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True Stories of Transition:

My Autobiography

From: Kelsy

I thought I would share what I just FAXed to my therapist (we will meet for the first time tomorrow)

I have this fear that she will have 2 men in white coats ready to take me away...

I had to tell my story. My life has been so many lies for 31 years.

Am I crazy or what??

Love and hugs,



An Autobiography of Gary - Kelsy

A life of contradictions, confusion, happiness, sadness. Everybody has these elements in their life. Most people know at least which gender they are and generally embrace it. Ever since I can remember I have fantasized about being a girl/woman. Would put on my mom's clothes; underthings. Most of the time I didn't think much of it. As far back as I can remember I would look in the mirror and tuck my genitals back to give the appearance of a girl. I would stare at myself. Dreaming and wishing. I never thought too much of it. I never thought this feeling had anything to do with the way I was living my life. I had a penis, therefore I was a man- or so I was told. But before I was a man, I was me.

As I went through early adolescence, I would continue to imagine, and fantasize about being a woman - developing breasts, being able to have children. I would be desperate to reach this end; it would hurt - I couldn't be a woman!! It was wrong to think this way!! What's the matter with me??. I would watch a television show describing alien abductions (something I do not believe in) and wish that they would come down and change my body to a woman's. From early adolescence on, one of my fascinations was the female body. Not the typical male "sexual" way, but to learn how it worked, everything about the female condition - adolescence to pregnancy to menopause and everything before and after. I knew a great deal more about women then I did men.

I had little boys for friends in the neighborhood as I grew up, but always preferred to play with my sister and her friends; felt VERY excluded - they didn't want this little boy to play with them. As I got older, in junior high and early high school, my best friends were my sisters friends; female cousins my sister hung around with, etc,etc.

I was a musician. Ever since I can remember, I dreamed of being a musician. I remember when I was in first grade dreaming that I would have an electric guitar and to play it in front of all my friends. That dream came true. I am a musician - playing many instruments proficiently - music scholarships, etc. I received my first guitar in 4th grade - I was 10 years old. It was an excellent outlet for adolescent stress. I began playing in professional bands when I was 12 years old. Stopped when I was a Sophomore in college - to concentrate on my studies and Kim (more on that later).

I was also a professional babysitter. I helped my mom all I could when my youngest brother was born (my maternal instinct started to kick in - I was 8). I wanted to be involved all I could. I couldn't wait to start babysitting - started as soon as I was 12. I was a very sought after babysitter. The kids loved me; I loved the kids. The parents would tell me how mature I was. I babysat all through high school. When I wasn't playing music, I was babysitting.

Home life was... crowded. I lived with 3 brothers, 1 sister, 1 grandmother and 2 parents... all in a 3 bedroom ranch house! (Most of the house was transformed to bedrooms). I didn't get a room of my own until I was 16 when my grandmother died. I achieved much in the are of music as I grew up.. my parents were too busy dealing with my other siblings to give me much attention. I was the middle of 5 children. I did well in school; wasn't much of a problem for them. Year after year, I would excel in music; I would come home from state competition having won 4 or 5 first place honors and they didn't even bother to ask how I did. That hurt... I finally came out and told them - laid on a guilt trip. The next year (my senior year) they were much more attentive. I understand now the dynamics that caused their unresponsiveness. My oldest brother who was into drugs, etc; my sister who was beginning a 10 year abusive marriage - they were clearly overwhelmed. It's not difficult to understand why my accomplishments weren't being recognized. (Also, both my grandfathers were alcoholics... and both grandmothers very co-dependant .. you know the story.) It was a dysfunctional family in many ways... but we loved each other. In the past 10-15 years, I have confronted my parents with my childhood feelings of ... neglect... for lack of a better word. Understandably, they responded that they did the best they could at the time. I believe that to be true. They listen to me know and for that I am very grateful.

--- back to high school.....

