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Dear Vanessa,

I'm writing to thank you for your book, The Cross and the Crossdresser. I also want to tell you about what's happened to me because of reading it.

My name is Linda, and I'm a crossdresser. I live in New Jersey, and have been a Christian all my life. I've never been able to understand why I need to crossdress. I've asked God about it, but have received no answers. All I know is that it's hard to be a Christian who struggles with these things. The desire has never gone away even though I've tried to hold it back.

I've tried to stop crossdressing many times. I'm able to quit for a short period, but the overwhelming need to be Linda always comes back.

I've been hurting deeply because my pastor has told me that crossdressing is a terrible sin. I went to him for help in trying to sort out what all this meant spiritually. He quoted from the Bible and told me that wearing women's clothing makes me an abomination, someone who is unacceptable to God. I'm supposed to stop dressing, repent of my sin, ask God's forgiveness, ask for forgiveness from my church, and never crossdress again. Vanessa, I've tried to stop crossdressing many times. I'm able to quit for a short period, but the overwhelming need to be Linda always comes back. I'm convinced that I'll never be able to give it up completely and that, sin or not, it's a part of who I am. So, I've struggled very hard with this issue for a long time. I've been torn apart with guilt and with shame, and the stress has even made me physically ill.

Last night I decided that I couldn't deal with all this deep pain anymore. I had ordered your book and I wanted to read it, but I was in so much emotional pain that I wasn't even sure I could concentrate. I felt that I just had to be Linda for awhile, even if it DID make me a an abomination and a sinner, so I got dressed up and sat down on the couch in my living room.

As I sat there I was holding your book in one hand----and a gun in the other. I'd made up my mind that I was going to blow my brains out because I just couldn't stand the pain and the guilt any longer. And if I was going to die, I was at least going to do it in the clothes that I loved.

I opened your book and began to read that God loves me just the way I am. You wrote that God doesn't care about what we wear on the outside of our bodies: God has more important concerns. God cares about our hearts and our spirits. You said it was not a problem for God if I wanted to crossdress because God knows what my soul needs. And you wrote that nothing could ever separate me from God's love-not my pastor, not any teaching or doctrine, not my church, or anything else.

I need to find someplace where I can worship God and be accepted for the person that I am, not for who someone else thinks I should be.

As I continued to read, I started to cry heavily. I had to stop reading for awhile and wipe the tears from my face. Finally, I decided to put down the gun so I could wipe my eyes and turn the pages more easily. When I finished your book I sat there for a long time looking at the gun. I cried some more, and then prayed to God to help me make a decision. Amazingly, God did so. I've never known such a feeling of peace, inner calm, and certainty of God's love for me as I did in that moment. I put down your book, took the gun and emptied the bullets, and then put the gun away. I have decided to leave my old church and to look for another church home. I need to find someplace where I can worship God and be accepted for the person that I am, not for who someone else thinks I should be. Thank you, Vanessa, for writing your book and for making a difference for me. I'm going to live.

Your sister in Christ,
Linda

This letter was written to pioneering transgender Christian author, Vanessa Sheridan.  Vanessa quoted it in her keynote address to the Reconciling Ministries Network Transgender Community Outreach Event in May 2001.  It is provided here with permission from Vanessa Sheridan. 

Unfortunately, the ground-breaking publication, The Cross and the Crossdresser, referenced in the letter, is out of print.  However, you may enjoy Vanessa's newer book, Crossing Over: Liberating the Transgender Christian.


 
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Books by Vanessa Sheridan

The Cross and the Crossdresser (out of print)

Cross Purposes: On Being Christian and Crossgendered (out of print)

Vanessa Sheridan on the web

Vanessa's website