ORLANDO —Freedom March founder Jeffrey McCall was depressed and suicidal when he was living as a transgender prostitute.
"I had no joy," McCall told The Christian Post. "I had to be drunk or high to go out with these men or perform at a club."
McCall had been diagnosed by a doctor with gender dysphoria and lived "in homosexuality" and as a trans-identified woman.
"I identified as Scarlet, Scarlet was the name I went by," he said.
That is until "in 2016, I got radically saved and my whole identity changed," he explained.
McCall organized the Freedom March in Orlando earlier this month where he and others shared how Jesus Christ transformed their lives and delivered them from the LGBT lifestyle. They proclaimed to the hundreds in attendance, "We do exist."
Today, McCall said, his "life is joy and peace and love." "I love to help people. I love to bless people. I just love people and that's God.”
When asked if he believed Jesus sets people free from homosexuality, McCall answered, "Yes, He does.”
“I've seen testimony after testimony, person after person who was set free from that identity and [now] knows that the Lord created a man and a woman to be together in marriage and that that is a covenant, that is holy to God and it's a beautiful thing,” he said. “I've even seen people that later on, years after healing, wound up getting married and having children. It's a restoration of the true form that God created.
"I will say if you're struggling with anything of your desires and you're dealing with any LGBTQ identity, that Jesus loves you, He died for you. If you weren't worth anything, Jesus Christ would not have been crucified for you. You are worth more than jewels and diamonds and pearls. He has a new identity for you. He predestined you to be in His image, He knew when you were formed in your mother's womb. Take time and just call out to the Lord and I promise you He'll meet you where you're at.”
Luis Javier Ruiz is a survivor of the 2016 mass shooting at Pulse nightclub and a board member of Freedom March. He has left homosexuality and started a ministry called Fearless Identity with another Pulse survivor, Angel Colon. Their ministry helps churches effectively share the love of Jesus with the LGBT community and he said that, in turn, brings about the change.
"I was like a lot of people, I was struggling with same-sex attraction. I was struggling with a lot of rejection, a lot of pain, not even sexuality. There was so much rejection in that,” Ruiz told CP. “Long story short, I ended up at Pulse nightclub and came to Jesus. A lot of people say, 'Well, it was PTSD.' And I'm like, 'Well, I'm glad that I had PTSD with Jesus.'”
Ruiz, a pastor’s kid, has praying parents and testified that it was a combination of their prayers, the Pulse tragedy and finding out that he was HIV positive after the shooting that brought him to a place of full surrender in God. The former U.S. Army soldier is now devoted to sharing the love of Jesus with the LGBT community because it was God’s mercy over him that changed his life.
“Through persecution, a lot of people just did not understand our heart. They thought that we were these people that bash the LGBT, they thought that we were this hateful group. We're not at all, we love the LGBTQ. God loves gay people. We love gay people. And we just want to bridge between the LGBT and the church, to let them know, 'You're welcome back home. We want you to come back home. We want you to meet Jesus first. We want to introduce you to the man on the cross, and then get good discipleship. Get under a pastor that loves you,'” Ruiz stated.
“We're pointing people to the church so we're building that bridge. And that's what Fearless Identity does. It was birthed through persecution.”
Laura Perry shared her testimony at the Freedom March and she wants people to know how she found her identity in God after years of identifying as a man.
“I grew up in a Christian home and I was at church every time the door was open but I really felt rejected by my mom. I felt like my mom didn't love me and she paid a lot more attention to my brother so I began to act like my brother and the more I acted like my brother, the more the girls rejected me,” Perry recounted.
The Oklahoma native recalled feeling so rejected by women all of her life. Perry said she became a “male chauvinist” but was still a girl, which further confused her. After being molested and becoming addicted to porn, she decided she wanted to be a male.
“I became an absolute slave to porn and it just destroyed my heart and destroyed any sense of identity in me. I begin to fantasize more and more about being a man and as I did, I just fully embraced that identity in 2007,” Perry confessed. “I really believed that was who I was and I begin to take hormones and I had two major surgeries for that, including a chest surgery. I never ever, ever thought I would leave that lifestyle.”
Despite taking hormones for years and the surgeries, she still found herself missing something.
“I was so empty and so broken. I finally had to admit to myself that it was all a lie, that I could not be a man, no matter how hard I tried, all I had done was change the outer appearance …” Perry acknowledged. “I was just empty and broken but then the Lord in His great mercy reached down to me and He reached into a horrible pit that I was in. He just reached His hand, and He said, 'Do you trust me?' He asked me to walk away to leave it all behind and follow Him.”
Perry found herself being transformed by the Word of God after helping her mother run a Bible study website.
"This speaks of a God who had mercy on a sinner like me, I felt like one of the most deprived people on the planet. I was just at the lowest of the low, so ashamed of everything I've done and I really didn't believe that God would ever love me or save me again ... I began to confess my sins, I didn't believe He would save me. I was trying to pray the sinner's prayer, but I didn't believe He would still want me, but it was about two days later, where He gave me an opportunity to show me that He wasn't done with me yet. I was totally transformed and totally set free,” she testified.
The first Freedom March was held in Washington, D.C., on May 5, 2018. The group of millennials behind it intends to continue to take the march nationwide and will be heading to Georgia in October and back to Washington in May 2020.
Each march is meant to share their transformation in Christ, equip the Body of Christ on how to reach out to the LGBT community and offer a safe place for those in the LGBT community to come to the knowledge of Jesus Christ.