In 1993, Vanessa Sheridan’s 48 page book, The Cross and the Crossdresser: Personal Reflections on Crossdressing from a Christian Perspective, came out.
Standing on its own, The Cross and the Crossdresser precedes the “transgender spring” entirely as a ground-breaking work. By 1996, this little book was still the only outside faith-based resource listed in the Open Hands fall 1996 issue (though Vanessa’s 1996 Cross Purposes: On Being Christian and Cross-gendered) was mentioned in her bio.
The Cross and the Crossdresser was published under the imprint Creative Design Services (CDS). The author was originally listed as Vanessa S.
Here is a portion of one testimonial* about the impact of this book:
I opened your book and began to read that God loves me just the way I am. You wrote that God doesn’t care about what we wear on the outside of our bodies: God has more important concerns. God cares about our hearts and our spirits. You said it was not a problem for God if I wanted to crossdress because God knows what my soul needs. And you wrote that nothing could ever separate me from God’s love-not my pastor, not any teaching or doctrine, not my church, or anything else.
As I continued to read, I started to cry heavily. I had to stop reading for awhile and wipe the tears from my face. Finally, I decided to put down the gun so I could wipe my eyes and turn the pages more easily. When I finished your book I sat there for a long time looking at the gun. I cried some more, and then prayed to God to help me make a decision. Amazingly, God did so. I’ve never known such a feeling of peace, inner calm, and certainty of God’s love for me as I did in that moment. I put down your book, took the gun and emptied the bullets, and then put the gun away. I have decided to leave my old church and to look for another church home. I need to find someplace where I can worship God and be accepted for the person that I am, not for who someone else thinks I should be. Thank you, Vanessa, for writing your book and for making a difference for me. I’m going to live.
Your sister in Christ,
This letter was written to Vanessa Sheridan. Vanessa quoted it in her keynote address to the Reconciling Ministries Network Transgender Community Outreach Event in May 2001. It is provided here with permission (previously at Transfaith).
Compiled by Mx. Chris Paige in October 2018.
Note: This blog is intended to be an on-going work in progress. Please contact us if you have corrections or are able to contribute further context or reflections.