Call to religious life strong for transgender Londoner
Published Monday, July 7, 2014 6:25PM EDT
A transgender trailblazer is hoping to be accepted into the Catholic church - as a nun.
Tia Pesando was living as a man named Ted. She tells her story in the book, God Doesn’t Hate You.
If she does become a nun, she would be the first transgender one in the world.
Born a hermaphrodite - somebody with hormones and at times biological parts of both genders - she says she always felt trapped.
“I'm on a hormone replacement regiment to balance things,” she says.
Now, living as a woman, Pesando wants to enter into a domain that's reserved exclusively for females.
So far, the Catholic Church has been silent.
Two years ago Pesando heard God calling her and she knew she had to take her transformation farther.
“I’m very convinced of the reality of God and the importance of such a calling,” she says.
When Pesando decided to become a nun, she received her priest's blessing and is now going through the process to become a Carolinian sister and the first ever Roman Catholic transgender nun.
“I’m in the training process which is starting this August, so it’s a positive start that I've undergone.”
The Catholic Church has a history of condemning the LGBT community and doesn't typically embrace this group.
A Carolinian convent outside of Kitchener has said it won’t be able to accommodate someone like Pesando.
“The Catholic Church is very good at maintaining a cohesion of hierarchy and if there was an order from someone higher up that prevented me, eventually it would come down to me having to appeal to the Pope,” Pesando says.
Ann Teve of the Rainbow Network says Pesando is likely to face opposition.
“It’s to be expected. It’s not about the resistance she faces, it’s about the dialogue she creates.”
If Pesando can make inroads in the church, it will open the doors for others.
“The very fact that she's started the process for me is outstanding because the first time, it may be that she only gets so far and the resistance is such. But any step is a positive one.”
Pesando realizes the church may shut its doors on her dreams.
“Forgiveness needs to begin somewhere,” she says. “It needs to begin with us, all of us, those in the LGBT community and those of the Christian faith.”
Pope Francis has made huge strides with the gay community, preaching for greater inclusion and acceptance of homosexuals. This in part has helped to fuel her decision. She says the time is right for a transgender nun.
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