Linking her spiritual journey and her trans journey, Heather Field uses a faith community to find serenity in living her personal truth
There are several journeys, both literal and metaphorical, that brought Heather Field to life, and to Madison.
One of those journeys began in 1998, when she was still living as a man. Living as a misgendered person had an impact on every area of her life. But in 1998, Heather’s then-wife introduced her to a Catholic Newman Center near their home. Heather had always been spiritually curious, and developed a relationship with God as she understood him through years of sobriety at AA. But this immersion into faith led to a spiritual coming out.
As Heather says, “My spiritual journey and my trans journey are inextricably linked.” On several occasions, she heard a voice that she describes as “not of me”. Those instincts led her to join the congregation, and also served as an important voice in her trans journey.
Heather moved to Madison in 2004, and was living part-time as a man, and part-time as Heather. The stress of such a schizophrenic experience led her to become suicidal.
Through prayer, Heather says she “felt that the shame and the otherness of crossdressing was gone overnight.” Soon after this transformative event, she started living as a woman full-time. As she says, “My spiritual coming out led to my coming out in terms of gender.”
Heather is a member of the ecumenical faith community that is guided by the Benedictine Women of Madison, and attends Sunday Assembly at Holy Wisdom.
For the past several years, she’s been reconciling the various chapters of her life. She’s maintained sobriety and has a successful career. She has contact with some members of her family, but is estranged from her children. She cherishes the spiritual community she’s found, and appreciates how welcome she feels. When she began attending church in Madison, she was asked by one congregation leader: “Do you know why you stand out at church?” Heather responded: “Because I’m so tall?” She laughed at the eventual answer: “Because you’re always so early”.