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Susan Takata, Voice of the Voiceless Advisory Board Member
Experience: Formerly Identified as Transgender, Now Identifies as Disciple of Jesus, Received Healing through Jesus
The Good Journey
Did anybody know that something was about to be put on the plate on this pastor of a large church that is totally new & unexpected? It was just a regular Friday night for most of the gang going to Friday night Live at Christian Life Assembly. This was the day that Steve was to make his appearance more firm. He began the ascent to the alter of the church to make this grand proclamation “I have an announcement to make” he remarked with some trepidation “some things are going to change in my life…..Susan will not be around anymore but you can call me Steve now. They are going to begin to prepare me for the change immediately.”
It was in the early 90’s. I had already been battling this for over 25 years. I as Susan tried everything to find a solution to the fact that My inner identity didn’t match the exterior. Since toddlerhood I identified myself (if not to the outside world but at least in my inner self) as “I am a boy” . The television affirmed that idea (I like GI Joes, Hot Wheels, etc)., the Japanese culture showed me I am not a female. In the Japanese lingo I took on the male pronouns. The early sexual molestations helped me to reject my feminine identity because I was not safe and the femininity drew negative attention. My mother was perplexed at this kid who doesn’t quite make it as a girl. Quite often she was so irritated that I was a different type of girl that she would really let me know she was disappointed. She did not know that I was raped at 10 yrs old (March 11, 1974 by a serial rapist who later went on to kill children) after several years of othermolestations. A soul is a glass jar and rape completely crushes it through breaking of boundaries. My 30 years addiction (starting at 12) to pornography reinforced my identity as a male. Everything that was negative or caused me pain was happening because I didn’t have a penis. Everything happened because I’m a girl.
Much shame of failing to be an acceptable girl led to several acting out on how I will commit suicide began in toddlerhood. This did not ease the pain. I have a love for music and play instruments so I identified so much with all male bands and their lyrics further helped me in my deception to myself. ….. (Cecillia, you’re breaking my heart……..) Do you see what I mean. So since I was a rocker hiding my gender confusion wasn’t that hard….. heck I didn’t even have to cut my hair. I was a rocker. I tried dating but that didn’t fulfill. I was a heterosexual male so dating lesbians was out of the question. The Lord kept putting Christian people in my life who wanted to date me, mostly men So I sermized that perhaps happiness would come if I became thinner to attract women.. Yes, that’s it. So I would exercise and just eat vegetables. A still small voice would say “Come to me and I will give you rest”. I would say I have no time. When I have time I will talk to You.
In July 1980, I was admitted to Vancouver General Hospital – 16 years old, 5’4.5” ….I went from 140 lbs to 95 lbs. I had pleurisy with tuberculosis and was racked in pain….breathing was like having a pinched nerve in both my lungs. My lungs and brain would say “we need to breathe now” ; I would think, “is that really necessary?” Why is this happening? “You asked me to give you time” poked that familiar voice I was so ignoring “well kid, you have it” It was the voice of the One who really wanted me to know He is with me, who really loves me. “Do you remember what you said? I do.” Oh bother, do I ever. I couldn’t get away from that promise. The Radio just Christian…. My housekeeper in the room I was placed in (Isolation Room) a Christian talking, smiling, talking. I couldn’t get away. So I gave my heart to Him. Early recollections of me (in my mind a boy) sitting in the summer sun, reading my bible (cause I was not allowed visitors or go to school) listening to the radio and Keith Green and Petra. Still thinking I’m a boy but the Lord slowly chipping away at me. Praying was difficult because when I closed my eyes I would see that boy I was praying.
In the Bible much of the echoes of my mother saying “if you were a male you could do this or that”. “You are part of the Sons of God”, etc. The women in the Bible were not as accepted. I kept reading about being a son of God. Many references of blessings of being sons of Israel and the curse of the women. After a couple of months I was able to go back to school and some family friends invited me to church.I was totally immersed in ministry….. keep myself busy…. God will love me for what I do…. He is my saviour…. He loves me…. If I love Him I will do……. If I do I don’t have to think. This hatred of my female self will disappear. A few years later the hatred never stopped but I was able to hide because I was busy. Then things came to an end…. I had been deceived by some ministries I was involved in. I left the church . I had much shame and anger…..losing a church… being lied to by a ministry. Seeing a solution to something that street ministry wasn’t addressing for homeless kids and trying to be the answer for that (and being rejected by ministry due to lack of following protocol). I soon left the church.
