning it; while, transsexualism deserves no less condemnation. As I’d stated in my earlier post that for a person (a grown up male) to argue from the premise that he believes/thinks/feels like a woman is caused by his genes is absurd. This is because he is already a grown up male whose genes is already masculine (XY chromosomes). There are cases where the level of estrogen being produced is higher than average in some grown up males, but there is no case for a grown up male to have his penis dropped off by itself. The gene couldn’t be altering by itself unless the person is expose to strong radioactive substance, which able to modified the genetic code of the person to the opposite wholly. But as we know, this kind of case has its existence only in comics.

And regarding Paul’s condemnation:
Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. (Romans 1:26-27)

As I have stated above that by believing/thinking/feeling like a woman doesn’t make one a woman (in God’s design) or able him to consciously choose to deny his own sexuality. Thus, I still think that Jeffrey can’t justify himself to be “herself”, at least, not by genetic determinism, spiritualism and theology. Thus he is like those described by Paul as ”…men committed indecent acts with other men…”

And since you defined homosexual and transsexual, why didn’t include intersexual? Intersexual doesn’t really mean a person born with both APPARENT reproductive organs, in most cases, their organs are not fully developed and make the gender difficult to be known (for eg. the penis sized smaller than the average/ the clitoris sized larger than the average).
http://www.isna.org/faq/what_is_intersex
http://health.allrefer.com/health/hermaphroditism-info.html

But bringing in Intersexuality issue is not necessary when the discussion is focus in Transsexualism.

My entries above are to suggest that there is no such thing as “extras” in a full-grown man. And if my entries are agreeable, then collapsed is the rhetorical statement “if it's not removed will render Jeffrey a freak all his life?”

Lastly, Yes, I agree with Yoda. All of us are sinners and doomed to eternal condemnation if not of God's mercy and grace. In view of that, i believe we should extend our mercy, love and grace to those who are struggling with their sexuality while holding firm and founded in God's uncompromising standard for holiness. But many times, i lost of ways to reach them.

Anonymous said...

I bring in the issue of intersexual because I want to, alongside dd's case of ambiguious sexuality, point to the fact that in our screwup world, there can be congenital sexual defect.

I am not advocating fully genetic determinism, but we cannot deny the effect of genetic over a person. Like I say, I grant that nurture overpowers nature, what would happened in the hypothetical scenario I've pointed? There are reports of intersexuals/ambigious sexuality where the child's sex was chosen by parents and thereafter nutured accordingly, but later in life found that he/she identify more strongly with the opposite sexuality. In this case, nuture's role seemed futile.

What i am trying to point out is that in the complexity of cases and situations, and in accordance to the biblical principle of falleness of our world, there is possibility of gender identity defect, just like other birth defect, by nature which will result in ppl like Jessie.

If such is the case, know therefore that in their sexual preferences, transexual in prefering male demonstrate the model of man-and-woman union, although in this case the woman is a heavily handicapped one.

You may seemed to be making an oversimplistic suggestion to say that the outward physical body have the last word on whehter one is a woman or man. Do you know that a woman with breast and female genital may be competing in a man's category in olympics? Yes, because it is highly possible that a "woman" may be borned with XY chromosomes (if olympic is categorized by chromosomes, which cannot be changed). The fact that there is un-manly high level of female hormones, which ultimately caused sexual defects like loss of hair and erectile dysfunctions (all signs of the body rejecting male sexuality) is such biological defect I have been trying to point out. It is not the simplistic believing/feeling/thinking as you thought I meant. But I am saying that the whole biological function save the genital is making the person identifying himself with opposite sexuality. Again,my point is that there is a possibility of such birth defects which Christians may out of their zeal fueled by Romans 1 ignore and rule out.

And finally, I must still say that transexual, granted they are true, is different from homosexuals. Homosexuals, i cannot grant them to be a genetic defect because i see homosexuality, i.e. sexual attraction to the same gender, as a physchological problem. Attraction can not, or would have very very little influence from body makeup. This is the perversion of the mind, which in Romans 1, Paul taught that was God respecting our depraved nature. On the other hand, like I have already mentioned above, Jessie, granted she is a genuine case, is still demonstrating the man-woman union model.

cheers
Jessica

discordant_dude said...

We may not want to equate transsexual with inter-sexual but they are linked because the latter provides the former with a ground to challenge the traditional notion of gender assignment based on physical characteristics. Jessica’s point that our biological composition is larger than the physical is well taken e.g. a complete AIS (testicular feminization) person has an XY-chromo but a fully developed female body with an internal testes. In such a case the removal of the ‘extra’ is warranted in accordance to one’s gender.

Even then, with allowance given to anomalies, I will still argue for the traditional mode of gender assignment simply for the reason that anomaly by definition means “being different from usual”. To draw the conclusion from inter-sexual that gender is therefore neutral is a slippery slope not backed by scientific research as yet.

