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Jeffrey McCall is fortunate in that his body doesn’t carry the physical scars from transition surgeries, nor does he have the internal and psychological damage from hormone therapy. The tragedy for McCall comes in the confusion he felt and the lifestyle he lived for many years.
Jeffrey’s story begins as a young boy – he didn’t conform to the stereotypical boy behaviors. The other kids began to tease him and suggest he might be gay. He eventually agreed with him and by age 15 he had acted on it. From the time he was 15 to the time he was 23, his life spiraled further and further downward.
He began dating older men. After the death of his brother, and a beloved aunt, he began to experience panic attacks and was prescribed (and heavily abused) Xanax. He eventually moved from rural Georgia to LGBT-friendly Nashville. While there, he felt as though he fit in due to the integration his LGBT friends had in life in the city. He put all of his energy into his homosexual identity and his boyfriend. But his life wasn’t as stable as he would have liked.
“After the relationship ended I went back to alcohol. Immediately after alcohol I started experimenting more with crystal meth. These were some of the darkest days of my life. Xanax entered the picture again and before I knew it I was taking Xanax every day, throughout the day, while smoking crystal meth. I would stay up for days – one time I even stayed up around 5 or 6 days.”
His lifestyle continued to be destructive and hampered his growth. Providentially, his father received a job at Emmanuel College and offered Jeffrey an opportunity to attend, tuition free. Jeffrey accepted, and, after having the initial shock of going back to chickens and barns wear off, his academic performance, and even his life, began to stabilize. He did well in his classes and even got full pay for a TA position for his Master’s program.
Despite the trappings of his life appearing more stable, his inner turmoil was growing. He eventually developed a new personality, Scarlet, and lived as Scarlet more and more frequently. Speaking of his connection with his transgender personality, McCall said, “You see you have to understand this part of my life with Scarlet. This was my hope at that time in life. It was everything I put my life into and it was my identity – my friends accepted it, my life and my future was all wrapped up in this identity as ‘Scarlet.’”
His life spiraled out of control again. As he went further from God, he came closer to alcohol and promiscuity, as well as performing in drag shows. He said he often would be with a new man every day, even sometimes with married men. The weight of his actions was so crushing to him that he would often cry out to God at night, promising to change, but he never seemed able to change his life.
While his life was in turmoil, he had two mentors that helped him through his turmoil: a professor who had been molested as a child, and Pastor Jentezen Franklin. His professor, who always referred to Jeffrey as “Scarlet,” had been through similar experiences as McCall had in her childhood, but had learned to be happy, enjoy life, and was even married with children. He eventually opened up to this professor, who was kind enough to listen.
Pastor Franklin had a church that Jeffrey attended twice while he was in school. While Jeffrey did not attend the church in person, he found that Pastor Franklin …would come on television, or, I would look him up on YouTube. I would listen to him and the Holy Spirit was using it to convict me of sin.” It was a somewhat unique, if not ironic, situation. He had a secret life of listening to a Christian pastor while living publicly as a transsexual.
McCall described a powerful experience he had at the end of his time in graduate school. One night, as he sat in his room crying, he opened his heart to God in prayer. “God, I know people live for you, not just go to church on Sunday, not just play a religious game, like something happened and their life was transformed. And I said, 'Will I ever live for you?' My voice went silent. My thoughts stopped. And I heard God say, 'Yes, you will live for me.”
A few months later, he made the decision to completely give up the identity of Scarlet. He threw away all the clothing, makeup, wigs, and everything. The decision to completely move away from that, especially after having received a diagnosis of gender dysphoria and planning on receiving surgeries, was a tremendous step towards living a life removed from sin, but it wasn’t his only one.
He decided that he needed to make a video explaining his decision and to share that on social media. Some of the comments he received from his video were not very complimentary, verging on abusive and cruel. “'You can't leave homosexuality. You're transitioning. Like, This is who you are. What do you mean you're just leaving everything?” While such a decision and feedback might have caused him to have a relapse in the past, his faith helped him move forward.
"When I started losing the friends and some family members, my relationship with the Lord just kept blossoming. The day that I made the Facebook live video, that was the day I was filled with the Holy Spirit. The Bible became completely alive to me.” Even though things were difficult, he didn’t quit, but kept moving forward. He said, of the transition, “It was a lot to handle. I had to explain to people that it wasn’t about becoming ‘straight’. It was a choice not to follow sin. The alcoholic, transgender, homosexual, prescription drug life I had was not what God had created me for.”
Currently, Jeffrey McCall works to organize Freedom Marches,
focusing on the stories of men and women who have left the LGBT life. The events are to bring hope to people trapped in the same lifestyle that he
had, and to show that they can be freed by Jesus and be transformed.