As I had said to my beloved (years ago,) there were two callings in my life, that informed my very being; ministry and mothering (which is as much a part of my gender identity as being femme). It was because of this calling that I was able to recognize the calling into being of my husband’s gender actualization.
At 5 years old my beloved announced to his family that “she” wanted to be called Tom Cowboy. His parents freaked out in 1964, and kept him in dresses and emphasized his petite stature, so that the wishes of that boy child were subsumed (but never completely obliterated).
30 years later, living as an out lesbian, the call began whispering again, and even as he shared this still small voice with me, he would push it down with “if only it were a different world, I would….” Like the callings of Jonah and of Muhammed, at some point the whisper becomes a clarion that could not be outrun. As it became harder to ignore he, like Moshe Rabbeinu (Moses), would say “why me”?
As he approached his fiftieth birthday, he came to realize that he did not want to spend his elder years denying a call into the fullness of his being, and stepped into his Hineni (“Here I am”). He came to realize that the years of struggling with anxiety disorder and depression were manifestations of the truth of his calling, screaming to be free. By answering that call, the blessing would be to honor that, having lived 50 years as a woman, made him the kind of man he wanted to embody for the rest of his life.
[excerpted from a paper in my Pastoral Care for Trans Communities class, and part of my upcoming book.]
Oh, Rivka! I would love to read the whole paper! Is that possible?
Love, Donna Erbs
Thanks, Donna! I’ll send it to you.