Distinguishing transsexual and homosexual is necessary especially when it comes to prescribing a treatment. However, we cannot rule out overlaps where a homosexual can resort to sex-change as a guise to practise homosexuality.

IMHO, if taken in a strict sense, Paul in Romans 1 was referring specifically to homosexuality as Jessica has defined it. But if we understand that passage as an exposition of the nature of God’s wrath and the result of our abandonment of God, then the list of human depravity in Romans 1 may not be exhaustive.

I appreciate the usage of ‘natural’ in the first sense ‘that originally intended by God’ because it fits more accurately to the passage in Romans 1, a passage central to the issue we are discussing. But you are right – the word ‘nature’ is also used differently in other parts of NT, a poignant reminder of the universal depravity of humankind given the sorry state we are in where are no better than the homosexuals or transsexuals in the eyes of a holy God if not for the grace we find through Christ.

Of course, as Leon would have said, this nature vs nurture debate is a farce in the first place. Dichotomizing a complex human being is a form of reductionism that fails to take into account the inter-relatedness between nature and nurture. It is also hooked to the idea that nature (used in the second sense) determines morality. We must transcend it.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the fair comment, dd.

However, you suggestion that the homosexuals may resort to sex change as a guise is rather hard to swallow. As I have mentioned, homosexuals are those who are CONSCIOUS of their own gender (and having no problem with that) preferring sexual partner/s of the same gender. Once, a friend, i believe homosexual, who works among the sex-workers told me that, homosexuals MAY like transexual because the latter would be seen as a male (referring to relationship of male gender), but transexual liking a homosexual is because, as I mentioned, she is loving a man, albeit gay-man. And if the situation is such that many gay-men are in relationship with transexuals, I figured that it is because of societal condition/environment than of "bird of same feather flocks together" case. The anathema of the community at large on these ppl forces them to come together, in a way. But on the other hand, I take your point in the sense that if we are allowing sex-change, some perverted ppl may jump at the next boat for such procedure, making it easier for cases which are not genuine and making it difficult to trace the real cause of problem in such cases.

The dichotomy between nature and nurture must not be misunderstood as the theological dichotomy of the Person. There is a strong inter-relatedness no doubt, i.e. nurture will not create new genes, but will only trigger previously dormant ones and nature may not determine the character of the person as nurture, we learnt from biology, has a stronger effect, MOST of the time. Yet the fact that there is possibility of nature vs. nurture cannot be denied. Take the example of the twin-test. A pair of twin with same genetic make up may turn out different by virtue of upbringing (nurturing). There is a clear tension here between nature and nurture, one which must be acknowledged and perhaps employed carefully, for the want of other better indicators, to cases of gender identity crisis.

And to add on to the previous para, environment which is external to us (where "nurture" originates), cannot really be considered as part of the theological Person of body and spirit.

I propose that, in the context of the Church, cases of transexuals, and for that matter even homosexuals (but bear in mind the distinctions), ought to be handled individually. There should on one hand be no generalization of sinful perversion and on the other, false sympathy. In other word, we should be open to the possibility of such congenital birth defect as to sympathize and perhaps -I realized I am making a very bold statement here- allow a person to undergo sex-change (marriage, kids are issues to be discussed next) AND at the same time be aware of cases of gender identity crisis which is caused by other problems than birth defect, in which sex-change is not the remedy.

At this stage of our discussion, I think we ought to relate the issue to "Church's approach". There is a tension between the purity of the Church and the "Church-for-sinners-and-not-for-the-healthy". I believe Msian church as a whole has not the resources nor as yet the maturity to handle this issue. I am looking forward to the result of your discussion on homosexuality, as to how the church may accomodate these ppl. Many times, sinners may feel out of place in the sterile environment of the church whereas in the gospels, we read how sinners, the worst of them, are at ease eating and drinking with the Lord of the Church, Jesus Christ. Are we greater than our Lord in our treatment to others?

:) Just thinking out loud.

Jessica

discordant_dude said...

This is about the best secondary data I can refer to. From the psychiatrist-in-chief of John Hopkins Hospital:

"Thanks to this research, Dr. Meyer was able to make some sense of the mental disorders that were driving this request for unusual and radical treatment. Most of the cases fell into one of two quite different groups. One group consisted of conflicted and guilt-ridden homosexual men who saw a sex-change as a way to resolve their conflicts over homosexuality by allowing them to behave sexually as females with men. The other group, mostly older men, consisted of heterosexual (and some bisexual) males who found intense sexual arousal in cross-dressing as females. As they had grown older, they had become eager to add more verisimilitude to their costumes and either sought or had suggested to them a surgical transformation that would include breast implants, penile amputation, and pelvic reconstruction to resemble a woman."

