She’s My Dad

Jonathan S. Williams was three months into pastoring a new, evangelical church plant when his father confessed a secret: he was transgender. His father, Paul, a prominent evangelical pastor, soon became Paula, and Jonathan’s life and ministry went into a tailspin. Feeling betrayed by his mentor and confidante and scared that his church would lose funding and support if Paula’s secret was exposed, Jonathan sunk into depression and alcoholism.

She’s My Dad explores Jonathan’s long and winding journey toward reconciliation, forgiveness, and acceptance of his father as well as his church’s journey to become one of the few fully LGBTQ-inclusive, evangelical churches in America. Jonathan and Paula offer insight and encouragement for those with transgender family members, empathizing with the feelings of loss and trauma and understanding that even being LGBTQ-affirming doesn’t mean the transition of a family member will be easy. Jonathan writes of his family’s continuing evolution, the meaning of remaining loyal to one’s father even when she is no longer a man, the ongoing theological evolution surrounding transgender rights and advocacy in the church, and the unflinching self-scrutiny of a pastor who lost his God only to find God again in his father’s transition.

The book offers a unique perspective for family members of transgender persons, capturing the complex relationship between a son and his transgender parent, while navigating the feelings of loss and trauma that can occur even in the most LGBTQ-affirming households.

She’s My Dad is published by Westminster John Knox Press.


Praise for She’s My Dad


“Jonathan discovers the most unexpected invitation to live in the way of Jesus, and in choosing the narrow, difficult, painful path, he shows us all the way to a life worth living.”

Colby Martin, Author of UnClobber: Rethinking Our Misuse of the Bible on Homosexuality

“In a raw and authentic voice, Jonathan takes us all the way through his vulnerable and painful coming-to-terms, and out the other side into the light of a Christianity of radical love and inclusion… the vision Jesus had in mind all along.”

Susan Cottrell, Founder of FreedHearts.org, Author of “Mom, I’m Gay”: Loving Your LGBTQ Child and Strengthening Your Faith

“A wonderful resource for transitioning people, their loved ones, and those who are exploring how God is working in our era to liberate us from the trap of tribal theologies.”

Suzanne DeWitt Hall, Author of Transfigured: A 40-Day Journey through Scripture for Gender-Queer and Transgender People

“An eye opening memoir showcasing two people’s struggles to accept themselves and each other.”

Louise’s Literature

“Intelligent, perceptive, and unapologetically honest.”