I read the book Being Jazz about a transgender (trans) girl who is an advocate for other trans kids. The book is her memoir up to age 16. I felt sad reading how hard her life was being trans. But I was proud of her courage and determination to make a difference for others. Her story made me want to stand up for others as well.
Reading Jazz’s story also helped me understand how to build relationships and relate to transgender people whom I may happen to meet. The LGBT community is a whole new experience for me. Although there were many instances that I could not directly understand in Jazz’s journey, I definitely could empathize with her.
The Challenges of Being Different
One challenge Jazz mentions in the book that I have also experienced is how hard it is for friends to accept this part of you. When I admitted that I was gay, several friends walked out of my life. It felt like being best friends one day, and enemies the next. I was hurt. My heart had been bruised so many times. As a way to protect myself, I started unfriending my Facebook friends before giving them a chance to respond.
Later I realized that I was taking away their right to love me or to leave me. It was wrong for me to do that. I was assuming what they would say or how they would act. But I was actually walking out of their life, which is the very thing that hurt me. I realize that I am going to make mistakes as I figure all this out. I need to be willing to listen to others even if we don’t agree.
Being Different Is “Normal”
Being different—not being like the “normal” kids – or in my case a “normal” Christian is sometimes difficult for others to accept. In her book, Jazz explains how her friends had trouble accepting her as a girl at first, because they had always known her as a boy. It was easier when she moved to a new school because her new friends never knew her as a “he” (they only knew her as “she”).
In my case, moving to a new city and joining a new church was the best thing I could have done. As a Christian gay, I have more support and encouragement here. My new friends accept me just the way I am. My new congregation is small but growing each week. They accept everyone – black, white, straight, and LGBT.
We Are Different But All Loved By God
I can feel God’s Spirit the moment I step inside the church, and I experience His love every time someone gives me a hug. It feels wonderful to be accepted and loved unconditionally. I’m really happy to be where I am right now.
I recommend the book Being Jazz. Her story will give you another perspective on how different we are, yet we’re still very much the same – all created by God.
Do you have a friend who is LGBT? What are some of the ways you’ve found to support them? Share them here. Thanks.