TG and The Church

| Aug 18, 2014
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I have a news flash for you. The Christian church is made up of flawed humans. Big surprise right? I know. I am stating the obvious. But when it comes to understanding the issues that separate the Christian church and the transgender community, this is something that is forgotten on each side of the divide.

The church is often quick to close ranks and the doors to many in the trans community. Many within the church refuse to even sit down and listen to a new point of view and they fall back on human interpretations of age old scriptures.

The hurt that the church, as a whole, has caused the trans community is not something I need to rehash. I’m sure that many of us have wounds that run deep and many may not have yet healed. But how are we to react to the prejudice and close minded attitudes that we perceive within the church? That is the greater question.

We flawed humans like to point fingers, assess blame and often place unkind labels on others. When we do, we live counter to the lives God has called us to live. God does not access blame or hold a grudge. God gave us grace by dying on the cross and loving each and everyone of us — not for who we are, but in spite of who we are. He has given us something not one person on this earth ever deserved.

Grace is all to often a forgotten aspect of living life true to what God has intended for us. Grace is a conscious act. It is an unmerited act of kindness, giving someone a gift that is undeserved.

Grace certainly doesn’t come naturally. We humans like to hold on to the hurt, the wrongs against us and dwell on the negative. By doing so, the constant rehashing of the pain only gets in the way of showing grace to those that we may not agree with or those that have hurt us. Grace goes beyond just forgiving.

Grace is not just what God has given us, but through the Holy Spirit we can show a form of grace to all those around us. Grace is an act of kindness or clemency we show not only to our friends that occasionally wronged us, but also to all those that speak out against us.

I understand completely what it feels like and what it does to your soul when a group of people turns against you when they are supposed to embody the love of Christ. I understand the emotions that run through you when people turn their backs on you.

Forgiving prejudice and all the acts that go along with it is difficult. Forgiveness alone can be difficult enough, but when someone speaks or acts against your very being, sometimes forgiveness is just too unthinkable, too difficult for us humans to comprehend.

But by living a life of grace; forgiveness and showing love to those that hurt you becomes easier. By living a life true to God’s plan, not society’s or the church’s, we can live as an example of Christ to those around us.

For far too long now the church has become known for only what it is against. It’s time to stop the hurt. It is time to bridge the gap. It is time to stand up and be the light in a darkness. Instead of creating outcasts, the church should be a place of open doors.

We can complain and point fingers all we want and accuse the church of prejudice, discrimination and outright transmisogyny. But complaining about a problem is not a solution. It only adds to the divide. We are the answer.

If the Church will not show grace to us, then we are called to be the examples of grace to the church. We are to live our lives visibly and openly, true to the voice of the Holy Spirit in us.

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Category: Transgender Body & Soul, Transgender Opinion


About the Author ()

Meggan Sommerville is a writer, photographer, indefatigable advocate for trans women’s rights and the founder of Trans Girl at the Cross, a Christian ministry focused on building bridges between the trans community and the Church. Meggan holds the honor of being the first transgender woman to be cast in Listen to Your Mother, a production of mother-themed readings currently directed and performed in 32 cities around the United States. Meggan is a proud mom of two teenagers.

Comments (5)

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  1. Graham Graham says:

    Sorry, guyindresses … was any of that addressed to me?

  2. guyindresses guyindresses says:

    first off crossdressing and transgender are different and from most posts it seems you treat them simular but ive never ran into a church that turns ppl down but havent gone in ages due to inability to pay atention for more then 15 minutes and other real life issues
    and to those of you that beilieve the bible word for word know these 2 things 1 the bible was written by men only inspired by god they left the mssge god sent however they were men and in being men they are a sinner and as time went on empires fell and old bibles were destroyed and re written over and over again adding new mens opinions to corrupt it and as my second pt he did say we live in lucifers world and lucifer would like nothing more then to get false truith of god

    1 more thing beware of the rfid chip its deffinatly the mark of lucifer i do beilieve the end is near

  3. scalesman scalesman says:


    Thank you for your thoughtful response.
    I am married to an Episcopal woman and my children were baptized Episcopal. At best I suppose I consider myself a lapsed Catholic. I was raised in a more formal and structured church…men wore suits and would remove their hats. Women wore dresses with their head covered. In the current era I find most state side Episcopal services nicer than many of the Catholic services I have attended in recent years.

    In my church going experience I may have been the most nicely dressed person in the place.

  4. Graham Graham says:

    I don’t know where you live, Scalesman, but in the UK, if crossdressers get any public reaction at all, it’s usually the “British stiff upper lip” – huffing, puffing, and mumbling. I find it’s very rare that someone will be directly abusive to my face.

    As a freelance piano accompanist, I’ve frequently been asked to play in churches for concerts and choirs. I’m also a nihilistic atheist and antitheist, which – as you can imagine – presents me with both moral and philosophical dilemmas! However, I treat a church as I would any other building – it’s a venue in which I’ve been booked to play: my sole function is to provide the music, and that’s what I do.

    But one can’t totally ignore the fact that churches are primarily places of worship, and many of the gigs I’m involved in naturally have a religious content. In addition, 2014 is the centenary of the start of WW1, of course, and I’ve been booked to play for several remembrance services associated with this event. While I don’t sing the hymns or join in the prayers at any of these services, I take great care to be sensitive and courteous to the rest of the congregation for whom it may be an emotional and meaningful time.

    So how does this go down? Well, most of the church leaders around here know me from my years of musical involvement, and they recognise me for what I am … as a crossdresser and an atheist certainly (I make no secret of either), but primarily as an important and valued part of the events they organise. So far, the only issue I’ve ever had in a church was from a member of the armed forces at an ANZAC commemoration service earlier this year, who complained to a third party about what I was wearing. The third party happened to be a member of my choir, who told him to mind his own business, bugger off, and grow up.

    I couldn’t have put it better myself.

  5. scalesman scalesman says:

    Change comes in large and small fashions. Hearts are won over one at a time. I was recently on a business trip as my day in and day out guy self and found a Catholic Church that had a Thursday night Mass and it noted that all were welcome. I put on a brown and white sheath dress, hose, makeup and wig and entered the church shortly after the service started and I sat towards the rear. There were about 75 others present. There was music, a baptism and a vow renewal made part of the service. I was made to feel very welcome and accepted. I felt at peace and quite comfortable with the singular exception of feeling that as a man I should not have my head covered with a hat or a wig even though I was nicely and tastefully dressed.

    I have a close relative who within the last few years was ordained a Catholic Deacon. His special calling it to help open the Church to LGBT worshipers. Change will not come in an instant or with the waving of a magic wand but it is coming as hearts and minds are opened one at a time.