Island Girl - Debbie's Visit to Church
Home The Early Days Coming out My Transition Coming Out at Work
Photo Shoot Photo Gallery My Favourite Links
This is a story of my visit to Church. This took place a couple of weeks before I told my employers about 'Debbie'
I am in no way a regular churchgoer, indeed other than the usual Wedding , Baptism and Funeral services that most of us attend, I had not set foot in a church for over 20 years. (That’s the confession over).
For several weeks I have had an urge to attend a service, (completely irrational, I only ever went because it was a compulsory element of belonging to a youth organisation).
However I decided that I should address this urge. I telephoned the local Vicar, "Good evening Vicar, I am a lapsed churchgoer, (understatement) and I would like to come to one of your services". The Vicar replied that I would be most welcome. "Out of respect to you and your parishioners Vicar, I think you should be aware that I am a Transsexual, and I do not wish to cause you or the church any embarrassment". The Vicar thanked me for being so open with him and assured me that there would not be a problem. "Everyone is entitled to worship God in their own way, see you at the 10.30 service tomorrow". (Committed! Or I should be).
Sunday duly arrived, I dressed in a straight black skirt, just below the knee, a long sleeve blouse, coat and sensible shoes.
I walked a mile and a half to the church, arriving 15 minutes early, I entered the church with a great deal of trepidation, I do not know if it was due to going to church after all these years or whether it was because I was doing it for the first time as a girl.
I need not have worried, I was met at the door by two charming ladies who greeted me very warmly and gave me the prayer and hymn books.
HYMN BOOK!! I had overlooked the fact that Debbie would be expected to sing!.
I decided that the best way out was to sit towards the back of the church and hope the rest of the congregation would not notice that the new lady had an unusually deep voice.
The service went without a hitch, I had however chosen to go to a service conducted by the Bishop.
After the service several members of the congregation came over and welcomed me to the church. Two or three enquired if I was the Bishops Wife . I felt quite flattered. As I was leaving the Vicar was standing at the door, he shook my hand warmly and said we had spoken on the phone the previous evening, and hoped that everything had been all right and that he hoped to see me in church again. The Bishop who was also standing at the door shook my hand and said "the Lady at the back, you should sit forward with the others, not on your own "….. He had obviously not heard my voice!
The Vicar insisted that I should go to the Church Hall for coffee after the service, this was in some ways a bigger challenge than the service it’s self.
While Debbie had been living full time as a Girl (except for work ….. the next challenge), there is a great difference between popping down to Tesco’s for the weekly shopping and holding polite conversation with the gentile Ladies of the Parish.
I decided that I would go to the hall, have a quick coffee and go
I walked across the road and followed the parishioners into the hall and joined the queue for coffee, so far so good. I had barely got my coffee before I was accosted by the vicars wife who proceeded to introduce me to everyone in the hall. My ‘quick coffee and go’ became an hour and a half of very interesting conversation with all sorts of people. The conversation ranged from where I live, How long had I been in the parish, to the history of the church and plans for refurbishment.
I finally made my excuses and left promising that I would be back the next week, throughout I was treated with genuine warmth as a lady.
As I walked home with a new feeling of self confidence I wondered if God had sent me to church that day to test me, or as a test for my new friends at St Mary’s.