Miriam: Stories of Faith and Transition

I am a Catholic Christian, 61 years old, transgender male-to-female, divorced by my wife who also succeeded in procuring an annulment. My ex-wife and 4 children now live a distance away.

As a child, we were a nominally Catholic Christian household, my parents and 5 siblings recited some memorized prayers daily when we were very little. After second grade, CCD life disappeared for me and my family’s religious sense faded away.

I was a social misfit, and recluse. My father and brother generally tried to “beat the female out of me.” I was bullied and saw school counselors. I began to have vivid fantasies of developing as a girl, even trying out for cheerleader in grades 7 and 8. I didn’t fit in with either boys or girls. In grade 12 I felt I should receive Confirmation and attended classes at the other church in town. I also decided that I wanted to be a priest and the diocesan vocations director arranged for me to study at a seminary. Not seeing any theological conflict, I also attended a Presbyterian missionary conference.

While attending seminary, I was immersed in good Benedictine Catholic Christian culture, and began praying a daily rosary. I left after three years however, feeling I was on the wrong track. While finishing my BA in Psychology I sought some professional counseling for my sexual identity struggles.

I went back to school, studying for a teacher’s license, and met my bride, now ex. We were both practicing Catholic Christians, had common visions for family life and were engaged within a year. My transgender feelings however, were stronger and more frequent than ever.

I began teaching at a small rural Catholic school, but felt I taught horribly. Later working as a medical social worker, I collapsed in chronic fatigue, never fully recovering. Meanwhile my transgender tendencies often poked their head out, subconsciously testing for reaction.

Our first two children were home births. As they grew, we home schooled and then adopted two children from Russia. As years went on, my wife became the bread winner and I did most of the child rearing. We grew in Catholic Christian fervor and developed a ministry in apologetics, later becoming a book and gift shop. I buried my transgender self.

As young adults, our children began to leave, and our marriage became more distant emotionally and physically, ending in divorce and then annulment a year later. Shortly after the divorce I had my ears pierced and began HRT. While my ex was initially furious, we now communicate, however very little more than necessary. I continue to communicate well with my two adult daughters, a little with my youngest son, however not at all with my two other sons. I also had Gender Confirming Surgery after prayerful, rigorous, analytic discernment and prayers from many people.

I still hold my marital vows as I understood them. I am a leper among Catholic Christians in general. As Simon Peter said to our Lord Jesus, at the end of John 6 however, I have come to believe that Jesus is the Christ, and to whom else could he go? Jesus has one Church and so I can never leave. I have some fellowship with other Catholic Christians, and I attend a parish where I am allowed to sing in the choir. I’ve been suspended from my Knights of Columbus membership, after 30 years.

I am extremely lonely. There is much treasure for me to share from my life, my Godgiven life. I pray I give well in this life and the next.

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