A distinct emotional tug

Permission granted to reprint any of Wilkins’ articles. Please cite: www.MoreThanWords.global

Long before Bruce Jenner became Caitlyn Jenner, I wondered if I might be trans.

There were road signs along the way. The first came about age seven when I, the youngest of three sons, for the first time read mama’s baby book on “Timothy Jerome Wilkins.” Among the entries were “Baby’s birthdate, weight, hair, and eye color.” And then “Mother’s first words”: “Ah, I wanted a girl.”  My temperamentally sensitive heart sank. It’s understandable that after two sons, mama would like to have had a daughter, but her disappointment that I wasn’t a girl caused me no little anxiety. “Should I have been born a girl?”

About a year later, a second road sign. I begged mama for a dress until she finally relented. I wore it inside the house for a week or so until it disappeared.

At age nine, another sign; I had asked Jesus into my heart and was baptized. But after baptism and while I and about four other guys my age changed clothes, I felt painfully uncomfortable – to put it simply – I felt as though I would have been better suited to have been in the girls’ changing room where I would “fit in.”

The next more general road sign occurred in the sixth grade – pre-puberty – where most of each day’s recesses, “Landon” and I talked about movies and music, while the other boys raced to the ball field. Though I wasn’t sure why, I liked Landon for whom I felt a distinct emotional tug. Shortly thereafter, I realized I was gay and just when I didn’t think I could be any more confused, I was.

Where does a fourteen-year-old boy, who thinks he should have been born a girl, go for help in the sixties?  As much as I loved my pastor, I couldn’t fathom pulling him aside at church and whispering, “I think I should have been a girl.” I dared not tell my male youth director – on whom I had a crush nor did I sit down with the school guidance counselor though I certainly needed guidance.

Before there was a World Wide Web that permitted anyone to research anything with anonymity, I determined to get some answers, but I would have to be discreet. I devised a plan where I would, during a regular visit to the school library, casually stroll over to those tomes called encyclopedias.

The day came. Heart pounding. Mouth dry as dust. With bookbag in hand, I found a small table where I scattered my textbooks – my visual way of communicating, “There is no room for you here”; I could not risk anyone sitting near me. I pulled a few encyclopedias off the shelf and looked for the entry, “sex change surgery” as I believe it was called then.

“Hormone therapy.” A complex series of “surgeries.” Then I learned that a biological male – George William Jorgensen, Jr. became Christine Jorgensen in 1951. In December of 1952, she made the front page of the New York Daily News under the headline, “Ex-GI Becomes Blonde Beauty.”  I scribbled copious notes in my spiral notebook which I reread that evening locked in my bedroom. Though confused about my sexuality, I did not fit the profile of a trans and decided homosexuality was my issue. I subsequently gave in to those feelings for a time but then, set a new course.

From childhood, I sat under solid biblical preaching and teaching. A Sunday school teacher recited Bible stories; she believed the miracles and eventually, so did I. My college choral director personified Christian love. My seminary systematic theology professor radiated Christ while explaining God’s redemptive plan from Genesis to Revelation. I became increasingly aware that neither homosexuality nor transgenderism was my issue; my issue, like everyone’s, was sin.

The Bible taught me how life “ought” to be lived and I set out to align my mind with Scripture and the aid of the Holy Spirit. From early childhood, I had memorized – from the King James Version and recite to this day –  “Thou (God) wilt keep him (me) in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” (Isaiah 26:3)

What better remedy for gender dysphoria than a mind fixed on our Lord Jesus Christ!

(This article is adapted from Wilkins’ just released book MORE THAN WORDS: Walking WITH Talking AT  your LGBTQ friends. He writes and speaks from a historical biblical perspective.)

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