04/03/2012 05:05 pm ET Updated Feb 02, 2016

Challenging Pat Robertson's Views on LGBT People

Pat Robertson of The 700 Club has always stood against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people, stating that they are living in sin and out of the will of God. I remember watching The 700 Club as a child and enjoying the music. My family believed in God, and we were raised in the word of God. Everyone during that time spoke against the LGBT community, and here I was, a 10-year-old boy with special feelings but unable to identify those feelings and emotions. As I grew older I began to feel like a bad person for these emotions and feelings inside myself. It would take me 25 years to become who I am today, with love and joy in my heart.

Most recently, Pat Robertson stated that homosexuality is somehow similar to demonic possession:

The world today says, "OK, so you are gay. You want to have affairs with men. That's cool. You have an absolute right to do that. Why not?" That's not the right attitude. The attitude is that this is sin. It's wrong. And [this man] realized it was wrong but couldn't control it. But that type of conduct is wrong... he is obsessed. He has a compulsion. I would think that it is somehow related to demonic possession...

The word "sin" means a transgression against divine law, or otherwise moral evil. But Romans 3:23 states that "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." I understand that to mean that everyone on this Earth, even Pat Robertson and the other hosts of The 700 Club. But 1 Peter 3:18 states that "Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God," and Ephesians 1:7 states, "In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace." In other words, the Bible has stated that God will forgive us of any sins at all times if we ask him.

But I think the real question to ask is whether being a member of the LGBT community is a sin. My answer is no. I do not believe Pat Robertson and The 700 Club have the power to judge other human beings on this Earth, because no man or woman is perfect and without sin in their own lives. I believe Pat Robertson loves God, but his love does not supersede my love for God or my right to be a child of God. Serving Christ is a personal, independent journey to be lived by each individual, not by a collective group or organization. Pat Robertson and The 700 Club are not perfect Christians, as we have noticed over the years.

Romans 14 tells us not to put one man over another or judge one another, but to walk in love:

Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. One person's faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them. Who are you to judge someone else's servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand.

One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord. Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.

You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God's judgment seat. It is written:

"'As surely as I live,' says the Lord,

'every knee will bow before me;

every tongue will acknowledge God.'"

So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.

Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean. If your brother or sister is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy someone for whom Christ died. Therefore do not let what you know is good be spoken of as evil. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval.

Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a person to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother or sister to fall.

So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves. But whoever has doubts is condemned if they eat, because their eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.

There are millions of children today listening to religious leaders speak hate, but feeling different on the inside and hating themselves for these feelings, especially transgender youth. To all transgender youth: there is nothing wrong with you and how you feel on the inside! God has made us in his own image, and we are all God's children. You are beautiful as you are and special in the eyes of God.

And to all my LGBT sisters and brothers: God is love. God is not about hate. Pat Robertson, like so many religious leaders, tries to spread hate against the LGBT community for being true to ourselves. I lived as an African-American gay male for 10 years, and I have been living as an African-American transgender woman for the last 16 years, and God loves me unconditionally. I am a child of God, with all the rights and privileges that come with that. Each Christian has the right to pray to God individually and seek his or her purpose in life. God loves everyone, straight or gay, black or white, prostitute and evangelist, rich or poor. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 states, "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."

Pat Robertson, when talking about his married, male friend who went out cruising for sex with other men while his wife sat at home clueless, should have advised that man to be honest with himself, his wife, and his family. The real message is to stop living a lie and lying to others about who you are. For years I have seen married men of all races actively seek out encounters with gay men and transgender women while lying to their families. The message I believe is this: stop lying, stop being deceitful, stop being a hypocrite, and start being honest about who you are and what you want.

Toni Newman's memoir I Rise recently made a list of the 25 best biographies of transgender people, coming in at number 24.