Brian Hobbs, The Baptist Messenger
BARTLESVILLE, Okla. — 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 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 “Jake.”
Laura was living with a partner who also identified as transgender, and had become estranged from family members and the church.
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.”
James Biesiadecki, left, pastor of First Baptist Bartlesville, Okla., baptized Laura in 2016.
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.