Vermont citizen Christine Hallquist made headlines earlier this year when she became the first transgender person chosen as a major political party’s gubernatorial candidate. In advance of November elections, in which she could become the United States’ first trans governor, Hallquist spoke to Vermont Business Magazine about being raised Catholic and having a supportive family:
“‘I always thought I was a girl. . .I didn’t even know what the word ‘transgender’ was until I was 44 years old. It just wasn’t part of the language. I never lost faith in God. So I remember thinking [of abusive nuns at her Catholic school], “Forgive them Lord, for they not know not who I am.” I knew their actions were fear-based and had nothing to do with God. In eighth grade, the Monsignor called my parents and said. “I think your son needs an exorcism.” But my parents were awesome. They pulled us all out of Catholic School. That was an empowering moment. I knew I was loved.'”
Speaking to Haaretz, Hallquist added that her parents told school officials, “There is nothing wrong with our child.” She spoke too about her own faith life now:
“Hallquist emphasizes that even after all the changes she’s undergone, she sees herself as a religiously observant woman who believes wholeheartedly in the Trinity of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. ‘I never stopped believing in Jesus,’ she says, adding, ‘But I also recognized that I am very much a person of science. The beauty of humans is that we can have faith and science in the same brain. Faith is not based on any science at all, faith is somewhat irrational.’ . . .Her faith, she says, boils down to three words: ‘God is love.’ Accordingly, ‘I evaluate everything based on those three words. Is this a loving act? If it’s a loving act, then you are doing the work of God. If it is hatred, murder, anything that deviates from love – it is bad.'”
Hallquist’s story confirms once again the key difference that LGBT-supportive Catholic families can make in a child’s life. Such affirmation leads to the development of a rich, lifelong spirituality rooted in God’s love, as is clearn in Hallquist’s life.
—Robert Shine, New Ways Ministry, September 23, 2018