The Crucible of Transition

Every relationship that we as humans have, whether it is with a schoolmate, family member or coworker, can be compared to raw earth.  When you take what seems like just a lump of rock, it can contain useless, worthless material or possibly rare gems or precious stones and metals.  There will be times that the only way of knowing what kind of relationship you have is by putting it through an extreme test.

When a transgender person goes through the steps to transition their physical body and their life to match that of their mind and soul, relationships can be put through a time of trial.  Some relationships will show their true colors without much examination.  The brilliance of the precious gem will shine through any extraneous material.  Sometimes the gold of a relation will need to go through a fine shifting to remove things that hide it’s true nature.  But many associations will be put into a crucible and tested.  As the useless material is melted and burned away, the purest form of a relationship is found.

When I made the announcement of my transition in 2010, I experienced and saw nearly every reaction across the spectrum.  Before I made the announcement, I knew there were many people in my life that were supportive.  I also knew my decision would be a problem, if not spark some controversy, among some of people in my life.  Those people had to examine themselves and sort through their own views on what it means to be transgender.

At one end of the spectrum, several of the relationships I had had for many years, even going back to my younger days, didn’t survive the crucible.  Some turned their back and quietly disappeared from my life.  Others found it necessary to verbally disagree with my choices.  That alone didn’t bother me as much as they did it without even having a meaningful discussion on the matter with me or failed to do any research on their own on the subject.  Their view was the only view they were willing to listen to.  That disappointment was what moved me to decide that the relationship was nothing more than fool’s gold.  What originally was something of beauty to look at, when tested, proved to have nothing in it of any value to me.

From the age of 8, I lived in fear of what people would say and how they would react.  I was even in fear how my own parents would react when they found out that the son they thought they knew, needed to be their daughter.  I was nearly 40 years old when I made a long distance drive to tell my parents that I was homeless, I was separated from my wife and the reason why.  It was the “why” that worried me. It had worried me my entire life.  Growing up in the Christian church and knowing the misconceptions the church has about being transgender, I didn’t know how my parents would respond to the news.  Though they needed time to adjust, to my continued joy, they were and still are extremely supportive.  As my mom and dad have told me, “We’re your parents, we love you no matter what.”

Now all that said, I have to give props to a bunch of people I have known nearly all my life, most going back to kindergarten at Lincoln Elementary School in Wheaton, Illinois.  These were the people that stuck with me more than any other group.  Though surprised by my announcement, it really had no affect on our friendship, except now I was free to be myself.  That freedom has allowed me to become closer to many of true friends.

When I mentioned to several of them how surprised I was at how many of the “Lincoln crowd” stuck with me, they told me that regardless of what the outside looked like; they were friends with who I was on the inside.  Those men and women with their continued support, truly remind me of how God looks at each and every one of us.  He looks past what we all can see and focuses on who we truly are.  In the Old Testament, I Samuel 16:7b says, “God judges not as man judges. Man looks at the outward appearance.  God sees what is on the heart.”

I count as blessings, each person in my life that survived the crucible.  I am encouraged each day by those people that God has put into my life, both my life long friends and new friends I make along this journey.  I knew going into this that many relationships would be tested and I am thankful that God gave me the strength to survive those failed relationships.  Only by removing the unnecessary trivia surrounding our interactions with others can the true nature of friendships be revealed.

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  • Allow me to be your first official comment and welcome you with open ares to the Chicago Now community! I can't wait to keep reading!

  • Thank you Jenna. I hope I won't disappoint you with my future posts. ;)

  • In reply to Meggan Sommerville:

    Pressure's on! Just kidding. You'll do great. Sorry for my typo earlier.

  • Wow, such a journey you’ve been on. But good for you for standing your ground and becoming the person you wished to be! Welcome to ChicagoNow. I’m fairly new myself but I can tell you that this is a wonderful family of fellow bloggers!

  • In reply to Tara Scalzo:

    Thank you Tara. I'm excited to be able to share my journey and hope that some one that has not had the support I have may find hope in their own journey.

  • What a hell of a journey! God bless and welcome!

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    Meggan, your honesty and integrity is truly inspiring. Your bravery will help many, many others. Thank you for sharing your personal journey. I'm looking forward to reading more of your blogs.

  • the ones who really love you will love you for who you are not what you are. great blog thank you for sharing your story

  • I'm not here out of hate--I don't know you, but I do know the Bible--but it seems that anybody who has disagreed with you has been seen as wrong, or that they hate you. Concern manifests itself in many ways. To truly love others means not to agree with them, but to tell them the truth and still love them regardless of what they do.

    God does not create mistakes. He also does not create people to be bi-sexual, homosexual or transgender. It is impossible for God to contradict himself....and that includes creating people to favor lifestyles he clearly calls sin.

    God loves everyone, but hates sin. Those who choose to live a life against his will (deliberately sinning) will never gain everlasting life provided by Christ's incarnation and atonement. I pray you realize this trith, that when you come before the judgment seat of God (as you mentioned), you will be welcomed, not rejected.

    We live in a society that calls God's Word prejudiced and bigotry. The created tell the Creator he was wrong in how he made them, or they say they are something they are not. This is foolishness--lies from Satan. Relativism has blinded many to how ridiculous their folly truly is. Just as it is preposterous for a hammer to declare that it is really a screwdriver, so it is with homosexuality, bi-sexuality, and transgender confusion.

    I can only image the turmoil and grief you have experienced. Thank God he loves us all, so much so that Jesus became a man and died for our sins. But we must die in our old ways. It saddens me to say that this includes living a transgendered life. This is just the truth. I get nothing out of telling you this--nothing but sadness and concern for a fellow person. If you and the support group of commentors here wish to view my views as archaeic (wish I'm sure most of the post-moderns on here do), that is fine. It is the message of God for the people of God.