But the Lord never stopped calling me. And why did I never get the operation done at that time? He had me hooked up with trans people who wanted to date me and they tried to convince me to stay a female…. While I was trying to do the same to them. The relationships never really went too far because…. Deep in my heart I really loved those people and if I really loved those people I would want the best for them ….and that is…… a relationship with Jesus Christ. I couldn’t really get past the knowledge that the very people I cared about the most I would be short changing if I got into a serious relationship with them. Also, as I thought I was a heterosexual male I couldn’t fathom having a relationship with a lesbian….I must interject here…. Some of the most wounded people in the lifestyle aren’t the ones who went into it full bore…many didn’t act out as much but the condemnation felt from the church, but more damaging, is the often decades of self beating they have done is deep and not easy to identify or dig out…..it is often cloaked. I often find it easier for a Christian who got out of the lifestyle after conversion easier to get healing than for a Christian who struggled with SSA for years in the church but not acting out too much because they still think that going into the lifestyle would be better…it’s the unknown temptation. I went to The local Lesbian club to have some sort of community….I was accepted as long as I stay a female (apparently I was quite a catch because many came up to me to proposition me) but the moment I got my operation I was told I’d have to hit the road. All around me I heard of stories of people being dishonest to those they married and their spouses later finding out they had been lied to. Women who had become men but never disclosed it to their partners until too late.
After a few years I started to be open to coming back to Jesus. I got a job as a Psychiatric Care aid. And as a twist of fate it became part of my job to pray to God whom I wasn’t even talking to (that is another part of my life to talk about another time). Every night whether I’m working or not two patients would be waiting at the door to ask me to help them pray to God for their families. Well, later my heart started to soften. And once again I began asking the Lord to talk to me even if I do call myself Steven. Praying was hard because I saw that picture as a boy even as I was praying I praying as Steven. I felt that it’s ok.
I decided to go back to church and a mormon family brought me to christian life assembly which is a pentecostal church. Then things got harder…. The devil fought hard to stop me. So as I began to give up I decided to go to my doctor to help me with my gender identity. I remember her saying “You’ve already been fighting hard for a long time….I’m going to give my consent for the operation cause I believe you have already fulfilled some of the requirements. You will just have to get a couple of more signatures which I don’t think will be hard and start attending the Gender Dysphoria Clinic at Vancouver General Hospital.”
It was the following week that my grand announcement was made in front of the congregation of the Young Adults group. To say that I was blessed would be an understatement. Many who have done this had met up with hostility and anger. I was embraced with love by those who loved me already and I think a sense of finally understanding me by those who couldn’t give me the time of day. I went to a ex-gay support group but I was more masculine than most of the guys there and being a normal straight male I never considered myself lesbian….. so needless to say I did not feel welcome nor did I fit in. But I decided to stick with it and seek help for myself even though I was alienated.
From early on I was aware that it isn’t necessary to have gone through my experience to be the ones to help me through this. I also was aware of many of false assumptions I was making about what it means to be a female. The lies that I believed from early childhood began to unravel. The first ones were of what we believe as who are better women…. Or evaluations of women. The lies I believed about myself. I became friends with another trans person (female who thought she was a male). I saw she was making a horrid mistake; “She’s not very good at this” quipped the inner voice”Maybe I can help her see this”. Little did I know that she had an inner voice telling her the same thing. Every time I would comment on a male aspect she’s not good at, the Lord would say “And you’re better at it?’ Going to gay porno movies weren’t that much better, when to lesbians were at it I’d say “two women? That’s disgusting” Ahem… Would be the voice behind me.
My small group leaders in this organization were not from the lifestyle but that worked to my benefit. The realization of the commonality of problems disengaged much of the power that those problems had on me. Many of my problems weren’t just specific to transgender people.
