by Alex Shanks reprinted with permission
This post has been a long time in the making. For over a year I have wondered how and when I would share with all of you my journey until now.
Why am I sharing?
No more secrets. Secrets bring shame and I have nothing to be ashamed of. Accompanying shame is guilt, and I am not at fault for anything. With guilt comes fear that others will discover what I’ve done. Without secrets there is nothing that needs to be discovered. So, no more secrets because there is no shame, no guilt, and no fear.
Many may say that my personal life doesn’t need to be an open book. If I wanted to keep my personal life well… personal, there would be no one who could truly object to that decision. The problem with that is in its essence it goes against everything I believe.
I believe in order to do what God is calling you to do, you must at the very least be willing to be who God created you to be. Unconditionally. Without excuses or “yes, but…” responses. Completely. What I am sharing is at the core of that very concept. It’s a part of my identity as a child of God.
Hello, my name is Alex. I am a female transgendered male, aka a transman. I accepted this for myself in January of 2013 and have been journeying through the beginnings of my social transition since August. This means I prefer male pronouns (he, him, his) and use the name Alex in all contexts with few exceptions.
God has been calling me to make advocacy within the Church for the LGBT community a part of my ministry. In regards to this calling this is the first step. I don’t know what comes next. This is my step of faith that will be followed by God’s faithfulness. I’m sure of it.
This will change the shape of this website some. I will continue to share my poetry along with inspirational writings from other artists. I will continue to discuss my faith. I will continue to start conversations on a variety of topics for the sake of interesting dialogue. The only differences are now I will write on issues that I am facing or have faced as a trans* person, and at times I will relate these issues to my faith and share them in my poetry. Additionally, my “stage name” is now T. Alex Shanks. You’ll see these changes on Facebook and Twitter as well.
I know this information will stir up questions, which I will gladly answer to the best of my ability as long as they are not demeaning, judgmental or inappropriate. This is for the safety of all who will read them. Feel free to ask your questions in the comments section below.
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Alex Shanks is a Spoken Word Poet, speaker, blogger, and a longstanding member of The United Methodist Church who has worked for different bodies within the church in the recent past. He currently attends King Avenue UMC in Columbus, Ohio with his fiancee. As a trans* person Alex feels a deep connection to God regarding who he is created to be. He believes there is an intimate relationship between who he is and what he is called to do. He says, "If I am not willing to be who God created me to be than I cannot fulfill the things God is calling me to do." Alex currently understands his call is to be a Christian voice for other trans* identifying people that is one of safe and God-honoring community, love, and support. The mission God has placed on his heart is to be louder than the critics in presence and purpose. Connect with him at liveinministry.com, twitter.com/tashanks, and facebook.com/talexshanks.