Your proposal to approach each case individually is a prudent one because underlying it, and our discussion thus far, is the assumption that a genuine case of ambiguous sexuality can be verified medically. Given that, the term ‘sex change’ may be quite misleading since it implies the possibility of a real change when what is facing us is a case of ambiguity.

As for nature vs nurture, the discourse ought to be carried out within its rightful bounds as we keep in mind the distinction as well as the inter-relatedness. Either way, it has no bearing on morality but only serves to help us understand the human condition better.

Where are you from by the way? ;)

Thinking allowed.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your information.

I enjoyed the discussion very much. I believe if this is brought forward to a level where decisions or resolutions could be made, it will certainly produce a more informed, whether biblically or scientifically, response from the Church.

I am a Malaysian who love her Country and her national Church.

Cheers
Jessica

Mejlina Tjoa said...

Hi Agorians,

This is a good and tough topic of discussion. In our age today, the distinction between right and wrong gets more and more blurred. Some speak the truth without love, and some 'love' and 'accept' but not in truth. The slogan of the day is , "Who are you to tell me..." or "Why am I forced to be someone I am not?"

We can never empathize enough with people who suffer if we have never been in their shoes. Yet we are still called to share the Truth as it is. Tough ministry indeed. How do we do it? I don't know. On one hand we learn together & try our best, on the other hand with much prayer, trusting God to empower His people in this generation to be His worthy representatives.

There is similar discussion going in Stephen Tong's forum which you may find some good input:
http://stephentong.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=101

Anyone heard of Dennis Jernigan? He is now a Christian pianist and singer who used to be a homosexual, but now married with 9 kids. I used to listen to his CDs when I was still a charismatic. Now I do not agree with his theology which is heavily influenced by contemporary spirit but I celebrate God's mercy over Him and rejoice that there is hope for all who truly seek to be delivered.

http://www.dennisjernigan.com/testimon.asp

Megan said...

I'm so grateful that CDPC has such courage to do an open discussion forum on this controversial topic... In Malaysia, it's still hush-hush among christians that it's so unproductive.

Why dun we just talk about it openly that we love these folks and wanna help them? (I'm with a ministry that helps homosexuals recover and find healing)

I'm also surprised that to find out that for everybody who came to Agora today, this is the FIRST TIME they have ever attended a forum on homosexuality!

It just shows that God has worked in you to have a ministry like this at such a time when Malaysian church must wrestle with these crucial issues.

Keep up the good work! I look forward to the transgender forum next.

jacksons said...

We are so excited to do it, as soon as possible. We will post it here as soon as possible.

Alief said...

Assalamualaikum

I am a converted from Muslim to follow Isa AlMasih. I want to apologize because I still learn English and my enlish still poor. I must mix bahasa melayu and english.

Walaupun saya masih tak begitu menggunakan agama Kristian tetapi kami tetap satu dalam Isa. Saya akan menggunakan istilah Allah yang mungkin saudara (segelintir) tidak begitu selesa dengan penggunaannya.

Alhamdullilah adanya discussion yang dapat membangkitkan kesedaran masalah orang yang mempunyai dwi jantina yang pada secara luarannya dan biologinya berlainan dengan masalah homosexs.

Walau bagaimanapun apa-apa yang dibincangkan di sini mungkin berbeza dengan apa yang sedang berlaku secara benar-benar atau relity.

maybe you not face to face dengan masalah atau bertemu orang-orang yang betul menghadapi masalah dwi jantina.

Menurut padangan orang ini, walaupun dia menghadapi masalah dwi jantina, dia tetap mengenali jantinanya sebenar.

Pada pandangan saya, Allah s.w.t yang menciptakan manusia itu lelaki dan perempuan sempurna dalam imej Allah.

Memang manusia sudah jatuh. Kejatuhan manusia mungkin membawa arus di mana adanya perselisihan dalam biologi manusia seperti mana dilabelkan oleh para saintis.

Jelasnya Allah tidak menunduk pada label-label baru oleh saintis. Allah tidak akan mengubah pendiriaanNya.

Sememangnya masaalah yang dihadapi oleh orang-orang ini memanglah berlainan. Dalam kesesatan mereka, mereka ingin mencari identiti baru yang maya tapi hanya boleh diilhamkan atau dipenuhkan oleh Isa AlMasih. Bantuan diberikan memanglah dari yang diilhamkan oleh Roh Allah sendiri.

Baik adanya perselisihan jantina secara biologi mahupun secara kelakuan seseorang itu, identiti jantina seseorang itu dibinakan melalui kelakuanya sewaktu kecil, cara dibesarkan serta faktor-faktor luaran.

Walaupun seseorang lelaki bersifat kewanitaan, selagi tidak menukar jantina atau melanggar akidah Allah, Allah melihatkan serta mengasihinya walaupun dia bersifat kewanitaan.

