Here Joshua's testimony. He is a member of our online group.
Here is the my story that I wanted to share with you all of the early years of my life and the part it played in the formation of SSA and gender insecurity. They were very painful years but through which our Lord Jesus came in and touched my life when I was 18 years old and me receiving his love and salvation when I was 21 years old. It is rather vulnerable sharing but that is what ultimately we are here for, to give our lives to serve each other and share with each others of the redemptive power of God in our lives amidst the mess and chaos. God bless and God be glorified!
I’ve got a feeling of weirdness since rather early in my childhood. I was a delightful young boy in pre-school which is as normal as others. I enjoyed preschool and primary school days of playing and learning. Rather friendly and sensitive, I got to befriend girls quite easily. I liked playing outdoor sports a lot and would play basketball frequently with the boys along with other games and go swimming classes together. This lasted until primary 4, when bullying and name calling was to come in. It started with a group of them, on loggerheads with me and seeing my sensitive disposition, proceeded to join hands in bullying me, calling me nicknames and spreading the rumors to the class and to others from other classes. I realized then it was a traumatic experience for me which I couldn’t verbalize then. I kept fighting back against the bullies but it was me against many of them and they managed to robe in more of other neutral guys to turn against me.
I didn’t know how to express to my parents and on occasions when I complained, they asked me to just focus on my studies and ignore all this nonsense around me. I could feel an oppression against me, a huge dark force starting to zoom in. I tried also to have some classmates trust or help me, but at that age, many of them were forming their own clichés, which I found difficult, and also I was left alone to fend off the ever increasing bullying. I started to become very defensive and detached in my ways of behaving and built unconscious walls between me and others. I also started to hate the boys who taunted me and also the other friends who weren’t strong for me. One significant occasion, an attached male teacher believed my words and punished the significant few of them. That caused me to like the male teacher a lot cos he really stood up for me and I was greatly vindicated and felt the euphoria of it.
When I was in Primary 5 onwards, I became rather isolated, defensive and fearful of my surrounding. I also liked reading fictitious novels like the “Hardy Boys”, “Famous Five” and other Enid Blyton ones. I was very enthralled by the children’s adventure stories and their friendships. I could do very well academically, so I concentrated all my time on it burying my head in books and doing assessment papers. As a result of that, I was appointed monitor which I felt very inadequate and disliked. I also became very insecure because of the name calling and bullying that was always carrying on and I started to feel a sense of oddness and being different.
At this time, I also got to know an extroverted athlete in my class who excelled in many sports but failed in academics. I was ok with sports but excelled in academics. We started becoming friends and then better friends and then one day he actually pressed me down physically on the chairs in classroom and pressed his lips forcefully on mine. I remembered being shocked and shamed by it, though feeling strangely “excited” by the touch. It was to repeat for quite often and against my will at many times. I started to react to it, sometimes in panic, shouting out for help, but often I couldn’t match his strength over me.
My impression of dad in early years was vague cos he was off for work in morning and usually back late in the night. He usually came back late cos he did not have that good a relationship with mum. Mum also found companionship in playing mah-jong or eards with her friends whom she goes to their house or invite them over. As such, my sister and I became very much acquainted with the groups of women who were at our place often.
I somehow blended quite well with my mum’s friends maybe because I was the only male in their midst and I enjoyed and liked their showing of motherly affection towards me. I also liked the game of mah-jong and the ability to even substitute for my mum at short times.
In my childish innocence and spontaneity and hunger for attention and love, I’d often clown and act to enthral mum and friends. I would sometimes even be daring to clown in skirts to elicit laughter and attention. My mum who was ignorant of developmental issues, did not stop me, finding my clowning amusing.
I came to receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour through the ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ in 1994. It was a huge blessing to me cos I was thoroughly blessed through God’s work through the ministry. I was placed into a discipleship group with my current pastor then as my discipleship group leader. It was divinely arranged, I believe, cos I had felt much attracted to his character and personhood. When I realized he is from the same church as me, the divine became even more apparent. I, however, was petrified of my “attractions”� to him, labeling it in my mind as “homosexual”. I thus painfully avoided him, even in glances and looks, trying to appear calm and collected. God would not have it this way cos at that time, this fellow church mate, who incidentally was an army commando officer, was going through a work of our lord in discipleship call in his life. He invited me to his discipleship group, though I agonized much over it. “How am I to manage these attractions whilst in this group”� I pondered then.
As God was working deeply in his life, he started writing letters of agape love and concern to me and his godly intentions to go through a journey of discipleship with me together with our Lord primarily. I could see his character in Christ and thus agreed, through much fears. I also started the harrowing journey of even “outing”� my SSA struggles to him for accountability which he took it with great concern, sensitivity and assured me through his actions that it didn’t bother him much. I got to know that God had already been using him to minister to some brothers who had sexual struggles, including himself with fantasies and masturbation. (One of them was an elder member in church who suffered from SSA and had gone through operations on a tumor in his brain. He knew of my struggles too and encouraged me a lot in beginning of my Christian journey). God indeed had him become like a spiritual father to me, as like Paul to Timothy. I even shared of that friendship to the crusade fellowship, not really knowing what I was saying except that somehow God gave me that impression.
My attractions to him, however, unexpectedly intensified. I watched him lead groups with integrity and him also very much a natural leader in the ministry. I wanted to know him more and care for him but he couldn’t seem to respond as I wanted, deeply. I started to see how I was transferring lots of childhood unmet needs onto him and it became an unbearable stress on the friendship. Unconsciously I started to become jealous, possessive and demanding. He, however as a more mature brother in the lord, and also someone with acute sensitivity to the pains I was experiencing, and himself growing in relating deeper as a friend and brother in Christ, many times urged that we must not just give up. Although my demands, I learnt had to be surrendered to Christ, and I learned to grow out of unhealthy emotional dependency. God honored the intentions to walk through with Him and helped us grow a lot.
