Transgender Deacon Shares Life Changing Story

JAMESTOWN (CBS13) – This story is extremely rare. In fact, there are only a handful of Episcopalian clergy members that are transgendered in the world.

Reverend Carolyn Woodall’s story, the deacon at Jamestown Church, began one dark night when she contemplated taking her life.

In the Spring season, the season of new life, Woodall has her own story of resurrection.

“God made me male on the outside, but female in my soul,” said Woodall.

Woodall, then named Clifford, came to that realization one night back in 2003, and felt she was left with two options.

“Quit living my life as a lie, and become who I was, which is Carolyn, which is who you see now, or just quit living,” said Woodall.

Carolyn made it through the night, and sought help.

After years of therapy, doctor appointments, and finally, gender reassignment surgery. Her relationship with God grew stronger.

“God sent his son into the world to save everyone, there aren’t asterisks in scripture,” said Woodall.

Carolyn’s love of God has brought her to this point. She continues to work as a public defender in Tuolumne County, and last month was ordained as a deacon in the Episcopalian church.

“I admire her for having the strength to go through what it cost her, especially living in a very conservative area,” said parishioner Betty Cordoza.

Carolyn has been called names and knows there are plenty who object to her choosing to live as a woman. But she says finally, she feels comfortable in her own skin. Almost reborn, as she helps lead her first Good Friday service, as reverend Carolyn Woodall.

“No one is outside of God’s love. Jesus ministered to the outcasts, to the people on the periphery,” said Woodall.

Woodall tells us she went on TV today to tell her story, because there are plenty of lessons of tolerance to be learned about her life.

  • Carlee Trotter

    In order for a “former” gay person to minister….all gay sympathies should be denied! She/he should cut the rainbow bracelet showing gay acceptance! In God’s laws homosexuality is unacceptable!! Her church denomination should reconsider her as a practicing pastor….she has to many conflicts with God’s written word (law) for me to accept her ministry. Remove the RAINBOW bracelet showing gay sympathy…then I would reconsider! Happy Easter!

    • JMHO

      There’s a difference between being gay and knowing you’ve been born in the wrong body. And for many it isn’t even an issue of being “born” in the wrong body; some children are born with both male an female genitalia and arbitrary decisions about made about which to keep and which to get rid of. Can you even imagine feeling in your heart, head, and soul, that you are one gender and looking in the mirror to see another? This is not the same thing as being gay — not that there’s anything wrong with that, either.

    • Ethain

      Neither the article nor the video mention why is she wearing that bracelet. In fact, a rainbow can have plenty of meanings, so why are you assuming a specific one, and then attacking a fellow human being based entirely on that assumption?

      The rainbow is a symbol of the covenant between God and Mankind after The Flood.
      It may also have plenty of meanings related to optics (the branch of physics that deals with light and how we perceive it).
      It also often bears a meaning of diversity, using the diversity of colors as a metaphor on the diversity among humans. In fact, when the LGB communities adopted the rainbow flag, it was merely an extrapolation of the general concept of diversity.

      Even further, when one looks a bit deeper, that “Gay” meaning only exists on some western countries, while other meanings are quite more universal: the covenant is well known across Christianity, and the meaning of diversity is known or implied almost everywhere in the world.

      You are taking an assumption, and then judging a person based on such assumption.
      Honestly, I can’t blame you for being filled with so much hatred. Both the media and many entities on any position of power try to teach us to hate, throughout our entire lives, to hate anything that doesn’t conform to their norms or doesn’t contribute to perpetuating their position.
      But God is Love. He loves us all. Even those who hate others, and those who are hated by others. And if you let God instead of hatred to guide you, you may even learn to love in the same way.

  • Mcgiggity

    Woodall is a walking contradiction:
    Obviously GOD made him a man because that was what GOD thought was best.
    If the guy wanted to just be a gay deacon, I’d have no problem.
    …you gotta be one or the other: a member of the clergy or a tranny. The two are mutually exclusive to most people.

    No problem with gay people, and my only problem with trannies is when they insist on being in these innaprriate positions: elementary school teachers, deacons, adoptive parents, etc. if you want to do these things, wait until youve done em to have the surgery, and till then be happy just being gay as you were born, or find something else to do. Same thing with people that have extreme body dismprphic disorder, or other mental illness. Probably not the person whose advice you want to take.

    Btw mrs doubt fire was a great movie.

  • JMHO

    If you believe that god made him the way he is, then god also made him feel he is truly a woman. People change the way god made them all the time, and I bet it doesn’t bother you. Look around your church. How many people are dying their hair, having face lifts, “fixing” their noses, and injecting botox to get rid of wrinkles. Aren’t those wrinkles precious in god’s eyes? Are you truly happy the way god made you, or do you get to pick and choose which of your god given attributes you get to fix and change?

  • Louise 22

    You really like using the old word ‘tranny’. Shows how little you understand and why do make the assumption being gay is in any way connected? Get a little education, understanding and spare us your morals.

    Like any Christian I wish her well and admire her strength. Why can’t you?

  • Jakie LaBarge

    Wow Mcgiggity, you seems to have some issues with those of us that are trans (and please don’t call us trannies)! We are just as capable of loving God and his people as anyone else. You also seem to be implying that we are unfit to be around children. For the record, not only do I have no interest in children in the perverse ways that seem to run through your head, but statistics show that trans folk are far more likely to be abused by others than to abuse. Maybe a little research would do you some good.We are like anyone else and appreciate being treated like it, no special rights just normal people.

  • Louise 22

    Liberalsuck? I have a better name for you: ‘Narrow-mindedsuck’. It works.

    Why do so many have to troll and hate?

    Normal? I am a Christian and know the life of Christ was far from normal. He incase you forget was born in a stable. Had a virgin mother. Could walk on water and was nailed to a cross. Not a ‘normal’ life right?

    If you are also a Christian show a little love and respect for all. Even if it is difficult for you.

    It’s Easter!


  • Betty Cordoza

    I was interviewed by Ben Sosenko, and quoted in the aritcle. Carolyn is one of my best friends. What got edited out is that she is “my mentor, my teacher, and my friend.” I was blessed and honored to be one of her Lay Presentors (to the Bishop) at her Ordination, in Stockton, in March. St. Mary in the Mountains Episcopal Church in Jamestown, and the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin exist because of the hard work and dedication of Carolyn, and other members of the GLBT community. I am a middle-aged, “straight” grandmother. However, I am so grateful to God for sending a friend like Carolyn into my life. A Blessed Easter to all. Thank you to CBS Ch. 13 and Ben Sosenko for a respectful and informative piece.

  • Religion News Summary Highlights for April 11, 2012 | LGBT Human Rights. Gay News, Entertainment, Travel

    […] Episcopalian Church and now serves as deacon at Jamestown Church in Sacramento, California.  In a video interview this week, she says talks about her transition and how she has been embraced by her faith […]

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