|Attending the Luther Seminary classes during|
the polar vortex in January 2014.
It took about a year for my family to come to terms with my transition. They each went through a transition of their own, but now they love me as I am. It was a long journey to fully realize my life as Nicole, but I have grown into a strong, confident transgender Latina.
I can talk for hours about the wisdom of theologians who have tried to answer this question over the centuries, but to be perfectly honest, the only answer I can give is - I don’t know. I cannot presume to know or understand the motivation of God. I believe in my heart that God made me a transgender Latina so I will be strong enough to make a difference in this world.
I am sorry to say that there are Christians who ridicule and ostracize transgender people, but there are also Christian denominations that support and welcome transgender members. I believe that trust and faith in a higher power is a personal decision. It is up to each person to be open to a relationship with God or to reject any concept of a higher power.
As a person who has a deep, personal relationship with my Lord, I will proclaim the Gospel of full inclusion to anyone who wants to listen. I do not force my beliefs on anyone, but I am willing to talk with anyone who wants to share what I have.
|Preaching at a worship service in August 2013.|
Monika: What is the general attitude of the Christian religion to the transgender phenomenon?
There are also denominations that accept and love transgender people as children of God. I believe and preach about “creatio continua”, the concept that God is always changing and recreating the world, which, to me, means transgender people are a part of God’s ongoing creation. God created me to transcend the concept of gender to enable his creation to achieve new heights. How can I, a mere human being, put a limit on the infinite power of Almighty God?
Then, there is the reality that there is not a significant amount of money available through grants and foundations for transgender causes. Most of the time, we are a footnote in a grant request through LGB organizations. With all that said, we cannot be stopped. Our voices will be heard. I belong to a few organizations that are good at running a non-profit with a minimal budget because we are willing to volunteer our time.
I am happy to say that over the past couple years, a few incredible transgender actors and media personalities have been given the opportunity to showcase their talent and skill in their chosen professions.
|Performing "The Vagina Workshop" as a member of the Boulder Colorado production|
of The Vagina Monologues in April 2013.
Monika: Is there anyone in the US transgender society whose actions could be compared to what Harvey Milk was doing in the 60s and 70s for the gay activism?
I figure if I am meant to have a love interest in my life, someone will appear. I have a beautiful turquoise ring that I wear on the “ring” finger of my left hand. That is the only finger the ring fits and I love the way it looks on my hand. Not long ago, someone saw the ring and asked if I was married. I jokingly replied that I was married to Jesus – I know that he loves me and that I am never alone, but he isn’t very good at conversation.
Monika: Are you working on any new projects now?
I also want to reach out to family and friends of the LGBT community. Parents, siblings, partners, and friends of people in transition need to have a safe place where they can process their emotions. I am also working toward a Master of Divinity degree through a specialized distance learning program at Luther Seminary in St. Paul Minnesota.
I have been granted entrance to candidacy in ordained ministry in the ELCA. This is a big deal. It is a long and complicated process to become a pastor in the ELCA. To sum it up, I am going to continue what I do best – counseling, speaking, teaching, and preaching.
No matter how strong a person is, there are only so many times that wrong pronouns, gendered restrooms, verbal abuse, and, occasionally, physical violence that a person can tolerate before life becomes unbearable. Remember, no one has to transition alone.
Reach out and find a support group. Select a counselor who will listen and be there for you. These days, video counseling is possible for those who live in areas where support groups aren’t being held. Please remember, you are not alone. There are a lot of us who are here to help.