I have been pouring out my heart on social media for a while now and I have really been on quite the human emotional roller coaster throughout that time. At this time I would like to offer a word of caution to any young transgender person out there who finds themselves wanting to transition but has reservations due to the fact that they fear familial rejection, religious condemnation or that you will subject to extreme hate. When I was 21, I found myself at those crossroads and I chose to honor what I thought was right to do, but in doing that I denied my own true self from emerging. I ended up pursuing a volatile and regretfully destructive relationship with a woman who ended up making my life a living hell. I am not going to mince any words here on this blog, I promise to always tell you guys the God-honest truth.
I married for all of the wrong reasons, I was hoping that by marrying my good friend that I could somehow grow out of my gender issues. My point is this, if you want to transition at a young age, please, by all means, do so. Don’t ever try and cover up the person that you are, you will only hurt yourself. If you really have the sense of being that something is undeniably wrong, then do not hesitate to do something about, sooner rather than later. The inevitable is is an irremovable reality and it is worth acting upon it. I will never again speak against the transgender community because I know that beyond a shadow of any doubt or familial guilt or religious discrimination, I am Lynna and I am a transgender woman.
The issues in my life are quite complicated and I do not want to by any means let anyone to for one minute think that my continued disconnection from my children is all my own doing, this has taken two. By two I would like to introduce to all of you to my ex-wife of 17 years. Our relationship began in the Fall of 1989 when I was only 19 years old. She caught my eye one day as I was strolling through our college gym at Jimmy Swaggart Bible College. Had I known what I know now, I would have retraced my steps and backed the heck out of there.
Eventually, within a few days, we met and I was able to introduce myself to her. She was a pretty, simple and sweet girl. We hit it off nicely and became great friends from the start. Within a month, we were officially going out and that following summer I flew up to Minnesota to see her and to meet her family. I had actually met her family that spring when I drove her up to Minnesota during Spring Break, a few months before. By November of 1990, during the Thanksgiving holiday, while her parents and mine were in Baton Rouge visiting, we got engaged. It seemed like everything was falling into place and we were so excited about what the future would indeed hold.
I did not really know what I was going to do after graduation the following Spring. I had a desire to go and be involved in missions work in either Eastern Europe or in Latin America. I wanted to be involved as a worship leader and I was looking into options and opportunities in that area. The world was big and I knew that I had a lot to look forward to. By that May, she and I had the opportunity to go on a three-week short-term missions trip with our college to Germany, Austria, Hungary and Romania. It was an amazing time and something that I will never forget. Upon returning, we were finalizing the plans for our marriage that coming August up in her hometown of Paynesville, Minnesota. When I say hometown, I mean, Farmtown USA Whiteville. That prior summer, I felt like a total fish out of water up in this predominantly white Middle America town of 2,500. It was life in the slow lane as this place did not even have a stoplight. It was quite the shock for a suburban Southern California kid who grew up ten miles from the beach.
My family was set to go up to Minnesota, I had aunts and uncles and other family members from California, Florida, New York and Puerto Rico who were all making their plans to join us up in Minnesota that coming August. In June, as I was relaxing at my parent’s home, I received a peculiar phone call from my fiance. She had an air of concern in her voice and I asked her what was up? She opened up by saying that her parents had been in discussions and prayer with a couple close to them and over coffee, they had decided that they were going to have to pull their blessing over our union. I was completely floored when I heard her say that. What in the world was going on? Immediately, my thoughts went to my gender issues, was this God? Was He doing this to me? I never had mentioned any of my gender identity issues with my fiance at all during those discussions. What I did say was that I was willing to do whatever I needed to do in order to secure that our marriage would still happen.
She told me that they wanted to speak with me and I told her that I would fly up immediately. Within a couple of weeks, regardless of my own dad’s severe disapproval of my decision to do so, I landed in Minneapolis, Minnesota where Cheryl was there to pick me up. We loved being able to see each other again, hugged and kissed and then made our way to Paynesville. We drove out to the family’s newly purchased cabin on Lake Florida in Minnesota. It was there that the “meeting” was going to take place. On our way back from going on a ride on her canoe, there they were, her parents and their friends sitting there on the cabin deck in silhouette form. At first, I could not make out their faces, but they were not at all smiling when I was able to see them.
Upon greeting them and making small talk, we proceeded into the little lakeside cabin and into the night. For several hours, they shared with me their thoughts, implicitly stating that I was not telling them the truth. I was even taken aside at one side by one of Cheryl’s parent’s friends and we went out for a stroll. He told me, a 21-year-old young person, that he knew of another person like me who he was trying to counsel. He went on to tell me that this person had actually died because he refused his counsel. I was shocked, I was scared and to say the least, I was completely freaked out. Did he think that I was gay but that I just did not want to admit it?
The meeting carried on throughout the night and into the early morning hours. It was more like Russian interrogation than anything else. When I would begin to pray, they would discourage me to do so. Yet they could pray for as long as they would want to. I was completely emotionally violated and broken down by these people. They kept prying and prying, all this was happening while all of her siblings were there to watch everything unfold. I went through telling them the story of my life, what could I possibly be hiding? They insisted that I was hiding the truth from them. Finally, in a last-ditch effort to save my marriage, I told them that I had crossdressed from a young age and that that behavior had continued as a teen. I told them that I had some problems with my gender. I had nothing else to give them at that point. There, they knew it all. After hearing my confession, they concluded that that was not the issue either and that they were going to wrap this all up and not allow me to marry their daughter.
I pleaded with them in tears not to do that and they said that they had no choice, their decision had been made and there was no way to change it. I cried and bawled, begged and pleaded them for several minutes but they would not budge. That one night would eventually contribute to my non-acceptance by her brothers, her sister and family in the future.
I went back to California with dreams dashed, hopes obliterated and a real pain in my heart. When I look back now to think of how Cheryl has treated me with regards to stripping my children away from me, I cannot help but think back to the summer of 1991 when I had actually contemplated in ending my life. This was that kind of absolute and resolute rejection, the seed is the born from the same place. When I arrived in tears back home, my dad yelled at me and said that her parents were just being racist. Face it son, he would say, you are Puertorrican and she is white, it’ll never work, we are different people than they are. Esa gente son racista. I refused to believe the words of my father but now I know that he was wise indeed. Latinos are much different than Europeans, it is a deep and fundamental difference that beggars description.
I decided to go visit my sister and spend time with her, my brother-in-law and my nephews. When she was gone, I would escape out of my pain by escaping into not being male. I crossdressed while she was away at work and did so for two weeks. How could I get away from what I had become? I asked these very real questions, I was so confused. My sister had no idea that I had spent that time dressed but that was me, I had to keep my gender issues under the tightest of secrecy, I had protected that reality of mine for all of my life.
When I got back on my fight somewhat emotionally, I tried to figure out what I was going to do with the rest of my life. That summer I applied to work at a Christian television network and by September of 1991, I had my first full-time job. Now I could begin to place my focus on my career and not on my broken engagement and marriage. Oh, if only I had cut the cord back then, my life would have looked much different than what was to take place.
…to be continued…