We’ve already heard from one reader who was shunned by her family for leaving their church. This reader was shunned by her devout family because of her gender identity:
My name is Julia, and I’m 23 years old. I read a few of the stories in your Notes section about people’s personal experiences with religion, and I saw at the bottom you were looking for reader responses. Well, here’s mine.
My mother is Catholic, and my father converted from Lutheranism to Catholicism when I was a child. Every Sunday growing up, we attended church in a small suburb near our city. My mother was very devout; Catholicism formed a cornerstone of her life. I even took Sunday bible school classes at her insistence.
I had several atheist friends who influenced me, however, and while I was nominally Catholic, I didn’t really care all that much about religion. I believed there was a God and I attended church regularly, but it wasn’t a daily thing for me. I didn’t sit down to pray every night like my mother. I didn’t read Christian literature like she did or do the rosary.
My mother was a really loving person. She had an innate kindness in her that I didn’t see often in others. She would go out of her way to help people, even in extreme cases. Even with her strong religious beliefs, I thought such a person could accept anyone regardless of circumstance. I was wrong.
I’m transgender; I was born a biological male. In church and in our community around us, I was taught as a child that LGBT people were sinners bound for hell. That they were not redeemable. I knew my mother personally had espoused these sorts of beliefs before, but I thought it might be different if it was her own child. That she would still love me, regardless.
We had a fight one evening over my college performance (I was doing poorly at the time). The argument eventually spiraled into other topics, and my transgenderism was exposed. My mother called me a monster, told me she wish I had never been born, threw me out of the house, and told me to never return.
I have since left the Catholic Church. I do not plan to ever go back to organized religion. The way I was treated, and the pain religion has brought on my life—I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. I can’t reconcile everything that happened and continuing to believe in a higher, benevolent power.