I had other endeavors in my early high school years besides baby-sitting and playing music. I was involved in police explorers. Why, you might ask?? All my sisters friends were in it. The group was mostly girls. I wasn't looking for a date, they were my friends - we did everything together. The young men in the group would ask me to sit with them in camaraderie; I thought they were too macho and arrogant - many were. Needless to say, I never sat with them. Some of the girls asked me out on dates; I had a few kisses... touched the breasts of one girl early in my freshman year in high school. That would be the last time until I met my wife and began dating. I grew especially close to one of the girls in that group. She would take me to the symphony and out to eat. She was definitely playing the male role. It was very comfortable in that role as I recall. We hugged a few times; never kissed.

I had a turn around.... a very conscious turn around. I looked in the mirror when I was in the middle of my sophomore year in high school. I saw a skinny, hairless... well I didn't know what I was! I had hips and was so skinny like a girl - hardly any hair- anywhere! I decided this wouldn't do. I severed ties with my girl friends, and began working out. I worked out 2 hours a day. In one year I went from a 137 lb and 6'5" to 175 lb and 6'7". Girls began to check me out - but I never dated. ((At this time, I changed my wardrobe, too. I used the money I earned from gigs. The interesting thing was that I never bought anything that couldn't be worn by either boys or girls. That remains the case to this day.)) I was trying to fit the convention. Trying to be a cool "guy". I hated those years. I have very few fond memories from that period. In retrospect, I recall some very special girls taking an interest in me. They were fellow musicians... but I never saw the signals or their not-so-subtle hints. They remained just friends. I think without intending, I may of hurt them in not responding to the aforementioned signals.

I drank when I played -- I was tall and nobody ever questioned my age when I played in clubs and bars. I played in bands and girls would proposition me; I would ignore them. My brother, (I played with him in several bands) would help me get inebriated so I would have my first "encounter". I remember locking myself in the car and my brother trying to get me in this house where a party was going on. My brother wanted to match me up with some girls inside who were "willing to please" as he put it. By now I was a Junior or a Senior in High School.... I wanted to wait for the "perfect" girl -- I would have no part of that! (I stopped drinking when I went to college; grades were most important.)

I graduated from high school with a 3.3 GPA. Without trying; without caring all that much. I remember my graduation night. All my acquaintances were going to this party or that. By this point, having severed my relationships with my girl friends; I had only acquaintances - no real friends. Although I could talk with anybody and everybody knew me; I attended no party and went home with my parents confused and depressed.

During my senior year in high school, I thought I would major in psychology. Didn't decide what I was going to do until the middle of that summer when I enrolled in college - UWWC in West Bend. I went with what I knew... the easy way... music. UWWC was much smaller than my high school (my high school graduating class was 500). It was very personal; you weren't just a number - I liked that.

Kim and I met. She came to visit me in a practice room as I was playing the piano. She complemented me. We talked. And talked a few more times after that. It was final exam week and I hadn't made my move - (no surprise) - but I wanted to. She saw my name on the door for a final exam time and tracked me down. We then exchanged numbers.

She called me a few times early in the summer and we had very nice conversations. I was broad-sided on my way to a lesson in Milwaukee and was in the process of getting a different car. The car I bought had stick shift - since my clutching skills weren't yet up to par, I put off dating due to this embarrassment - (that's what I told myself and Kim at the time). Finally, I called her up for the first time - she was about ready to give up on me. We went to the movies - we talked and talked - like we were always best friends; amazing chemistry. She came home with me and we talked and talked some more. Oh... we kissed too. And held each other close. It was great to find such a soulmate. It was magic.

The whole summer was like that. We talked and talked. By the time summer was over; we were engaged. She went to UW Stephens Point and I stayed in West Bend. That was very hard. We would have huge phone bills, would write letters every day and drive to see each other almost every weekend through treacherous, Wisconsin Winter weather. We were in love.