Begitu juga wanita yang bersifat lelaki "tomboy", jika apa yang diperlakukannya tidak melanggar akidah yang diberikan Allah maka Allah mengasihinya dengan kelemahan yang dirinya ada.

Orang yang bermasalah demikian (dwi jantina) seharusnya berserah kepada akidah Allah s.w.t yang adanya dalam AlKitab.

Walaikumsalam

eve said...

I am pleasantly suprised to read about this post on your blog as there are not many Christians who respond to this issue which clearly affects our generation.
Keep it up!

BK said...

Was just wondering, will there be notes from the Agora forum on homosexuality up here online soon?

[from the guy who's pretty far from his homeland]

The Hedonese said...

Sure thing, BK...

John is in the midst of tidying it up, will be uploaded soon with some pictures of Sarawak laksa, kolo mee and satay for our UK friend... hehehe... miss home ler?

:) suddenly miss kuching too

Eugene said...

This may be off-topic, but it's quite thought provoking. "What if Jesus met a homosexual" - http://jonnybaker.blogs.com/jonnybaker/2005/03/jesus_meets_a_g.html

jacksons said...

Hi Eugene, I would like your take on what is thought provoking about the story in that link. Thanks

The Hedonese said...

Maybe it's the bit about Jesus reaches over social taboos to redeem a marginalised lost sinner? :)

That's provocatively counter cultural, isn't it?

Morgan said...

I'm pleased to see that some have appealed to a scientific authority to help this discussion, rather than make assumptions. I'm refering to the linked essay by Paul McHugh, who was the physician who decided to cancel the sex reassignment program at John Hopkins. His essay argues his case against the surgery.

First, he points out that many who claim to be transexual are either sexual fetishists on overdrive, or conflicted homosexuals. Indeed, surgery probably isn't best for these folks. They are, in fact, confused. But it's overly simplistic to think that ALL those who claim to be transexual fall into the above two categories.

Dr. McHugh then puts forth the example of the intersexed child; the male with the deformed genitals. When these children are surgically altered to be female, and raised female, evidence has shown that they later reject the female identity forced upon them, and claim to be male. This clearly shows there is more to gender identity than how we are raised. No transexual will ever argue with this. It merely supports what they already know; that gender identity is innate.

I'll ask you this: if something can go amiss during pregnancy that can cause the male organs to be malformed, as is the case for intersexed individuals, is it not then plausible that similar scenarios can cause the brain to develop abnormally? How would your views change if this were the case?

This is, in fact, what current medical research is now discovering to be the case. One study looked at the brains of heterosexual males, homosexual females, and transexuals. What did they find? In the transexuals, a region, called BSTc, was found to match that found in females, and was clearly different from the same region in the males, both straight and gay. This shows that the transexual brain is more along the lines of the female rather than male.

More recent studies have confirmed that the presence/absence of certain hormones during a certain stage of development in utero alters the gender identity of the individual.

More information can be found here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transsexual#Causes_of_transsexualism

This is really no different than the intersexed child, or the person with some other medical condition. As someone else said, it is a sin of man to withold treatment for the person with a medical condition that can be helped. "Reparitive" and other psychological techniques simply do not work for the transexual, no more than I could convince any of you that you are in fact a lizard. The only thing that helps them is surgery. It is a sin of man to withold it from them.

It's unforntunate that what most people have in their minds of transexuals isn't true. A flamboyant drag queen is usually not a transexual. A cross dresser, who dresses as a woman solely for sexual gratification isn't either. Nor is a homosexual man who claims to be a transexual because he's too afraid to deal with a life as a gay man. Most transexuals are not flamboyant, in your face sexual deviants. They simply want to get on with their lives in peace.

I do not know who Dr. McHugh visited or how many to come to his conclusions about transexuals, but it would seem he curiously overlooked the many people who got on with their lives. Have a look at this site, these are transexual women who have successfully integrated with society after receiving the help they needed.

http://ai.eecs.umich.edu/people/conway/TSsuccesses/TSgallery1.html

crowgirl said...

the reasoning put forth in the original post is faulty. A truly trassexual person does not derive "sexual excitement" from having his or her body made whole. Obviously someone who wants to deform the body for the purpose of sexual excitement needs counselling, but this is in fact the OPPOSITE of the condition the transsexual lives with.

The pre-transition trans-persons body is ALREADY deformed... despite outward appearance to the contrary.

A truer analogy in this case would be to ask what advice you would give to an individual who was born with a "third arm" attached to her chest... and felt she could have a more normal, happy, and complete life after that extra limb was removed. God DOES make mistakes... and ANYONE born with severe birth defects would testify to that truth.

The true transsexual has a birth defect... and correcting this defect gives them a shot at finally having a normal life.

