I met P’Maow during my 6 month stint in Thailand in 2010. He was madly in love with Jesus and seeking to serve the Lord with all of his days. P’Maow also happened to be living life as a ladyboy as he had been raised from infancy to be a girl. In his 40’s, this assumed identity was as real to him as if it were his biological gender.
P’Maow’s love for Jesus was infectious and I loved being around him. He always had something encouraging to say and always lit up the room with God’s love.
A couple of years after I came back from Thailand, P’Maow posted pictures of Facebook of him getting his long hair cut extremely short. Masculine. I reached out to him through Facebook to see what was going on but only got a short, “God is good” back in response. His response set my nerves at rest a little bit, though part of me still wondered what was going on. I knew from my stint in Thailand that many times people will ask a ladyboy when they will cut their hair and start living as a man. Such questions tend to bring more harm than good as any change that would come from the outside wouldn’t stand a chance at being a lasting one. Though ultimately, my heart yearns to see this kind of restoration in these dear ones lives, I know it has to be out of a place of God first restoring their hearts.
It wasn’t until months later that I heard from a mutual friend how God had told P’Maow it was time to stop living according to the desires of the flesh, cut his hair short and start living as a man. When Matt and I visited Thailand in May, I was thrilled to be able to see P’Maow again and hear first-hand how God had done this work in his life. He now asks for people to refer to him as a man and continues to grow in his masculinity in a way that is truly beautiful. I am amazed as I look at P’Maow’s life of the power of the gospel to restore and the strategy of the Lord to bring about this restoration. The Lord is so incredibly patient with us as we walk out our salvation and are transformed into His image from glory to glory.
While each ladyboy’s story is unique, we firmly believe that God can reach into the places of their brokenness and bring wholeness. How the brokenness began for each one is unique, but the reasons that someone might become a ladyboy tends to fall into a few categories. There are some ladyboys who, like P’Maow, were raised from infancy to be transgendered. Most often, something had happened to them as little boys by the time they were 5 years of age that has made them believe they were supposed to be a girl. We have heard stories of ladyboys whose parents had only sons so they became a daughter to make their parents happy. For some, this may be influenced by the fact that in Thailand the daughters are expected to take care of their parents in their old age while sons are expected to take care of their wife and children. Other ladyboys may be encouraged by family to become transgendered or misunderstood by family as being transgendered because they are more “feminine” or may like playing with mom’s shoes or stereotypically girly toys. I have also heard stories of the Buddhist beliefs in reincarnation playing into a child becoming transgendered as they may be believed to have been born with a female spirit and therefore parents may be encouraged by a Buddhist monk to allow their son to live as a daughter. The reasons someone may become a ladyboy are complex, but the grace of God is able to reach beyond the complexities and bring wholeness – body, soul and spirit.
We are thrilled to be able to have the opportunity to partner with the Lord in what He is doing in the lives of the ladyboys as He transforms them from glory to glory.