As though “interesting”, I came across a person, in one of my Math university lectures, who looked so attractive to me and masculine then, sat in front of me. I was struggling and lamenting cos I felt difficult to concentrate on the lecture and also trying with great efforts not to look at him. As it turned out, most shockingly, my disciple introduced him as the new member to our DG group! I remembered when I first got to know this, I was thinking “God, this is too much for me! I can’t handle this”. God thought otherwise, cos by divine coincidence again, this good looker friend became rather attached to me as friend and would share with me deep things of his life. His father was actually alcoholic and would at occasions abuse the family. He was also an intense person, who just came to know Christ not long and was seemingly hungry for deep friendships too. We became very close friends and I remembered for the 1st time, that he, together with my discipler, celebrated my 21st birthday with me, through an overnight supper and movies, then going to the beach. Indeed, I was much blessed through the strong friendship bond I forged with this brother and even the group I was in through much sharing, prayer and support.
I made very good friends with campus crusaders too, whom I shared my heart out with, prayed with, journeyed with, agonized with over our struggles in our studies, laughed with, worked together in planning leadership camps, doing skits and performing dramas. It was God’s way of replacing my dark years from age 13 onwards to 18 (last 2 years being in junior college where my depression was full blown), with these fantastic memories in university. That was like a tremendous honeymoon period which I’m really thankful for.
It then became challenging when in my 2nd and 3rd year, underlying repressed pains ,suspicions and old manner of thinking and behaving started affecting me along with many episodes of struggles with depression and compulsive masturbation, fantasies and viewing explicit male model pictures or body building magazines habits of past. I’d do my studies very much alone at campus, going campus alone and do tutorials alone at school. I wasn’t connected and I was a lot living like a living zombie, afraid that others will see me alone. I also started moving away from Campus Crusade fellowship because I was unable to take on discipleship groups as a senior and I felt judged and worthless. I was struggling very much with my studies. I realized that I disliked the many modules I was taking in university, except for maths. I hated the laboratory sessions and attending lectures as my inside started disintegrating and the panic attacks started coming back.
As the addiction and emotional issues worsened, I then, through the counseling ministry of campus crusade, came to know of a support group that helps people struggling with same sex attractions. I was excited to meet people who have the same struggles I had and who could understand what I said and felt. It was a relational haven for me from my inner world of irrational fears and loneliness. Also through the teachings, I came to understand the multi-faceted causes to SSA - psychological, social emotional and spiritual roots of it. All the while, I kept only thinking of the spiritual side of my struggle, not realizing that SSA is also much rooted in early childhood woundings and inner vows, defensive detachment and same gender bonding difficulties with father and peers.
I was extremely nervous on my 1st few support group meetings as I never had friends who would openly say they have this struggle and share about it in a group. Gradually though, it became easier for me and I felt very accepted and loved. I also began sharing my struggles to the group for the 1st time in my life, without advice or judgment thrown in. As I became more familiar with the support group, I unconsciously forged such an alliance with them that they became my world. I would go out shopping, watching movies, travelling and incessantly talking and chatting over phones over relationships, longings, and friends’ past and present relationships or difficulties. I also started to become very interested in my own looks and wear and would get lots of opinions from my new found friends and went about “transforming” my image to look hip and trendy.
Suddenly over the few years from 1995 to 1998, I started to forge a new self. The teenage part of me which was not expressed and kept frozen during the formative years from secondary school to army came to life. I slowly put off my Christian commitments or Christian self and jumped into “exploring” life with them. The self which had been starved of an identity switched from being a religiously committed Christian to be a “liberal”� one. I started supposing that Christianity should be without rules cos it’s grace and reinforced even more when I hear of different members sexual history .
Things came to a halt in 1999 when I sensed the leader of my support group, a very flamboyant and charismatic one, moving the group in liberal ways and having a false theology of the Christian faith as I understood and being brought up in Campus Crusade and church. It proved fatal cos the group leader was steering away almost all peers from group from initial commitments of obedience to God. He was however a very influential role in the support ministry in leading the youth and young adults group, who were supposedly to be the next generation leaders. He later emerged as the pioneers of pro-gay Christian apologetics and upon conflicts with the ministry leaders over his Christian theology, left the ministry. He then pioneered the pro-gay Christian ministry and support groups and even church. The damage proved to be severe as I saw my peers one by one embracing the liberal theology or going into a gay lifestyle. I felt greatly confused, alone and yet struggling mightily against lust, pornography, masturbation, fantasies.
I was not exempt as I was thrown into a whirlpool of confusion and darkness where my faith also started to waver and I backslided even further.
The pain became unbearable as I trudged and slugged through each day, with a heavy, overwhelming “rock” of SSA lusts and obsessive compulsive masturbations. I was unable to share with any group anymore cos the support group basically disintegrated upon that leader’s leaving. Again, at the slightest opportunity, my already shaky faith was rocked to the core by lies that I’m going to hell for my repeated uncontrollable sinning episodes (bearing in mind I haven’t acted out sexually yet). I became very suicidal and hung by the barest thread to life though a few times, I almost did it when I was crossing the road. God preserved me and pulled me back from rash decision like that.
At this time, my dear pastoral/mentor brother himself had just gotten married along with many others in same age bracket in my church and having young babies. I really couldn’t identify with them then cos I was panting under the oppressive depression crushing me almost daily. Most unfortunately, the brother in my church who had been encouraging me, who himself had SSA struggles had a third attack from his tumor in brain and had to go through another operation. He came out of operation with partial blindness in his eyes and went into deep depression which proved fatal and too overwhelming for him. He committed suicide by jumping from a flat and it sent shock waves through the whole of my church. I, who had been trying to “minister” to him during that period, was overwhelmed and from that period on, I almost couldn’t work nor function anymore, sinking deep. At my deepest point of despair over circumstances in my life, I heard a voice in my mind “I’ve gotten him finally, and the next one is you!”�
From then on, I just gave up on my faith, fully “convinced” that I am reprobate and waiting to be sentenced to hell. I had by this time fell headlong into internet online pornography too. That was the starting of year 2000.God stepped in mightily again with the sustaining encouragement of my crusade mentor who by now was my church full time worker/assistant pastor. We would meet weekly or biweekly, where I’d share and pour my depressive thoughts out, him at that time also going through challenging crisis in church with few members, shared his heart to me also and we prayed often.
