Meghan Raye Buell was born on January 30th, 1965 and grew up in Whiting, Indiana, the third child of Raymond and Andrea Buell. After graduating from George Rogers Clark High School and Eastern Kentucky University, she worked for more than a decade in railroad companies (the source of her love of railroads) that served the US Steel plant in Gary. During these years she began exploring her gender identity and, as she often said, kept sane by playing in a coed softball league.
This journey of self-discovery continued as the Internet displayed the many ways to be feminine. In 2003, shortly after her mother passed away, she visited the Southern Comfort Conference in Atlanta, Georgia which motivated her to begin therapy and eventually begin hormone treatments. Meghan celebrates January 20, 2009 as marking the date of her surgery and life as a woman.
After her transition at work became problematic, she resigned and in 2014 moved to South Bend and became briefly the director of the GLBT Resource Center. In 2015 she created TREES Inc.(Transgender Resources, Education and Enrichment Services) to support others who were navigating their own gender transitions and in April 1, 2022 she opened the Tree House Gender Resource Center in South Bend that as a drop-in location welcomed non-binary persons and their families and allies. In the years before these developments Meghan paid the bills as a substitute teacher in the local school system.
She loved to interact with the third and fourth grade students and the rest of the faculty came to respect her presence and contributions. During these same years Meghan lectured on themes of gender identity and tolerance at Notre Dame, St. Mary's College and other colleges in the Midwest. She has received several awards for these lectures.
In 2023 she published what she calls her Megoir (Meghan's Memoir): The Road to Me: A Transgender Journey. Tributes to Meghan for her service to the larger community continue to accumulate. Tom Casalini, the author of Queerness Doesn't Matter, commented, "I came away from our time together thinking that here is a person who is not fearless, but she is fierce.
Meghan doesn't just talk it, she walks it." The Website of Down Town South Bend writes, "Meghan was a warrior for equal rights and treatment of all people and made sure that everyone was seen. Thank you, Meghan, for making our whole community a brighter place to be." Meghan R. Buell passed away peacefully on Sunday, August 6th, 2023 at her residence in South Bend, Indiana.
She was preceded in death by her father Raymond A. Buell and mother Andrea M. (Hrapchak) Buell. She is survived by her siblings Garry (Theresa), Lee, Allison, and Greg, and nieces and nephews Haylah, Hilary, Gregory II, Alexander, Nick, and Ashley Buell. In lieu of flowers, memorials to Trees Inc (Transgender Resource, Education and Enrichment Services) of South Bend, Indiana would be appreciated.