Growing up in a Conservative Evangelical Context I would often feel trapped and secluded from the world around me. My parents would say they loved me and wanted the best for my life but would turn around and verbally abuse my siblings and I. Especially my dad, who still too this day is a heavy drinker and would shout vial statements at us expecting us to be forgiving because we are all “Christians.” The number of times he yelled at me for having a Beatles cd are endless because the song, “All you need is love” is false in his eyes since Jesus is all you need.
I was 11, my brother was 6 and my sister was 2 the first time my dad ever left because he was so angry. I remember sitting at the table having a lovely dinner (tuna noodle casserole) and asking questions about music. I asked if I could get a Led Zeppelin album to learn more about rock n roll but as soon as I asked my dad stood up and shouted, “No Zeppelin in this house they are children of Satan and my kids will not worship Satan!” After he shouted and my mom told him to calm down he looked at her with the anger building up inside and said, “I need to leave for a little bit!” He walked out and we didn’t see him for the rest of the night.
I was scared for my siblings and worried my parents where gonna get divorced because of ME. I went to my room and broke all of the CDs I had and said, “Fuck music!” I hated what it was doing I just wanted to feel loved so I purged all the things I knew my dad hated and came back to him to ask if he would share some good Christian artists with me. He said, ” I don’t have time I have this job and that job I would just like to sit and watch football right now.” That hurt because I just wanted my dad to love me and treat me with respect along with teaching me how to respect people.
Over the course of the next few years, I would have friends burn me CDs and I would hide them out of sight and out of mind. I became very closed off to everything and everyone except my sister. My sister was adopted from India when she was 1 and we have always had a strong relationship. By the time I was thirteen I had well over 300 different albums hidden away and was learning as much as I could about music till one day maybe a week after I turned 13 my dad found my stash. Thank god it wasn’t my clothes stash because when he found the CDs he yelled and screamed and told me I was going to hell for listening to all of that shit as he called it. He grabbed all of them and threw them away and yanked me to the table saying, “here listen to this it’s better for you and you won’t go to hell listening to it.” I embraced the new music and just wanted to make him happy and love me so I started listening to Christian music.
Shortly after that instance, he took me to my first concert. I saw Carmen and he just kept looking at me the whole time to see if I was enjoying it or not. I hated it, I hated the fact I was trapped on two accounts, first being transgender and second not being allowed to listen to the music I wanted instead of having to listen the shit he wanted me to listen too. By the age of 15, I was moved out because I couldn’t take his abuse along with my moms’ passive-aggressive behavior. I moved in with my girlfriend and would couch surf daily hoping where I would stay would have the things I needed. A ride to school, a ride to work, food, a computer to do homework, and a place I could shower. I did that till I was 20 and came back to my abuser hoping he had changed hoping maybe I would have a father instead of just a dad.
I was dead wrong as he sent me to ywam still hating my desire to learn more about music and grow in my knowledge. He dropped me off at ywam and expected me to thrive and get away from the secular world. I faked it till I made it in ywam, I hated it trying to please everyone there was like trying to please my dad and I couldn’t do it. When my wife and I left I began feeling freedom like I had never felt before and became very excited that I didn’t have to live in Evangelical Christian Contexts anymore. I was free from the religious bull shit and tasted a freedom like never before.
Coming out as a transgender woman is going to be the last little string that needs to be cut to get cured of this Stockholm syndrome and the idea of being free is exciting yet frightening at the same time. Maybe my parents will accept me for who I really am now? Maybe they will learn to love? Maybe not, I don’t know I just know the closer I get to sending them the letter explaining I am transgender I get very emotional and anxious.
“I grew up wanting a father, but instead I got a dad” – Kurt Cobain