Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Bobbie Lang, a transgender activist from USA, businesswoman, blogger, Viet Nam veteran, the author of "Transgender Christian in Chains". Hello Bobbie!
At the time of my transition I had just been discharged and disgraced from my career as an Air Force NCO. I was married to a fine lady and had a seven year old daughter. I was deeply involved in my church and had serious questions about how my transition would affect my family and my walk with God.
|1983 During transition.|
When out in public dress appropriate for the location you are in. I have found dressing down causes far less attention than dressing up. Carry yourself with confidence. People don’t look on physical appearance or a voice inflection as much as they do the persona of confidence. If you believe in yourself and act like you belong others will too.
Another valuable thing I have learned along my journey is insight and revelations about God’s view of transgender. Through extensive Bible study I found nothing in the Word of God about it.
However, down on my prayerful knees God revealed Himself to me and showed me that God loved me rather I was male or female. All He expected of me was to “seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you”. When I learned to put God first in my life, I learned to have peace.
On my left side I felt the gender therapists were scratching my itchy ear with the things they thought I wanted to hear. On my right side my childhood Sunday School training and the direction I thought my church wanted me to go seemed to conflict with what I knew was right for me. Through this vision I knew I had to look neither to the right nor to the left but to keep my eyes upon Jesus. I knew I needed to seek God with all my heart and with all my soul. It was only through Him that I had the courage to find God’s plan for my life.
Since the first church after the Resurrection of Christ the church has struggled with doctrinal beliefs and what should be taught in the church and what not should be taught. The apostles Paul and Peter struggled with this and often did not agree. Once doctrine was established these precepts have since been taught in the church, however, some doctrines have been added to or taken away and what may be acceptable in some houses of worship may be strictly forbidden in others. God expects each one of us to finds through conviction what is plan is for each one of us personally.
|1984 Just before GRS.|
As I became better known in the church as a Godly woman, someone who loved God with all her heart, I finally felt comfortable enough to confide in the pastoral staff about my past and asked for partnership in prayer for God to reveal His divine plan and call upon my life. I was not asking for “answers” or “judgement” directly from them but to help me through prayer and discipleship. However, judgement is what I received and I would be removed from fellowship. I was not allowed to share with others the spiritual gifts that God had given to me and trusted me with. I was pushed into a corner and ignored. I was not barred from the congregation but I was not allowed the fellowship of God’s family.
After the third time I left the church. I did not enter the church doors again for sixteen years. However, I did not not give up on God and still worshiped Him through private devotions. And God did not give up on me. Despite of being chained out of the church, God’s Word and His Love sustained me all those years.
No Monika, God is not merciless toward transgender people. As he hung upon that cross he looked down on me and loved me and every other trans person.
After I decided to publish my autobiography “Transgender Christians In Chains” I began to see how the journey I have walked may help many others who struggle with some of the things that I did. I am happy that I was able to be a pioneer in the early 1980’s to blaze a trail that many others would later follow. Now I am actively involved with the education of the church and to portray trans women as ordinary women, no different than your mother, your sister or your wife.
|One year after GRS.|
During my transition I was working with the City of Houston, Texas and I was completely dropped from both my health and life insurance. The AIDS epidemic was getting its footing and my GID seemed to be too high a risk to chance insuring me. Also my family insurance coverage was dropped. I was forbidden to even let my hair grow out, make-up and wearing feminine clothes was strictly forbidden. I was once severely reprimanded for even talking about my GID to a co-worker. Frequent visits to the municipal HR office yielded nothing.
As I said there is still such a long way to go. Though some of the more progressive companies are protecting and safeguarding trans rights many employers do not. Capable employees are often overlooked for promotion and often stuffed into a corner and ignored. Many are barred from housing and not allowed to serve openly in the military. Violence against us is still very high and accessibility to appropriate rest rooms are still barred. Health insurance is still denied to many of us and too many of us are too often unjustly or inappropriately incarcerated. And at the top of my list is that the doors of most houses of worship are chained so that when we seek prayer support and discipleship to make perhaps the most important decision in our lives, we are turned away.
From that day forward I dreamed of following in her footsteps, however, I was very confused about my sexuality. I had always assumed that to feel like a girl then you must be attracted to boys. I was not and that just confused me. It was not until 1981 that I heard about the Rosenberg Clinic and Dr. Cole’s practice that I even heard the word transsexual and learned that sexual orientation and sexual identity were two different things. That seemed to be one of the biggest hurdles I had to cross.
My family for the most part was tolerant but I feared that they may be embarrassed or ridiculed because of my transition. For that reason I protected them and never “dressed” when I came for a visit. Without a doubt the hardest thing was to reconcile myself before God. I was raised in a very strict southern Pentecostal church and this kind of thing was clearly on the wrong side of the gospel line between Heaven and Hell.
I never got spiritual peace about transitioning during my transition and in fact it was only after extensive personal Bible study and writing my book that I began to believe in the security of my salvation and God’s plan for my life.
Meggan Sommerville said it very well in her interview that “the LBG community is not being denied access to the gender appropriate restroom” and “the LGB individuals can now openly serve this country in the military where transgender individuals must continue to hide or be discharged”. I believe these needs are so unique that they need to be targeted outside of the umbrella of the LGBT movement.
Ms Scott has been an activist for transgender issues since 2003. In 2007 she travelled to Washington DC to take part in the “Transgender Lobby Days” sponsored by the National Center for Transgender Equality. There are many names that are noteworthy. Kim Coco Iwamoto of Hawaii, Althea Garrison of Mass., and more close to my Colorado home, Joanne Conte to name a few.
|Bobby aboard her sailboat "Persistence".|
The candidate of my choice will be conservative on fiscal responsibility and listen to the voters and what they want. I do believe transgender women can make a difference in politics just as Ms. Loren Scott is doing in Nevada. We need many more such women.
Also I am presently working on a new book. It hasn’t been assigned a name yet but it is a satire or account of the more amusing happenings in my transition and my 30 year walk as a woman. Look for it in 2015.