Then in 2003, I, on the verge of full blown addiction to internet pornography, went into the world of gay chat rooms cybersex with strangers online, and phone sex. I began to step out of boundaries and acted out sexually with a male sex worker. That was the last straw cos the false sense of pleasure in the sexual encounter gave me a relief that was almost drug-like. Indeed, it became a drug as I got pulled deep into the world of sexual encounters with massage workers and sex workers. It was a reprehensible regret till now in my life. I became all the more isolated again just to indulge my strong and powerful drug - lust and sex. I also started drinking to numb lots of pain within. I was hitting rock bottom.
At this time, I sensed myself becoming out of control and started crying out to God often. God heard my cries and started sending brothers from other ministries to reach out to me and minister to me. I got invited by them to join in their church cell group and also relating more with others. I also started to use my spiritual gifts of worship leading and intercession in the cell group and was affirmed in doing these. The support group I had been attending before had also now reorganized and got a pastor/counselor to oversee the ministry and overhauled it. As God would have it, I rejoined them in the “alumni”� group and got reconnected to healing in my life again through group sharing , accountability and prayer.
In year 2007/8 I returned to my church and joined in the community of fellowship, though at this time, accumulated much “dirt”� and brokenness through the sexual acting out and pornography, very much like the prodigal son. It was tough yet sweetened many times by the support that my church mates would give to me. Of course, my unprocessed raw emotions of bitterness at seeming abandonment of church and their inability to help with the SSA and addiction issue surfaced with vengeance. God did not “zap”� me of these poisonous emotions but let them out for me to see and deal with them through confession, accountability and repentance. At the year 2008, my church also with the leadership of my disciple/mentor as lead pastor, went through a journey of repentance to uproot, replacement to take root and revival to bear fruit - a vision and word that God gave to him in 2Kings 19:29.
I went into the whole process together with my church in the overhauling and uprooting of all sins and ungodly patterns in our lives to move into the call of a church wholehearted to God for disciple-making. I started enjoying the church retreat with fellow young adults brothers and sisters and it was awesome and the memories unforgettable. I also forged a friendship with a group of singles young adults who had various emotional and spiritual struggles that obstructed their growth. I was myself coming out of addictive patterns of sexual acting out and internet pornography which started to very slowly thaw. I then attended Exodus Asia Pacific conference for the 1st time in Singapore with my alumni support brothers, and that was truly an eye opener where I saw the enormous problems presented in coming out of SSA. I was then to relate with some brothers who were going to start a new ministry to the sexually broken , called “liberty league”. I worked with them and volunteered with them with much joy and purpose, in my heart, hoping that the ministry to same sex broken people could be grounded and established here. I was then led, I believe, by God to enter into a period of inner healing with a healing ministry here, dealing with the bondages, inner vows and bitter root judgments and early life woundings.
I remember in year 2007 when I attended another Exodus Asia Pacific Conference in Malaysia, that I felt a stirring within me of being involved to help in ministry to same sex broken strugglers. “God, if you can use me, then use me”� was the stirring in my heart, though after some time putting it behind me, as I went into the hum drum of life again. From then, along with the divinely coincident repentance and discipleship journey in church, I started another wave of repenting of even deeper life threatening issues like pride, vengefulness, resentment and the huge big narcissistic “Self”� that was nurtured by my years of rebellion of living in the “lifestyle”. I now start really to see that being gay is really a putting up of worship of Self, Youth, Body and Looks that has got to be torn down and brought to lordship of Christ.
Then for a large part of the end of last year until now, I put my hand to the plow to vigorously deal with my pornography and sexual acting out by weeding out internet altogether from my home and only using it at church, putting away use of smart phones and video-watching. God’s words prove true when our lord shared on radical amputation of anything that has the power to enslave us to sin. The underlying issues of masculine identity, gender insecurity and fears started to float up to surface and then the deeply paralyzing episodes with depression that began this year which pushed few times to suicidal despair. I, though, am starting to learn that our Christian journey is really not for the faint hearted and is meant to be radical and life transforming. Christ, our lord, never sugar honeyed His words in the gospels and neither did the apostles in their writings. I am relearning over again and trusting!
(used with permission)
"I can only pray that they forgive me for the wrong that I have done, the ones that I have given AIDS, even murdered. The families I have broken and torn apart purposely. The lives I have destroyed. The souls I have led into
darkness. Oh Father, God, please forgive me for the lies I've told, for committing adultery, for stealing from so many, for worshiping money and sex and the pleasures of sin, for cursing Your Holy Name, my parents and my neighbors, for desiring, coveting, taking and hurting others to have what was not mine. For engaging in detestable and disgusting acts. FORGIVE ME ! In Jesus' Holy & Precious Name Lord, forgive me and come into my heart, my soul,
my life. Mold me into the man of God that You created me to be. Amen !"
He carried me through the storm and made it possible for me to tell you my own story so that I have a part in crushing everything that satan has told you and led you to believe. You have accepted complete sin as a "way of life" or a "lifestyle." And I am here to let you know that there is no "way of life" or "lifestyle" called homosexuality, or transgenderism, or prostitution, or sexual promiscuity and there is no tolerance for living that sin when in your heart you KNOW it is wrong. You KNOW that those feelings you are having are not right. You KNOW this because it is the truth. Now I know we are in a society where most of these things I have mentioned are not looked down upon, as a matter of fact some have been accepted as lifestyles. Homosexuality and transgenderism is considered "natural" and "normal". They are everything except natural OR normal! Sexual addictions renamed. Sin.
I am constantly under attack by demons trying to take me back to the darkness that I dwelt in for too many years, but my strength is through Jesus Christ and He will, and does, give me strength to carry on. That pesky devil has no power over me.