Compared to High School, I liked college a lot better... especially music classes. That was me. I have perfect pitch, so many things came easy. Except for reading music... I could only read bass clef and had to learn very fast. (I never had a lesson until I went to college). That was another rude awakening. I had to have discipline. I left UWWC on the deans list and with a GPA of 3.7. I worked hard for my grades and was proud. I received a scholarship to attend NIU's school of music. So.. Kim and I went to check out the communication disorder program (she was either going to master in Speech-pathology or Audiology and had to finish her degree in Com D.) We were lucky.. as it happened, NIU was one of the finest schools in the country for communicative disorders. We moved early in that summer.

WoW.. stress!!! On our own. I had to work a lot to make ends meet; we both did. Struggled through my first semester there. I worked that summer as a security guard. The midnight shift. I lost 25 lbs before that job ended - in three months!! Never gained it back either. I then took a job in a home health agency. They were looking for a male CNA, but let me do the work anyway. I took care of the men in the community. Stroke victims, physical therapy exercises, helped them cook, clean, changed diapers, etc, etc. I was working almost full time and trying to keep up with my studies and practice 3-4 hours a day to keep up with my bass lessons. (I was a classical bass performance major.)

We were married in January 1988 after our first semester at NIU. I took a temporary leave of absence form school (I could work more.. and we could eat more). My music professors asked me to keep taking lessons and playing in the orchestra - I paid no tuition, however. I did that for a few months until I was offered a position of Social Service Assistant (Activity Director) at a retirement center. I was offered this job because of the rapport I had established with the residents in that facility. One of my favorite assignments in working for the home health agency was to be a companion to a 90+ y/o dentist. It was wonderful. We would talk and talk - he had Alzheimer's disease; he had such a wonderful soul; it didn't matter that he wouldn't make sense very often; he was a so charming. He was a fellow musician, so I would take him to the atrium of this building and play a wonderful Steinway grand piano. Residents would gather... the rest was history.

Oh yeah.. we moved again.. for the third time in 6 months! This time, we were offered a flat - free of rent - if we would take care of a woman who had a stroke. That lasted all of 6 months - she had another stroke and rapidly declined having to go into a nursing home. We stayed there for a couple weeks until her husband started to become more and more abusive to me. Accusing me of all sorts of things and getting very angry (he was taking his grief out on me). So... we moved again. I had made friends in a mostly elderly apartment complex and knew the assistant manager. She was able to get us into an apartment. Whew... it was subsidized too! We weren't making too much money at that time so that was helpful.

I loved working with the elderly. I loved taking "girl talk" with the other Activity Director and my boss, the Social Service Director - that suited me well (I didn't think about that at the time - I was just a man that could talk easily to women - about issues men would never talk about). They both felt very comfortable with me and would tell me every personal thing you could imagine. I was one of the girls.

**** ever since Kim started taking birth control pills.. I always was tempted to take them too... not really thinking why.. by the way... Kim and I were both virgins-. I worked very hard for very little money. So, I looked for a new opportunity and stumbled upon a position working with mentally handicapped adults. It was salaried and made as much as teachers were making in the area (not much - I was thrilled nonetheless). More pay; a lot more responsibility. Instead of supervising volunteers like I did at the retirement center, I had to hire an assistant; supervise a staff and run two departments! I worked 60 hour week there for a long time. Due to a major state grant, one of my areas of responsibilities was eliminated and I was working about 45 hours a week. (The majority of the staff at Opportunity House were women; I was very comfortable in that setting - very uncomfortable with the Executive Director - a paternalistic manager; not a leader.) --(It should be noted that both women and men can be paternalistic in their management/leadership style; this Executive Director happened to be a man.)--

About this time we switched from Roman Catholicism to Episcopalian. I wanted to be a priest. The priest I talked with suggested I finish a degree first... I took some classes at NIU...

I took on more responsibilities. I started playing with the Rockford Symphony and was the resident manager of the apartment complex we lived in (yes, we moved again). With the increased income we were able to save for our present home (have been here for almost 7 years). We moved to Mount Morris in 1991 and I commuted to Opportunity House for about a year and a half until a new opportunity arose to take over a large activity department in a retirement facility a few blocks from my house. (By then, Kristi was an infant; our second child. We had Sarah when I was taking on the above three jobs - she was 2. When we moved to Mount Morris, I cut down to one job.)

