More Than a Monologue: Sexual Diversity and the Catholic Church - Vol. 1

By Christine Firer Hinze; J. Patrick Hornbeck II | Go to book overview

4 Mother, Father, Brother, Sister,
Husband, and Wife

HILARY HOWES

The Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry, Transgender Roundtable, Pacific School of Religion

Blessed by our Creator with male genitalia and a female brain, I struggled to relate to a society that saw me as male until I transitioned to live as a woman. I share a birth year with Disneyland, so for my fortieth we— my wife, daughter, and I— planned a family trip there, with a special treat for me: I could dress as a woman the whole time. I had been crossdressing in private since childhood, on occasions with a support group during the previous three years, and in the year before the trip I started adding feminine touches to my male wardrobe. During that year, I had been trying to avoid transition by seeing if just expressing my feminine side while maintaining my male identity could work for me. I’m six feet tall, and I had always doubted that anyone would accept me as a woman. In a far-off vacationland, we wouldn’t have to worry about rejection from anyone we would ever have to see again. My lifelong fears of rejection and shame, as well as my family’s concerns about the social awkwardness of our all-female family unit, gradually dissolved as absolutely none of our fears came to pass. I had a wonderful time with my family, relating to them and to the world as a woman for the first time. Disneyland really became “the happiest place on earth” that week as I came to understand that it wasn’t about “enjoying feminine things” for me. I was a woman, treated with dignity and acceptance by virtually everyone, and it felt so right.

On the drive home, the tears started to flow as we talked and came to believe that I would have to transition in real life, too. I struggled to understand how I could be a woman, a husband, and a father. It took the right therapist; good friends; the wisdom of children; the unconditional love of Mary, my wife; and ultimately just trusting in God to find our path. Now I do live as a woman, my marriage bond is strong, and I’m an honest, authentic parent— as well as the daughter my mother wanted after giving birth to two boys.

-43-

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