Julian Munro's tattoo is an introduction to God, who already knows them. (Photo courtesy of Julian Munro)

Topics: January/February 2022, Spirituality | LGBTQ2S+

I feel closer to God than before I began transitioning

I've been called into transition, in the same way as I am called into ministry


I am transgender; I am non-binary; I am queer; I am a holy child of God. 

I am baptized; I am confirmed; I am on the candidacy pathway for ministry; I am a holy child of God. 

These two streams of my identity are inextricably linked because God planned it that way. It has taken me a long time to be comfortable combining these streams and confidently announcing one in parallel with the other. Being visible in this way has brought me more joy than I can put into words. I feel closer to myself than I ever have in the past, and closer to God than before I began transitioning. 

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Being visible has also caused me much loss. I’ve lost my mother, father, grandmother and uncle. The people who were closest to me abandoned me for the sole reason of my transness. I’ve lost job opportunities, and I’ve had to change medical professionals more times than I can count simply because they do not know about transgender health care. 

The human experience is full of pain and hardship — Jesus exemplified this. Most everything I know about love is through church. I knew it as a child: the first trans people I ever met were in the church. The first lesbians I met were in church. The first gay man I met was leading the regional retreats I went to. I didn’t meet a queer person outside of the church until I was around 16 or 17. 

Queerness and queer love (for the self or for another) paves a way to understand God. I don’t know if I knew of my queerness as a child, but in the very place where I was learning what love was about, God surrounded me with people who would show me. My transness and my queerness are inseparably tied to my faith and my call to ministry. 

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My being visible and out potentially opens a path for others who aren’t. I live my life out and visible in spite of how hard it is or how many losses come from it. God has called me into transition, in the same way as I am called into ministry. I discern my gender every day the same way I discern my call to ministry: I pray; I think; I reflect; I take in my surroundings; I listen for God’s message. Transition is a holy and blessed experience that, for me, is never ending. I will always be in transition — that is my beauty in being non-binary. 

With my ministry, I imagine I will move from space to space in much the same way: what is God’s message, and how can this community be the most comfortable place to hear that message? I bring my full and queer self to church — to the front of the church — to show that this is the church God wants. 


Julian Munro is a master of divinity student, drag clown, Affirm United board chair and lifelong United Church member. They live in Toronto.

This piece first appeared in Broadview’s January/February 2022 issue with the title “Transition is holy.”

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  • says:

    Although my last comment was censored, I would question someone's ability to lead me to Christ (which is what I would assume a "minister" does) ​when they use the word "I" 40x's in 8 paragraphs.

    The story comes across as a resume , rather than a testimony.

    A question to the author, "Do you believe God made an error creating you one gender, and you feel you should be another?"


    • says:

      Hi Gary!
      Thank you for reading my personal testimony. To answer your question, I do not think that God made a mistake. Transition in and of itself is a beautiful and blessed experience. I am blessed to be transgender, and to have the experience of transitioning. I believe that God created me transgender, and that my transition comes from divine intent.
      I am called by God to ministry, and that is something I do not question. Christ is my centre and my transition has brought me closer to that centre.
      Thank you again for reading my article!


      • says:

        You are an adult. No one disputes your right to transition. But since you have entered the political argument you have a responsibilty to declare your position to the Board who hire you. So do you support and intend to normalize the transition of children knowing that the research indicates that over 85 percent grow out of their other gender explorations and stettle into their biological gender.


        • says:

          Hi there,

          Saying that transgender folks deserve their rights is not a political argument. Every human deserves human rights.

          I do support transgender children, and I support a child's right to express themselves authentically and wholly, just as adults have. Children are people too.

          In a recent study in the American Journal of Nursing (2022), it is actually found that "retransitioning" among transgender children is actually UNcommon. Most children in many studies actually still identify similarly after five years of their social transition. In their 2019 book "Radically Listening to Transgender Children: Creating Epistemic Justice through Critical Reflection and Resistant Imaginations", Katie Steele and Julie Nicholson talk about various ways we, as teachers and mentors to children, can use critical reflection and equity focused tools to inspire transformative learning.

          Transitions are not forced, but are inspired and come from within one's heart. Whether that person is an adult or a child, their transition is a holy and blessed experience. I began having thoughts about not being my assigned gender as early as six years old. I did not know transition was an option until I was an adult, and went through a lot of grief for the life I could have lived if I knew about trans identities earlier.

  • says:

    Julian. I just listened to your interview on CBC radio. Your message rings so true. We are all God's creation. In creation, the possibilities are infinite. All inclusive. Inclusion is a foundation of of religion and spirituality. Exclusion should be rejected. Your message is very much appreciated. The concept of inclusion should be second nature. It saddens me to think so many need to be educated to this concept. Thank you for your commitment to the message.


    • says:

      Hello Bob! Thank you so much for reading and listening. I appreciate your reflection here as well- inclusion of God's infinite created (and yet to be created) possibilities.