“Other” in the Spirit

Brettany Renee Blatchley (aka Hippie-Girl) 2014-08-27

This will be a long, difficult road for many of us: queer and straight…

When the “other” kind of person turns-out to be someone who is respected, liked, loved, then who that person is will collide with who that person is assumed to be. This is a God-moment when the seeds of reconciliation or more vehement rejection are sown.

…God has been leading me to connect with various Christian congregations in my area, growing and developing a godly, sisterly relationship with them. Because I live “simply open” about who and what I am, at some point when our relationship deepens, the fact that I am a married Christian woman of transgender experience will become apparent in natural, relaxed even winsome ways – in God’s time…

…Last Wednesday, at an “agape” potluck and Bible study, it was “time” – my status and authority as a transgender person became very relevant to the discussion and I gently made my disclosure, acting in great vulnerability from a position of spiritual strength…

This Sunday was a good time of worship. Much was preached, sang and prayed about how THIS church, this part of Christ’s Body was especially attuned and welcoming to people on the margins (people “other churches” reject) – we were admonished. “They will come here for Jesus’ love: be prepared!” They did not realize that I had already been among them as an “unpresentable” part of The Body. I was cautiously optimistic!

…Last evening, I again joined the “Agape” group with my spouse. We ate and socialized, when ask how my spouse and I were related, I replied in joyful truth. Moments later, I was called into the pastor’s office along with the Bible study leader in whose group I had “come-out…”

I learned that I had caused a stirring in the entire leadership for most of the week.

…It was a long and good discussion where I was very much “on trial,” my relationship with Jesus, my relationship with sin, my understanding of the Bible and its authority, my transgender nature and transition: but in the end, I was essentially excommunicated – told (without Biblical support) that being transgender was illegitimate and living (as myself) a woman was in their eyes: “sexual immorality.” I gently pointed-out the arrogance of assuming absolute correctness on the issues yet being unwilling to go to God about the possibility that they could be wrong. I also gently point-out the hypocrisy of treating my “sin” as in need of special attention, including the breaking of fellowship.

I commended the pastor on at least speaking civilly with me about this (some won’t); he commended me for my reputation there as being a very well-spoken, intelligent, honest and kind person with a gentle servant heart. His prescription for me was to “repent.” Specifically, “repent” meant for me to renounce my (God given) gender identity, live as a man, and “embrace my masculinity.” Of course to “live as a man” would require me to have a sex change, and I assured them that unless God made this demand crystal clear by the conviction of His Spirit, I would make no-such recantation…

…So we parted – I suggested that we pray together and embrace as we concluded. I led this prayer, and we left with hugs: fellow believers who nonetheless could not be reconciled at this time, maybe not on this side of eternity?

It was hard for me, building a relationship with a congregation, coming to know people and *be known*, offering myself to potentially be hurt…for them to see Jesus in me, requires significant time, sacrifice and connection. But that connection made, makes the sundering of the relationship – the relationshipS – all the more painful. That was my pain last night.

God has led me to be one of His agents of change, agents of love, as one of His “scandalous” people – His daughter, a “woman with a past” and a present.

AND there are other congregations and relationships, and more faith to grow…Dearest Lord, my Love, please give me strength – glorify Yourself in me.

Blessings & Joy!!


My Hiding Face

My Hiding Face(Caution, this poem may be triggering!)

A wingless angel to me was sent,
When in danger my soul was rent.

At once entranced by happenstance,
Her eyes lured mine with but a glance.

Reflecting nothing, her face was cold,
Black eyes set within her bold.

Dark they were and liquid deep,
A whole lifetime hid in secret keep.

May I share your face, mine own replace,
That I may hide while we embrace?

Thus: Their cursed, torments disbursed
Would receive no pained-echo in reverse.

Tis much less fun to hurt the one
Whose feelings, from their face, cannot be won!

Yet deep in our heart, in the secret part,
Goes each pain we won’t feel or remember.

Stored til safe-tears, can run from sad-fears,
And arise up clear in the mourning.

My exiles freed from fitful scorning,
When at dawn, dew wept of their forlorning.

So now in the bright of my soul-morning,
Safe am I, less her frightful adorning.

And no longer untold, my secrets unfold,
Whence gently I loose my embrace.

In memories endear, I will hold her still near.
Behold, this wingless angel has now…


(B.R. Blatchley, Summer 1999)

When I was about ten, I was captivated by the expressionless face of a young girl pictured in a magazine: in a flash, I decided to make my face like hers, so that those who tormented me would have no satisfaction in knowing my hurt, my thoughts, my very self. As her face became mine, I tried not to feel what was happening to me, and for many years, she was my veil…

…I have always been a female person, deeply feminine, not “effeminate.” All I knew was that I was not a boy – the paradox of my *being* upset people, and I paid dearly for being different.

My “hiding face” is an example of a Secondary Ego Defense. We create these in ourselves when pain overwhelms our instinctive defenses. Even so, I learned was unworthy of love, unworthy of life: not a *real* person, just naked shame.

With tears, I declare that my “hiding face” helped me survive, though her protection had made it difficult to feel and remember. In recent years I have healed greatly and she has faded into memory. Meanwhile God sent another “angel,” to accompany me through the deeper healing of my gender transition. Now I am *becoming* the woman this female person was destined to be, gracefully transgender, a blessing to others and alive with the joy of *being*!

I was humbled and blessed that this poem was selected to be read at a Transgender Day of Remembrance observance in Sydney Australia in 2013. Please visit the Transgender Anti-Violence Project.

You can hear me recite this poem here.