Tuesday, July 22, 2014

John's Story

We had a meaningful encounter with a man named John* at the Gay Pride Parade.  John was a kind, unassuming man who was willing to stop and discuss the questions on our survey.  As we went through the first several topics, John gave relatively basic answers, until we asked him about the importance of gender roles in society.  “Well, I didn’t use to believe they were important, but now I see that they are.”  He slowly began to open up about his difficult past.  John had been born a woman and had identified as a lesbian woman for fifty years of his life.  When he was diagnosed with breast cancer, he underwent chemotherapy and a double-mastectomy to try to rid his body of the cancer.  After losing his hair to the chemotherapy and losing his breasts, he continued to dress as a woman, but he was severely ridiculed and harassed for his appearance, even just walking the streets.  He was shocked and horrified at the persecution he received from strangers “in a place as accepting as New York.”  After a year of being mocked and maltreated, John decided to take testosterone drugs to make his appearance more masculine, and he began dressing in more masculine clothing.  He now identifies as a transgender, bisexual man, and he noted how much “simpler” it is this way.  As we continued through the survey, hearing more pieces of John’s story, we eventually got to ask him about faith.  He said somberly, “I love all faiths, but they don’t all love me.”  Our hearts broke for John; my partner and I each got to give him a hug and share about the incredible love of God for him.  We invited him to Street Life’s Sunday night service, and we told him we would love to have him there.  He thanked us both sincerely and took our service information.  As John walked away, we were again astounded by the love of the Father: the way God reaches out to the deepest places of hurt and rejection, and offers His love and healing!  We are praying for healing for John’s body, as his cancer has been diagnosed as stage four, and we are praying for his salvation, that the love of God and the freedom in Christ would be made known to him!

*Name has been changed to protect his privacy.

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