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Canadian Pastor fired after coming out as transgender

Updated: Jul 30, 2020

“It’s scary, but I read someplace that love casts out fear" -Junia

Last month, forty-one-year-old Junia Joplin- the pastor of a Baptist church in Ontario, Canada, came out as a transgender woman to the Church after a sermon or speech about truth.

“Truth was a hidden pearl, a treasure to be sought and uncovered,” she said.

On June 14, her candour cost her her job- the job she touched so many lives with, using the power of love, grace and kindness, for six whole years.

On Monday, the 111 members of her church voted her out- 58 to 53. This decision was arrived at by the Church and the reverend after a month of “prayerful discernment and discussions”. On Thursday, the church released a statement saying, “It was determined, for theological reasons, that it is not in God’s will that June remain as our pastor.”

Junia found profound deep and unconditional love for God, growing up in a Baptist church in North Carolina. When at church camp, at around eleven years old, she knew that she was going to dedicate her life to spreading his word and gave her first ever sermon at the tender age of thirteen. She was always regarded as a member destined to reach great heights and even achieved swift success in the field.

In 2014, she was offered a position in the church and had presented herself as a man ever since, tying her hair up into a tight bun. She started expressing and embracing her femininity publicly a year or two ago on very rare occasions.

In her first year of seminary school, Junia was taught a sentence that would define her and change the course of her life: tell the truth.

In 2018, she told herself the truth and came out to herself. This was followed by her doing so to her husband, close friends, her sons and her siblings in the next two years.

The sermon started with hymns and prayers. Then, about ten minutes into her sermon, she said that with “divine joy”, she had her own truth to impart...and she finally said the following words: "I want you to hear me when I tell you that I am not just supposed to be a pastor; I’m supposed to be a woman. Hi, friends. Hi, family. My name is Junia. You can call me June. I am a transgender woman, and my pronouns are ‘she’ and ‘her’. I am sorry for the times that you have been told that who you are is sinful or broken”, she said with her eyes welling up and her voice cracking. Junia went on to say, “I am saying I want to be the person that God created me to be. I realize, of course, that I might be taking a tremendous risk here.”

"It was such a tender moment, there's a sense of release, there's a sense of being kind of liberated from a burden that was so profound."

Junia’s story inspired and continues to inspire many to live their truth. Her faith in her lord and her love for her church has not faltered even a little and she hopes to continue spreading the lord’s word in whatever capacity she can for as long as she can, even though her dreams of being the head pastor of the church were broken. The world is grateful for her existence and strength, especially those who are broken, lost or scared.

Reporter- Katyayani Nath

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