Crossing the T

Life at the intersection of Church and Trans with Rev. Allyson Robinson

My Trans Soundtrack – Calling All Angels

I need a sign to let me know you’re here
‘Cause my TV set just keeps it all from being clear
I want a reason for the way things have to be
I need a hand to help build up some kind of hope inside of me

I love my dad.

My dad has always been an incredible person to me, a person of deep integrity, pure motives, and kind humor. As a child I worshiped him, as an adolescent I idolized him, and as a young adult I sought to emulate him in every way I could. Over the years, our relationship matured and mellowed into a deep friendship that I valued above almost any other. Even though we were separated by thousands of miles for most of a decade, we spoke several times a week and emailed almost daily. I’ve never known any father and son who were closer than we were.

I didn’t get to come out to my dad the way I wanted to. Events moved in such a way that I had to do it by email, from a distance, and with the help of my sister and step-mother. After my dad found out that I was transgendered, we didn’t speak for almost a month.

As the days passed, I was surprised at how much I wasn’t hurting over it. I’d feel around in my heart and find no real pain or anger or anything. “He’s just getting used to the whole thing,” I said to myself. “It’s hard when your only son says he’s going to become a woman and asks for your acceptance as a daughter. He’ll come around. It will be like it used to be again.”

Then one day (as I was driving to see my therapist, coincidentally) I this song came on the radio. “I need a sign to let me know you’re here.” And I thought of my dad, and I missed him so profoundly that I could barely stand the hurt of it. I wept so hard I had to pull off the road.

We did talk again, the first thing he said was, “I want you to know that I love you as much today as I did the day you were born. I don’t understand, but I want you to know that I love you.” I got the sign I was looking for.

Today things are better, though we still have a long way to go. Maybe things will never be the same again. But I choose to hope–I choose to hope that someday, they’ll be even better.

Lesson learned: Sometimes the words we don’t say can shake someone’s world as much as those we do.


“Calling All Angels” by Train, on My Private Nation, 2003 (Lyrics)



  Sarah Riggle wrote @

What a wonderful message, I am sitting at my computer with my eyes full of tears. Images of my father and our Angels merge for me. My father passed away 2 months before our first child was born. Since I transitioned some 35 years later, I have visited his grave as Sarah, his other daughter, several times to ask his forgiveness and to tell him my story; as if he didn’t know. I feel that he accepts me as Sarah.
Angels have been in my life the moment I told Kay about my other self. She had given me an angel coin and told me that it represented her mother, who she asked to look after me. Kay has been the Angel of my salvation with her full support of our most unique relationship.

[…] 27, 2008 at 4:37 pm · Filed under Advocacy, Coming Out, Family Speaking of fathers, please take a moment to read the letter Rev. David Keller, pastor of First Congregational Church, […]

  Allyson wrote @

Thanks so much for sharing that, Sarah.

Your story reminds me of my grandfather, my dad’s dad. He was also very dear to me–he was the first person to teach me the faith, and took spiritual care of me at a very fragile moment in my young life. He passed away when I was 13.

The first time I attended church after my transition, I had a deep sense that he was there with me. I imagined then that the moment he passed beyond the veil, he saw who I was inside, and who I would become, and he loved me.

This is what the Kingdom of God is like, I think.

  Sarah Riggle wrote @


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