[MasteringLife.org did not include it when changing their website. The first half David Kyle Foster's interview is now available here but avoids Jerry's name. See Information on Re-publishing.]
An Interview With Jerry Leach
A Former Transsexual and Transvestite
Conducted by David Kyle Foster
from "Mastering Life" Newsletter # 12 & 13
David - Could you spend some time telling us your life story - what happened to you and what the Lord did to rescue you from your sexual sin and confusion?
Jerry - Well that's a big bite! My life story in a nutshell is: I was a boy who by the age of three or three and a half years decided that being a boy was not necessarily the most wonderful thing in the world, and in fact the idea became more deplorable as life went on.
I didn't have sufficient masculine role models around to draw me into manhood. That isn't blame shifting on my part, that was just a fact. I'm not blaming my dad - he was just wrapped up in his own work-a-day world, making a living, and there were a lot of false perceptions on my part as a kid. You can't always think concretely as a little one, and a lot of things that I thought, which became core beliefs, focused around my dad not being there for me. And of course as little kid I didn't realize he was working long hard hours at night, trying to catch some sleep during the day, and then working kind of a second job during the evening. But to me, he just wasn't there. He was emotionally distant a lot of the time and just wasn't there for me when I thought I needed him, although he was providing well for us. And because of that core belief that I had about my dad, bonding really never occurred between my dad and myself.
I opted for the feminine, which was more comfortable. I got a lot of attention from girls in the neighborhood, and a great deal of attention from my mom, so my mom and myself were very close while my younger brother was very close to my dad. I learned to identify with mom very early on. By the age of three and a half or so I was cross-dressing with little neighborhood girls and enjoying their clean world of lace and dollies. It was a safe environment as opposed to the masculine world that I saw as kind of threatening, dirty, slutty, and which involved a lot of stuff that just wasn't appealing to me. I just decided by the age of three and a half that it would be safer and better to be a girl.
David - Do you have any idea what it was about you that made you more attracted to the safer, more put together world of your mother?
Jerry - I don't know. I think that basically I didn't have a male role model who was strong enough to draw me into the masculine, and you know, there is a lot of "pop-psychology" out there and a lot of theories surrounding this issue. But we're working with a lot of people right now who are coming out of this lifestyle and there are a lot of common threads that run in stories. One of them is the desire to be like mommy. I think if there is any one strong thing that runs through the lives of most of us, it is that we just didn't bond sufficiently with dad and we were trying to bond with mom - and that was even on shaky ground. For many of us we had a lot of anxiousness about leaving mom's side. I like what Gordon Dalbey wrote in his book, Healing the Masculine Soul, and also his book, Father and Son. It is how the boy just isn't sufficiently drawn into manhood by an appealing enough role model. Although we were close, something happened early on to my relationship with mom - and I think it had to do with her having to go back to work shortly after my birth. A psychologist would call that "anxiety separation". I don't know what all goes into that except that I think that a lot of the clothing that represented mom was the very clothing that became my "drug of choice" - to find closeness to mom through articles of her clothing early on and in articles of clothing that symbolized mom in later years.
David - As you grew into your adolescent years, did things evolve into perverse behavior or did it remain at a certain level?
Jerry - In my own life it started with simply cross-dressing into mommy's dresses like all the girls did in the neighborhood - having tea parties and playing with dolls and so forth, and I just enjoyed that world. I just enjoyed the frills, the dresses, the feel of it. I enjoyed being in a girl's world.
One significant thing that happened to me, and I am finding this is very characteristic among those of us who have been involved in this lifestyle, is that I received affirmation and attention from my dad when I would cross-dress. He would be passing by and would say, "My you sure make a cuter girl than you do a boy". That kind of comment, you know, really hurt, but it also set up within my thinking that I was more loved and accepted as a girl by my dad. And I think at the very root of it is the great desire, of course, for the boy to be accepted and loved and affirmed by his dad.
I didn't really sense in all my growing up years that I could really measure up to dad's expectations. This is not an attempt to portray him as a bad or wicked or a non-loving individual. He loved his family dearly, but he just said some careless things from time to time that really hurt me. And some of the things that he would say . . . . . . I was a breech baby, and in those days it was a very difficult thing, and almost took mom's life in the process. He reminded me on many occasions that I almost killed mom. And there were a lot of comments that he really wanted a girl , really preferred a girl, and in fact they had a girl's name picked out for me. You know a lot of people do that , and I saw that information as a child, not thinking that it was going to have the effect that it did. It is very dangerous to say stuff like that to your child. So I grew up believing that a girl's world was safer, that life would be better, and that I would be more acceptable to my dad and to my mom as a girl. My mom was a hairdresser, you know, and she always wanted a daughter. She had two sons, and she wanted a daughter to pass on the business to, and I was left with the core belief that life would be sweeter as a girl.
