Keith Tiller, the founder-director of Parakaleo, has a profound understanding of the anguish of gender confusion.
With a childhood desire to be of the opposite sex, he began habitually crossdressing in adolescence, an addiction that led to the breakdown of two marriages and separation from his two adult children.
During the mid-eighties, he underwent prolonged psychotherapy as an outpatient and inpatient at a leading psychiatric hospital, at the end of which it was recommended that he seriously considered sex reassignment surgery. He was not persuaded that surgery was the only course available to him, although at that time he was not aware of any alternative.
That is, until he allowed God into his life, a decision that had once been unthinkable to someone who had always been hostile to the Gospel of Christ, and who saw Christianity and Christians as the ‘enemy’. From that moment, God began a slow and painful reversal in thought and values, which finally enabled him to turn his back on a transvestite existence that had dominated his life for more than a decade.
Keith knows, on the evidence of the changes in his life, that it came about through the love and power of Jesus Christ. He came to realise that the only alternative to the confusion and ambiguity of gender confusion is a committed willingness to ‘take up the Cross and follow Jesus.’
During the course of my work a wide range of enquiries from various parts of the United Kingdom have come to me. More recently, through the web site, many are now coming from various parts of the world, particularly the USA.
The largest segment of enquiry usually comes from people who are in some form of leadership within a church, concerned for someone they know who is either cross-dressing or calling themselves transsexual. These enquirers are usually at a loss to know how to respond in a Christian way. Sometime later I often receive a hesitant phone call from the individual seeking to discuss the situation with me. If it is possible to do so I arrange to meet them personally.
These individuals are invariably under some form of duress to make contact with me. Which means that in effect they are not yet convinced that to continue to gratify themselves with this form of behaviour is not what the Lord would want from them. The Deuteronomy 22:5 constraint is rationalised as being no longer relevant, and they fail to see anything else in the Scriptures that would deter them from the path that they are on.
As best as I am able to do, I try to make my position clear, without coming across in a judgmental way. (I am not sure that I always succeed.) Certainly I endeavour to “keep the door open” for future contact. I have seen enough not to anticipate when the Lord may break in to a persons life and begin the process of “softening the heart”. It may in fact occur after someone has undergone surgery. Such is the individual’s brokenness at this time that I have become convinced that this is an area where only the Lord can work and He must be allowed to do so unfettered.
One pastor has written an article that demonstrates vividly what the Lord can do when allowed to work in a person’s life in this way. Anyone who is interested can read this article on the Parakaleo site. It is entitled: “Transsexualism in the church – A Pastor Responds”.
Occasionally a person contacts me who has determined under conviction that they are not to go this route. I am encouraged when I encounter this situation. Invariably this is prompted by some form of crisis in their lives, such as marriage breakdown. The circumstances are often tragic. But it can be the beginnings of a totally new way of life if there is sufficient will to submit to the purposes of God. The pathway will almost certainly be painful, as false comforts are surrendered. But Jesus is the master at changing lives.
Being Australian I have a reputation for a laconic personality. To acquire such a reputation I assume there must be some hidden truth there. Hidden away maybe, but not from the Lord! Finances remain tight – to the point of despair, which affects most of the areas of my life. However, this seems to be part of the approach that the Lord is using to mellow that Australian characteristic in me. He has stretched my faith beyond anything that I could have imagined. He has said that He wants me to be utterly dependent on Him, and “to reveal my heart to Him”. The path that He has placed me on to achieve that has, at times, been extremely painful. But His thoughts and ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8) thank goodness, perhaps!