Two Transgender Catholic men from Africa and Latin America share with us their witness on TDOV 2021
Thomars B is a 35 years old transgender man from South Africa and member of Holy Trinity Catholic Church LGBTI Ministry
I was raised Christian, Catholic to be precise. My grandmother in her old age and my mother to this day are devoted Catholics. They instilled great Christian and Catholic values in me and my siblings. Being Catholic is a big part of who I am and I still live my life of the catholic principles.
Things changed a bit for me when I came out as transgender. My family had a very hard time understanding and accepting me, especially since we should never question God and since he never makes mistakes. How then was I a Christian saying I was born in the wrong born and asking God why. We struggled a lot as family. I even denounced religion at some point.
Fast forward to today, my family has come around. They love and respect me as the Transgender Man that I am. Being a Christian, a Catholic is all about love. Loving your neighbor without judging, accepting people with all their flaws and quirks, leaving the judging and punishing to God. We were all made in his image, so who is to say what I am is not his image.
Father Graham always used to tell me that “there’s nothing wrong with me, and I should give my family time to come around, it was just a matter of time” he was right. He also told me to “let love lead” that even my reaction to people’s discrimination should also come from a place of love. This has helped me so much on my journey.
Today again I say I am proudly Catholic but on my own terms, on my own understanding of the word of God. Also because the woman who gave birth to me and raised me so lovingly, still loves me regardless. She fights for me when people attack me because I’m different. Because a week ago, she told me she loves me and if being Thomars is the best thing that has ever happened to me, then I should be him with pride and not worry about people. As long as I’m not hurting other people and living arccoding to the principles and values she instilled in me.
I am a proud member of the Holy Trinity LGBT Ministry. We are recognized and celebrated in the Catholic church. My Best friend the chairman of this ministry, is a proud gay man. We belong, we have a voice, we are visible.
Today on International Transgender Day Of Visibility, I celebrate that I am now able to be both Catholic & Transgender, that I’m not forced to choose between 2 things that are very big and important parts of who I am.
Sebastian B is a 26 years old trasgender man from Paraguay and member of Cidel – Cristianos Inclusivos del Paraguay
This is the first time that I tell the story to the world. In my case, it was quite difficult to understand what was happening to me. I didn’t fit according to the standards and I didn’t understand why. Today I know that I am a transgender man, but it took more than 15 years to reach that conclusion.
I do not know at what point in our early childhood we began to be aware of things and who we are, but since then I knew there it was something about me when I compared to the other children of my age.
I am not going to say the typical phrase “I was born from a traditional and religious family”. I formed my own conception of faith, my love for God. I believe in God as much as I believe in love. Also, that is why it hurt so much because the more I grew, the more I believed that I did not fulfill what God demanded of me. They taught me and believed in a God of punishment.
I tried to come out of the closet without a major revision and aknowledgement of my own feelings and emotions. I believed that the closest definition to my gender identity was being a lesbian cisgender woman, I was wrong then. That definition was very far from who I am. When I understood who I really am – a transgender man – it was first an immense pain but later you cannot imagine the relief I felt. When I understood the immense love of God and that I am part of Thy creation, today I cannot imagine what kind of person I would have been if God made me “normal”, possibly I would not understand diversity, I would not have empathy, or I would not understand that love has no evil with it.
Today I am part of the community of Inclusive Christians of Paraguay. I want to carry out some projects to support the trans community in Paraguay. On my country being there is no recognition of our existence, then it is difficult to access even information on the subject and specially about the transition process.
I say goodbye with the most important commandment that God left us: “You shall love God above all things and your neighbor as yourself.” If the world learned to live in love, the world would indeed be a better place.