David - The drive must have been pretty strong to keep you engaging in bizarre behavior in the face of ridicule by your peers?
Jerry - Well, it was a shameful thing. I mean I was very much aware that homosexuality was taboo, and that it wasn't acceptable at all. It wasn't acceptable to me personally either! I was not turned on by that lifestyle at all.
You know, I was born in 1941. During that era such things as transsexuality or transvestism - you had to go to the dictionary to look them up, you know? People just didn't know much about it back in those days, and for me to even talk about it was unthinkable. The only person that knew about it as far as I knew when I was growing up was my mom. She knew that I cross-dressed regularly, and I think that produced a lot of guilt in her and a great deal of frustration from not knowing what to do with her son who was using her clothing. She knew that I was getting into her clothing on a regular basis and she would find stuff in my closet or my drawers, you know. It was very disappointing and very shocking and she didn't know what to do with that information.
My dad didn't find out that I was involved in that kind of stuff actively until I was about sixteen or seventeen years of age, at which point he beat the living tar out of me and called me all kinds of names - one of which was homosexual. I knew I wasn't homosexual. I was not attracted to men, and in fact if anything, I hated men. I didn't want to be with men. I wanted to associate with women. I found it so much more comfortable to be with women, to date women. I could understand where they were coming from, though I myself always had a very masculine build and frame - low voice, heavy beard, all that kind of stuff. I just felt more and more and more that I was really a girl on the inside. But I know now that I grew up thinking that it would be more comfortable being a girl, and then I opted for the line, or should I say the lie that our society puts out there, that you are really just expressing your feminine side, which is dominant. That's nothing but a lie and I've seen the error of that.
David - One thing that I want to get back to is the secrecy in which you had to live. This must have had a damaging effect on your self-image and your psychological health?
Jerry - Undoubtedly! I mean, I was scared half of my life, you know? I was afraid of being discovered. I would often stay away from many activities - sports activities or whatever where I would have to go into a shower room with the other guys, because my legs were shaved, my body was shaved from hair, and ninety percent of the time I had nail polish on my toes - that kind of stuff. All the time while going to school I would be wearing girl's undergarments. So it was a very fearful thing I had going on, you know. How am I not going to be discovered by teachers or friends or whatever? It was an awful life to live, with a lot of shame-based thinking. I am an awful, wicked pervert, you know, a person that God has even forsaken! Even as a kid, I would pray to wake up in the morning as a girl, you know, and that wouldn't happen, so my little mind would conclude that God had forsaken me - that God had screwed this thing up called my creation - my gender role. I didn't know what to call it back then but He had screwed it up and He had even left me alone to wrestle with it. So there was an incredible anger at God and a frustration with God, and yet there was another side of me that really loved God. It was very confusing.
David - You had such deep hatred for so many things. You had a hatred for males, you had a hatred for God. You had a love for women though, or was there a kind of hatred there, too?
Jerry - No, I didn't have any of what they call "misogyny", or hatred of women. I wanted to be a woman. I wanted to emulate a woman's life. It wasn't like most men watching a woman coming down the street and saying, "Wow, look at that!" you know, "There's a chick." I would look at a woman and not just want to be like her, but would have, (and this is true of so many of us), this deep gut envy. I didn't want to be like her, I wanted to be her. I wanted to somehow, through taking in the image of her, lusting after her, not to have sex with her, but to be her in my own mind - a figment of my own imagination. I wanted to carry that out to the fullest, and believe me I tried. I cross-dressed regularly, and more so all the time.
That's the way lust is. Lust is never satisfied. The transvestite is an individual who starts out cross-dressing for momentary sexual gratification by using articles of clothing as a form of fetish to gain satisfaction personally for the moment. But many of us progress on into more full-blown activities: cross-dressing in public, cross-dressing in the privacy of our own homes, practicing women's gestures - how to walk in high heels, how to apply make-up correctly. Most transsexuals that I've talked to - we have over 150 around the nation right now we are ministering to - most of them just simply want to be a woman. They don't want to be in the gay bars with heavy makeup, making a parody of women. They want to be women in a very simple sense . What I have found in my own life and in the life of one of the others we're ministering to - is that what we're trying to do is be mommy - we're trying to be that close to mommy, we're wanting to emulate her.
