Wow, I am still reeling (in a good way) after reading through Laura Perry’s book, Transgender to Transformed: A Story of Transition That Will Truly Set You Free. What an amazing testimony of redemption and grace upon grace. I don’t normally cry when reading books, but I did when reading this one – several times!
In writing her story, Laura is extremely honest in grappling with all the spiritual, physical, emotional, and mental issues that contributed to her choice in self-identifying as a man, though she was biologically born a woman.
While the redemption she finds in Jesus Christ ultimately sets her free, she beautifully captures the agony and tremendous burden that preceded her eventual surrender to His will:
I had convinced myself I would go to heaven as Jake, living out the rest of my days as a man of God. But I knew when He asked [the question of whose name would He call her] that He would not call me Jake. … My heart sank; I knew He would not call me Jake. Every possibility that came to mind was certain: God would call me Laura. Laura was who He created; Jake had been my own creation, my own self-imposed identity, not His.”
Before she reaches this point, though, Laura explains a number of traumatic incidents and tragedies in her life that caused her to create her own “self-imposed identity.” I won’t go into all the details, but I’m so thankful that Laura shows enough courage to share the truth in love, to help others who may be going through the same struggles and gender dysphoria.
As with all sexual education resources, I definitely recommend previewing this first before you let your children read it. First, it will help you if your children come to you afterward with questions about a specific part of the book. Second, it doesn’t catch you off guard if they end up agreeing (or disagreeing) with certain viewpoints mentioned in the book. Perhaps most importantly, it gives you a shared experience from which you can start meaningful, edifying conversations with your family.
Some themes and topics to discuss with your children:
- Spiritual warfare. Laura is keenly aware that even though gender dysphoria and transitioning have physical aspects, much of the battleground that we Christians face on this issue takes place on a spiritual and mental level: “I did not truly believe my mind could be healed but was certain that it was my body that required fixing.” What are some ways that we can pray for, and show love toward, people who disagree with us?
- The power of listening and compassion. When recounting several poignant moments in her life, Laura wonders what might have happened if certain people had taken the time to pinpoint what was really troubling her – the belief that she should have been the son that her family had wanted, but couldn’t have when her mom suffered a miscarriage. Laura also had a turbulent childhood relationship with her mom, who she believed would have loved her more if she had been a boy. When she tries confiding in another girl, the girl simply says, “You really have issues with your mom,” and walks away. In looking back, Laura ponders what could have happened if the girl had not brushed her off – “What if she had taken the time to really talk to me about it? What if she had cared? Would I have ever gone down the transgender road at all? I will never know.”
- Don’t give up hope. I appreciate the encouragement that Laura provides to other Christians, especially if they are seeing someone they love who is currently walking in the transgender lifestyle. “In talking to transgenders, be aware they they may likely reject what you say, and that is okay. … The seeds that were planted took time to grow, but grow they did.” She also reinforces the truth that we can’t do anything in our own strength, but we must rely on the Lord: “Helping [transgender people] see what caused their feelings may help lead them to Christ, but the gospel and hope of Jesus for true healing must be the focus. It is Jesus Christ who sets free.”
I hope this review gives you some fresh insights and inspiration in how to incorporate sex education with your children in a holistic, literature-focused approach. Let me know if there’s a specific resource you’d like me to review next!