Johns Hopkins stopped performing SRS surgeries in the 1970's.... so I hardly find the opinions of Paul McHugh relevant to the modern analysis of transsexualism. Those who regret having the surgery number less than five percent... and that five percent could be easily eliminated by more intensive screening of SRS candidates in the time leading up to SRS surgery. the 95% whose lives are improved and made easier by completing a gender transition should not be forced to suffer for the foolishness of a few.

discordant_dude said...

The analogy is faulty if intersexuality is the subject of concern here. However the line must be drawn between true transsexuals caused by genital deformity and transsexuals who are suffering from psychological disorder. The interesting thing is that this line can be, and should be, drawn. If not, we risk prescribing to the second category what ought to be prescribed to the first - the possible flaw of the 3 churches in advocating this particular sex change.

crowgirl said...

Please don't misunderstand me. The true transsexual is not necessarily intersexxed. The physical birth defect may well exist in the PHYSICAL brain matter. Little evidence exists that a truly transsexual individual can be "cured" through psychological counselling. The "cure" is in the transition... physical and social.

The Hedonese said...

"One study looked at the brains of heterosexual males, homosexual females, and transexuals. What did they find? In the transexuals, a region, called BSTc, was found to match that found in females, and was clearly different from the same region in the males, both straight and gay."

There was a study conducted on taxi drivers in London, which found that a region of their brains is bigger than the general population.

Now how do we interpret the data?

Does the size of that region in their brains 'determine' or 'cause' them to be taxi drivers?

Or does their 'role' of being taxi drivers (which presumably require more coordination skills) cause that region in their brains to be larger?

So the data can be interpreted differently according to our prior assumptions.

Also, whatever the results, we may note that biological 'tendency' doesnt justify a behaviour as moral or immoral...

For example year after year, statistics have shown that wife-beating is high among a certain racial group A. And it is consistently low in racial group B.

We also found tat males in race A generally have higher levels of testosterone, it shows in their physique - more hair, more aggressive than males in race B.

But no one ever argues that wife-beating is acceptable for A because it is more 'natural' for them (given their higher level of testosterone) to be more aggressive

Just as some heterosexuals 'naturally' feel like groping pedestrians doesn't mean they are morally entitled to do it..

Morgan said...

The Hedonese wrote:
"Does the size of that region in their brains 'determine' or 'cause' them to be taxi drivers?

Or does their 'role' of being taxi drivers (which presumably require more coordination skills) cause that region in their brains to be larger? "


This is a good question. And it is true that the brain is somewhat malleable to adapt to environmental pressures. For example, a study was conducted by blindfolding participants for an extended length of time. There is a particular region of the brain that is activated by visual stimulus. After a period of time, they found that when the blindfolded participants touched an object with their hands, the visual region of the brain was activated. Essentially, the brain learned and remapped itself.

Regarding the BSTc brain study... it's conceivable that taking female hormones might alter the brain of the transsexual to resemble natal females. To account for this, some of the transsexuals included in the study had never received hormone therapy. Their brains also matched those of natal females.

As much as you may like to believe that the problems of transsexuals are "all in their head" so to speak, all I can say is that countless attempts at various psychotherapy treatments, from counseling, electroshock, drugs, male hormones... all have failed.

Several years ago, doctors used to prescribe a synthetic estrogen, DES, to older pregnant women thinking it would ensure a safe birth and healthy baby. What they actually found is that this chemical caused a high proportion of babies to be deformed or intersexed, and the female babies showed a disproportionately larger incidence of lesbianism and transsexualism. What does this show? That the prenatal chemical environment of the fetus is VERY important in the development of physical, sexual, and gender identity.

Now, none of these examples probably satisfy you, because what you are really arguing is that biology doesn't determine destiny. We all have free will to act as we choose, moral or immoral. Just because I may be angry with someone, and want to hit them in the face, doesn't mean that I will. I choose not to, because I abide by a set of morals.

The question for you really is, "is it moral for transsexuals to transition physically and socially to the gender they know themselves to be?" To answer that, I would ask where your morals come from. As a Christian, you might look to the teachings of Jesus and to the rest of the Bible. The fact is, the Bible is silent on this issue. The closest references you may find involve eunuchs. I do not know the exact verses, but I'm sure you can dig them up. I know that one verse, I believe in the old testament, commands that eunuchs are not to be allowed into Church. Another verse, New Testament I believe, commands that eunuchs are deserving of compassion, and community with God. What will it be? What would Jesus do? How did he treat the deformed people.. the blind, the lepers, etc?

How do you know that 'blue' is blue?
How do you know that God exists?
How do you know that you are a man/woman?
The answer, simply, is that that you 'just know'.

The Hedonese said...

Hi Morgan,

Thanks for the stimulating conversation.

Since the brain is somewhat malleable to adapt to environmental pressures and it's conceivable that homosexual or transsexual behaviour itself might alter the brain 'mapping', we could not be dogmatic in asserting tat biology determines destiny :)

It's not so much as discounting the findings of science when they dun fit our worldview as pointing out the need for tentativeness and humility not to over-extrapolate scientific descriptions into moral prescriptions.