David - When you entered into adulthood, did you live a Dr. Jekyll life - I mean, two different and separate worlds that were hidden from each other?
Jerry - Yes, I was Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde unquestionably. The double life was the model of the day. I had gone into the Navy, figuring maybe that would cure me. I was fresh out of high school and a lot of my buddies in the neighborhood were going into the armed services. I didn't want to go on to college and then be drafted, so I thought, "Well, I'll go into the Navy and that will take care of my problem." Well it only exacerbated it, and in a very short time after I got out of boot camp, I went to the base psychiatrist and said listen, I've got this problem - I want to cross-dress so bad. But I knew if I did that on the base or got caught I would have a dishonorable discharge facing me, because they would equate that with homosexuality and all the ramifications of that. Back in those days, you were out.
David - Was he the first person you had ever confessed this to? Had you never told a pastor or someone else before then?
Jerry - No, I had never opened up except to my mom.
David - What was her reaction?
Jerry - Dismay. She had suspected it all the time, but she hadn't known the depth of it. I'll never forget sitting across the table from her, cross-dressed. I had let her find me that way so that I could tell her that I needed help, and that I wanted to be a woman like her. There was total dismay on her face. She said, "I just don't know why you would want to do that, and I don't understand." She asked me to get out of those clothes and go to the beauty shop to help her clean up. The next day it was like nothing had happened. We didn't talk about it from that point on. So when I went to the base psychiatrist just totally torn up because I could no longer cross-dress and live out that imaginary dream world of the woman, it was really a frustrating thing for me. That was the first person I ever told, and what did I get? Rejection. What else could he do? Two weeks later I was home. They just said, "We can't deal with this. We'll give you an honorable discharge because you've not done anything dishonorable, but you need to go home and get some help." When I got home, nothing was done, nothing was talked about. I went on to college, and met a girl in college that I fell tremendously in love with and asked her to marry me and we later married, thinking marriage would cure my problems. Of course it did not.
David - So, your wife knew before you married what you had been doing?
Jerry - Yeah. I told her on a date that I wrestled with a condition called transvestism or transsexualism. Those were brand new words to her. She had no idea what they meant. She went home to look them up. She didn't have any idea what it involved. But she and I both believed, naively, that normal sexual relations would take care of it. But transsexualism, transvestism, at the very core is like homosexuality. It is not a sexual matter or issue at all. It is an identity issue. And I was still trying to identify with mom. And the only way I knew to do that was through articles of her clothing, or articles of clothing like hers - still trying to bond with her. But that bond would not satisfy. I was spending my life trying to be like her as best I could.
David - So what happened in your marriage?
Jerry - It is spelled with four letters - HELL - it was awful. Somehow, by God's grace, I don't know how to say it, by the intervention of God she stayed with me, although we were separated for a year at one point toward the end of our misery. We knew that we had to be separated to work our own issues through. But we just celebrated our 32nd anniversary, thanks to God! We have both been to hell and back 60-70 times in our marriage. We didn't have anybody to turn to, you know. I was pasturing a church. From college, I went on into seminary because I just really wanted to help people. I have always loved people, and I've always enjoyed being around people, and helping people. So, I went into a secular nursing job along with pastoring churches, while inside I was dying. I could believe God to heal and to help others and to minister to other people through me, and through my wife, but for Him to do that TO me? No. I felt forsaken. It was very very frustrating.
David - It is very intriguing that you would become a pastor even though you hated God?
Jerry - Well, I wouldn't call it hatred for God then. I didn't realize it, and it is even harder for me to say it now, but I think that was a lot of what was going on. I felt disappointment and animosity towards God, and I think later on in life as I saw that my dreams were never going to be fulfilled as a Christian, I developed a hatred for God. But, as I said, I cared for people. I wanted to serve God. But I really think that the main reason for going into pastoral ministry was to provide a sufficient enough cover-up. I knew I was in trouble personally, but I was so afraid of being discovered. Yet I wanted to serve people and I really wanted to live for God, and felt that it was my destiny to serve God. And God wanted me to serve Him, but with this kind of identity confusion it was very difficult to do that - preaching on Sunday and cross-dressing on Monday. And a lot of times I would be in the pulpit preaching really a fine sermon - one that I'd worked hard on, while having women's undergarments under my suit. You can imagine the hell that is.
David - That sounds like a real unconscious attempt to get back at God. Do you see what I'm saying?
