Transgender politicians are not exactly a new phenomenon—but in Texas?
Transgenders have made history around the world in the political realm, but in conservative Texas towns one would not expect such an open display of boldness.
The new mayor of New Hope is not apologizing for his identity. Jess Herbst first served Texans as an alderman, road commissioner and mayor pro-them. In May of 2016, he became mayor.
"My wife has lived in New Hope since she was 2 years old. Along with our two daughters, we have lived here since 1999, on the same farm my wife was raised. I was born and raised in Greenville, Texas," he said.
"As your mayor, I must tell you about something that has been with me since my earliest memories. I am transgender. Two years ago, with the support of my wife, daughters and son-in-law, I began Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). At the time, I did not imagine I would hold the mayor's position, but here I am.
"I know that transgender people are just coming to light in our society, and we have made great strides in the last few years. [Thanks to] celebrities like Olympic gold medalist Caitlyn Jenner, Laverne Cox from the show Orange Is the New Black and popular shows like Transparent, society finally has a chance to see and learn about who we are. It is gender identity, not sexual preference that applies to me. I love my wife, and she loves me, we have no intention of change. My daughters have been adamant supporters of me and are proud to tell people their father is transgender.
"I am self-employed and all of my customers have been understanding and supportive. I live my life as a female now, and I will be performing my duties to the town as such. I'm not especially sensitive to the pronoun I'm called, and I expect people to take time to make the change. I use the name Jess, a simple change from Jeff."
What is behind the rise of transgenderism? Gender identity clinics are reporting a strain on their infrastructure. At Charing Cross in London, the oldest and largest adult clinic, the number of referrals has almost quadrupled in 10 years, from 498 in 2006-07 to 1,892 in 2015-16, The Guardian reports.
And it's not just adults, it's children wanting to change sexes before they even hit puberty. Some say it's a demon. Others say it's a mental health issue. Still others say it's a lack of understanding of their identity in Christ.
Whatever the root—and there may be more than one—it's a troubling trend that is already striking Christian families and is bound to strike more. The church needs to get busy doing the Father's business, because whatever the root, Jesus wants to lay the ax to it and set the captives free. Let's keep standing in the gap. Our prayers change things.
Jennifer LeClaire is senior leader of Awakening House of Prayer in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, founder of the Ignite Network and founder of the Awakening Blaze prayer movement. She is author of over 25 books. Find her online at jenniferleclaire.org or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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