It is also highly debatable to make sweeping statements "that countless attempts at various psychotherapy treatments, from counseling, electroshock, drugs, male hormones... all have failed. "

I personally know MANY people who have struggled with homosexual AND transsexual inclinations (at least one person we know has seriously considered sex change operation) but have overcome with determination, counselling, prayer and family support over a period of time.

This side of heaven, there may be no perfect healing... but these people have been able to leave happy lives as married or singe persons. There is hope for recovery

Biological and societal factors are VERY important in the development of gender identity, sure. But we are not helpless robots pre-programmed by nature or environment. We all have to choose, moral or immoral.

You are right tat this is a moral issue. I like the way u describe our knowledge of blue, gender and God as foundational... we 'just know' them.

In the same way, we simply know that rape and torturing babies for fun are immoral. And these clear-cut cases help to illumine 'grey' areas which face us today.

Generally, we see that 'corrective surgery' in the case of hermaphrodite or 'pseudos' is appropriate and moral.

We do not agree that a person born male should 'decide' to be female because of psychological illness.

As a Christian, I look to the teachings of Jesus and to the rest of the Bible. The fact is, the Bible is NOT entirely silent on this issue. i.e. the creation account tells us God's design for humans to be male and female.

Sin does affect the creation design and result in unfortunate cases of deformity and so on. It's not God's mistakes, but the consequences of sin on nature.

Yet there is redemption and restoration in the person of Christ and His people, the church who is called to represent Him in extending help, love and truth.

I certainly agree with you that the bible commands that all sinners should be treated with compassion, and when they repent, be restored to 'community with God'. (which is not condoning sin)

Lastly, I dun have simple solutions that will cure all transsexuals who are struggling with real issues in their lives. But there is hope... There are others who have gone before and overcome.

They need someone to walk with them on the road to recovery. :)

They should be able to find it in the church, of all places.

As the church of Christ, we have much to do as agents of God's healing and redemption. :)

If someone who reads this wants help, we would be happy to direct him or her to experienced counsellors who may help.

Anonymous said...

I will give the disclaimer that I am agnostic (although I was raised non-denominational fundamentalist) so I do not purport to have a Christian perspective on this.
---

I spent 19 years as a very awkward, feminine, boy who liked boys (whether I was homosexual or bisexual did come up for debate and I've settled on 'bisexual' for the time being). In early childhood, I felt like I was not accepted by either boys or girls (although I was more accepted by girls) and I thoroughly felt as if I was an alien plopped into the middle of trying to function in a society I didn't understand.

By age 10, I knew I was a girl in some fashion I couldn't explain -- I felt as if I used to be a girl and then I was ripped away from that and shoved in this boy role. I prayed for God to change my body and I got no response. I prayed to the Devil to change my body and I got no response. After 3 years of this, I realized that it was highly likely that God did not exist and if He did, He didn't care about my situation.

By age 10, I realized I liked boys and I was conflicted because people said this made me "gay" and meant that I was this horrible person and thus condemned me to Hell -- even if I wanted to be a girl who liked boys, not a boy who liked boys.

At 16, I found out that there were actually people in my situation. I thought transsexuals were freaks and men who wanted to be women (whereas I claimed I actually was a girl). I had been out as gay or bi to my friends (and, effectively, the whole school as it was rather hard to hide) since 15. My parents tried to crack down on me and make me into a boy but of course it didn't work.

At 19, I decided I couldn't wait any longer (I had been out to most of my friends as trans for the last 3 years so it was no suprise to them) and started therapy and hormones behind my parents' back. When they found out, I was kicked out so I went back to college and slept on a lot of couches.

Despite several months of unstable housing, I got in shape, my grades improved, I stopped having major anxiety issues and headaches. Most importantly, I went from attempting suicide (as I did from 15 onward) and self-injuring (as I did from 14 on) to actually believing in my future and embracing my life.

At this point, only my close friends know that I was born male. I am not tall nor strong-featured and I fit in. I know that I fit in and it's not just people being nice because (straight) boys hit on me. I now have a very wonderful boyfriend who neither sees me as a boy nor a exotic sexual object (for the record, my genitalia do not come into play in our sex life).

I went from being an extremely awkward, conspicuously effeminate, depressed and disfunctional boy who likes boys to being a relatively normal, inconspicuous, functional straight girl. I am now 21 and can finally relax and get on with my life.

Surgery is a long way off but I do see it as a way of completing my transition because then nobody has to know about my past and I can go swimming, work out, meet guys and anything else which may be awkward with the genital configuration I have now.

What's so wrong about that? I am fully willing to accept that there is no inherent, pre-determined gender identity which was in conflict with my own sex but what good would it have done to prolong my suffering? It's not the same as performing genital surgery on an infant and raising them as the opposite sex. To the best of my knowledge, I am a "normal" XY male who just couldn't fit in and did what it took to do that.

