Be Authentically… You!

by Minister Paul L. Grace-Neal

This past month has been a challenging month.  I have noticed growth but sometimes growing pains hurt…  ALOT!  I think that’s why they call them growing P.A.I.N.S.

During this month I have learned to truly be me.  I don’t have to always introduce myself as Paul, the Openly Identified Trans* man.  This lesson freed me to allow others to get to know the rest of me.

In addition to the work I do as a Trans* advocate, I also enjoy writing poetry, dancing, and singing.  I have a sense of humor and enjoy making people laugh and smile (although I am not a comedian).  I am educated with a Bachelor’s degree from Hampton University in Marketing and a Master of Divinity Degree from Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC.  I am a minister in my local UCC church and enjoy the work I do in worship and reaching out to individuals in my church and local community.

I am giving, caring, and somewhat crazy in a good way.  This plus more makes me, a total package.

I say all of this to encourage you to be you.  Recently, I have had some who gave tried to change me.  One buttoned up my shirt and I was wearing an undershirt.  Others have corrected my words when I didn’t think I said anything offensive. Some have even tried to change the way I feel and think about things.  I can’t change how I feel or think. It is real for me.  How I am makes me authentically who I am.

When I began transitioning as a Trans* man about six years ago, my pastor told me to embrace what I was feeling and be authentic.  In 12 step meetings, they told me “To thine own self be true.”

Today, I reflect on both lessons as I live faithfully and honestly into my destiny.  I wish the same for you.  So many members of the LGBT community have been abused and murdered.  More have attempted suicide for fear of being bullied for being themselves.  There is nothing wrong with the L, G, B, T or anything else you want to become.

This is your season to truly be you.  Be authentically you. Let your guide be your inner peace and higher power.  Connect to your life source and soar to great heights as you impact change upon the universe.

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