)))It should be mentioned that Kim didn't want to have a baby until after she was settled in her career. We had argument upon argument... I really forced the issue... I wanted to experience this part of life as a woman... to experience pregnancy. I took hundreds of pictures.. and video tape.. every angle; every change; I did the same for both pregnancies - it was never enough. To my dismay, Kim was fairly certain that she did not want to go through another pregnancy after Kristi.(((

I made a lot of changes in my department at Pinecrest (the retirement center) and just when I was there a year, we began having problems with our oldest daughter (3 at the time). Without going into detail; we went through a great deal of anguish and expense trying to figure out the problem (ADHD, high functioning autism -- she had many different symptoms and we couldn't get any real answers. Turned out she was diagnosed with Sensory Integration Disorder. We have recently determined reactions to artificial color and flavors in food which may have exasperated the problem at the time. --- My wife in her field of expertise did much research).

Where was I... oh yeah...

Well... with much discussion, we decided that one of us needed to be home to take care of the kids - we were both working 50 hours + and were seeing abusive tendencies with the baby sitter (she didn't know how to handle Sarah and dealt with her inappropriately). Because my income was much less than Kim's, I resigned. This was a difficult decision; I loved my job. We thought it would be a good time to finish my degree - in business this time.

Oh yeah... why not pursue the priesthood! Yes! I will finish my degree and we will make that transition, too!

I talked with a priest friend of mine and told him of my plans... he said "don't do it". Not understanding the heavy politics involved in the process, I continued on with this endeavor despite his warning.

I finished my degree. Went through lots of hoops in the ministry discernment process and passed with flying colors. Until....

I went to what was called a discernment weekend (3 years ago). Somehow they determined that due to my life choices (friendships, jobs, predominately with women) that I had some "unresolved issues". I was not allowed to be a postulant for Holy Orders. I WAS FURIOUS!!!!

How dare they say anything against my manhood! I thought. What do these psychologists and church politicians know!!! I pushed that aside as preposterous!! I was devastated. It took a very long time to get over the hurt; it was indeed profound. I wrote many letters to the Bishop - his hands were tied politically it seemed (things worked out well for him; he is now the presiding Bishop of the United States).

I said, the hell with these people. I will get a master's degree in business and become an Executive Director in a Social service agency. I will show them (them referring to people like the Executive Director at Opportunity House) that you don't have to be a paternalistic manager to make an agency run. I was a great leader in my own departments - I was ready to go for it! So... I did. I finished my MBA - Summa Cum Laude.

Then..... I pounded the pavement.

Months passed with few offers. I wanted a great job and applied for only executive positions. I had already been in "middle" management in social service agencies and I worked so hard completing this Masters Degree. I wanted a "better" job. Well.. I interviewed for a couple Executive Director Positions. I was flattered being chosen out of large fields of applicants. The closest I was to getting my "dream job" was the Executive Director Position in charge of "MADD Wisconsin" (that's right I would have been the head of Mother's Against Drunk Drivers). I was chosen out of 60+ applicants! I was the first choice of the board of directors... but the final decision was made by the National Headquarters... they wanted the person with the most grant witting experience... so.. I didn't get my dream job.

Months and months passed... I started breeding exotic birds.. on a small scale.. just in case that job came along I didn't want to be too bogged down. Well.. I enjoyed raising the baby birds so much I put my education to work and prepared a business plan. I determined that I could build an income comparable a directorship position in a social service agency and wouldn't be under the thumb of a board of directors. I could be home for the kids. I could maintain the household as I was doing (lots less stress than two people working 50 hour weeks). I could manage Kim's business as it began to grow (Kim wants to have a private practice working with kids instead of working with the geriatric population).

So far, the business is doing well...

OK When did I find out I was a transsexual?

I guess I have always know it. Denied it. Social convention is against admitting such things. The extreme right wing would say it is the Devil made manifest. Ahh...but I am beyond that; I am enlightened. I have always been very spiritual and was taught that Jesus was kind, understanding and compassionate to people who were different. I have always believed that.

