Journal Entries for Christa Siobhan Cartwright
Ripple Effects Event at North Christian Church
August 3rd, 2016 3:35 pm EDT
This is what I said at the Ripple Effects event at North Christian Church on July 12, 2016
My name is Christa Siobhan Cartwright. This became my legal name on June 28. I am a Transgender girl: Trans girl or t-girl for short. If you knew me, you would love me!
People like me are born with one gender assigned at birth, but we identify with a different gender.
Being a girl in a boy’s body was a disconnect that made me very uncomfortable and self-conscious. This is common for transgender people.
In some cases, this disconnect is so extreme that it causes panic attacks and serious, debilitating spells of gender dysphoria that make it impossible to function. Some trans people, me included, are simply a lot more comfortable presenting as the “opposite gender”. In other cases, the person feels he or she does not fit neatly into either of the standard boxes. These people are often called non-binary.
Ever since I was 5 or 6, I knew I was different from the other kids. All my life I’ve believed that I should have been born a girl. That’s all I ever wanted out of life – to be a girl. Ever since I can remember, I would take every chance I got to dress in girls’ clothing; this included playing dress-up with the other neighborhood girls.
In 1984, my deepest, most embarrassing secret was exposed to a group of kids in my neighborhood who went to my high school.
The secret was this: several years earlier, I purchased a black full slip at a neighbor’s garage sale, and I kept this hidden from my parents, but not from the other girls in the neighborhood. I eventually became embarrassed and disposed of it. This was my first and only total purge. Most trans girls go through purges -- periods where they get rid of all their female clothing and paraphernalia because they are ashamed or afraid of being themselves and they try to “quit”. This is ultimately an expensive exercise in futility. Being transgender is something we have to make peace with – we can’t suppress it forever without serious, tragic consequences.
I was absolutely mortified when this secret was revealed!! I was sure that this would spread rapidly throughout my school and I’d be a laughingstock. I thought I would have to drop out and maybe even take my own life. This terrified me and I went deep into the closet for the next 10 years.
In 1994 I began to emerge while living in New Jersey. Over the next few years, I came out to my friends, joined a support group, went out in public en femme, and contemplated transitioning. Transition is the process of slowly changing from male to female (or vice versa) -- to make one’s outward appearance more congruent with what’s inside.
I decided that it was unrealistic to transition at that point since I was a poor, indebted graduate student. So I resigned myself to merely cross-dressing on occasion.
Over the next 10 years I did this less and less, as I once again had become ashamed of myself.
I spent many years trying to cut it as a man. I lived my life in a shell, lacking confidence and worrying what may happen if my secret got out. I have not dated in over 20 years because I could never figure out how to handle this topic in a relationship. I also did not have the comfort in my own skin, or the confidence to start a relationship.
I resigned myself to merely existing; keeping my female nature bottled up inside me, and just marking time until I would eventually pass away, unmourned.
In early 2013, it became abundantly clear that I could not do this anymore – I couldn’t fake being a man much longer. At the time, I was in the leadership of a very conservative church. I knew that I had to make a radical change in my life. I could not stay at that church any longer. I had to embrace my feminine side to avoid another stay in a psychiatric hospital. So I tied up loose ends at that church and began looking for a more hospitable church home.
Eventually I found an open and affirming church where I could begin my transformation. I did not know how far I would be able to go on this journey, but I was determined to go as far as necessary to achieve the peace that was so lacking in my life up to that point.
In the summer of 2013, I began to venture into public as my true self, Christa.
That August, I began going to church, visiting my parents, and doing my Sunday errands all as Christa. The opportunity to be myself for at least one day every week was what I really needed to jumpstart my transition.
Over the next several months, my confidence and poise grew, and I slowly began to blossom.
I have been on hormone replacement therapy for almost 8 months now. I have been living as a woman 24/7 since mid-April, and I’ve finally begun to feel ALIVE! I have the confidence and self-esteem that I have lacked for most of my life!!! I have a powerful undercurrent of joy that cannot be snuffed out -- not even by all the vile, vicious Trans-hatred we’ve seen recently.
For me, this is not open to theological or political debate – it’s real, it’s my life and the lives of well over 1 million such people in the United States. A recent survey found that about 1.4 million Americans are transgender. I suspect the actual number is quite a bit higher.
Most trans people face extremely long odds. Many are rejected or even hated by family and friends; many lose their jobs and relationships; others are accepted only if they deny who they are. A lot of powerful “Christian” organizations have portrayed us as perverts or predators. Some people have become anti-trans vigilantes because they also view us this way.
Many fundamentalist Christians advocate “conversion therapy” to “cure” trans people of their “mental illness”. Some “doctors” believe that transgender people should be pumped full of hormones that match their birth gender. Neither of these remedies work and both are disastrous for people like us!
Just like everybody else, transgender people need acceptance, we need love, we need compassion, and we need to be able to be who we are!
I am a Transgender Girl. My name is Christa. If you knew me, you would love me.
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