Tia Michelle Pesando
Will the Catholic Church Accept its First Openly Transgender Nun?

By Mitch Kellaway

Originally published on Advocate.com July 15 2014 6:12 PM ET

In the two years since Tia Michelle Pesando says she first heard God calling her, she's not only devoted herself to the Roman Catholic Church, but to opening the religion's doors to other transgender people of faith.

Last year, the 35-year-old London resident became the world's first out trans Roman Catholic consecrated maiden, reports the London Community News. In addition to abiding by her vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience, she also undertook an extensive research project that culminated in Why God Doesn't Hate You, a newly released book for LGBT readers who feel alienated by Christianity.

Now, Pesando — who is also intersex, and refers to herself by the often controversial term "hermaphrodite" — has set her sights on becoming a nun, hoping to practice her faith solely among other women. With her priest's blessing, she will begin training next month to become a Carolinian sister, reports London's CTV News.

Though she is remaining positive, Pesando has considered she may face resistance in the months ahead. "The Catholic Church is very good at maintaining a cohesion of hierarchy," she told CTV. "If there was an order from someone higher up that prevented me, eventually it would come down to me having to appeal to the Pope."

When the news station consulted a nearby Carolinian convent, officials said they wouldn't be able to accommodate a transgender nun. However, the Catholic Church has remained silent on the issue.

Contributor: 
Mitch Kellaway