I want to have a husband and a family (I am now sterile from the hormones so even a surrogate mother wouldn't help and I do really believe in adoption). I want to have a good life in the community (our town, not the gay/trans community ^_^) and if I could find faith, I would love to be part of the Church again.

I chose to live, I chose to fit in, I chose to have a real life, I chose to transition. What good would it do to close that door?

Anonymous said...

A Dream Come True
by Alan Chambers

My dream world offered me something I desperately needed--love...I longed for someone to love me because they wanted me.
My earliest memories are of wanting to be a girl. I often dressed in my sister's clothing, my mother's high-heels and tried to pass myself off as a girl to strangers. I desperately wanted to be a girl so I could do all of the things that others called feminine without the fear of being ridiculed. I hated sports and the rejection and name-calling that went with it.

I remember an older boy teasing me about the way I walked, ran, threw a ball or swung a bat. "That's just like a girl would do it," he'd say.

He was right. In fact, I used to sit at the dinner table and mimic my mother's eating style. When she took a bite, I took a bite; when she dabbed the corners of her mouth with her napkin, so did I. Femininity became "my other world."

I found comfort in my unreal world of make-believe and was always one thought away from being anyone or anything. All I had to do was close my eyes and dream. My dream world offered me something I desperately needed--acceptance.

No one accepted me, I thought, not even God. How could He? After all, I wasn't a typical boy. I felt flawed and didn't fit in. There were so many other people in the world that far exceeded my abilities. Who was I to the Almighty Creator?

I felt similarly with my family. The youngest of six children, I was sure my parents wondered why their youngest son wanted to be a girl. I had come from a long line of athletic brothers. What's wrong with him?, I often perceived. I longed for someone to accept me for who I was. I needed to be the most important the most loved.

At age nine I was sexually violated by a teenage boy who swore me to secrecy. I remember it being a warm afternoon that I was playing in my room. The older boy I had been playing with closed the door and locked it. I had no idea that his actions would drastically alter my life. My mind raced with fear and confusion as he disrobed me and began taking advantage of me. The experience was painful and I did not understand his actions. But because he said I let it happen, I felt it was my fault and I must keep quiet.

Yet, even with the shame and pain I felt afterwards, I remember wanting it to happen again. He chose me, I thought. For the first time I felt important and desirable to someone. It never happened again, but for a long time I cherished the memory of the touch of another male. My longing for love and acceptance now had a name--sex.

I had sexual experiences on a several occasions with two friends from my middle school, but never found the relationship I was hungering for until high school when I finally found a good friend. He became everything to me; everything I wanted to be. He possessed a masculine, charismatic personality. He was very involved in sports and extremely handsome. Best of all, he really liked me.

A couple of times that I spent the night at his house we wound up experimenting with sex. This was the ultimate. Not only was I just emotionally in love, the physical affection confirmed it. I thought I had found the missing piece to my life's puzzle through the sexual intimacy I experienced with this man.

However, my dream was shattered when he told his parents that he woke up one night to find that I had forced myself on him. I was too ashamed and too stunned to say otherwise. I alienated myself from everyone who knew. Just like being molested, I was the guilty one again. This event confirmed what I had felt for a long time, I couldn't trust anyone.

Several months after that experience with my friend, I attended a revival at my church. I had been raised in a Christian home, was a faithful church member and had made a commitment to Christ at an early age, but my struggles with sexuality and the shame that brought kept me from truly experiencing a deep relationship with God.

This revival was particularly life-changing. The man speaking related his own life story as a drug addict. He realized his life was full of pain which led him to use drugs. Like the speaker, I too realized my pain could continue leading me down negative paths, or I could give the pain and my struggles to God. That night I prayed that God would come into my life and change me.

I had complete confidence that my experience was real. I would no longer have to worry about temptation or homosexual thoughts again. As I drove home I sang loud, prayed and focused on a fresh start.

In a few days, however, the thoughts were back and the behaviors too. Wow, God sure didn't do what I believed He would, I thought soberly. He made me feel like I was home-free and then BAM, back to reality!

I tried harder; I began reading my Bible more often. I dated some. And I continued praying that familiar prayer I had recited night after night since age eleven, "God please heal me, change me, forgive me. Please Lord, I really want you to know that I don't want to go to Hell."

But my homosexual thoughts were so intense. I constantly gave into them, sometimes spending hours and hours dreaming about Mr. Right. I was sure that there was no way out. My pastor has been right all along, I thought, homosexuals really do go to Hell!

I finally quit trying. It seemed that the church with all the answers didn't have an answer for me. I felt like I had tried so hard and all I could do was fail. I couldn't tell anyone either. After all, homosexuals were the worst of all sinners, right? Telling anyone would be humiliating. I knew God must hate me. I was so angry with Him for giving me a need for something that He condemned. Part of me wanted to be gay. In fact, my actions stated that I already was.



