Hey everyone. I met a transgendered person for the first time recently. This person appears to be deeply troubled and very unhappy with themselves. Well, I feel like that if this person knew Christ and was closer to Him that they would be happier. Plus, I’d love it if this person could seek the answers they seek in Christ and His Church. So, how do I go about evangelizing a transgendered person without pushing them away?
I’ve known a couple transgendered people, although it was during my years outside the Church, so I had no interest in evangelizing at the time.
The best way to evangelize – especially those who are suffering – is not through words but through actions. People who are suffering inside are often in need of love and friendship. Listen. Smile. Share a pot of coffee (or pitcher of iced tea). Go for a walk. Make dinner and bring it over. Invite the person over for dinner… You get the idea.
Before you start sharing your faith in words, consider how those words are likely to sound in the ears of someone who has had to reject the Church in order to take the necessary steps to be transgendered. No matter how much you believe what you say, your words are likely to land as either mindless platitudes, or unfeeling judgement. I could totally be wrong but that is my first thought.
Pray and pray and pray. Ask Our Lord to allow you to serve Him by being of service to this other person. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide your thoughts, your actions, and your words.
I’ll be praying for you and for this person you know!
God bless you!
Hi Holly - Gertabelle gave some great advice here. I agree there are two things important in this situation - prayer and genuine love. (FYI - people that I have personally known who were transgender were also gay, which I mention because you don’t say whether or not this person is, or whether they are biologically male or female. If this is a woman who is gay, then be careful in reaching out not to give the wrong impression of your intentions, since that would only create more problems for you both.)
Pray for this person, pray for opportunities to show them the love of God in tangible ways, pray for the opportunities to verbally share what you believe and why in a natural comfortable way and let the Holy Spirit lead you. Sometimes the person who seems to be the most disinterested in the gospel is the one who has been most desperate for the Lord to reach out to them, I have found. You just never know what God might be up to in the situation!
Christians who believe in sin, Jesus and atonement for sin, and orthodox Christianity - whether Protestant or Catholic - have not always gotten the whole “hate the sin, love the sinner” thing down very well. As a matter of fact, we’ve often handled it badly… either we throw in the moral towel and accept it all, as society does more and more, or we get pretty nasty to the folks who need God and the hope only He can give. So, as Gertabelle says, it’s possible the only experience this person may have had with any religion that subscribes to scriptural, moral teaching might cause them to be pretty defensive. That’s why prayer for them, and simple respect and kindness are important. If the Lord prepares the way, and you have been a good friend, your words will be listened to even if not immediately agreed with. Your job might be to plant the seed that causes this person to start wondering if things could be different with God.in their life. Conversion of heart is a process.
I’m sorry this got so long. One of the causes close to my heart…I’ll be praying for you.
Understang, kindness, and prayer are appreciated in these situations. I wanted to add that a person isn’t rejecting the Church to become transgendered. It is an inherent issue that is there all their lives. There are opinions that adressing the issue by transitioning socially and physically to the other sex is rejecting Church teaching. As far as I am aware there isn’t an official ruling, only opinion. I respect the opinions of those much more well versed in the theological aspect. I also had tried to address my personal gender issues through prayer. I ultimately did decide to transition to physically being as female as possible related to present day medical and surgical techniques. My decision was not a rejection of Church teaching, but a means for me to be a happier, more fulfilled, and better and more charitable person.
With people living with the myriad of gender identity issues prevalent in our society today, the best way to evangelize is to love them, respect them, be there for them. IF they ask about God, or their relationship to him, then we answer honestly.
You’ll probably only get one shot to actually verbally address the subject, so it’s important to read up on church teaching on the matter and to collect a list of good web resources you can offer the person to explore if/when they wish to learn more. A good place to start is the USCCB website:
Keep in mind that transgender identity may or may not have the homosexual component to it. Gender and Sexuality are two different matters, especially in the LGBT world, so try not to jump to conclusions. Spend a lot of time listening to the person explain what it is they are facing. The more you know, the better you will be able to direct them to information that is specific to their struggle IF/WHEN they ask you for spiritual help in that area. I have learned they get frustrated with people assuming they are gay. If you approach them on that premise they can easily dismiss what you are saying as not applying to them and not raise the topic again because you don’t understand where they are coming from and they don’t want to take the time to explain it.
Pray always for them, be ready to answer charitably with resources when the Lord moves them to reach out to you. He will usually give you a heads up as well that he’s sending someone your way, something will pull at you to start looking up the subject matter, or as in your case, your path crossed with that first encounter. You’ve already responded well by posting the question here on the forum. Good luck!
Thanks everyone for the replies. I really appreciate it.
Transgendered person: Some one born with both male and female body parts.
I think accepting them as they are and helping them to see themselves as unique and special, bearing the likeness of God with both masculine and feminine attributes. God accepts them they only need to accept themselves.
No, that would be a hermaphrodite.
Transgendered persons identify themselves as the opposite gender than how they were born. They can’t recall a time they were comfortable in their bodies since childhood. They never quite feel right in the clothes they were dressed in, or the hairstyles they were given. They are uncomfortable in non-unisex public restrooms. Since this is something they experience prior to sexual hormones kicking in transgender does not imply any specific sexual orientation.
Two things I can think of would help you evangelize a transgender individual.
First of all, address them as their preferred gender. This is essential for gaining their trust.
Second, make sure they know that the Church does not condemn transsexuality. That is a common misconception by both transsexuals and by many Catholics. The Church condemns the sin of homosexual sex, but it does not condemn us for being fallen.
I hope that helps you on your mission to serve God!
It’s nice to see you again!
I noticed that you already corrected Gertabelle’s error. It’s true, there is no necessary rejection of the Church for a transsexual individual to transition genders. Such misconceptions about trans women alienate transsexuals from the Church and cannot assist any evangelization.