Dr. Kris Rizzotto is an amazing trans woman I follow “religiously” on Facebook. Her posts are thoughtful, insightful, inspiring, uplifting, and frequently quite funny. She is a church organist whose music you can find on YouTube. Here she responds wonderfully to someone criticizing her life and work as being sacrilege.
Sacrilegious, I tell you! What would despicable people like me want in church anyway?! Wrong.
A sacrilege is a blasphemous act or gross irreverence that disrespects, violates, or misuses holy traditions or objects. In my 16 years working as a church musician, I have always been guided by reverence, devotion, and respect for God and the Church. Rest assured, you will never catch me being sacrilegious in God’s temple.
Gender dysphoria (the condition that makes me trans) is a naturally-occurring mental condition that manifested itself spontaneously some time during my brain development. It is not a sin but a psychological distress that results from an incongruence between one’s sex assigned at birth and one’s gender identity, and it is described in detail in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5-TR). A highly recommended reading for all who wish to cast judgment upon us trans people without full knowledge of why we are this way.
I would have never have chosen to experience a single day of this condition (meaning I wouldn’t have been trans if I could choose), and I have to live with it most likely for the rest of my life, having taken the necessary steps to alleviate the most painful symptoms I have battled with all my life. But I will not let my condition interfere, dominate, and dictate what I can and should do with my life.
Having a naturally-occurring mental condition (which is not a sin) has nothing to do with my faith or my ability and dignity to serve the Lord with my gifts. Since I was young I discovered I have a calling for music, especially sacred music for worship, and everything that it takes to do play proficiently and lead the faithful in worship and prayer – including the passion and love for doing so.
“To whom much is given, much will be required” (Luke 12:48). What I am doing, really, is paying my Creator back for the wonderful gift of music with which I was blessed. I firmly believe this is what God wishes me to do in gratitude to pay back for my blessings.
I believe this calling is a mission from God, not only for the intrinsic value of my contribution for religious services and worship, but to serve as an example of an LGBT person serving her God and Church with faith and respect.
I do know the Bible, and in fact I invite you to read Matthew 7, which begins with an important reminder, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
If you believe someone may be in the wrong, even if it isn’t any person’s place to judge (and many times wrongfully), just remember Luke 15:4-7, before tossing that proverbial sheep out to be lost alone in the wilderness: “Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, `Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.”
Being LGBT doesn’t mean one should be against God and religion; these things aren’t mutually exclusive at all. Many unfortunately become so, disillusioned with the Church, as a result of being repeatedly excluded and ostracized with no compassion by people who probably should be following the teachings of Jesus more closely. Being trans doesn’t mean we should be excluded from the Church in any way, and it doesn’t mean that we are incapable or unworthy to participate and offer our service.
I refuse to be kicked out of the Church. I love my God. Nothing or no one can separate us from God’s love.
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:35-39)
God made every person in God’s image, wonderfully made, and this intentionally includes all persons of varied sexualities and gender identities. We cannot doubt God’s infinite wisdom in allowing God’s creation to be so beautifully diverse, and in instilling in so many of us LGBT persons the calling to serve the Church with our gifts.
Peace be with you, and God bless you.
Dr. Rizzotto added this comment on her page in response to a grandparent who insists on referring to her as “grandson”:
Thank you, everyone, for your loving responses. I love every one of you and feel grateful to have you here with me in this moment. I find it necessary to write these more detailed responses sometimes because there are beloved people close to my heart and in my family who also don’t understand my experience, and that of other trans individuals. And I also know that because I am an organist my page tends to attract varied demographics that include many Christians of different denominations, who could also benefit from coming across these insights. My message is that “I am like you, and I am with you, not against you; even if we may be different in some ways, we are all children of God, with equal dignity and both worthy to be treated with compassion and love.” I make myself vulnerable when I open up, in the hopes that doing so might help in a small way to contribute to a world with more understanding, acceptance, compassion, and love.