Jerry - Sure, sure - I believe there's a lot of things going on. But a transsexual who then opts later on for the sex-change surgery or sexual re-definement surgery in a very real sense is shaking his or her fist at God and saying, "You screwed up God, and I'm going to fix this. I'm going to take care of it. It is in my hands obviously to correct this birth defect. And I'm going to go to the surgeon, get on hormones, and get this thing corrected once and for all." It's a rebellion against God's intent. I mean it's obvious what we're supposed to be. I mean, just look between your legs, and you can tell. There's no question when you're born what you are. The doctor immediately when you come out of the womb says, "It's a boy", or "It's a girl" - there's no question about that. But through so many different events in one's upbringing, confusion sets in. But yes, you're right, and there's just a lot of abject rebellion against God and taking matters into one's own hands.
David - So at the same time you were pastoring you entered into a pursuit of a sex change?
Jerry - That was the dream. I'd read about Christine Jorgenson and different others that had had the sex-change surgery - how successful they were - and I really wanted that. There was one major problem - I had a beautiful wife and two great kids. I had family that I didn't want to hurt. And I knew by having the sex-change surgery and opting for that lifestyle that they would consider me dead and I would have to forsake everything that I cared about so very very dearly, and had worked so hard to build. They would be out of my life, and I would be alone. That was scary. A lot of people do that. I understand that. A lot of people are willing to take that kind of risk and pain. I was not. I think very realistically, when I came to the Lord at the age of sixteen, the spirit of Christ living within me would not leave me alone, and kept letting me know, one way or another that I was loved by Him. He would just work things out in my life. I've gone through a lot of pain, but I now see that the pain has been allowed in my life so that I can understand and have great compassion for others who are going through similar kinds of trauma. My wife and I are working with married couples all the time coming out of this kind of lifestyle.
David - So you finally - God finally - brought someone into your life that you loved more than yourself, and that put a roadblock in the path of doing a transsexual operation?
Jerry - I'd have to say very realistically that's the sum total of it. I loved my wife more than I loved God. I'm ashamed to say that, but that's the reality of it. I loved my family more than I loved God. Because if God had been enough, just the very fact of what He said in the scriptures - in Deuteronomy 22:5 where He very clearly lays out that if a man dresses as a woman or a woman dresses as a man that's an abomination to God - that should have been enough to have turned me away from that kind of activity, but it was not.
David - I'd like to find out exactly what happened to woo you back to the Lord and to bring some light into your mind and your heart about your condition? What was the kick-off event in your life that started the turnaround?
Jerry - First of all, I'd like to clarify that you were saying that I was headed into the transsexual lifestyle. I was there! A transsexual is a person who, male or female, desires to be a member of the opposite sex on a full time basis, and will attempt to do that as much as possible, given the societal rules, and whatever else they can do. So much of my time was spent either cross-dressing and going out in the public or in the confines of my own home as a woman. If I was not fully dressed as a woman, at least beneath my masculine attire would be pantyhose, panties, feminine garments, a shaved body, fingernail polish on the toes - anything I could get away with that demonstrated that I was really feminine. I had a feminine name that I used. My name was Jennifer Elaine. That was the name my parents had picked for me, you know, and I loved that name because I felt that my feminine identity was more acceptable to them. That's just how I felt about life.
The thing that turned me around? It's not like one experience. I mean I can't really remember one experience that turned me around. A number of things happened. But the incredible pain that I went through all the time - dressing as a woman, going out in public and being accepted in the shopping malls as a woman among women - going into a shoe store and putting my leg up on a footstool and having the clerk come out and fit me with heels and not even blink an eye. I can't describe the ecstatic, emotional relief that there was to be accepted as a woman in the marketplace. How I pulled that off I don't know, because I have always had a 190-200 pound frame - big bones, big shoulders. Sometimes I think it was just an illusion I was putting off on myself, and people were just shocked and didn't know what to do, so they didn't make a big scene. But I'll never forget one time I was shopping with women in a big shopping mall. This one woman was dragging her little kid behind, who must have been three or four years of age, and he turned around and pointed at me and said, "Mommy, what is that!" So I don't really know that I pulled the illusion off all that successfully. In my mind though, I thought I was a beautiful madonna, you know, but in reality looking back at some of the pictures I had taken of myself cross-dressing, I looked very much like a man in a dress, which is just about the sum total of it. But in your mind you can pull off all kinds of tricks.
