“I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”
These words of Christ resonate with hope and promise. The word “abundantly” summons the image of a person whose life is filled to overflowing.
However, many Christians don’t live this abundant life. Their secret internal struggles, frustrations and desires keep them closed off from family, friends and their church community. They are well-practiced at hiding these inner struggles and so “blend” in with the other church congregants. But despite their best efforts, these intense desires and emotions often surface and express themselves in unhealthy ways. Living a secretive life filled with guilt and shame is not living the abundant life at all.
People from all over the gender and social spectrums have gender identity issues. Estimates indicate that over 13.1 million males and females, of the estimated 13.68 million people that identify as transgender are not living full-time, nor are they pursuing sexual reassignment surgery. This breaks down to 8.7 million males and 4.4 million females. It is for this statistically larger group of males (63.5% of the total transgender population) that the ministry Light in the Closet was formed.
Many of these men continually struggle with their gender identity. Best guess is that 80% of these were “churched” at one time. They usually have family obligations and careers. Although typically intelligent and well-educated, most of these transgendered males have little or no knowledge of gender identity issues. They often have little or no support and are ignorant of their options and resources. By providing relevant information, resources, and emotional and psychological support, Light in the Closet hopes to:
- Support the process of gender-congruency.*
- Help individuals reconcile their faith, family obligations and transgender nature.
- Encourage self-acceptance now, to help restore the individual’s dignity and value.
- Encourage personal growth and spiritual freedom through teaching and fellowship.
*GENDER-CONGRUENCY: A harmonious balance of biological gender and psychological gender identity.
Why the Name “Light in the Closet”?
This name was chosen for two reasons. First, “in the closet” is a popular metaphor for those who are hiding some dark truth or struggle. Someone who is “in the closet” has cut themselves off from society, at least in part. Although we are aware that being “in the closet” is usually an unhealthy condition, the closet can be a safe personal place as well. In a perfect world, most people want to come out of their closets, but for many individuals that is not a workable reality. This ministry understands that some individuals, who wish to stay in the closet, do so for a variety of personal reasons, and we respect that need for confidentiality.
Second, the “light” represents the Christian experience of the truth and the presence of God. This ministry hopes to bring light into the closet and provide those who are struggling with a measure of peace and acceptance.
Who We Are and What We Believe
- We are Christian lay-caregivers who believe it is important to be honest with ourselves and with God in order to live an abundant life.
- The real and living God is the only one who can affect authentic growth and change.
- It is neither natural nor healthy for anyone to live life “within a closet.” God designed us to be part of a community.
- Christians should love and accept each other, as Christ did, not merely tolerate.
- It is not our responsibility to condone or condemn another’s actions, but to point them to God and His Christ.
Light in the Closet strives to encourage an honest relationship with God through the work of His Holy Spirit. Since everyone has a unique story and life-path, we need to love each other without a predetermined agenda for change. To try and force change is almost always harmful.
This is not a reparative ministry, but rather a Christian-based a lay-ministry that offers love and acceptance. We deal with issues that would make most in the traditional Church uncomfortable. These issues are outside the experience and therefore caring of the general Church population, but are of great concern to those who struggle with them. These personal issues are important to face, because they go to the very core of who we are and how we relate to others and God.
Many individuals who struggle with gender identity feel isolated and alone. A confidential support group, even one on the internet, can be an effective arena for healing to take place. The information and help offered is not a replacement for professional care. For those who need professional medical, clinical or psychological help should pursue those avenues. (See our resource section.)
This ministry encourages those struggling with gender identity to accept themselves as they are and to help them realize that God loves them as they are. Through confidential encounters with others who are dealing with similar issues, we hope to encourage self-acceptance, and a healthy perspective. A principal objective of this ministry is to encourage a closer walk with God through honest self-evaluation and an integrated life.
Contact Randi Klein at: RKlein@lightinthecloset.org
Or by mail: Light in the Closet, 1465 Civic Ct. Suite 610, Concord, CA 94520
Light in the Closet
1855 Second St. Suite C
Concord, CA 94519