I am a GLBT equality activist. I also have Alzheimer's and I am in the first stage of this terminal illness. Life expectancy is on the average of 4-8 years although some have lived up to 20 years.
I am a "retired" pastor of 35 years. Before that, I worked as an design engineer in space suit design and capsule interiors, later on I worked for GM as a plant engineer and a OSHA compliance officer. I was appointed by the Pres. of the United States to the position of the Selective Service Board of Monroe county in upstate New York for 10 years. I also was chairperson on the Rochester, NY Community Heat Fund for 17 years.
My Life's (Unusual) Story
Welcome once again. I hope and pray that you, dear reader, will enjoy my ups and, yes, downs as I tell you my condensed life story. It's a story about a bird trying desperately to get free. And on this Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I wanted to share that story of finding equality within one's self.
There has been a battle raging within me since I was about six. You see I was like a bird inside an egg trying over and over to crack through that shell and allow my wings to carry me away in freedom. To be what God wanted me to be.
What does that mean? Well, gentle reader, let me try to explain. Hold on: it's going to be a rough, perhaps even a shocking ride. In fact, it almost ended my life.
I was born on Feb. 1, 1942, in Worcester, Mass. As a growing kid I felt that God had a call on my life (more about that later). When I became an adult, I married and we had six wonderful children, alternating as boy and girl. Today, they are all grown up, some have children of their own. I have one grandson in college with my youngest daughter. Kind of makes me a bit old?
As an adult, I had a number of different jobs. First, I washed for a newspaper photographer before I went into engineering. I ended up working in aerospace designing spacesuits and capsule interiors. When that slowed down I worked as a "job shop engineer." I would go to jobs that paid the most and it could be anywhere.
I also messed around in letterhead engraving and printed wire engraving. After some time doing various engineering jobs, I ended up in snow country: Rochester, N.Y., on the shores of western Lake Ontario. Yep, I and my family lived there for about 37 years.
At first, I worked for Delco Products, a part of GM as Plant Engineer and later added the responsibilities of OSHA compliance officer. This allowed me to travel to various GM plants east of the Mississippi River. As I came toward the end of my career with GM, I became involved with a street mission, called the Open Door Mission, first as a volunteer then as a board member.
Not long after that, when their Executive Director left, I volunteered to take his place. My pay went from about $60,000 dollars a year to $5,200 dollars a year! That's with a wife a six kids as well. But you know what? God provided all our needs
Sometimes at the last moment, but He still provided.
I learned an important faith filled principal that "God is good, all the time." That He would meet all our needs as we walked by faith and not by sight. I always preached that.
But the battle inside me still raged. Fasten your seat belt please.
Remember that little bird trying to get free? I said I was trying to get free because for most of my life there was a conflict, a battle going on with in me and it was getting worse and worse. I almost killed myself because of it.
Let me ask you a couple questions if I can. What would you do if you had a child with a cleft lip? What would you do if your son or daughter came home missing a leg or arm or both? You would anything in your power to fix the damage to bring as much normal function to the person? Cleft lips go for under $500 dollars. Artificial limbs, thousands of dollars plus months of expensive rehab.
But let's get back to my story. You see, I wasn't always a woman. That's right. I was born a male physically and my given name was Kenneth and for most of my life I struggled to play that role.
Today, as you see in my pictures, I am a woman physically and psychologically all done by surgery and meds.
Does God make mistakes? I don't think so. You see if you go back to God's manual of operation (The Bible) there are the words that "All things work together for good for those who love the Lord."
Why does God allow "various" events to happen? The truth is, I don't know. But I do know that nothing happens to anyone without God knowing about it and not only that, what happens is part of His ordained plan for each of us and for our good. I don't know if you believe it but I do.
That is the reason I could not end it all by killing myself despite the fact that as a male making the transition to female I was raped, twice.
Over time, I sought out professional Doctors and Counselors who were expert in their field of what The American Medical Association and The American Psychological Association as well as The American Psychiatric Association call "Gender Identity Disphoria." I took uncountable numbers of tests.
Today, thankfully, there are many nonprofit groups and associations that extent helping hands and encouragement. Several are here in Charleston and the surrounding area.
Today, both medically and psychologically I am a transgendered woman. Am I happy and at peace with myself? Yes, without a doubt. You wonder if God loves me? I believe He does. You see, I am now healed by the grace and love of God. I am who I am.
Thanks for reading. To God be the Glory. Amen