There she was… standing in front of me… one of the most beautiful women I’d ever seen. The perfect body. Just like almost every woman on the planet would love to have. Tall. Slim. Perfect hair. Perfect boobs… but something was not quite right… The Adam’s apple. The deep, masculine voice. Somehow they just didn’t fit the body staring back at me.
My heart broke. Of course I wasn’t surprised. I mean that was the reason I was standing on the abandoned street corner at midnight. For her… We went to meet her. And others like her. We went to tell them they are loved. To show them their true beauty. Their value and worth as a human being.
Swirling Around in a World of Chaos and Confusion
These broken souls have experienced more trauma in a lifetime than anyone ever should. They are swirling around in a world of chaos and utter confusion. “Who am I?” they ask themselves on a daily basis. Born into the world as a little boy, their worlds lacked love and nurture. Abuse of varying kinds a constant threat. Words of defamation, heavy blows and sexual encounters became a normal part of growing up. The secrets, the lies, the constant flow of strangers passing through the home. Home is supposed to be a safe place, but instead it became a place of torment and fear.
Next came the self-hatred. The desperation to be someone else. “Maybe if I was a girl things would be better. Obviously there’s something wrong with me. They keep telling me how evil and wicked I am. I was supposed to be a girl. My mama wanted a girl. She said if I was a girl she’d love me. Daddy wanted a little girl too, but for other reasons. I could make them happy, I could change. Then they would love me.
Lies and Deception
“They told me I was a good looking girl. Strangers complimented me on my looks. They told me if I’d lose a little weight I’d be perfect. Before long I was being offered money for sexual favours. I’d been forced to do these things all my life, but I’d never been paid. I knew what to do… it was ‘easy money’. 5 reais for oral sex (US$1.25) will buy me enough crack to dull the pain. 50 reais (£10) for a nights work is far more than I can earn with my 2nd grade education. So yeah, I guess it is ‘easy money’.
“One day he offered to pay for my boob job… he’d become a regular client. He wanted me to get fixed. Said he’d find me better jobs. More clients. Better money. If I’d get the op. I said yes. I was fearful but I hated my body anyway. Why not? It seemed like a win win.
“But now I’m trapped. I owe him big time. He said I’ll have to work for him for life to pay back the debt of my full female body reconstruction surgery. There’s no way out. I belong to him now. I put on a brave face. They see me as happy and confident. I mean this is what I always wanted, right? I’m a great actor. After all I’ve been doing it since a child.
“Then the Christians come. They tell me I’m beautiful and that I’m loved. They treat me like I matter and ask how they can pray for me. I say, for my protection. They think I mean from the clients and from diseases. But really I mean from myself.
“I want to tell them the truth. I pretend like everything’s ok. Like I love my life. But deep down I’m broken inside. The hate I feel towards myself, towards people, towards God. It’s eating me up inside. I’m not sure how much longer I can last at this life. It’s all pain. All shame. My weekly conversations with the Christians are my lifeline. I miss them when they don’t come, or when I’m out on a job. But I can’t tell them that. I can’t show my true colours. Because I don’t know who I am. I’m afraid of me. I want to die… but who cares?
“In today’s society they applaud people like me. They encourage others to do what I did to my body. To transform it beyond recognition. All in the name of ‘identity’. This is not identity. They stole my identity when they did this to me. Why didn’t they tell me who I was?.. Or teach me to be a man? Why didn’t they affirm me for who I was created to be. Maybe they didn’t all live the life I lived. Perhaps their childhood was confused in a different way. Maybe mum and dad really do care, but have been brainwashed by society to believe that body reconstruction is normal… that it’s the best thing for their child. Everything within me is screaming “NO!” It is not the best for your child.
It’s NOT Love
“It’s all tiny steps. All in the name of ‘love’ and ‘freedom’. One thing leads to another. But a life is more than a body. A life is a person. When a life becomes about a body it is prone to sexual perversion. Why? Because that is where it get’s it’s satisfaction. It’s pleasure. Why do you think there are so many of us on the streets? Because we have become nothing but a body. No one cares about the person inside. Our value is in our body…at least that’s what we believe.
“And this is why the Christians’ message is so powerful to us. We don’t understand it… don’t even believe it… yet. But we like it. We pretend like we don’t care, but it’s a lie. We need it. It’s so intriguing to us. Why do they do it? Why do they stand on the street corners with us at night and tell us they love us? They don’t even want anything from us. They say my life has purpose. That God has a plan for my life. Maybe one day things will be different. Maybe one day I’ll ask a bit more about this Jesus guy. But for now, I’m going to walk one day at a time and pray. Pray that this Jesus guy finds me before it’s too late…”
Jesus Has Their Hearts
Of course these words do not reflect those of a specific person. They flowed through my fingers as I sat here typing. I believe Holy Spirit wanted to release a story of the reality of gender transition and the horrors of the sex trade. A story that could so easily be true. But the introduction really happened. I stood face to face with a group of five women, some as young as 17, selling their bodies on the streets of Brazil. None of them genetically female, but all of them standing in the aftermath of permanent gender reconstructive surgery. I wanted to cry but all I could do was hug them, hold them, pray with them and tell them how precious they are.
My heart was in pieces as I laid it all down at the altar before Jesus’ feet. And I watched. I watched as He picked up my heart, cleansed it with tender loving kindness, and lined the broken pieces with gold. The gold representing his invaluable love. He put my heart back together and replaced it in my chest where it belongs. He has their hearts too. They don’t know it yet. They don’t see it. But He is mending their broken hearts, one piece at a time. I cannot hold onto the burden of these broken hearts, but He can, and He will. I greatly admire those who commit their lives to serving these precious souls in Brazil and around the world. Maybe it is not my primary calling, but I’d like to think I will raise up others who will say, “Here I am, send me”.