At age 13, Emmett Claren used to lie in the middle of a football field behind his house, look up at the sky and beg God to strike him with lightning and change his body. “I would tell him, ‘I have a lot of faith. I believe in you. I know you can do anything,’” Claren, now 22, recalled.
The Utah resident and member of the Mormon church is a transgender man, which means he was assigned female at birth, but knew since he was a young child that he identified as male – even though he didn’t learn the term “transgender” until many years later.
“‘Just change me to a boy right now,’” Claren said he would ask God every day. But his prayers went unanswered.
After wrestling with his faith and identity for years, struggling through periods of severe mental anguish, he came out as transgender at age 21 and is now pushing the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to welcome transgender members.