transgender to transformed
transgender to transformed
By Brian Hobbs/The Baptist Messenger
Francine Perry and her daughter Laura recently sat down to look at
family photos. As they reflected on the good times, they also could
see how God was at work, especially through the difficult times — and
there were many of those.
On the heels of her rebellious teenage years, Laura lived as a
transgender man for nearly a decade of her adult life. Other than her
family and select friends, though, most people just knew Laura as
Laura was living with a partner who also identified as transgender,
and had become estranged from family members and the church.
(From transgender to transformed 1-Francine, left, and Laura with a
family photo album)
Laura had grown up in a Christian home. Her parents, Paul and
Francine, were and are active members of First Baptist Church of
Bartlesville, Okla., where they took Laura and her siblings to church
nearly every time the doors were open.
“I grew up going to church constantly,” Laura said. “I was in Sunday
School, children’s choir, GA’s, Bible Drill, VBS and more. But
ultimately I lacked a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.”
Growing up, Laura constantly struggled with her sexual identity and
did not “feel” like a girl. She experienced other various challenges
through childhood, which culminated in poor choices in her teen years,
and later embracing a transgendered life during her 20s.
When they found out about Laura’s choice to embrace a transgender
male identity, Laura’s parents were devastated. “At first I said, ‘how
could you do this to us, after all we have done for you?’,” Francine
Though she had support from friends in church and in her ladies Bible
study, Francine felt depressed and isolated because of the family’s
Out of a sense of desperation and hopelessness, Francine began to
dive deeper into God’s Word. “I realized, through our ‘prodigal child’
experience, that I had a more works-based faith in Christ, a more
legalistic mindset,” Francine acknowledged. “I was Pharisee-like in so
God, though, began to soften Francine’s heart. Her ladies Bible study
group began to lift up Laura in prayer. Yet things got worse before
they got better.
Laura once wrote a letter to her mother that said, “This is what I
was supposed to be. Please accept me.”
Francine and Paul began to become more open in sharing their
struggles. The Perrys also refused to believe that God would leave
Laura in the transgender life. They asked people to pray.
(From transgender to transformed 3-Laura Perry and her mother
Francine share a hug. After many rocky years, God has fully restored
Meanwhile, Laura had delved deeper into the transgender life,
attending pro-LGBT support groups and even taking hormonal and
surgical steps to become less feminine and more masculine. “I bought
into the lies of Satan, believing that my sinful choices would make me
happy,” Laura said. “Inside, I was miserable and searching for real
Laura’s transgender partner happened to be a staunch political
conservative, and this exposed Laura to various talk radio and
teaching programs. “I got fascinated with the idea of absolute truth,”
she said. Her interest in politics led her then to listen to biblical
preaching on the radio.
One day a co-worker asked if she was a Christian. Laura said, “Yes.”
“That was the first time in a long time that I said I had anything to
do with Christianity,” she said.
It would be a long road leading home, but God began to awaken faith
and belief in Laura. “I always knew about Jesus and believed. But I
never knew Jesus personally or made Him Lord of my life,” Laura said.
Eventually, the truth began to get through, bit by bit. And Laura
began to reach a breaking point.
“God opened my eyes to the truth. He made me realize that the
transgender life was not His will for my life, that it was a dead end.
But I was still conflicted.”
One day, through tears and much struggle, Laura prayed and asked God
for help. She was, however, still in a transgender lifestyle and
relationship. God continued to work on her heart.
Francine and Paul kept the lines of communication open, and met with
Laura from time to time. Francine said, “It was as if God said to me,
‘If you keep trying to fix Laura yourself, I will not. If you just sit
down and leave Laura to me, I will work.’” That began the change, not
only in Francine’s life and heart but Laura’s.
Laura asked her mother one day, “Is it OK if I come to church?”
Francine, who was the church pianist, struggled with the idea of Laura
coming to church. “I thought if she showed up to church looking like a
man, she only would embarrass us. That shows you how far I still had
to go in my walk with Christ,” Francine said.
Laura did come to church that day, and the message was on the
prodigal son. The person to feel convicted by the sermon, though, was
Francine. “Satan whispers in your ear along this dark road, but God’s
grace won out,” Francine said.
(From transgender to transformed 2-James Biesiadecki, left, pastor of
First Baptist Bartlesville, Okla., baptized Laura in 2016.)
Laura eventually made the hard, painful decision to turn away from
her transgender life, leaving her partner, and made the step home,
moving back home with her parents.
“I didn’t know what came next,” Laura said. “But I was clinging to
God’s promise that He would take care of me. I experienced such love
and acceptance from my mother’s Bible study group. It was hard, but I
had never experienced such peace and love as when I came back to the
The ladies group helped Laura acquire a new wardrobe, including
earrings and dresses. Members of First Baptist have continued to walk
Brandi Biesiadecki, wife of pastor James Biesiadecki, has mentored
Laura. “It is so encouraging to see the true repentance and
restoration Laura has undergone,” she said.
Last August, Laura made her decision to follow Christ public in front
of the church and was baptized the following month. Today, Laura has
fully embraced her God-given sexuality as a woman, and she is active
in the church.
The journey home, which took place a year ago, has led to both
restoration and reconciliation. Francine and Paul believe God answered
their prayers, and they believe that parents should never stop praying
for their “prodigal” child or children. They give all glory to God.
“Only God could have done this,” Francine said.
Pastor James also sees God’s grace demonstrated in the Perry family.
“Laura’s testimony, and the testimony of the Perry family, is proof
that Jesus is the answer to sin and life’s struggles,” he said. “I am
so thankful for this dear family, and I pray Laura’s testimony of
salvation and new life in Christ will continue to inspire many
In addition to co-teaching a Sunday School class at church, Laura has
been able to share her story in front of audiences, as well as on Tony
Perkins’ national radio program.
“I am living proof that God’s love is greater than the devil’s lies,”
Laura said with a smile.