By Mark Ellis —
By his account, Daniel Delgado had a very rough childhood.
His father abandoned the family when Daniel was two-years-old. His stepfather, in Daniel’s life from age four to eleven, was a violent alcoholic. His mother was emotionally unstable and dealt with clinical depression that left her hospitalized on numerous occasions after nervous breakdowns.
To make matters worse, Daniel was sexually abused at a tender age.
Daniel and his brother were polar opposites. One was masculine, while Daniel says he “was more feminine.”
“He was the pride and joy of my father and stepfather,” Daniel recounts. “He found a lot of acceptance. I would often find myself attracted to other boys and this was hard for me.”
Gender confusion began at an early age. “I didn’t like being a boy,” he admits. “I fantasized about being a girl. I didn’t realize I was detached from my gender. I didn’t talk about it.”
Feeling hopeless about life, Daniel sought counseling as a freshman in high school. “I told him I was being bullied, had same sex attraction, hated being a boy. The counselor encouraged me to embrace the gay identity. He affirmed that and so I came out when I was 14.”
In high school, Daniel started getting involved with other gay teens. His sexual experimentation happened with other boys at first and then with older men.
“When I was 14-16, sleeping with men who knew I was a teenager, it didn’t seem wrong. I didn’t realize it was considered abuse. Those adults knew that was happening. They knew how old I was. It didn’t seem to matter.”
He became despondent at 16 and wanted to end his life. He and his family had recently relocated from Chicago to Texas because of a job opportunity for his mother.
A neighbor named Patti watched Daniel get off the bus one day and heard kids make fun of him. That day he recalls that he was wearing a rainbow poncho, girl’s bell-bottom jeans, and platform shoes.
Patti, who happened to be a Christian, was broken hearted and disturbed by the other kids making fun of Daniel. She felt Christ’s compassion for his struggles and felt compelled to start praying. Intercessors even began to gather on his neighbor’s porch, extend their hands toward Daniel’s house, and pray for him.
Shortly after this, Daniel was contemplating suicide but wasn’t going to tell anyone. He sat in the bathroom formulating a plan to end his life.
Unexpectedly, Patti knocked on the front door and his mother answered.
“I want to know if your son would like to come with me to church tonight, to our youth group?”
Daniel told her he would attend. “Patti was compelled to come to my house, because the Holy Spirit told her to do that. She was arguing back and forth with the Lord. But she smelled something putrid, a spirit of suicide coming from my home. She was compelled to come over because she wanted me to experience life.”
At one point in the evening, the Holy Spirit directed the pastor’s wife to call on all the men in the church to surround Daniel in prayer.
It was an overwhelming experience. “I felt such love and care in that moment that I started to cry. I didn’t want to cry. It rose up within my being. I opened my eyes and wondered, What’s happening?
“There was this connection with other men that was good and holy and I had never experienced anything like this. The other men and teens were crying.”
Daniel heard the gospel that night, but was still not ready to surrender his heart and life to Jesus.
When he went home, the suicidal thoughts had vanished, but there was still a hole in his heart that left him wanting something more. “I had very sexualized needs,” he says, so at 18, he decided he wanted to live as a woman.
For the next two years, he changed his gender identity and embraced the gay lifestyle. He began to compete in drag queen pageants, including the Mid-state Texas Pageant.
“I tried to make a name for myself. Promoters said I reminded them of this famous drag queen who won in 1990.”
“What happened to him?” Daniel asked the promoters.
“Oh, you know, he died…”
“That’s horrible! How did he die?”
“He was sick,” they told him.
Daniel was unsettled by this and began to wonder about other friends in the lifestyle. “I didn’t realize I was leading such a fast life until my friends were getting sick with HIV or sexually transmitted diseases, or beat up by other men, or had massive drug overdoses.”
He resisted the idea of transitioning by taking hormones or having surgical procedures. “When I went to the clubs and bars, I watched all these men taking hormones and they had complications. I didn’t want to do that with my body. It scared me. We heard stories about men who had surgery and died. Stuff like that really scared me. I knew my friends would have to take hormones forever.
“Back then we would call ourselves transvestites. Transsexual would mean going through the change. We didn’t call ourselves transgender. ‘Transy’ was what we used to say.”
By the time Daniel turned 20, God gave him discernment about a “spirit of death” as he watched his friends get sick and pass away. “I didn’t want that to be my story. I remember coming to the end of myself,” he recalls.
God continued to draw his heart. “He sent Christians to me. They started conversations and ended up being from the church where my neighbor came from.”
Finally he went back to church. Sometimes he would argue with other believers, saying there was no hope for his life. “They held the line of truth and didn’t compromise. They really prayed for me and entered into my suffering, caring for me, trusting that the Lord would redeem my life and rescue me.”
He knew he had not been living for the Lord and reached the point where he decided, “I’m done. I’ve tried everything and it doesn’t work.”
In response to an altar call, he went forward to receive prayer. “I ended up surrendering my life the Lord,” he says.
An older man began to pray that the love of the Father would fall upon him, “Now you belong to Jesus,” the man prayed. “God loves you so much! You will be an ambassador for Him, a soldier!” he said.
Daniel’s heart began to overflow. “I cried so much it was a holy experience. I knew Jesus was standing right next to me. I could smell fragrances in the air. In my very being I knew.”
It was the fragrance of the Rose of Sharon. “It was so beautiful. I was on my knees. I remember being on the ground, prostrate before the Lord.
Then he was surprised by the voice of God: You are not a homosexual.
What? But Lord, they are not going to believe me. My friends are not going to believe me, he told Jesus.
Daniel turned away from the sins of his past and began to follow His Lord wholeheartedly. “I renounced things. I cleaned my room and put things in bags and loaded it up and went into a field and burned my dresses and wigs.
“I needed to make a statement and pledge my allegiance to Christ. i didn’t want to be an orphan—like a child without a father — and I didn’t want to walk in the darkness anymore.
“I have never looked back.”
Soon, Daniel will celebrate 17 years walking with Jesus. While he still faces temptations, he surrenders those things to God, brings them into the light and manages to stay free by God’s grace and power.
“I can be open about my struggles so I can be the man He wants me to be.
Over time, God changed his attractions, even though that was not his primary objective. “The goal was Jesus, growing and experiencing freedom in the Lord, but in the midst of that I found peace within myself.
“I found myself attracted to women and have fallen in love with a woman,” he says. “Now
I’m 37 and not in a relationship now, but would like to be. I’m not getting pressured from the outside, but it is something I want.”
“I had never fallen in love with anyone until I fell in love with a woman. I realized that love is a complementary piece of man for woman and woman for man. All that other stuff was lust and sin.”
“I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the church praying for me. I want to be able to offer hope to other people.”
If you want to know more about a personal relationship with God, go here
Daniel Delgado works with Desert Stream/Living Waters Ministries as Spanish coordinator for their work in Latin America. For more information about Desert Stream, click here