I cannot tell you how important community of the fellowship of the saints is. We must resolve…. Getting relationships in this lifestyle took time and people disappointed us. The community called the Church deserve the same amount of patience. At first there will be times of loneliness because just like us…. People in the church have also had been hurt and need time to trust. My Pastor had a heart to heart talk with me and was incredibly open…. He really wanted to know why I felt the way I did and was candid and honest with me. I told him how I felt like such a failure comparing to him and that I wanted to be him. He told me how he admired me…. That was liberating. I had a counsellor who didn’t have any experience with helping trans people or any homosexuals. But whatever he did I looked forward to our bi-weekly appointments even though it took me two hours to get to his office. Whatever he was doing he kept me wanting to come back for more….I later was told that he made sure to set aside a couple of hours before our appointment to ask God what He wanted to do because he didn’t know what to do. I had a friend who said though this hurts her that she would be willing to go clothes shopping with me for more men’s clothing. I had three men friends named Greg who got together with me daily and included me in their activities…. Each of course had their own unique set of problems (one sickness, one divorce with kids, one trouble with the law) and Paul who was just weird. We got together for coffee daily and just talked and prayed. They took me to the beach where they let me point out women they could date. I had a lady friend involved in kids ministry who refused to let me not be in ministry while she chipped away at Steve to find Susan.
Most churches I found would rather not admit that they have to refer people somewhere else cause they don’t have the knowledge.
One problem, it was a ministry for homosexuals… I never saw myself as gay because all straight men like women. I saw myself as a normal male. Thankfully the director completely understood where I was coming from but she encouraged me to go anyways. I am grateful. A word of wisdom she gave me when I made my own problem (I made it known I did not belong there because I’m not gay – which did not make me any friends)…. You’re not here to make friends…. You’re here for healing. This gave me the freedom to be myself and low…. I began making friends.
I am going into details about the basics/foundations of how my healing journey started because if you can have this to start with your journey is off to a firm start. Another Chance Ministries was the beginning of dealing with the root issues of false beliefs, generational false beliefs and causes of my beliefs, trauma, etc. What was once a minute by minute struggle is now a distant memory. But it was a memory.
As time went on I finally overcame my pornography issue. Porn can be a subliminal effort to piece together the shattered person and also a symptom to seek the true meaning of love. Because of the rape I was shattered and my soul needed to get away and the chemicals released in my brain by watching gave me a moment of exhilaration. Much healing was expedited when I refused to self medicate and allow God to heal. Self medication for me came out in waves and took on many forms. 1) Pornography (see above), 2) Masturbation and fantasy, 3) hatred of female self, 4) weight gain – building a wall around me to not let people in or attract attention, and 4) anger. Whoa…..anger? Really? Yes, anger. Anger releases chemicals in your brain that affect your body. 5) Tylenol 3’s. It was during this time that I was being exposed to going back to Classic Christianity and knowing the true Father Heart of God. Everywhere I looked God was telling me how much He loves me as I am. The last time I was about to attempt suicide I came off the ledge went into a restaurant where I heard the voice of God using Rod Stewart to tell me “Have I Told You Lately That I Love You” I had just gotten off the ledge that I felt so much at peace to jump off of before remembering I had a phone call to return. I called, not mentioning anything to the person on the other end of the line, came back to the ledge where my nerve left me to jump off that edge. Psalms 139 was brought to me in the form of a pro-life pamphlet where there were pics of different stages of fetal development adjacent to scriptural verses. The Lord would say “That was what you looked like. I tickled your feet then and you kicked your mom when I did that”.
There was a time when I had to come to terms with being a disappointment to my mother. The Lord replaced those feelings by letting me know He was there and replaced her feelings with how He felt about me at that time. Slowly the feelings of rejection of the female were replaced with acceptance and agreement with the Father and later went to loving that female self as He did because I had to agree with Him since His is the only opinion that isn’t tainted.
(NKJV) 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.
2Cor 3:18. (NKJV) 18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.
This story was submitted from MY VOICE / MY STORY form on Voice of the Voiceless (https://www.voiceofthevoiceless.info/My-Voice-My-Story)