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A Coming Out Letter

by Brenda Thompson

[note: specifics regarding the congregational identity
have been withheld as a courtesy to the community]

First Baptist Church

November 23, 1998

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

The attached letter from Bob Thompson is his disclosure letter to us regarding his struggles with gender identity disorder. At Bob's request the deacons and pastors agreed to send this letter to you in the hope that you may better understand this condition and its impact on Bob's life. The letter is being sent to adults who come regularly to Sunday worship.

Many of us have come to know Bob over the past year and have appreciated his honesty, courage and Christian commitment. He sent a similar letter recently to his colleagues at his workplace and received a caring and supportive response. We hope that the church will be similarly responsive.

We realize this is an unusual situation and you will have questions and concerns. We suggest you bring them up with Bob, or one of us. We want to address your concerns.

Best wishes,

[name withheld], Pastor

[name withheld], Associate Pastor

To: The Congregation, First Baptist Church

From: Bob Thompson

Some of you may have noticed some changes in both my appearance and behavior, and I would like to take this opportunity to explain why those changes have been, and are still taking place. Ever since I was a young child (about age 3), I began to feel that there was something different about me compared to other boys my age. By age 5 these differences began to refine themselves in my feelings and my interests. While other boys my age were growing more aggressive, I was a shy child, and as a result, I never really fit in with them. As time went on I began noticing the girls my age and started having desires to look and be like them, but being a boy, I was never really accepted by the girls' groups, and my childhood was pretty lonely.

As I grew older, I hoped that these feelings would go away, but they only grew stronger, but I also learned very quickly that gentleness and sissified behavior, in a boy, was not looked upon favorably and as unnatural, and uncomfortable as it was for me, I soon learned how to act like the other males around me, and that it was the easiest way to get along in life.

This condition has caused many hardships in my life. First of all it has caused me learn how to act in a way that is unnatural for me, and I have had to keep up that act, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year, for almost my entire life. Secondly, it has put a tremendous strain on my marriage, and last November, my wife and I decided to separate, and are now in the process of divorce. Finally, the church that I was attending at the time was unable to accept this in me, and they decided to take away, my membership. One of the only positive things that has happened as a result of this is that I have found a new church home here at First Baptist Church.

Because of my inability to cope with this condition and with all the things going on in my life as a result of it, I have sought out support groups, and psychological, and medical help. I have been diagnosed as gender dysphoric to the extent of being transexual, and I have since learned that this is a medical condition, and that there is significant evidence that this caused by a prenatal, hormonal condition. There is no known cure for this condition, and the only successful treatment is to live ones life in his or her psychological gender role.

I have come to the conclusion that I must now live my life with authenticity and honesty, and to do anything else would be impossible. After much soul searching, prayer, and consultation with my gender therapist, I have decided to follow my only acceptable course of action. To live the rest of my life as a female.

As a result, I have consulted with my gender therapist, and in order to make it as easy on everyone involved, we have come up with the following plan, which I have discussed with our pastor. Over the next month or two, my appearance will become more and more feminine. During this time, I will have my name legally changed to Brenda, and at the end of this period, I will begin living full time as a female, and just before Christmas, I would like to start being called Brenda.

Last October, when I first started attending First Baptist Church, I found it to be a warm and friendly church, and it didn't take long before I decided that this was where I wanted make my new church home. So many of you have made me feel welcome, and for that I am truly grateful. As a church family you have been wonderful to me as Bob, and it is my sincere desire and prayer that this will continue as my life continues to change, and as I enter my new gender role as Brenda

In Christ's Love

Bob Thompson