In the past year; after completing my degree.. I had let my obsession with pregnancy and developing as a girl go to the extreme. I would spend hours and hours in chat rooms talking to pregnant women/girls. Trying to get in their head. Trying to find out more and more to what is to be a woman. Hours and hours; till 2 and 3 in the morning. I would talk to teenagers pretending I was a teenage girl. They would tell me what it was like to develop as a girl. On and on. Night after night. Searching for that elusive something. I was never satisfied.

I would pray so hard... why am I doing this???? It is sooooo stupid!!!! I hated myself!! I would occasionally search for different pictures of pregnant women and teens developing. Looking and looking. Obsessing. I would occasionally come across child pornography that was put into a news groups when I was searching (there would be all sorts of weird stuff stuck in there.. you never know what you will come across)... it would kill me. To see what those very sick people were to doing to these innocent children??? I wanted to die. To see that horror would make me sick and I would stop for a little while... a few days maybe... but back I went. Chatting with more women and girls.

**(Knowing as much as I do about pregnancy and nursing, it was very easy to chat about nearly every subject. I share much useful information. That felt good. In one case I talked a pregnant mother into going to an emergency room after her doctor had callously sent her home telling her not to worry!!! She went in and the babies were saved in the nick of time... the mother almost died!!)

This past fall I stumbled across a page with transsexuals. I peeked. I saw these former "men". I inquired some more. Not thinking why.. just searching and searching. Well.. OK... that was interesting...

**(It had always been an interest. It was not a sexual turn on in the least. I recall watching PBS documentaries and other shows on transsexualism as I grew up. I remember their faces and everything about them. What they went through and considering it for myself. It has remained memory all these years since.)

A few days later.. I peeked again... this time a page with a chat room. I began chatting with transsexuals. I would tell them about me. They told me of some useful web pages with information I might be interested in.

I couldn't believe it!

I was finding page after page; study after study that was describing ME!!!

I keep on studying and reading; thinking about my life; OH MY GOD!!!!

Was I scared? Was I in denial??


I was so relieved. A 1000 ton weight was lifted off my shoulders. I cannot describe the relief. I read more and more. Talked to more and more transsexuals. Putting this altogether. It was more than a month. I couldn't keep it from Kim any more. We tell each other everything. EVERYTHING! I could never tell her of what I did late at night... not until now. I'm not a pervert. I knew that. I know that. I am a good, caring, compassionate person. I spent more than a week trying to put together information for Kim. Information about me.. and some very good articles I had found. I did not want to overwhelm her. Mostly .. I did not want to lose her. I let days pass... it was impossible to tell her. I could foresee her questions.. she might think our relationship was a lie.

I rehearsed and rehearsed. When it came down to it.. I couldn't say what I had previously written... I just gave her what I had typed and some concise articles from the internet that articulated who I was. She read and read. Her first and immediate response was that it made sense. She wasn't shocked!! I was a basket case. She was very accepting... that night we talked and cried and cried and talked. I apologized for my behavior; for forcing the issue of having children so young... a burden that was weighing on me for many years. I love Kim so much and would never want to force her to do anything against her will. (It was a mutual decision; but I forced the issue and was very persuasive).

The hardest part for me was to see my soulmate in pain - mourning the loss of the man she thought she married. It tore both of us apart. I assured her; I have always been and always will be "me". And "I" will always love her more than anything else in the world. It gets better every day.. but it is still hard. It has been over a month. We cry less and understand more. We love each other and our relationship is probably stronger now. There are a lot of issues needing to be addressed - how will we deal with this?

The day after I told Kim, I shaved my legs and some other extraneous hair (I don't have a lot to shave). It was quite liberating; I looked so much better; more like I should. I no longer wear boxers or men's underwear - that has always looked ludicrous on me. But my genitals remain; looking more ridiculous than anything! I hate having them. I think - just cut them off - I don't even think I would care about the pain sometimes. But I know that is not the way to deal with this problem. I have been taking some herbs - phytohormones (moderate dosages with A LOT of research - I am aware of the damage they can do) - they seem to help me feel more balanced. (Perhaps just psychosomatic, I'm not sure; I needed to do something.)