In the Winter of 1989 the youth at my church traveled to a conference for teens. For two days I heard the speaker talk about the love of God and the concern He had for those of us in the audience. On the last evening the speaker mentioned that there might even be someone in the crowd struggling with homosexuality. He said that God knew everything yet loved that person in spite of their sin. I knew that he was talking to me. An altar call was all I needed; I went forward that night and shared my story with a counselor. He offered me three immortal words, "God loves you." Though I couldn't understand why, I knew he was right. The counselor referred me to a therapist in Orlando. I made many appointments only to end up canceling them. Finally, asking a receptionist at the counseling center if they knew anything about homosexuals, she referred me to Eleutheros, a Christian group helping men and women who don't want to be gay leave homosexuality.

I began attending support group in 1990. I desired to make it work, but there were times when I couldn't get past the fact that Mr. Right could be out there waiting for me. I still wanted to find him. So instead of choosing one over the other, I did both. I went to counseling and group three times a week and gay bars three times a week. I thought I would give them both an equal chance.

I was introduced to the bars by some Christians who were gay. Young and impressionable, I was quickly welcomed into a large circle of gay friends. Finally, I was accepted for being gay. The very thing that I had been ostracized for now made me popular. But no matter how hard I tried to reconcile my Christian faith with my newfound life-style, I still believed that homosexuality was wrong. I was reminded of the scripture that, paraphrased, says God's law was written on my heart. His handwriting would not go away.

Yet, still pursuing my search for a man, one day my searching paid off. I found a place where anonymous sexual encounters happened. The sex didn't involve relationship, but still it was something. I was desirable to someone, at least for ten minutes. Later I would learn the scripture, ...to the hungry, even what is bitter tastes sweet. For six months I went back to this spot again and again. I began to need it even when I didn't want it. I couldn't stop. I was addicted.

Soon it became apparent that even though I was having sex, I craved the relationship more. I was lonely, angry and hurting. No matter where I looked I wasn't happy. I realized I was happier the night I prayed for God to come into my life at the revival, happier than any sexual encounter had ever made me.

But I still had questions. Why can't a man meet my needs? Why isn't that kind of happiness possible for me? I'm not so bad, I thought. I could give someone so much if given the chance. All I wanted boiled down to one thing--commitment. No man had ever committed himself to me, good or bad. I needed a secure love that was tangible, accessible and committed.

I went to God that night with those questions and He answered me. He climbed down into that hole I had dug for myself. I had given so much of myself to the pursuit of gay life; months of my time and energy. I had less of myself than what I started with and lost my innocence in the process.

Yet, God pursued me. He told me that man was not created to meet my needs. Only He, my Heavenly Father, could do that. He told me that all the times I cried out to Him, He had been there with an answer. He showed me that, when I so desperately needed Him, He sent my Christian friends to help. They were Jesus in the flesh when I was too blind to see Jesus in the Spirit.

I wept remembering the way He had provided for me, even in my anger--especially in my anger. I began to understand as I learned to see with the eyes of my Heavenly Father. I had been wrong.

That night my prayer served as a catalyst for me to begin a journey. Since I was already involved in a support group, I decided to really be committed and give it a shot. As I focused my whole mind on God, I began to see progress. My will had been changed.

I began trusting God instead of trying His ways. I stopped going to the bars and stopped having sex to meet my needs for companionship. I learned that it was okay to hurt and to desire; that the need for love and acceptance from a man was not bad. Homosexuality was an illegitimate way to meet a legitimate need. God could meet some of those needs through Himself and through others. I could have healthy relationships with men who would love me. So I found healthy men who wanted to spend time with me.

I also opened up to my brother and his wife who invited me to their church. Many people reached out to me there, even knowing my past homosexual involvement. Feeling secure, I shared my past with more people who embraced me as a brother.

Another man I met at church was one of those "macho" men I wished I could be like and with. He befriended me and let me share my experiences. When he hugged me as I wept through hours of stories, I felt like God was hugging me through this man.

Gradually, God changed my desires. I didn't want or need sex. I had pure relationships with men that far exceeded any sexual encounter I'd ever had. And as I've put my faith, hope and trust in Jesus Christ, I've found the security I've always dreamed of.

My hurt was real and I needed healing and continue to find it. A struggle-free life isn't what I've found. But, rather freedom in the hope that after this short life is over He will make good on His promise to bring my healing to completion.

In 1998 the ultimate dream came true when I married my best friend. Leslie is the embodiment of all I consider to be Godly, pure and beautiful. She isn't my diploma for healing, nor is she proof that I have changed. She is, however, evidence of God's healing in my life. I am further along towards completion with her as my wife.