I lived in homosexual sin for many years and I was one of those "very gay" flamboyant people who, if you didn't know I was homosexual then you had to be blind, deaf and not paying attention. Did I have sexual encounters when I was a child with males older than me ? Yes I did. Was I molested ? Yes I was, even though I never refused or stopped them. In fact, I desired the attention as much as I could possibly get it. But I do not feel that I became homosexual because I was molested, or because I did not have a father in my life. I was very young when I had my first homosexual experience and I was 37 years old when I had my last. Over thirty years of detestable sin. I keep saying "detestable" because that is what homosexuality is to God, it is an abomination to Him. There is no in between, or acceptance in ANY Holy Bible that would allow anyone to think otherwise. You were not BORN that way and it is NOT okay to be that way. It is NOT okay for you to have those feelings and whoever told you that it is okay, is employed by the devil and the truth is not in them!
From the moment I was conceived I was on a rough road. I wasn't three months in my mother's womb when my father committed suicide, and that moment changed everything in my life. I grew up in a house full of women, my two older brothers were never around so I was always with my mother, sister or female cousins. And my only two friends were girls to. I never had a father figure in my life and I may have longed for that. Is that what caused me to like the sexual advances from other boys and men ? I don't know and frankly it doesn't matter now. What matters now is that I know the Truth and I let you know the Truth, in hopes that you will SEE & FEEL the conviction of your sin as I did and turn away from it, repent and believe. I went from being a cute little boy to a very smart, manipulative, sexually suggestive and conniving little person, and I did so before I was even 10 years old. I had no clue I was on a path that would eventually bring me to a crossroad of death or God's Almighty Salvation !
And there is no doubt which road I took as I am here today to tell you of my own journey to God.
It is our choices that lead us astray. We CHOOSE sin. Granted, we are all born into sin and shaped in
iniquity, but we have free will to make choices as we grow up, and those choices are
what lead us down the paths we are on in life... some have tragic endings.
Not only did I have feminine mannerisms about me but I looked very feminine also, actually I passed for a young girl very easily on more than one occasion. Once I figured this out and realized I could receive even more attention and physical encounters, I used it to my advantage very quickly. By the age of 11 or 12 I was cutting school and heading to the local mall where I would put on a little bit of make-up that I stole and go on the hunt. I had a few very short lived relationships with other males who actually thought I was a young girl. I performed as many sexual acts for them, and with them, as I could without going all the way to keep them from finding out my "secret". When it got to the point where they wanted to take it "all the way", I just simply stopped seeing them and vanished from their lives. I never knew, or realized, the harm I was putting myself in. But here I was a 12 year old boy passing for a 15 or 16 year old girl and I was getting so much attention from so many different men that I knew I did not want it to end. After a few years of getting deeper and deeper into trouble with my mom and family, my mom was at her wit's end with me so she took me to live in Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love. Well, out of the frying pan and into the fire, as they say. First we stayed with a family friend in an area of the city that was flooded with drugs & crime, which is where I discovered cocaine and started using on a weekly basis. At 15 years old I robbed the neighbors house, eventually getting caught but no charges were filed. My mom had met a nice man and they began dating on a regular basis, eventually moving to the Northeast section, which was definitely a nicer area. I was spoiled and never could do any wrong in my mother's eyes,
so I got away with much more than I should have.
I quickly found the downtown section, called Center City, where all of the homosexuals hung out. I saw how open they were about it and how it was okay there. I was taken under their wings almost immediately and was part of something. I wasn't sure what I was a part of but it sure felt good to find people that felt, and acted, like me and to be accepted by them so quickly. They made me feel like I was in a brand new "family" that I never had because they were always hugging and holding hands, always so close together. Then, I met the "drag queens" & the "trannys", the ones that I felt more of a connection to because they "understood" my feelings of not wanting to be who I was. They agreed with my passion for acting like and dressing like a woman. They assisted in my growth in this new world and they made sure I understood that what I felt was normal. Assuring me it was OKAY to dress like a woman, it was definitely OKAY to engage in these sexual acts with other men and that it would be an even better idea to charge these men for letting them have their way with my body. It wasn't long before I was running away from home, staying out all night, dressing up like a woman, drinking, doing more drugs, taking female hormone shots and pills, prostituting myself on the streets all night long, sleeping in parks, motels and eventually getting arrested for numerous things. Finding myself in trouble with the law several times I ended up going to a juvenile detention lock-up facility where I realized I was even more special because I looked and acted so much like a girl. It seemed as if almost all of the other boys wanted to show me "affection and love" and those who didn't pretty much just stayed away from me. I did have a few really bad and scary encounters like being forced to engage in a sexual act in the bathroom by a few different boys. After being sent to a court ordered home, running away and then going from place to place, I was eventually sent to an all boys school by the court where I graduated high school and tried to get a handle on my life. I still wanted to take female hormones and dress like a woman but I didn't want to do it while living in parks, motels and where ever I could lay my head at. I was 17 years old when I graduated from high school and after my mom split up with her boyfriend we moved to a neighborhood, called Frankford, it was definitely not the Northeast but we all fit in quite well. At this point in my life I had engaged in sexual activities with well over a thousand men and I pretty much knew that I was HIV+, because so many of my friends and past lovers were. I went from living at home and being the feminine gay guy to living with friends or in motels, dressing like a woman, prostituting and partying. Then I would move back home and just be the feminine flamboyant gay guy for awhile. It was a never ending cycle for me. I would take off to New York City or Florida or Virginia, survive
for a few months and return home to the safety and comfort of mom & home.