My wife will say "since you now know who you are, why do you have to change anything? Isn't knowing enough?" Kim wants to understand. My feeling is that no one can truly understand unless you are transsexual. The best way I can explain it to her, is comparing it to childbirth. I will never understand what that feels like (although I would give almost anything to have that experience).

I no longer search for hours and hours on the net. When I look at pictures of girls and women I just feel sad that it's not me. (I get a lot more sleep, too!)

I think of continuing to live my life this way... I think, well.. I've been doing it for a long time, why not keep going. The more I think about it.. the sadder I become. I love my family; but I don't think I can ever be happy the way I am. The way I look. I can probably live with it on a temporary basis - but on a long term basis.... I don't know what I will do; should do.

We have talked a lot of moving if I began to transition as a woman. It seems impossible sometimes. With the kids in the picture... I wouldn't want to hurt them. Or embarrass Kim. My height is an issue as well... 6'7" is kind of tall for a woman - it's tall for a man! We would need to move to a place that is not so conservative and small (Mount Morris is a town of mostly conservative retired people - less than 3000). We are blessed that Kim can find employment anywhere as a Speech-Language Pathologist and I can move my business. I admit it seems hopeless sometimes; but I do have faith.

I have been blessed. I have a wonderful loving family - Kim, Sarah, and Kristi; satisfying work (it's nice to be self-employed). I have enjoyed the work I have done in social services; the speaking and teaching was perhaps the most enjoyable. I have been able to play many instruments professionally - or at least semi-professionally. I have so much to live for. I don't think I would ever commit suicide; but it has crossed my mind when I had to witness, at least initially, how much this situation was confusing and hurting Kim and how impossible the whole situation seems. Talking to other TS's is very helpful - something I try to do on a daily basis. But as hard as transitioning will be, it would be much harder to leave the family I love so much - and that loves me so much.

It will be hard to tell my Mom, Dad and siblings; although, it probably wouldn't be a big surprise to most of them. Right now, I am looked upon as the most "down to earth" of my siblings. I have been happily married for 10 years; owned a house for 7, been an exemplary student and held down good jobs with much success. My older siblings have had failed marriages and are struggling - my younger brothers are also struggling; but getting there. I love them all and we are fairly close. I have been so tempted to tell my mom; we talk the most - we are very close. Tempted to tell my kids too - who are much beyond their years in terms of having an understanding, compassion for people's differences.

Everyday I look back and see that I have been living my life as much as a girl/woman as I could. From the stereotypical cooking, cleaning and tending to the children (Kim is also most attentive and wonderful with the kids) to decorating our big beautiful home. I recall things from my childhood all the time. Why did it take me so long to figure this out???

I should say something about our sexual relationship. It has always been strong. We have always had lots and lots of foreplay. In many cases, I needed the foreplay more than Kim. I love to be close and kiss and caress. There is nothing more wonderful than the magic of two people that love each other.

Kim has stated that she is not sure if she could make love to a woman - she is not a lesbian. But she loves me. We can't imagine not being intimate. She has already come to accept my hairless legs and wearing panties (that was another very liberating thing... I know it sounds so dumb.. but it felt so wonderful to get rid of the boxers and put on something that was so comfortable... and looks and fits me sooo much better). Our lovemaking is different, too. It is ever more ... gentle I guess.

Kim wanted me to put off counseling. I wanted to start as soon as Kim was ready. Well.. just a few days ago.. she stated her readiness to move forward. She seemed ready to face the future. Our future together; no matter what it took. She is amazing.

I had been searching for a counselor/therapist for almost 2 months.. hitting one dead end after another. The closest I found was over 2 1/2 hours away --- one way! I found one. Finally.

Here I am. Hope this doesn't scare you too much.  


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