Two stories. One in the third person – a story about transgender folk. Another in the first person. Both touching and sure to create a little more empathy – with some, anyway.
Born in male body, Jenny knew early that she was a girl
Henry Joseph Madden was a good student and track team member in high school, but he had a secret: He sometimes wore his mother’s pantyhose and underwear under his clothes.
Picture: Dr. Jennifer Madden, a family physician, began her transition to being female at age 48.
The desire to be female never went away. At age 48, Madden confessed these feelings to a doctor, and started seeing a gender therapist who suggested Madden was transgendered. Through reconstructive surgeries, electrolysis, laser procedures and voice lessons, Henry Joseph became Jennifer Elizabeth, known as Jenny. She is a practicing family physician in Nashua, New Hampshire.
Chastity Bono, child of performer Cher and the late entertainer and politician Sonny Bono, announced Thursday the beginning of a transition from female to a male. The rest of the story can be found at CNN.com.
Commentary: Chastity, ‘Good luck, brother!’
Before the word “transsexual” had been coined in English, an intrepid young person whose family belonged to the British nobility set out to transform herself from female to male. He received a medical school education, obtained hormones — relatively new substances that were poorly understood at the time, and independently began living as a man in the early 1940s.
Eventually, he found a plastic surgeon to help him, and his physical changes were complete by 1949, but his family rejected him. The British tabloids hounded him. To escape publicity, he was forced to carve out a life for himself virtually alone. He became a Buddhist monk, and died in Tibet in 1962 at the age of 47.
His name was Michael Dillon, and he one of the Western world’s first transsexual people, that is, someone who changes sex and/or gender by medical means. His extensive writings were suppressed and destroyed by his family — only fragments survive.
By 1988, when I began my transition (just before my 40th birthday), there was scarcely more information about female-to-male transsexualism available than there was in 1949. Even in the early 1990s, doctors told transsexual people that we should not socialize together, because people might notice there were things about us that were different from “normal” people. The rest can be read at CNN.com.