There were any number of painful incidents that happened to me and to my wife, so that we came to a resolution that we couldn't live together anymore in that kind of turmoil. So we separated for a year and things got good again and there was a seeming disappearance of the attraction and compulsion for a period of two years or so. But then pressures in my life began to mount and we began to have some internal family problems. Those kinds of pressures drove me back to a cyclical, habitual, compulsive type of behavior and feeling, and I returned to cross-dressing, and started hormone treatment. My wife didn't know anything about that. I took hormones for about a year and a half under a psychiatrist's care who had a great deal of sympathy for my situation. She said, "Well we just need to get you feminized and moving towards sex-change surgery." I finally became miserable with that - understanding full well what I was going to do to my family, and what I would do to myself. I was down by a river one day with a Smith and Wesson 357 placed back in my mouth tickling my tonsils, and I looked up into the sky and the stars and the moon, and I thought, "God, is this the answer? Is this my destiny? Is this what it comes to?" If there was one event that was the turnaround for me, it was that. And I was only one second away from blowing my head off. The transsexual lifestyle was not in finality the dream that I wanted after all.
David - What did God say back to you, or what did He do in your life that ended up being the response you needed?
Jerry - He gave me an incredible peace inside that He was able to help me, and an insatiable sensation of love and acceptance by Him. He wasn't looking at me as some kind of a weird pervert - as some kind of an unhelpable person or unredeemable individual. If anything, I sensed His love - like a big arm was around my shoulders saying, "I love you." I didn't hear those words, but I had that sense that that's what He was saying to me. And so it gave me courage to seek some help from Christian men in the church, and I started opening up to a few. I went to a psychologist who wasn't a member of the church we were going to, but he began to work through a twelve step program of recovery. It was very helpful to me to see the addictive cycle in what I was doing. I went to another trusted brother in the church who was a licensed clinical social worker, and I took and laid on his desk the pictures of myself, and the gun I was going to use on myself, and I said, "Is there any help for me?" Just getting the secret out on the table, you know? We're only as sick as our secrets. I began to divulge my secrets to trusted brothers and a few sisters. And I found incredible compassion, love and acceptance for who I was. Lots of good solid prayer and lots of good counseling began to turn things around for me.
David - Would you consider yourself healed today? And what does being healed from transvestism and transsexualism look like?
Jerry - The connotation of the word "healed" is that you no longer have any issues, you know? You no longer have any thoughts or feelings - essentially that's what I interpret that word to mean. I can't really attest to a complete healing in that sense. However, I'm not attracted to that anymore, because enough of the masculine identity has been resolved in me. I have certainly resolved the issues surrounding trying to bond with mom. And my relationship with Jesus has become so personal, and has touched my life significantly. At a conference as recent as two years ago, I received some significant inner healing in my emotions - and also a personal visitation from the Lord which was so beautiful that I really sensed again that all encompassing love of the Lord. But I would have to say that the Lord has done everything possible to convince me that I am lovable, and a redeemable human being.
David - So then, the healing process for you has been a slow progression toward identifying with the same sex while simultaneously putting away your identity with the opposite sex?
Jerry - Yes, it's a process. It takes a number of years to get out of this junk. Like the homosexual who spends his or her whole life looking for completion in a member of the same sex, I was looking for completion in the opposite sex. I no longer have to look for that. I feel completed. I feel completed in my own soul. It used to be where a woman would come down the street and I would look at her and think, I want to BE her - now I just appreciate her for being her. I have my own sense of identity that I am proud and glad and thankful to be the man that I am. That's been a long hard trek.
To say that I'm healed? I don't know how you'd say that, because I still have thoughts and temptations from time to time, but I've learned how to, in a very concrete way, deal with them. One way that I use routinely is when my thoughts start to stray toward old thought patterns, let's say a woman is coming down the street toward me, I just literally put my hand up in front of my face in a vertical position to symbolize the Cross, and call myself back to attention to Christ, and by putting my hand up right in front of my eyes, I say, "Now Lord Jesus, I am calling myself back to my relationship with you. Not toward her or anyone else. I'm calling myself back to my center in You, Lord Jesus." And by that very concrete thing that I do by putting the hand in front of my face, it offsets and changes my thinking. That, of course, changes the way I feel about things, and thirdly blocks any activity I have in that direction.
So to say that I'm healed, one would say that if you have any more thoughts about that then you can't claim to be healed or delivered from that lifestyle - that if anything you're just suppressing it. No, I don't buy into that at all. My mind is being renewed day by day. And it has to be renewed by God's word, and things that I do. The scriptures are real clear on fleeing immorality - sexual immorality. So for me, I just stay away from dress shops and from the stores. When my wife goes shopping, I don't go with her anymore. If she goes into the shopping mall to get a dress or whatever, I go into the men's section and I just stay away from things that an alcoholic would call a slippery slope.