I always remembered the attention I got when I had gotten locked up and put away, it stuck in the back of my mind like a dream or desire. I was arrested after turning 18, for beating some woman in the head with a railroad spike, kicking in her door and busting out her windows to her house because she disrespected my mom and my sister. I was not in juvie hall any more, I was sent to the adult facility where there were even more men that wanted to engage in special activities with me and I enjoyed it. I found myself liking it and wanting to actually stay in jail. It was like a safe haven for me because I had no worries and no competition because the men in there saw me as the closest thing they were going to get to a female. The female hormones had begun to work awhile back and I started to grow breasts and my body was getting more feminine in it's appearance. I spent a month or so in the county jail and then I was ready to go back
to the free world where I could enjoy all of the same things but in the comforts of my own home.
At 19 years old I decided I wanted to do something with my life and get some job training, so I enrolled in Job Corps and was sent to W. Virginia where I started enjoying the everyday hustle of going to classes, job training and then back to the dorms for the activities that I enjoyed most of all, being the feminine & girly looking boy that other boys wanted to use for their own enjoyment, and I was okay with that. In my mind that contact was attention, which was affection, which meant they were showing me love, some type of love. At least that is what I would tell myself and convince myself of. Well, my experiences at Job Corps came to an abrupt end when I was called into the nurses office to be told that I was, in fact, HIV+. Now it is one thing to THINK you are PROBABLY HIV+, but believe me, it is a whole different story to be told that you ARE HIV+. I left Job Corps, returned home and went into a deep depression. I was only 19 years old at the time and had lived the life not many had gotten to endure yet or even some have yet to make it through. Then to top it off my best friend, Michelle, was murdered. She was shot, execution style, during a drug deal gone bad in N.Y.C.. It all just tore me apart. I became very angry and I decided to go back downtown and see some of my so-called "friends" and see what they thought about my being HIV+. I was told that it didn't matter and it was nobody's business. I was told to not tell anyone else and, don't worry about giving it to anybody because nobody worried about giving it to me. And so, that became my new motto. I continued dressing like a woman and prostituting myself knowing that I was HIV+. I took more female hormones and my breasts got larger, larger to the point where I couldn't hide them from my family with big sweatshirts or baggy clothing anymore so I got an apartment and gave up the part time motel and part time home thing. I spent a lot of time escorting also, which is just another word for prostituting, but I didn't have to walk the streets when I was an escort. The clients would call me or page me, from an ad I would run in a newspaper or magazine, and I would go to them or they would come to my place. However, I was still drawn to walk the streets. I guess it was just for the excitement of it all. I would call party lines or date lines to meet guys for my personal pleasures.
Whether for money or for free, I spent the majority of my time engaging in sexual activities with as many strangers as I possibly could. Homosexual men didn't want no parts of a "drag queen" or a "tranny", so I was left with the "straight" men who were in reality the bisexual men. It was the bisexual men who would come to see me. I met a lot of men who never had a homosexual experience until they met me. Some of whom I think of from time to time and wonder
if I gave them HIV or if they were ever saved and born again. How many were dead because of me ?
How many went home to their wives and girlfriends and gave them HIV also?
How many babies were conceived and had HIV due to my actions ?
How many LIVES had my selfish ways ended, ruined or altered ?
At one point I went down south, and all that changed was my surroundings, because it sure wasn't my actions. There came a point when I once again found the wrong crowd of people. I befriended a lesbian who abandoned her son at my apartment. When I called child protective services and reported her, word got back to her that I did so and she came and got him. The next day I was greeted by two detectives who wanted to ask me all types of disturbing questions. They were accusing me of attempting to molest the boy who was left in my home. The boy whom I fed and treated as if he was my family. A young boy that was obviously coached as to what to tell these detectives because they truly thought I was guilty. They didn't arrest me at that point, but they did tell me not to leave town. So I went back home on the next thing smokin', back to Philadelphia. I now had warrants for the charge of 'lewd and lascivious act in the presence of a child' and I had a warrant in Philadelphia for prostitution, I was 22 years old, a "tranny" and HIV+.
Why would I change now ?!? I just kept on doing the same old thing until eventually I was caught and sent to jail.
I was a "commodity" in jail, I knew it, I played the part so well and I could have anyone or anything I wanted
by doing the same thing I was accustomed to doing, having sex and acting as feminine as I possibly could.
I was eventually extradited to a county jail down south where I was once again a commodity. I really believed
that some of these men truly cared for me. I truly thought they had my best interest at heart. Well I was
used and abused there as well. During the next few years I was back and forth between home and
going down south, violating probation, getting arrested for prostitution, staying in motels, being violated,
beaten by lovers, stabbed once, shot at a few times, raped more times than I can count and just tossed and battered by life itself. I did some drugs like cocaine, marijuana, crack, meth, pcp, pills, alcohol, even snorted heroin a few times and I survived to talk about it. I went to prison twice, each time being the rag doll for more men than I could ever count. I was diagnosed with full blown AIDS while in prison and I thought I would die in prison. I KNEW I wanted more. I knew I had compassion and goodness inside of me, so why was I always ending up in bad situations? I mean, I know it was due to my own actions but I just never could understand "why me," a question I asked many times over. Even through all of this, I did manage to keep a smile on my face and make the most of any situation and of every day that I was alive. I never dwelt on any given situation because that just didn't make any sense to me. If I was going to be in that situation then I might as well make the most of it and then my time would go by quicker than if I felt sorry for myself everyday. I remember a correctional officer trying to be sarcastic and asking me if I was "happy" to be in prison because of all the men, she said I probably felt like a "kid in a candy store". I told her that I wasn't "happy" to be in prison but I
sure was happy to be alive and I explained to her that me being gay had no bearing on my happiness.
A concept I was starting to understand slowly but surely.
