Dear Pastor Warren,
A number of years ago, I read your book, The Purpose Driven Life. I remember getting a lot out of it. I concur with its suppositions that we have five main purposes in our lives. For me, my mission is not found in the mainstream of Christianity. I am a devout Christian and a male-to-female transgender woman. I am also quite poor, disabled and I suffer from mental illness. My name is Rhiannon Tibbetts and I live in Madison, Wisconsin.
Would you say that Jesus hung out with the social elites or even the religious authorities of his time? I would offer that Jesus’s ministry was revolutionary and anything but conventional. He hung out with tax collectors, Roman soldiers, the poor, prostitutes, lepers, women, children, the common man and even thieves. He didn’t turn away anyone that truly wanted to follow him. He said “take up your cross and follow me”. That is what I desire to do.
I have included with my letter, here, a letter that I am sending to the Pope. I really hope that you have some time to read it, too. I also hope that you will want to be a voice for social justice for all of your brothers and sisters and not just the accepted mainstream members. Please don’t discourage members of the LGBT community from being included as a part of the Christian family.
I would suggest that the closest that the Bible comes to talking about transsexuals is when eunuchs are mentioned (especially in Matthew and in Acts). Those passages all have favorable things to say about eunuchs. You are likely someone who generally follows the letter of the entire Bible. But parts of the Bible are a bit contradictory, especially if you don’t take into account the author, the time period, the context and the perceived intention. Do you generally see the Gospels as the key passages in the Bible? Jesus never spoke out against the LGBT community during his ministry. Instead, he spoke of the New Covenant of mercy, grace and salvation.
You are someone that many people look up to and respect. Please consider including the transgender community in your prayers and your good graces? These days, more than ever, we need some strong allies. We have a purpose in life too. We are loved by God, as well. God desires to have mercy upon all of his children.
The scientific community has found several physiological factors in the development of transgender individuals. They have identified hormonal shifts in the womb, genetic variations and differences in brain structure that help to account for the transgender identity. I encourage you to look up this scientific evidence. We laugh, cry, love and bleed just like everyone else. Isn’t cruelty-cruelty- no matter who it is perpetrated against? We are victims of violence and abuse at a horrendously high per-capita rate. And about 40% of transgender folks attempt suicide during their lifetimes, while half of that number succeed. Around 25% of us live in poverty. Many of us are cast away by our families.
Would you consider including us in your own ministry?
I am asking for your help.
Thank You, Your Sister in Christ, Rhiannah
Would you have guessed from my picture that I was a 58 year-old male-to-female transsexual?