David - You know it makes sense to me that you, being reconciled to God through Jesus Christ, are now able to approach the Father. Your relationship with Him has been restored, and the bonding process between you and your Father in heaven is progressively taking place. It just makes sense to me that it would be a gradual growth process and that there would be a progression toward healing in terms of self-identity as a male and so forth.
Jerry - Sure! But you know another aspect of the healing process for me has been - and I find this universally true with the men that I'm dealing with and some of the women, too - that I've made peace with my earthly dad. He died before I had a chance to really do that you know, but I've gone to his grave site and just made peace with him over his grave. And I have recognized that as an adult, he was doing the best he knew how to do. He didn't know how to role model properly. He didn't know how to do what I needed to have done in my life. He just didn't know that. And I've forgiven him and I've dealt with all those issues, and that has been so healing, and redemptive.
But yes, I have made peace with God also, and have come to understand that God's destiny for me has been indeed to minister life to others through His Spirit. To be a minister of the Gospel, to preach, to teach, to share His love. Now I am able to that from a heart of integrity, and not a heart that's torn.
One of the most difficult things for me to do came two years ago when I went out to Boulder, Colorado with my son who is grown and has a family of his own. We both went to the "Promise Keepers" convention. Here we were, packed into a coliseum with 50,000 men - a threatening experience for a man with my background. But I knew it would be good for me to do that and I'm so glad I did, because it forced me into a weekend of relating with men I didn't know and pressing through the fear of being rejected by them, of feeling inferior to them, and shaking their hand and getting to know them a little bit. And you know what? I discovered that they had many of the same fears of each other, and the same inferiority - a lot of the same issues I had wrestled with all my life, but they were now honest enough to talk about it.
Men in our country, I am finding, are wrestling with so many of the same issues that the homosexual and that the transsexual deal with, but are afraid to talk about that with each other. But "Promise Keepers" and other movements like that are very healing and redemptive things that God is doing among men in our country - bringing them together under a common bond and a common need for Jesus and for each other.
David - It's beautiful to see how God uses other people to be His arms and to be His voice and so forth in the healing process.
Jerry - Yes.
David - And I suppose that's why the body of Christ, the Church, is the key element in people's spiritual maturity.
Jerry - I often say to the people I am working with, and I know it's not unique for me to say this, but I heard it somewhere a long time ago and I've used it a lot: We need Jesus with skin on. I need you and you need me. And that's what the body of Christ is about. But you see, the transsexual lifestyle, the transvestite lifestyle, the homosexual lifestyle is such a life of loneliness, fear of being discovered, and filled with shame-based thinking and isolation from one another. Meaningful relationships that I am building in my life and in those that I work with have been the key - to start to open up one's life and begin to be known for who you are and the real issues you deal with, and not experiencing the rejection you suspect would come your way, but an acceptance and love and affirmation for who you are. I mean, one of the most positive things that is happening in my life is that as I share my testimony to the secular world - as they read the printed stuff that I have out on my own life, they cry, they weep, you know? They are drawn to that. They are drawn to God in that, seeing that God can change something that they thought was impossible to change. The secular world is seeing this - that indeed, there is no condition in our life that's unredeemable - that anything can be changed.
David - I'd like to ask you if you would teach us a little bit about the differences between being a transvestite, being a transsexual, and being a homosexual. Those are three different things aren't they?
Jerry - Yes they are. Let's start with transvestism. That's mostly found within the male population, however we are turning up a number of women that are transvestite or carrying out a transvestite role. To be a transvestite, you're using an article of clothing or symbolic reference to the opposite sex as a means for sexual gratification. It's accompanied with the "M" word - masturbation. You use that article of clothing as a sex object for sexual stimulation and self-gratification. And that's about the sum total of it. You're identifying with the opposite sex, finding in that brief moment of self-gratification, an identity with the opposite sex. There's a brokenness in your own identity that reverts to that, or that leans into that. A great number of transvestites will progress on into transsexual behavior, thinking more and more that they really want to be living within the opposite sex gender role.
David - Is that a natural transition that every transvestite eventually makes, or is that only the case in a certain percentage of transvestites?
