Monday, September 9, 2013

Finding Leo

Killer croquet. Photo by Andrew Shayde
Romans 8:38-39: “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord”

I have only posted a few times on this blog since the end of March and there is a very particular reason for this. I felt that I could not write publicly about what was really on my mind.

At the end of March, I had the startling, frightening, and liberating realization that I just might be transgender.  That was the beginning of a journey of questioning that has brought me to this place now – where I want to share more publicly about who I am.

I now identify as transgender: more male than female, one of the guys, in my men’s clothes and men’s haircut. Over the years, there were several clues I gave myself before my moment of realization, even the title of this blog.

Please feel free to ask me any question that you like. I can’t speak for the whole transgender community, just as I can’t speak for all Lutherans or all Oregonians. I’m on a journey where I am still figuring out who I am, so there is a lot I am learning too. But I don’t want to do so in private any more.

You can call me either Laura or Leo, the name I picked for myself.  I like both and am fine with either male or female pronouns (he/him or she/her). At this point, I appreciate the fluidity of having either option, so you don’t have to apologize if you say Laura or her, and you don't need to feel compelled to use Leo.

I am still attracted to men.  Gender identity and sexual orientation are different, so I can have a gender identity of male and still be attracted to men.  Here is an FAQ on transgender:

Here are a few of the reasons that I want to come out publicly as transgender:

1)      I want to be seen as who I am and feel that I can be authentic. I want to be myself in public as well as with my closest friends. I just want to be me.
2)      I am grateful for the LGBT people who are out and role models for the rest of us, giving us hope, and I want to be the same.
3)      I want to be able to blog and post more freely, without worrying that I will out myself.

I don’t know why I am transgender or why I didn't realize this sooner.  I know some people know from a young age, but that is not my story.  But I do believe that God is with me in this process and that nothing can separate us from the love of God, as I have tattooed on my arm.

I am so grateful for the words of support and encouragement I received from those I have already shared this with.  I am especially grateful for my friends whose love and humor ground me in this tumultuous and exciting journey.

It may be foolish to come out publicly right now, but I choose strength and bravery over being timid.  I am who I am – a child of God, a friend, an activist, an advocate, a goofball, and me – still me.

Thank you for listening.  Many blessings to you and yours.


  1. How'd I miss this most important post!? Congratulations on your journey of discovery! Exploring your gender identity can be pretty darn traumatic and liberating. I think my most difficult periods were when we were in college together. I hope you find greater peace and strength to be true to you in your journeys. Love ya!

  2. ♥♥♥ You have had a wondrous journey, one that I dearly wished to join again when it looked like I might be called to PDX, but that didn't work out with that call. I'm still up in the air, so who knows. I want to hear more about your journey from you. Let's reconnect soon.