by Jonathan Williams – Westminster John Knox Press

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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.

“In a raw and authentic voice, Jonathan Williams has given us an intimate look at his journey through his father’s transition. This is a story often overlooked, and one we need to hear. He 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! For anyone seeking to understand the broader picture of a family in transition, this is well worth the read.”
—Susan Cottrell, Founder,, and Author of “Mom, I’m Gay”: Loving Your LGBTQ Child and Strengthening Your Faith

“True human connection happens on the other side of life’s deepest pain. Jonathan Williams gives us an unfiltered window in to his journey of watching his father transition to a woman, providing us the hard-earned gift of witnessing true human connection emerge. In this raw and tear-stained memoir, we follow Jonathan as he 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, Teaching Pastor, Sojourn Grace Collective, and Author of UnClobber: Rethinking Our Misuse of the Bible on Homosexuality

She’s My Dad is the missing link in the LGBTQ+ narrative. When Williams discovers that his father is transgender, he is forced to confront his own identity and, consequently, reevaluate everything he’s ever known to be true. Written with gut-wrenching honesty and a raw vulnerability that exposes both deep pain and deep compassion, this gripping memoir of love and loss reveals the heartache and the beauty of navigating life when a family member comes out. A much-welcomed addition to the library of LGBTQ+ resources and one I highly recommend!”
—Amber Cantorna, National Speaker, Leader, and Author of Refocusing My Family and Unashamed: A Coming-Out Guide for LGBTQ Christians 

“Williams confronts the mystery and struggle of what it means to live a life of truth and authenticity for himself and for his father. He crisscrosses pronouns and names, shows us that naming is our way out of isolation, and draws on his experience as a son, father, husband, and pastor in telling his story. He reminds us that we belong to each other, that by working through the pain that sometimes comes with acceptance, we’re given new ties that we never thought possible. This book is important reading for anyone who has confronted change in their families or a crisis of faith. He also gives words to the complex experience of having a parent who is transgender. He articulates how it’s possible to both miss someone as they were and celebrate who they are today. This book is a gift.”
—Heather Bryant, Writer and COLAGE Ambassador

 “In She’s My Dad, Jonathan Williams manages to honestly capture the pain and heartbreak he felt during his parent’s transition without discounting the reality of Paula’s identity. As someone who has dealt with family rejection, I kept tensing up as I read, waiting for the moment when the suffering of these two people would be pitted against each other—when we’d be forced to see one of them as the bad guy. Instead, Jonathan and Paula work together to show us a reality in which two people in difficult circumstances can journey through pain and toward a new relationship, thanks to a heavy helping of grace.”
—Austen Hartke, Author of Transforming: The Bible and the Lives of Transgender Christians

“Jonathan and Paula Williams have given us an incredibly valuable gift. In a time when so many are debating about trans identities, people’s stories bring to life what is truly important—how to love one another when someone in the family comes out. As the son of a parent who comes out as trans, Jonathan Williams helps us to see the deep struggle of grief and denial, and ultimately acceptance. Meanwhile, Paula shows us what a deeply parental love looks like in trying to care for one’s family while living her own life truthfully, even if it means losing one’s tribe. Through deeply honest storytelling, Jonathan and Paula Williams have been able to nuance and humanize the conversation in a way that theology books never could. Their story is one that needs to be heard, especially in the evangelical world of this generation.”
—Pastor Danny Cortez, Founder, Estuary Space (

“When a parent begins living their gender identity authentically, it impacts the identity of everyone in the family. In She’s My Dad, Jonathan Williams describes the pain of reconceiving his father and himself, both as individuals and as pastors. Williams’s honest portrayal illustrates how crises can ultimately lead to an expansion of our understanding of God—reflecting the truth of Paula Stone Williams’s belief that the quest for authenticity is holy, sacred, and for the greater good. The book is 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