    May God bless you with conviction, truth and love, and may you truly learn who he is and isn't, and thus, who you were created to be as someone made in His image.

  • In reply to cubbie steve:

    So what you're saying is she should be the woman she is and live her life like God intended? Oh, well said then.

  • In reply to cubbie steve:

    I really must disagree with you. If you read and understood what I was saying, you would realize that it was not those who disagreed with me that I left in the past and I never mentioned anything about hate. It was the people that chose not to listen to another's point of view. The single, closed minded views where what I had issue with. I have very good friends that do not agree with my decision or don't understand it and we have had meaningful debate about it. We understand that we do not see eye to eye right now. We have listened to each others view point. We both know that God is bigger and can do immeasurably more than either one of us can fathom. We have found more common ground between us rather than focusing on the areas we disagree.

    I must disagree with you on your idea of salvation. Our works, the way we live our life, does not affect whether or not we are saved. Ephesians 2:7-10 "7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." I know with out a doubt that my salvation is secure. I am active in my church and was baptized by my pastor who knows about my past. I will say that the way we live our life is a demonstration of our faith. You say "Those who choose to live a life against his will (deliberately sinning) will never gain everlasting life provided by Christ’s incarnation and atonement." So you haven't sinned today? Did you lie? Did you speed on the way to work? If you did, you deliberately sinned. Our salvation is not dependent on whether we sin or not. We have all sinned and fallen short, WAY short of the Glory of God.

    I will say thank you! Thank you for commenting. And thank you for giving me the topic of my next Blog. It will help answer some of your other comments about God making mistakes and living a transgender life.

  • In reply to cubbie steve:

    I am catholic and lately I have had a problem with my own religion. If God does not create people to live alternative lifestyles then you honestly believe people are not born that way? That they choose to live a life of constant criticism and sometimes hate? That given the choice they choose to lose friends and family? I respect your opinion but i find it hard to believe that most would choose that. I am not saying some don't i know that is not true. I sometimes think of leaving my religion if it is wrong for me to want gay marriage.

    Also, didn't Jesus hang out with the castaways in the bible? I am not saying being gay or transgendered means you are a castaway but the bible leaves little other examples. So should we not believe that jesus would be a friend to the gay and transgendered community?

  • The greatest gift God ever gave us was our salvation. But after that there are two other gifts that I value quite highly...1) is the gift of being relieved of the burden of having to judge others, God has thankfully reserved this awful task for himself, and 2) is the gift that I do not need to comprehend everything about God and his nature in order to be saved. Cubbie Steve, who I have no doubt had the very best intentions when writing his post posis that God does not contradict himself and therefore would never "create" a homosexual or transgender person, therefore anyone who is that way has made a choice to be that way. When I look at God's world and the people in it I see nothing but contradictions. I see a world that confuses me, I see a world that often seems completely unfair, and I see a world that is cruel and unforgiving, yet I know in my heart that this is God's world and he is in control. So when I see those contradictions either those things are not real (since God would not contradict himself) or I simply do not understand the way it all fits together in his perfect plan. Without allowing for that personal ignorance how else do I reconcile the tragedies in my own life, my boys' ten year old friend with terminal cancer, the evil people do to each other in the name of God, and so on and so on and so on. I can't identify a contradiction to the basic premises of particle physics because I do not understand or know it enough to do so, even though I have read some books about it. If I can't understand that, how can I (or anyone) say that they can identify a contraction in the far more incomprehensible plan and creation of God simply because they have read a Book about it. I am not often comfortable admitting I don't know or understand something but I am always willing to bunt when it comes to the ways of God.

    I have been blessed to have know Meggan since she was very young. While I would never say we were close, we were most definitely friends. I did not experience her revelation first hand but was there in real time in social media and through personal correspondence. I know Meggan's family and background very well. Meggan's words about how difficult this transition was are quite compelling in print even if you do not know her, but to also have the background and to have known her along her journey adds an almost incomprehensible layer of difficulty and complexity to the whole situation. To say that a person would put themselves through that earthly stress and difficulty simply as a choice or to revel in sin is so impossible to even fathom that I cannot even come up with a pithy simile to end this sentence, and I never cannot come up with a pithy simile (it's like choosing to walk with broken glass in your shoe, it's like...). Can you think of anything harder to be than a trangendered Evangelical who covets and desires the joys of Christian community? My own feeble mind is much more comfortable affirming Meggan's decision as something that was in her and not a choice than dismissing it as an impermissible contradiction in a world I don't understand enough to even determine what a contradiction to it might be.

    I have a multi-racial family through adoption. Not so long ago there were communities of Christians in certain parts of this country who would not have enjoyed seeing us walk through the door of their church on Sunday morning. Some of these people would even point to scriptures that would seem to say that we were wrong, and a contradiction of God's will. I am happy to say that the mainline Christian community across our country has evolved to the point where we would be welcome almost anywhere and embraced by fellow believers, I hope in her lifetime it is possible for Meggan to see the same type of evolution, although I fear that many are just not ready. As for me, I am ready, and hope that she can become a fisher for those fish in her community who have never felt a moment of Christian love in their lives.

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    Meggan Sommerville

    Meggan Sommerville is a Christian transgender woman with a heart for educating others about the transgender community and her faith in her Savior, Jesus Christ. Her career life has taken her on a variety of adventures, from being a veterinary technician in the Western burbs of Chicago to being an EMT/Paramedic, EMS instructor, and a paid on call firefighter for Bolingbrook , Illinois. Since 1998, she has been the frame shop manager for a national craft retailer. You can contact Meggan via email at Transgirlatcross@aol.com or find her on Facebook at Trans Girl at the Cross

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