Your prayers work. Your prayers for those women and girls to not have an abortion. To keep the baby. Those prayers work.
Let me tell you our story.
Nineteen years ago my daughter had just started attending a religious university in the south. She wanted to be a minister. A woman minister. While that was not an accepted practice back then, and still isn’t in some churches, she had dreams. Her dad, a former minister and now a Sunday school teacher could not have been more proud.
And then, at seventeen, she got pregnant. Our world turned upside down. I cried until I threw up the night she told us. The sperm donor was not in her life then, and never would be again.
After a very emotional evening, I lay beside her In her bed. I held this child of my body, not even old enough to vote, and cried again for all of the shattered dreams and plans.
Her Dad and I are pro choice. We believe that a woman has a right to choose. Kat and I talked about her choices. Abortion. Adoption. Keeping the baby.
She told me that she had decided to abort the fetus. She actually drove to the clinic. Then she turned around, a decision made.
We honored that decision.
So my pro life friends, this is an example of your prayers being answered. A success story, right? For you, that is where the story ends. You “saved an innocent life”
But there is more to the story.
She quit school. Unwed mothers were not welcome at a religious university.
Our church, Second Baptist Church in Little Rock, not only accepted the situation, they allowed her to teach a small bible study group of her peers. They embraced us and the baby when she was born. We never felt judgement or condemnation from our church family. Our church was then, and still is, an inclusive loving Christlike example of what church should be. Unfortunately they are the exception to the norm.
For many reasons, our family decided that it would be best if Charles and I adopted the child. It was a very hard decision for all of us, but one that I know was the right thing to do.
Kat fell in love, got married, and moved to Kentucky.
Her dad and I divorced, I moved to Colorado. Keely spent her summers at church camp, went on mission trips including Africa. Just a normal southern kid being brought up in the church.
Flash forward to four years ago. My child was being bullied so unmercifully that we decided to withdraw her from school. She was ridiculed, slammed into lockers and I couldn’t protect her.
The girls that I loved as my own, the girls that spent nights and weekends in our home, that called me “mom” turned on her. Called her names and ostracized her.
She found new friends, inclusive and kind, not part of the popular group. But those friends couldn’t shield her from the attacks.
Because she was different. She never wanted to wear makeup. She wanted nothing to do with blow dryers and curling irons. As her friends were talking about boys and buying bras and stuffing them with toilet paper, Keely was reading and doing puzzles. She was bewildered and frankly disgusted by the changes in her body.
My brilliant animal loving sensitive child spiraled into depression. Her grades plummeted, she socially isolated going weeks without seeing her friends. I got in the habit of waking in the middle of the night and checking to make sure she was still alive. I walked through each day with a knot in my stomach from worry. I didn’t know how to help.
One morning around 3am I entered her room, she was on the computer working on school work. I lay on the bed beside her and we started talking. That is when we had the conversation that made it all make sense.
She told me she was non binary. That she had gone online and found a name for who she was. She did not feel like a woman, she did not feel like a man, she was something different. She wanted to be referred to with gender neutral pronouns “they” “them”
You know, it made sense. As I lay there beside them understanding came. The lack of interest in dating, hair and makeup. The baggy clothes, the sheer horror on their face if we talked about bras or body parts.
I argued with them about the pronouns. “They” is plural, it’s not grammatically correct. That is usually the first reaction by to the request for neutral pronouns from the uneducated by the way.
After we got over that little hurdle, the words flowed. The fear and anxiety of knowing they were different but not knowing how or why. And then, thanks to the internet, finding out that there were others like them. And then the fear of telling, of coming out.
Keely was in counseling by then. They were leaving to visit Kat in Louisville in the next week, a spring break visit and an opportunity for Kat to help them try to pull up their failing grades.
You see Kat had discovered her calling. After attending culinary college she decided to enroll at the University of Louisville and pursue a degree in biology. By this time Kat was in the middle of a five year doctoral program. She was a full time student and was uniquely qualified to help Keely with school, because it was clear that it was way over my head.
The University of Louisville has a strong LGBTQ community. I’ll never forget the excitement in Keely’s voice when they told me about their experience there.
“Mom, we sat around a table and introduced ourselves, and we told people what our preferred pronouns are. And there were others like me”
I cried. My child, for the first time, was with others like them.
A decision was made, a decision that I will always know was the right decision, a decision that saved my child’s life. Keely moved to Louisville. We got them out of the conservative hateful community in Colorado and my baby moved in with their birth mom Kat, who Keely calls Sis.
Transgender. Non binary. Queer.
That is who my child is.
And you, my pro life friends condemn them.
You call them unnatural and a pervert. You stand in the house of God and say God created Adam and Eve, man and woman only. You say you don’t want to touch them or treat them in a medical environment , because it is against your religious beliefs. That they should not marry and have spousal rights. Or maybe it’s ok for a civil union, just not in a church. YOUR church.
I say you are a hypocrite. How dare you think that my child, this child that is here as a direct result of your prayers, is less than human. Less than your cis gendered child. Than you, because you conform to what you think are social norms.
Guess what. My child is Gods child and is created in His/Her/Their image. Yet you condemn them.
You condemn as evil parents that are loving and open minded and support their gay or transgender children. Parents that have Gods heart and listen without judgement, that love unconditionally as we are meant to love.
Do you understand my deep disgust? Do you understand my hatred of an administration and a party that believes that heterosexual people are better than, more worthy than, my child? Than me? That I don’t have the right to make decisions for my child? Do you have enough Christian love, agape love, to put yourself in my place and feel what I feel?
My hope is that you will read this with a Mothers heart. A Fathers heart. A Christian heart. An understanding that love is love, and my God does not make mistakes. Queer people, Gay people, Transgender people are Gods children and they are deserving of your love, acceptance, and understanding. They are listening to God speak to them too you know.
At eighteen, Keely has been taking college courses for several years and is now a junior. They are majoring in psychology and will either counsel or pursue a doctorate and conduct research. They want to serve others in the LGBTQ community.
Kat now has her doctorate. Her dissertation? How Cultural and Sexual Beliefs Manifest in College Biology Learning Environments. Kat is gender fluid, transgender, queer.
So thank you for your prayers. They were heard. And because of those prayers my transgender kids are going to stand proud in who they are and change the world.
(Please note that female pronouns were used in the beginning of the story for clarity. My children gave me permission to tell this story, I stand in awe and pride of their courage)
(I have wonderful pro life friends that are LGBTQ inclusive and supportive. This is not directed at any one person)
(Thanks to Second Baptist Church in Little Rock, Arkansas for your inclusiveness love and support. You are a shining example of Gods work and a Christlike community)