Dear Reverend Graham, December 26, 2016
You might remember me. My name is Rhiannon Tibbetts; I am a Christian, transwoman who lives in Madison, Wisconsin. I am writing to you again in an effort to try to forge some understanding and dialogue between my transgender community and the Christian establishment in our country. I guess that I have expressed a number of things to you in the past year that probably didn’t make any sort of transformative impact upon you.
I’m sorry to be a little blunt, but I ask you, is it your intention to dehumanize and isolate my community? I don’t know, perhaps you think that you are saving our souls? But we all stand alone, naked before Jesus for our last judgement, don’t we? I’m not nearly as confident as you are that He will judge us all harshly. Jesus did not condemn the LGBT community during His ministry on Earth. Aren’t we all called to minister out of a sense of Christian love to one another? And didn’t Jesus say: “Judge not, that ye be not judged”? Maybe you feel that you are administering tough love? But, from my perspective, the Christian establishment is just driving many people further away from Jesus. Is that what you really want to do?
Could it be that your stance stems more from a personal lack of familiarity with us or an aversion for the LGBT community? You might actually find out that we don’t have horns and a tail if you had a series of conversations with folks in my community. Being different or unfamiliar doesn’t have to mean bad or wrong. And the sad part is that my LGBT brothers and sisters have some valuable talents that they would like to share with the larger community, but these gifts are often going wasted. I feel that there is far too little dialogue in our general world today. People are entrenched in their own way of looking at things and are deep down in their own bunker of ideological certainty with all of their own philosophical mates and buddies. What are we all afraid of?
I have long held that Jesus transcends and explodes any efforts to classify him into any present-day worldly group or classification. I mean, Jesus was the most salient example of a spiritual and political radical that this world has ever seen. He hung out with lepers, tax-collectors, Roman soldiers, prostitutes, thieves and common men and women and children. And he was so transgressive and revolutionary that he eventually died for what he stood for. Does that seem like a straight-laced, prudish, by-the-book kind of guy? He was all about a radical, new gift of salvation and divine mercy. Could it be that you could actually learn something from the transgender community? I will pray about your ministry as well as continue praying for our troubled world.
We are just hoping for the same opportunities and respect accorded to most of our fellow human beings. Will you take a courageous step of love to truly care about my beleaguered community?
Happy New Year, Rhiannon
What a 58 year-old male-to-female transsexual looks like: