MEET PETA (pronounced peh-tah)
TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF.
I am 60 years old. I live in Sydney in New South Wales, Australia. I am the T in the LGBTIQ spectrum. I completed transitioning this past July. I have been on Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for over two years, and I have lived as a woman for that long.
What was it like growing up LGBTIQ for you?
How I identify is a longer story. Growing up in a fundamentalist Christian home made it harder to come out of the closet. I didn't grow up in the Seventh-day Adventist milieu but came into that later in the journey. I guess I thought I was gay; even at church I wanted to be a girl (I was born male). For me, it was steps instead of accepting who I am. I got married and had children because that was what society expected of you those days. I finally came out as a gay man and lived as one for 10 years or so. This was difficult for me as I was repeatedly raped by boarders in my own home. When I finally realized that I could be a woman— five or so years ago—I started transitioning.
In what waYs did the acts of rape affect your journey?
For me it did so much damage. It really set back accepting myself so long. It affected every area of my life. It put me back for a long time. I would have not been self-loathing and sabotaging myself. I would have found out who I was sooner and loved myself.
Do you have any advice for anyone considering transitioning FROM MALE TO FEMALE (OR OTHERWISE)?
Well, to be honest, it is a journey. You can't expect it to happen overnight. Do it slowly and then it will turn out right. Take time and learn about it. Get advice from people who have done it. Get support online or elsewhere. Join a support group. And finally, don't give up if you come across obstacles. There will always be obstacles, but this is true in all areas of life. Never ever give up.
tell us about YOUR SPIRITUAL JOURNEY. DO YOU CURRENTLY ATTEND CHURCH?
I was attending church in Brisbane before I moved to Sydney. The pastor who was good to me has resigned now. So, I was looking for a church in Sydney but have not found one so far. I am not involved in any ministry and have always been a lay person. I don't consider myself a Seventh-day Adventist anymore, but I do know that I am greatly beloved by Jesus. I hold on to that.
If you could educate other Christians on one thing about the LGBTIQ community, what would it be?
I would tell other Christians that we want to keep our faith and we want the same things that they do. We love God and we want to be part of God's family and the church.