The last time I was in prison there was an officer, I forget his name, but we called him "Bishop". He was a Christian and he let you know it to. I used to talk with him from time to time and I remember him telling me that WHEN I was saved my testimony would help so many people on so many different levels and walks of life. I now think back and realize he said WHEN I get saved and not IF I ever get saved. I think it may have been that moment that my life started to change, not completely, but he definitely planted that seed. I wanted something more, I just wasn't sure what that was. I was used to being battered and tossed through life, I had relations with more men than I could ever begin to count. There was one Man that I never attempted to get to know or have a relationship with, Jesus Christ. That was around the time I would argue with people that God MADE me gay and I was living the life that He created me to live. After my release from prison in 2006, I thought more about doing the right thing and staying out of trouble. I slipped up on more than one occasion but I sure did think about it a whole lot more. I did a few things that took me back to my old self, but one thing had changed, my appearance. A few years in prison with no hormone shots or pills will definitely do that. My breasts had almost gone away and so did the wideness of my hips, and I became David again. I dressed up a few more times after my release but I just couldn't get comfortable as much as I did years earlier, so I just stopped. I started going to places where gay men wanted to meet other gay men, and prostituted myself a few times but mostly
just engaged in as many sexual encounters as I possibly could...spreading AIDS and not
caring about it either...or those who I was infecting, just as I had done for so many years before.
I had purposely lied to people who asked if I was HIV+, or "sick" and there were also some I purposely broke, poked hole is or removed the condom during sex. I just had absolutely no value for the lived of those who I
was engaging in sexual activities with at all. Reckless. Stupid.
However, regardless of how much harm my actions could, and would, cause I still knew that I wanted God in my life but I also believed that I was MEANT to be homosexual. I wanted a better quality of life. At this point in my life I knew it was easy enough to come by money, as I knew all of the different ways to get a hold of money, whether it be criminal or sexual, or both. I knew how to get physical or sexual contact easy enough. I knew how to escape from the daily trials and tribulations of life with narcotics and alcohol, but none of that mattered because THAT was no longer what I was seeking in my life and in my heart. I wanted the peace that I heard so much about from Christians that would express to me their own compassion for me and my situation. I wanted my life to be whole and at peace. I not only wanted God in my life, I also wanted that peace that I saw in the faces and the eyes of so many Christians I have met through the years. I decided to do what I could to stay out of trouble. I got a job delivering newspapers at night and it worked for me for awhile until faced with the temptations of being able to steal peoples mail and find money, credit cards, gift cards, information, etc... back down that path I wanted to get away from. Then the trials of having very bad dizzy spells and a lot of balance problems caused me to have to give up that job. Turns out I had an infection in my brain. My virus was taking over my body and my immune system was failing. My doctor didn't know if I was going to survive, and neither did I. It was around that same time when I started feeling a lot of pain in my back also, it would come and go like it had for many years, but now it was beginning to be constant & excruciating pain that kept me from moving most of the time and walking became a task I could only accomplish with assistance. I was back and forth to the doctors & hospitals for tests and pain medications for months. Finally being diagnosed with Osteoporosis, Degenerative Disk Disease, herniated disks, and arthritis. I spent months in bed and had to use a walker when I was able to walk. I was ordered a hospital bed as I could no longer lay flat. It was terrible. I was on some very heavy narcotics for pain. So I spent a lot of time in bed doing nothing. This gave me some time to really do some soul searching and find myself. There was definitely a battle going on there. I was spending equal time on the internet between seeking God and watching homosexual pornography, I was definitely torn. I was definitely seeking CHRIST to come into my life. This is the time when I knew I had to make some major changes in my life, and in my thoughts & beliefs. But I stopped seeking Him once I became well enough to get up and get out of the house on my own. I would sell some of my narcotics and go to the casino to gamble, drink and engage in sexual acts wherever and whenever I could. The entire time, knowing I was wrong.
At this point it didn't even matter the age or looks, I just wanted to engage in the pleasures of sexual contact. Well this only lasted so long before I would end up back in bed unable to move. I started to think that my time spent in bed when unable to move may actually be some type of warning, or wake up call telling me something. Then after a few times of feeling better, hanging out, doing wrong and ending up back in bed, in pain, I realized there was some kind of pattern. Summer of 2009 I quit smoking cigarettes when I was told that my next step was an oxygen tank if I wanted to breath correctly. Having so much down time in bed gave me plenty of time to find me and examine myself. I spent a lot of time searching for my father's family who had no clue I even existed. I found myself having the desire to read and to listen to the Bible. One day I just knew in my heart and soul that homosexuality was wrong, it was an "addiction", a sexual addiction, sin, and I had to get away from it. Once I accepted homosexuality as an addiction, it was much easier to actually see that it was SIN. I learned more about God and then I had come under conviction of His Law. It was God's Law that put me under conviction and caused me to repent of my sins and give my life over to Jesus Christ. I opened my heart & soul to Him in October of 2009. I also found my father's family. I had a brother & sister who never knew I existed and a few aunts and cousins also. Wow, I was an emotional wreck. You see, my father, who committed suicide when my Mom was pregnant with me was not in touch with his family at the time so they had no idea of my Mom's existence let alone her being pregnant. Well, after his suicide my Mom moved back to the U.S. from Canada and was never in contact with my father's family. It seemed to me that my actions of doing good and learning about God allowed something great to happen in my life, I thought, "imagine what He can do in my life if I have this desire and drive everyday of my life!!!" I couldn't wait. I erased almost all traces of who I WAS, (photos, emails, letters, etc...) of my past life. I did save a few photos of the "old me" for use in the future if needed for reference to show those who needed to understand just who I WAS. To show WHERE I was and that no matter how deep you are in sin there IS a way out. I decided no more gambling, no more crime, no more homosexuality, no more sin ! I started telling others of what God has done in my life in such a short period of time, and what He can do in theirs also. It turned out I had to let my friends go also, as they just did not want to hear it. It was my birthday 2009 when I hit my breaking point and acted upon temptation for the next to the last time. I found myself in a suite in a casino for my 37th birthday looking into a mirror on the ceiling and wall watching myself engage in sexual activity with another man and I was not only turned off by the whole scene but I was actually disgusted. I could not perform or go through with the whole ordeal. I stopped immediately and told him to leave. I packed up my belongings and went home which is where I thought, prayed and found a way through the whole situation. Shortly after that my mother and I decided to move back up to New England, more so for her to be closer to my sister and grandchildren but for me, it was a fresh new start where I could begin my new life as a man of God, as David. The quality of my life has changed tremendously and I have been able to see more clearly what is right and what is not. I notice a lot of characteristics in myself that I still struggle with and correct when I notice them. It is a daily struggle and I thank God I know the difference between what is good and what is nothing but evil. I like having a feeling come over me that tells me that something is wrong, or bad, because it lets me know I am on the right path because if I wasn't then I wouldn't be feeling guilty or like I need to stay away from certain things or people. Since I have given my life to God on my 37th birthday I have only actually fell and committed the act of sin one time. Yes, one time was all it took for me to feel the guilt and to be ashamed of what I had done, to ask God to forgive me and tell Him I will NOT do it again. That one time was early 2010, during our move to Maine and early in my walk as a Christian, a man of God.