Jerry - A certain percentage I would say. As in my case, the transsexual usually has disassociated themselves early on from their gender role, saying very early, I don't want to be like daddy, or I don't want to be like mommy. I want to be the other sex. When I was five years of age I was going to bed every night praying to God that I would wake up in the morning the opposite gender. The transvestite has enough self-identity established - the true transvestite -has enough integrated self identity established that he or she doesn't want to be really living in the role of the opposite sex, but wants just for the moment to escape the pressures and the tensions of that sex role that they're having to play out every day, and escape into the other in a moment of illusion. The transsexual, however, is the person who is not happy at all in their original role, and as they fulfill that lust day after day, week after week, month after month, life becomes so incredibly uncomfortable walking around in their God-given gender role that they seek to change that by whatever means they can.
David - So you can be a transsexual and not actually go through a sex change operation?
Jerry - Sure. There's a lot of transsexuals walking around today. In fact, one of the new therapeutic modes instead of having the basic surgery done is to go strictly with the hormonal treatment where, let's say a man can then begin to live as a woman strictly by the hormonal change.
David - I read an article, perhaps a year or more ago, that reported that Johns Hopkins University, which started this whole sex change deal, was beginning to re-think the wisdom of it and had stopped performing the operations. Do you have anything to tell us about that?
Jerry - There are a number of hospitals that have stopped that surgery, that invasive work, and have resorted to using chemical interaction and intervention. Hormonal treatments do a real number for sure. I was on hormones, female hormones, for a year and a half. And at the end of that year and a half I could no longer function sexually. That part of my life was knocked out, and I began to develop some feminine characteristics for sure. I became kind of a hippie. It was emotionally gratifying to me to be able to take female hormones everyday. It just did something to me emotionally that I can't describe. But, you know, I've been communicating with women who have been on male hormones and haven't had the surgery in any way, but who have lived as men for ten, eleven, twelve years strictly on testosterone, and are now reverting back to their original God-given gender and going off testosterone and going back on female hormones. But it's and incredible switch to go back.
David - Is there any evidence that there is a genetic or hormonal basis or predilection for transvestism or transsexualism?
Jerry - The world wants you to think that there is, but as best I understand it, at birth you're born with the chromosomes that indicate your sex - your God-given gender. Even if there were some, as you say, predilection towards this, just looking between your legs indicates what God wanted you to be in your chromosomal structure. We live in a very false world. We're very sinfully inclined people, and without God's intervention, and without seeking help and healing from God, I don't see much hope for a person coming out of this.
David - I understand that even hermaphrodites, who have a physical problem with their sexual organs - even their genes tell what God intended them to be. Is that correct?
Jerry - That's correct. Chromosomal studies are run on a true hermaphrodite who is exhibiting both sets of genitals to determine which is the predominate God-given gender, and then surgical intervention is employed to make that correction. So, chromosomal studies are very clear and concise to indicate what sex we are. And the whole thing that's put out there by the transsexual community - which I bought into, though knowing down deep in my gut that I was buying into a lie, but it sounded good, I wanted to believe it, and I wanted others to believe it - that I was really a girl on the inside, and that it was really Jennifer on the inside that was wanting to be expressed - I knew that it was a lie. I knew it was but I didn't care because I wanted my way. I was like an alcoholic or a drug addict. I wanted what I wanted when I wanted it and that was now and I would stomp over anybody I needed to get it.
And, it is interesting to me that I was, and this is true of others as well, that I was pursuing sex change even while married and having two great kids. On the side I was pursuing sex change surgery - and I was lying to the psychiatrist, saying I was divorced. I was doing everything I could. I was exhibiting sheer masculine characteristics in that aggressive behavior pursuing, at all cost, achievement of my goal. How masculine is that, you know? And yet, I was wanting to believe that I was truly feminine, when in all reality I was demonstrating just by that very act, nothing but sheer masculinity.
David - That's fascinating. You know, I think that many of our readers believe that a transvestite or a transsexual is a homosexual. Tell us the difference.
Jerry - There are homosexuals who cross-dress. We call them "drag queens". Or the world calls them that. I would call a homosexual that cross-dresses and finds some sexual gratification in that, a broken individual, a human being in need of restoration from God. A male homosexual who cross dresses and parades himself in public as a woman let's say, is really wanting to be accepted by men in that role, thinking that that's the only way they can be accepted. And they'll go to the gay bars and they'll do that and they'll parade themselves around - they'll do all kinds of numbers of things, but they're really parodying women. And really, as I have come to discover in talking with so many, that they really hate women. It isn't a desire to be a woman, it isn't a desire to live as a woman - they are parodying women. Out of their intense hatred for women they're saying in effect I am going to be better than you, I am going to take your place and I'm going to supplant you, you know, in my relationships with men.
David - Could it also be a fear of women that drives that behavior?
