She's My Dad
A Father’s Transition and a Son’s Redemption
by Jonathan S. Williams
Pub Date 20 Nov 2018
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Jonathan S. Williams was three months into pastoring a new, evangelical church plant when his father confessed a secret: he was transgender. His father, Paul, a prominent evangelical pastor, soon became Paula, and Jonathan's life and ministry went into a tailspin. Feeling betrayed by his mentor and confidante and scared that his church would lose funding and support if Paula's secret was exposed, Jonathan sunk into depression and alcoholism.
She's My Dad explores Jonathan's long and winding journey toward reconciliation, forgiveness, and acceptance of his father as well as his church's journey to become one of the few fully LGBTQ-inclusive, evangelical churches in America. Jonathan and Paula offer insight and encouragement for those with transgender family members, empathizing with the feelings of loss and trauma and understanding that even being LGBTQ-affirming doesn't mean the transition of a family member will be easy. Jonathan writes of his family's continuing evolution, the meaning of remaining loyal to one's father even when she is no longer a man, the ongoing theological evolution surrounding transgender rights and advocacy in the church, and the unflinching self-scrutiny of a pastor who lost his God only to find God again in his father's transition.
"When a parent begins living their gender identity authentically,
it impacts the identity of everyone in the family. In She's My Dad, Jonathan Williams describes the pain of
re-conceiving both his father and himself; as individuals and as pastors.
Williams' honest portrayal illustrates how crises can ultimately lead to an expansion of our understanding of
God; reflecting the truth of Paula Stone Williams' belief that the quest for
authenticity is holy, sacred, and for the greater good. The book is a wonderful
resource for transitioning people, their loved ones, and those who are
exploring how God is working in our era to liberate us from the trap of tribal
—Suzanne DeWitt Hall, Author of Transfigured: A 40-Day Journey through Scripture for Gender-Queer and Transgender People
"In a raw and authentic voice, Jonathan Williams has given us an intimate look at his journey through his father’s transition. This is a story often overlooked and one we need to hear. He takes us all the way through his vulnerable and painful coming-to-terms, and out the other side into the light of a Christianity of radical love and inclusion… the vision Jesus had in mind all along! For anyone seeking to understand the broader picture of a family in transition, this is well worth the read."
—Susan Cottrell, Founder, FreedHearts.org, Author of “Mom, I’m Gay”: Loving Your LGBTQ Child and Strengthening Your Faith