He has given me such a strong will and purpose in life that I refuse to let satan win ever again.
I know that I must die daily, I must lift & carry my cross daily.
Now I can't tell you about your life or what you have been through but I CAN, and will, tell you what The Holy Bible says about sin, living in sin, and being "given up to sin".
Leviticus 18:12 says, Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.
Leviticus 20:13 says, If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.
1 Corinthians 6:9-10 tells us that, Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
I love you and I sincerely care for you and your eternal salvation. You must learn God's Law and know it well, then you can understand what is coming at the end of that path you are on. I truly want you to be able to see the sin for what it is, darkness and death. I learned God's Law and I also came to know that I was guilty of sin and that I was also living with a serious illness, an addiction, a sexually immoral and deviate nature that needed healing, the healing that only Jesus Christ can provide.
Roman 1:26-32 is very important... For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, spiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenant-breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
Do you know what it means to be given up to a reprobate mind ? A reprobate mind is a mind that has become so ingrained in evil that it is not able to stop – even in its own best interest. Once you are "given up to sin" there is no other chance to get right with God. To become righteous is to have a right relationship with God. I mean seriously people, do you want to burn in the Lake of Fire for eternity ?? Do you want your mother, father, brother or sister, your family and friends to burn in hell ? Does this not concern you ? Do you not want to do whatever you can do to make it right and turn away from sin ? Do you not want to learn what God did for you ? How he sent His only Begotten Son to die for you, for your sins, and mine. Now trust me when I say, I have been there and I have done that. God DOES have a plan for your life and He DOES love you but if you continue in a life of sin then His Goodness and Love will give Him no other choice but to find you guilty and punish you. It took me thirty something years to allow Jesus into my heart, my soul, my life. Do I ever battle with those feelings or emotions ? Of course I do, but I know that those "urges" and "attractions" are simply and easily nothing but temptation. In order to accept sin for what it is you MUST
realize that it IS SIN and you are a VICTIM of that sin.
I know this to be true and I can guarantee you that even though it may be hard in the beginning, it DOES get easier as time goes by. I have much pleasure and joy being a man of God, knowing that I belong, Amen.
I would like to give God ALL of the Glory
for allowing me to use my testimony & life
experience to reach out to others in
hopes of giving them the courage to
open that door to allow Jesus Christ
to come in. There is nothing that I do
not do while giving God thanks,
glory and credit. He has graciously
given me life when all I deserve is death.
His Grace & Mercy have brought me
through and now my time to be that
man of God that I was created to be, has come.
There will be NO HALF-STEPPIN' ! My life is not mine, but His.
I will be in His Will and I will press on until He calls me home.
There will be many that do not like what I have to say, GOOD!
There will be many more that attempt to hurt me with
their words and maybe even with their fists,
but NOTHING or NOBODY
can stop me from doing God's Will.
In His Love, David Arthur
(Source: http://www.ibelongamen.com/my-testimony--photos.html Used with permission)
FLIGHT FROM PAIN:
JOURNEY INTO AND OUT OF TRANSEXUALITY THROUGH CHRIST
Bio: Susan T. is the youngest of three girls born and still resides in the eastside of Vancouver, British Columbia. Gender Identity Confusion began when she was a toddler, continuing even when she made Jesus Saviour of her life in 1980. In the early 90's she enrolled in Another Chance Ministries (Marjorie Hopper - Director) as Steve. During this programme, Jesus became Lord of her life and with the power of God beside her began her healing journey. Susan was a pastor for a short time, volunteered in various committees such as Another Chance Ministries. She has been helping in many organizations such as 100 Huntley Street, Vancouver Challenge (Teen Challenge), and various street missions. She is an itinerate evangelist (Phillippines, Indonesia, Canada, Caribbean) and itinerate worship leader.
After taking a sabbatical from ex-gay ministry she began being connected with Exodus Global Alliance in Canada and she is now being used by the Lord to show that though going through the journey to understand Gender Identity Confusion and walk in truth of who she is may come through overcoming some painful steps, it is worth it. And now walks in freedom.
I accepted the Lord as Saviour in July 1980 @ 16 yrs old. He knew where I was but He was waiting for me to see Him. Though born a girl, most of my childhood was filled with my mother implying that I was not a typical Japanese girl & didn't belong. I didn't like what girls were supposed to like, etc. This started my self identification as "I must be a boy" starting in toddler ages. Meanwhile there was always a nagging feeling that my father was missing out because he didn't have a son. The words I chose to embrace from my mother were, “if you were a boy,” etc. or “you're just like your father.” I tried to ignore the words & feelings given from my mother.
When I was 5 our family, except for my dad, went on a trip to Japan from Canada.
At that time people who were in the plane’s boarding area could see their loved ones waiting for takeoff. I remember seeing my father hanging his head and looking so lonely. It was then that I decided that I was going to be the son he never had. I was sad to go but relieved too because there was some molestation happening. But the trip to Japan confirmed that I wasn't feminine. I did not fit in.
