By G. Connor Salter | Contributor
About two years ago, I joined a social media group that gave out scholarships for taking part in simple campaigns-making birthday cards for kids in homeless shelters, giving unwanted clothes to charity; things like that. One particular group sent out campaigns via group texts. I received group texts from a member who I'll refer to as "Jane."
I never did get a scholarship for my work in the group, but I liked what they were doing, so I let Jane's texts keep coming even after I stopped participating. Every month or so I would get roughly the same text-"Jane here! Want to learn a great way to make a homeless child's day better? Text Y or N." Or, "Jane here! Want to thank veterans for their service? Text Y or N."
Then in July 2015, Jane sent me the following text:
"I've texted for (this group) as Jane for 3 years, but I've been struggling. I'm trans, I'm Jonathan! Kind of a big deal. Want to a) ask a question b) support me c) neither?"
I chose "neither." Jane/Jonathan texted me back something along the lines of, "TMI, huh? That's okay. See you next month." I put my phone away and pondered this new information. I've never really been comfortable with these topics-partly because I grew up fairly sheltered and partly because I always feel awkward talking about sexual issues.
A couple of months later, I decided I wanted to stop receiving texts from the group and asked "Jonathan" to remove me from the group text list. Jonathan did as I asked, and at first I really felt relieved. The situation just felt awkward for me.
Then I began to really think about what I was doing. I knew what it was like to feel ostracized for being different-I was both an awkward nerd and a third culture kid when I entered public school. I was also painfully aware just how few Christians really show Jesus' love and compassion to LGBT people. I had even once prayed for God to put an LGBT person in my life so I could learn to relate. Yet here I was, pushing away an LGBT person I barely knew just because I got an impersonal text from him every month.
I got myself reinstated on the group text list and I still get texts from Jonathan every few months. Every time I get a new text, I stop what I'm doing and pray for Jonathan. I don't pray for God to scare Jonathan back on the right path or to convict him of sin or anything like that. I just pray Jonathan will realize how valuable he is in God's eyes and that God loves every single human being. Beyond that, I trust God knows what he's doing and will lead Jonathan down whatever path he has planned for this child of his to follow.