Several years ago, my synagogue asked me to write something about being transgender and Jewish.
I grew up very, very devoutly religious, and I felt terrible about my feelings inside. It hurt me every day. Can you see it in that little face?
The piece has been published in our prayer book, Siddur B'chol L'vav'cha (which means "With All Your Heart," a reference to the injunction in Deuteronomy 6:5 to love God with all your heart).
I thought you might find it interesting.
Growing up very religious, and believing very deeply, I thought a lot about God.
This prayer is about how I felt about being trans, and my relationship with God, as a young person in my pre-teen and early teen years, and how that resolved as I grew older.
"When I was a little boy, I prayed to God.
I prayed God would make me a girl because I knew I wasn't really a boy, not inside. I didn't want to keep pretending to be a boy because it was hard to pretend all the time. I knew I couldn't go on forever pretending like that. It made me very tired and sad. I wondered why God would want me to be tired and sad every day.
But I tried hard not to disappoint God.
One morning, after praying like this for many years, I woke up and God had changed me.
God changed my tiredness into courage. God gave me the courage to tell the truth. God gave me the courage to tell people that I wasn't a boy, even though it made some people laugh and some people get mad.
God's courage has made me happy. God's courage has taught me to love myself. God's courage lets my outside be like my inside. God's courage gives me the gift of honesty. God is Truth.
I thank God for giving me the courage to tell the truth. I thank God for giving me the courage to be me.
Thank you God, for creating the whole infinitely complex universe and for creating the infinitely complex me."
This is also available on the Jeff Herman Virtual Resource Center of Hebrew Union College.