When we returned home to Canada, I kept getting worse because the Canadian families I was exposed to (next-door neighbours, TV, etc.) all regularly said “I love you” to each other but my family did not. I did not realize that in the Japanese culture they say I love you by providing for you, taking care of family members, etc. I didn’t understand so I felt totally unloved by my real family. By the age of eight I came very close to stabbing myself a few times but, even though I was a Buddhist, I heard God say ``don`t do it.”
At age 10 (March 11, 1974), I was raped. At this point disassociation started occurring. While the rape was happening to me the sensation was akin to me going out of my body and the experience was happening to someone else. This started my coping mechanism for flight from pain. I`m a boy -- all that ugly stuff happening to me is because of that body on the outside. As a result at the age of 12 I contemplated more heavily the thought of suicide. I remember I was in my bedroom, placed a knife to my stomach and just as I was about to plunge The Spirit spoke to me and said He loved me which made me stop.
When I was thirteen, CKVU (Channel 13) began airing soft-core porn (geared more for men with sexuality from a man`s perspective) after midnight, starting a 25 year habit for me. At this time I was aspiring to be a male rock singer like BTO and The Guess Who which led me to have long hair. Nobody suspected my problem because I didn`t look butch. My father and I started having physical fights (but we are pretty good father & daughter now). And my mother began blaming me for the problems between her and Dad. I began to look into the Occult.
The Lord really protected me at this time – any relationships with women didn`t last when I told them I was becoming a male (straight or lesbian). On the other hand, men interested in me were all dedicated Christian boys but even during the date I was preoccupied with finding them good Christian women because I saw me dating a male as being a homosexual and I wasn`t a homosexual.
During this time every rejection I felt, every time I wasn't included in group activities, every failure, etc. I accounted to being a failure as a female. I began internally calling myself Steve while still answering to Sue. I decided to be the male. I decided to pursue a normal family where I would be the husband to a normal wife with kids.
I pursued relationships with normal women but they were short-lived because I felt as a Christian I loved them too much to be deceptive (I told them I wasn't physically a male). The lesbians didn't want me because I told them I was pursuing a sex-change operation. The lesbians were all after me until I told them I was having the operation to become a man. The local lesbian (women's) club advised me that I could attend their meetings only until I had my operation. Also my Father in Heaven kept reminding me if I really loved these women I wouldn't lead them to do anything that would jeopardize their relationship with Him. So my love for these people was bitter-sweet cause deep down I knew He was saying truth.
After a while I notified my sisters and sought out my general practitioner. The doctor said she would approve the operation and that I needed to get further approval from a psychiatrist at a Gender Dysphoria Clinic. I had already been passing as a male for a long time even without the hormones. (You had to be living as a male at that time for one year). My non-Christian friends were calling me Steve. I was a rock'n roll musician so having long hair was a norm.
During this time I started going to Christian Life Assembly. I wanted to stop the pain by becoming a male but I also didn't want to lose my relationship with the Lord. After seeing the doctor many times and getting ready to go to the clinic, the time for disclosure was at hand. We were in the chapel and I exclaimed to some of the congregation, “Don't call me Sue, call me Steve. Sue will be no more.” Thank God for a pastor who was growing in the Lord. He began speaking life to me. A conversation I remember is when I stated I felt inferior because I wasn't a pastor, he stated that he thought I had gone farther because I was the first Christian in my family. At this point many of my friends in the church began to really minister to me.
Many of my guy friends took me aside and let me still be one of the guys but I'm sure they prayed for me every day. I got together with 3 guys and we prayed with each other.
My Christian friends also let me know about their own personal struggles so I didn't feel like they treated me as inferior or like a project. By their actions my friends began to instill in me a desire to know The Truth and to live in the Truth. The truth is always the truth no matter how much we try to lie to ourselves. No matter how deceived we are in our gender we can never run away from what came out originally.
My prayer now became ‘Lord Change Me to who You want me to be.’ Either I believe that God will do it or I don't believe in God at all. Either God is Truth (and all His decisions) or He is a liar. My pastor who was humble enough to admit that his 12 pastor staff didn't have the resources to “fix” me referred me to Another Chance Ministries with Marjorie Hopper. Because she was also a struggler of trans-gender issues Marjorie knew better than to call me a lesbian. But I was perplexed as to why I was put in this ex-gay ministry when my being attracted to women was quite heterosexual because I thought of myself as a male. I was indignant when she insisted I join the woman's group instead of the men’s group. I kept wondering what I was doing there. But this was the hand of God.
My small group leader Ruth took the brunt of my “I don't belong in this women’s group” mentality and patiently started talking to me. Ruth never had lesbian issues but she ministered to me better than someone who had been in the lifestyle. She ministered God. As we went through the 32 week programme, she did not put me in a box but uniquely asked the Lord to speak to me. I stayed in the women's group. It would be another 3 years (I was a small group leader) when Marjorie associated me with the L word.
The road to Wholeness in Christ means a break from the flight from pain. When we receive Christ we are broken vessels. As we continue to grow in Him, He takes these broken pieces and makes an object for His pleasure as He heals the pieces. In order to create the object the pieces have to be moved -- they have to submit to the Potter even if it means they go through the fire again. Most importantly they don't react in the same way they did before. As we desire the Lord to set us free we must realize that whatever coping mechanisms we used for our suffering must be submitted to Christ. Continuous surrender. Wholeness in Christ means to give God the final say. He is the only One who can be our all in all. He has big shoulders and just as a raging wound may have to hurt for awhile to properly heal The Lord is with us to walk us through but walking through is imperative. He may do things like corner us to uncomfortable situations to help us get set free.
This began the journey of discovering the lies I believed about myself, lies I believed about others, the damaging effect of labels, inner vows, the importance of understanding inter-cultural practices and communication between generations, the importance of being a team player, that no business is new business (1st Cor. 10:13) – the thought that no one can minister to me because no one has gone through what I went through – is a lie.
BE PATIENT – BE WILLING TO CHANGE IN GOD'S TIME – NOT YOURS.
I am no longer a transsexual and have no desire to be a man. I am happy as the female I was born to be.
(Susan's testimony - used with permission).