On Tuesday night I went with a ministry called Freedom Street, that reaches out to prostitutes, transvestites, and minors caught in human trafficking. It was a heartbreaking experience and opened my eyes to the reality of what truly happens in the darkest places of San Jose.
Bringing coffee and cookies, we went to downtown San Jose and met with the friends of Freedom Street. The first stop was where the transvestites hang out. It was shocking and saddening to me, how much these men look like girls. If I wouldn't have had a conversation with them and heard the tone of their voices, I would have never known they were actually men from the looks of their bodies.
I spoke the longest with Honey, who was probably 21 or 22 years old. After talking with him for about 30 minutes, he really started opening up about his life. He is from Colombia, and was raised in a Christian family.
"I used to be just like you," he told me, "I used to go to church every Sunday, and I loved God, and my parents loved God and loved me and taught me how to live a right life. But when I turned 12, I realized that thats not who I really was. I realized that everything I had been living was a lie, and that I was born to be a woman and not a man. So I told my parents, who kicked me out of the house. I know that I can't get back to God, I know what Christians preach about people like me. But I just can't help it. It's who I am. My dad was so disappointed in me. He told me that I was his beloved son, and how could I go and become a woman. But he doesn't understand. No one understands me. So I left and came here, with no family or friends, just my identity."
"I charge a lot, so I am fine living here on my own." I asked him how much he charged per customer, and he told me, "Well, it's my body that I'm selling, so I should make the price high, shouldn't I? I mean, I'm selling myself, so I charge $50 per customer. I think I'm worth that much, don't you think?"
I wanted to break down and cry as he shared his heart. I imagined the 11 and 12 year old boys that I've worked with, and asked God what happens in the life of a child, of a boy, so that he becomes like Honey. Talking with Honey also made me realize how human he is. In Honduras I would see transvestites on the streets and look away, disgusted at their lifestyle. But meeting Honey, and knowing that he is a sad, broken man, helped me to see God's heart for people like him.