Patti Height shares her experience with gender confusion and how the Lord transformed her life.
Story by Christmas Beeler
Patti sat in the hospital holding her brother’s hand. His skin was ashen, his body gaunt under the sheets. Almost a year ago he was diagnosed with lung cancer—a blurry, painful year. Patti traveled constantly from New Jersey to upstate New York to care for him. Daily, a kind neighbor read the Bible to him, and he had become a Christian. Since then, despite his emaciated body, there was a new life in his eyes—almost a glow. She knew he was different. He had asked if she and her girlfriend were Christians. She had assured him she was, though she did not know God.
She watched his shallow breathing, her heart brimming with love and sadness. Then, softly, he took his last breath. She leaned closer; he was gone. Suddenly she knew that he was in heaven—and that she would not be.
The next few months were devastating. Sorrow and fear consumed her. “When you don’t know Jesus and the power of the resurrection, death is a dark and scary place,” she recalled. Two months later, one night she was lying in bed wondering if her lifestyle kept her from God.
“When you don’t know Jesus and the power of the resurrection, death is a dark and scary place.”
She wanted to discuss these concerns with her girlfriend, but how would she respond? They had been together four years—the first relationship in which Patti felt safe and protected, after growing up in a verbally abusive home and suffering through a physically abusive marriage to a man. Mustering her courage, she said, “Do you think the way we’re living is wrong?” Her girlfriend’s eyes widened, and she replied that she had just been wondering the same thing. With excitement, Pat ti said, “I think we should pray. I think the rules are that you have to get on your knees.” They asked God to show them if He was real and if their lifestyle was wrong. Then they searched and found a Bible in the attic. Not knowing where to start, they opened it at random and immediately read, “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination” (Leviticus 18:22).
Patti’s heart began to race. God is real! We asked Him a question, and He’s answering us! They began visiting churches, landing at Calvary Chapel Old Bridge, NJ. When worship began, Patti was mesmerized by the lyrics. “It was talking about God’s holiness and righteousness and His love for me. I just lost it and started crying and crying,” she said. Her tough exterior crumbled. “I could feel God telling me that He loved me. The Lord was right there, meeting with me, saying ‘While you were still a sinner, I died for you,’ though I didn’t know the verse.” Romans 5:8 says,
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
After the message, Pastor Lloyd Pulley invited any who wished to accept Jesus to come forward; Patti’s heart was pounding. “I thought I was having a heart attack,” she recalled, laughing. She didn’t go forward that Sunday, but by the third Sunday, January 19, 2003, she was ready. “I looked at my girlfriend and said, ‘I’m going up.’ Those were my last words as a lesbian.” She added, “I prayed for God the Father to forgive me of my sins, Jesus to be my Savior and Lord of my life, and to fill me with His Holy Spirit. Right then, the weight of the world lifted off my shoulders. All my pain and sorrow went away in that moment—there was nothing except me and God.”
“I looked at my girlfriend and said, ‘I’m going up.’ Those were my last words as a lesbian.”
That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9
Her friend also received Christ. “We devoured God’s Word,” she said. “I read the whole Bible twice that first year. He was opening it up to me in a way I could understand.” From that day forward, Patti stopped practicing her homosexual lifestyle. “It wasn’t like all of a sudden I became straight. God in His mercy and patience and wisdom led me step by step,” she said. “We were both growing like crazy.” She began sleeping in the spare room. She and her former girlfriend threw away their wedding rings. “Every time we took a step of obedience, there was such a blessing and excitement afterward,” she recalled.
“Blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” Luke 11:28b
The day came for Patti to move out of the house. “That was a scary one. There was nothing I could do but trust Him; He was overwhelming me and showing me how to trust Him.” She watched as God worked out the details for her to afford an apartment and a reliable car—and knew He was with her as she moved out in obedience.
Her former girlfriend felt called to serve in missions. They would talk about what God was teaching them and often pass out Gospel tracts together. But Patti felt God showing her that there was still an emotional attachment, and she must let go entirely—no more calls, texts, or time together. It was the most difficult thing He had ever asked.
One night, while praying and reading Scripture, she sensed God speaking to her. As she wrestled with ending the friendship, lying facedown on the floor, weeping, “I could feel Him there, telling me it was going to be okay.” She stayed up all night, and the Lord brought her to the verse: “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water” (John 7:38). She recalled, “He showed me that if I would trust Him in this, then rivers of living water would flow through me and that He would use me in ways I could never imagine. I thought, Wow, God’s living water flowing through me? That was it. I had to obey.” A few hours later, she told her friend. Tearfully yet with joy, they parted as sisters in Christ; both have since been serving Him faithfully—and separately—for several years.
“He showed me that if I would trust Him in this, then rivers of living water would flow through me and that He would use me in ways I could never imagine.”
Now Patti shares her story in churches all over the U.S. She is open about the difficulties she experienced as a child with gender confusion and sexual abuse and as a teen with drugs and alcohol. As childhood memories of sexual trauma resurfaced, healing came through Christian counseling, prayer, and the Word.
Overcoming gender confusion was a major challenge—and victory. “My whole childhood I thought I was a boy,” she explained. “As an adult, I wore men’s clothes. Everything about me—my glasses, clothes, shoes—represented manhood. That was my armor. I felt that if men saw me as a man, they wouldn’t want to rape me,” she explained. “I finally got to the point where I asked my prayer partners to pray for me, that God would show me what it was to be a woman. I couldn’t even say it; I had to write it down. And He has. He has shown me that being soft and feminine does not make me a victim. I can sit here today and say that I love being a woman.”
He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Psalm 23:3
At CC Old Bridge, she found support in the family of Christ and in her senior pastor, Lloyd Pulley. Lloyd noted, “When Patti first attended, our leadership gave her space to grow and defended her against those who wanted her to look more feminine and to progress at their ideal pace.” Patti remembers how warmly she and her friend were welcomed, accepted, and loved, though it was obvious they were initially a couple. Lloyd added, “We knew that the Lord would work these things out through His Word and in His timing.” Lloyd continues to encourage Patti in her new ministry, Out of Egypt.
Patti often talks to Christian parents whose children experience same-sex attraction or gender confusion. She explains to them, “This struggle has likely been in that child’s heart for years and could have been caused by something traumatic or even a misunderstanding. It can be innumerable things: A young girl feels abandoned by both parents who are sick or working, so she looks for women to fill that gap. Boys with tender hearts may not get that attention from dad, are teased at school, and are confused.” She urges parents to lovingly share God’s truth with their children to counter the barrage of lies in today’s culture.
For those who wish to share Christ with homosexuals, she said, “Don’t talk about homosexuality. Share the Gospel, what God is doing in your life, your excitement about the Lord.” Patti shares her faith at her job as a flight attendant: “I can’t contain my excitement. I’ve prayed with Buddhists, Jews, and other flight attendants. These are the last days; we shouldn’t be afraid to talk about Him to anyone.”
“Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.” 1 Peter 1:8, KJV
About Patti’s ministry: www.outofegyptministries.org