I had an older sister, a younger sister and a younger brother. And I just identified more with my sisters than I did my brother. I just wasn’t a boy. And growing up, I really knew nothing. The only person I knew was when I took my mother’s Life magazine of Christine Jorgenson and hid it. Later on, I found Renee Richards’ book, Second Serve, and kept it. Those are the only people I knew about.
My mother always told me when I got beat up, “if you weren’t that way, it wouldn’t happen.” I left home two weeks after high school graduation. I was scared of getting drafted into the Army, so I joined the Navy. But I had some bad experiences in the Navy and so I managed to get out early. Then I did everything you’re supposed to do. At 22 years old, I got married. I had three kids. I had a career. I was a program administrator. And I just never learned – I never took on male socialization skills. And in 1990, I had a massive breakdown. I didn’t know who I was. I hated myself.
Then, my father passed away in ’98 and he had told me when he passed away, he said I had to make some decisions in my life and only when I made them was I going to be happy. You know, it was the first time in my life he was proud of me, said he was proud of me. I just thought he meant I had to get over my depression. But my sister told me that he knew all those years what was the problem. So I came home and I literally left Mike in every trash can along Interstate 40. And I came back and started.
Later on, I remember my therapist asking me, “What kind of a woman do you want to be after you transition?” And she made me go home and think about it, and I went back and I said, “I don’t have to think about that. I’ve always been that woman.” It’s only now the outside matches.