Jerry - Could be. Surely could be. I think what is overriding however is an incredible hatred and disgust toward women - and a latching, because they're trying to find their completion in men.
David - You've been around a lot of drag queens. So this is not just theory. This is something you've observed over the years.
Jerry - Oh yeah. I've interviewed many and talked at great lengths with so many - and I'm not the final word by any stretch - but I do know enough that I can say with a great deal of authority that the hatred of women is really one of the main underlying issues that the male homosexual deals with as a drag queen.
David - You have said that twenty percent of transvestites might be homosexual. That's a relatively high number when you consider that only two percent of the population is homosexual.
Jerry - It is. And I don't know what to say about that except that's just what we're discovering.
David - Do you believe that the homosexual neurosis in general lends itself to the hatred or fear of woman?
Jerry - In the homosexuals we deal with, and we deal with quite a few, there is a leaning into the feminine. There is a desire to latch on to a certain amount of feminine behavior, ways of thinking, ways of dealing with life. Think about it just for a minute. Many people have formed a picture of a stereotypical, effeminate homosexual, but it is true that so many of the men particularly in homosexuality, or the women in lesbianism, do demonstrate the physical mannerisms, the emotional ways of reacting to certain events in life, like the opposite gender, because they're leaning into that opposite gender for their own identity. But they haven't crossed over the line as far as the transsexuals have in completely rejecting their own gender, if that answers your question.
David - The most fascinating thing is that a fully heterosexual person - would dress as a woman. That is very surprising.
Jerry - Well, I don't think it's all that surprising and I think that in the future we'll be seeing more and more coming out of the closet literally. The transsexual, known typically as a closet queen, who has done that for so many years in the privacy of his or her own bedroom, is now beginning to come out - being more brave about confessing what they're doing, trying to find social acceptance in that kind of activity. When we started just a year ago printing out a newsletter called REALITY, to the transsexuals that we served around the country, I had no idea that we would get the response that we did. We're in our fourteenth issue and we have more than 150 people on our list who are responding to this and coming out of the lifestyle effectively.
David - That brings up our final area of discussion. What is the intervention process that one goes through in ministering to a transsexual or a transvestite? How do you help them achieve a healthy identity and walk in life?
Jerry - Of course, you're not going to usually have the person come to your office or to you as a private individual until they're in really bad straits, and until they're really wanting help. There's really not much point in trying to intervene until a person wants the help, and is desperately seeking it, because its just batting your head up against a blank wall. But once a person begins to see that they need help, they've taken the first step in admitting that their life is unmanageable and that in fact they're powerless to do anything to change themselves. That's the beginning step. Then you begin to help them get the secrets out, to begin to share their life story and their grief, their sense of loss.
Many of them have lost their families, their wives, their husbands - they've lost everything they've had that has been important to them through the pursuit of this sexual lust and fantasy. You begin to just love them, restore them as best you can as a human being, but most of all turn them to the Lord and get them to start relating to the Lord Jesus and to God as their Father. That's a very big step for most because most of us just have not had a relationship with an earthly father that's been worth two cents. How to stop transferring that relationship over to God and to break that concept of God is a really difficult thing to do and takes time. You need to work the person through the Epistles, primarily the Book of Romans, to gain an understanding that their new identity has to be founded in Christ, not in the opposite gender, not in mom and dad, but that it is formed in Him. Then you need to help the person work through an understanding of how that's accomplished.
There's a lot of forgiveness that has to be exhibited toward a person in your life that has violated you. Perhaps there's been sexual abuse, certainly there's been verbal abuse - most certainly there's been neglect or careless things said, like in my own case where I had to go back to my dad and mom's graves and forgive them and ask their forgiveness for various things. It's a two way street, and you have to work the person through that. It's a very tedious, monotonous - not boring - very exciting way to see them transformed in that way.
I think that probably one of the most significant things yet that I've already said is to be Jesus' skin on to them, to be there for them, to demonstrate Christian love and compassion and care and to pray with the person - call them on the phone, ask how they're doing. Put them in an accountability structure with two, three, four individuals where they have to go once or twice a week - to be accountable for what they're doing. Putting up a support group around them where when they feel that they are being drawn back by old thoughts and by old emotions, they can get on the phone or get with an individual in person - go out to lunch - do something with somebody in that accountability group to break that cycle of addiction.
David - So there is hope for change?
Jerry - Incredible hope for change. The thing that the world is doing in this day and age is so wicked and so cruel - to say that there is not hope, that you're just born that way, and you really don't have any other option but to just express the feminine within.