‘I stopped cross-dressing when I found God’

17 October 2019

The story of Pete Benjamin, a Christian Concern supporter, which broke in The Sunday Times, serves as hope for all people who have suffered from gender confusion but also helps publicly challenge all those who promote transgender ideology – the idea that gender confusion is best treated with hormones and surgery.

On Good Friday this year, Pete Benjamin walked into his church to help flyer for one of their events. He’d been attending for a few months, having sought support after his nervous breakdown. There, he’d found people who loved him, heard the true gospel preached, sung songs of God’s transforming love.

But the people at church didn’t know him as Pete. They knew him as Viccy.

Pete had a long and complicated history of cross-dressing, mental health problems and relationship breakdown. Three years earlier, Pete had been through irreversible gender reassignment surgery. But that day, Pete came to know and follow God’s call to be who he really was – a man.

Now, Pete questions how doctors ever encouraged his path into transgenderism.

“I never thought cross-dressing would lead me to having an operation to become a woman. I had addictions, I was drinking heavily, and I was having suicidal thoughts, but at every appointment, whether with the NHS, privately, or at transgender support groups, I was encouraged to carry on the path to gender reassignment surgery and to become ‘Victoria’. There was no caution or restraint, I was simply told, for example: ‘Yes, you are definitely transgender, I’m prescribing you hormones.’ It cost the NHS and myself thousands of pounds for me to go through this process.”

After losing his wife to cancer, in 2012, Pete approached a doctor in a highly vulnerable state, declaring that he wanted to become a woman. He was told to ‘live as a woman for a month’, which led Pete to dressing in women’s clothing and ordering hormones from online pharmacies.

From there, he saw various doctors who fast-tracked him for prescribed hormones, injections and eventually full gender re-assignment surgery.

“Now I have freedom”

Pete says: “When I had the operation, at first I was euphoric as I felt I could finally escape my depressed self. But very soon, alone in my flat with my dresses, I felt only deeper regret and unhappiness. Some mornings I would wake up and think: ‘Fantastic I can go and put on these amazing clothes and be a woman,’ but in reality I was thinking: ‘There is something wrong, this isn’t right for me, but it’s too late, I’ve changed everything, it’s too late.’”

The operation didn’t ultimately satisfy. He found himself drinking heavily and eventually had a nervous breakdown. He turned to his local church, where he found a true Christian welcome and love. Rather than simply affirm Pete in his gender confusion, as so many other groups had done before, the church began praying for Pete that he would embrace his true identity as God had made him.

Then on 19 April 2019, Good Friday, Pete was helping to advertise their Easter service by handing out flyers in town. A woman from church who knew him as Viccy passed him on the street and, compelled by the Spirit, asked him, “who is Peter?” Taken aback, he answered, “I am Peter.” She then continued to explain: “God told me that a man called Pete should not live as a woman anymore.”

That very day, Pete threw away all his female clothing. He joined a church prayer meeting all Saturday. And supported by his church he’s lived ever since as the man that he truly is.

Like every other Christian, Pete has found that in following Jesus he has found true freedom:

“When I was a woman, I wasn’t free, … now I can just come out and be me. I’ve got God, I’ve got freedom and I am happy.”

Fears for trans agenda in schools

Pete’s fascination with cross-dressing, which led to his addiction, began as a ten-year-old boy, when he was taken to a drag queen show at a cabaret club while on holiday with his family.

His fascination was fed further, reading books in the library about men dressing as women, looking at articles in the newspapers, even dressing up in his mum’s clothes in secret.

Pete sees the similarity between his own childhood and what children are being taught in schools today.

“Today when I see and hear of books being read to children in schools such as ‘10,000 Dresses’ … I see the same influence that led me to this harmful addiction. More must be done to protect our children, not to encourage them to pursue the same destructive path that I have had. Children are impressionable, the government can’t see what harm they are doing, and I appeal to them and the Department for Education to halt this influence in schools now.

“When I was 5 or 6, I had no thought of becoming a girl. It wasn’t until I was exposed to men in dresses at cabaret shows that my mind went that way. My message from my experience is that the transgender life, even surgery itself, did not solve my problem and led me to misery, suicidal thoughts and depression.”

Time for truth – before it’s too late

It is tragic that such a vulnerable man was given a life-changing, irreversible and ultimately devastating operation without his profound mental health issues being addressed properly.

His experience represents a deep and disturbing warning for our society as it is told that the answer to deep rooted gender identity confusion is hormone prescription and radical surgery.

What Pete has been through is catastrophic. Just imagine what we are doing to our young children when we follow the same medical path.

People who suffer from gender identity confusion must be treated tenderly, but as a society we must also speak the truth before we see many more tragic cases. Even if external appearances can change, the reality is that physiologically men cannot become women nor can women become men.

Yet for Pete, despite his depression, anxiety and irreversible physical harm, his story is one of hope. Out of his despair he has found his identity through his faith in Jesus Christ, and the friendship he has found in his local Christian community.

Christian Concern is challenging organisations like Mermaids, which push young children down transgender pathways with tragic consequences. We’re hard at work opposing the agenda that promotes gender confusion on young children in schools, libraries and wider society. We also want to equip churches to speak with truth and love on issues of gender confusion and sexuality. The government has expressed a wish to ban ‘conversion therapy’, which could threaten churches’ freedom to provide support to people who, like Pete, need their help.

Can you help us protect young children from being led down the destructive path Pete took? Could you help us to protect the freedom of Christians to provide truthful, loving support to people like Pete?

Help us stop the harm of gender confusion.

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