This journal opens with reminiscences of my childhood, school
and college years. My gender problems were a big focus of my
attention during all those years, and stimulated my lifelong
interest in scientific exploration. When I was young there was
little scientific or medical knowledge about such gender problems,
and even the most basic sex and gender issues were seldom talked
about. I was completely on my own to find my way as best I could.
In Parts I and II we begin with the very personal story of
my struggles in the 1940's and 1950's, and how I finally found
a complete solution in the 1960's. Given the way things were
when I transitioned, that came at the price of being fired by
IBM, being rejected by all my family and friends, having to start
a new career all over again in a secret new identity, and then
having to live in "stealth mode" for almost 31 years.
PART II concludes with a sketch
of my early research career as a boy, and then my final gender
If I'd been born in the 1980's, and had coped with transsexualism
as a teenager in the 1990's, there's a chance I'd have been allowed
to socially and hormonally transition in high school or college,
and undergo SRS at age 18 to 20. If born to understanding parents
who'd supported such an early transition, I could have gone on
to a full and normal life as a young woman, and this story would
have turned out very differently. By never maturing as a boy,
my family would have known me only as their daughter and would
still know me today. Perhaps I'd have married and have adopted
children, which was my dream as a young woman. However, this
story starts in the 1940's, long before such gender identity
conditions were understood.
In order to convey the reality and depth of my situation
early in life, Part I and Part II include VERY EXPLICIT cross-gender
and gender-transition material. These writings are my sincere
effort to convey what it is like for someone who is inherently
a girl to be forced to grow up as a boy. Some readers will find
these writings informative, but others may find them unsettling.
Therefore, those who are mainly interested in my post-transition
research career should start with PART-III
of this Retrospective. For more background on gender identity
conditions, see Lynn's TG/TS/IS
Always be a first-rate
version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody
I was born to loving parents. My father was a chemical research
engineer who worked for The Texas Company (Texaco) in New York
City. My parents met while my father was on an engineering field
assignment to build some chemical processing plants in Texas.
My mother had grown up in rural Texas, and had graduated from
a teachers' college there. She was teaching kindergarten in Texas
when they met and began dating.
Shortly after they were married, my father was transferred
to New York City. When I was born my parents were living in an
apartment in Hartsdale, N.Y., where I spent my early childhood.
My parents were a quite a neat team for raising and mentoring
a child with a curious and creative mind, at least for a while.
Age 4 months:
With my father and mother
It's wonderful how photographs reach out to us over time,
helping renew distant memories and making them vivid again. This
is especially true of our early childhood times, times that most
people seldom reflect back on. My memories go back till I was
2 and a half or so, with fragments going back earlier. A collection
of photos from that time have helped to keep those memories alive.
Some things stand out, like going outside and playing in the
snow, and going to the train station to pick up my daddy after
work. I was amazed by the trains, and loved to watch them go
Almost age 3: I loved to be outside
in the snow
I remember many little vignettes and scenes from the joyful,
blissful time up until I was about age 4. Some memories stand
out incredibly clearly because of surprising or funny or scary
circumstances, like the first time we went to the movies. I must
have been three, and it seemed like being transported to another
world. I was mesmerized by the moving black and white images
on the screen - and the fantasy world we could look into there.
I still recall flashes of scenes of driving home from that movie
on a summer day.
During those years I played a lot with close friends who
were almost all girls. There were all sorts of funny, silly things
we loved to do together. I was becoming very aware of my body
and loved the way it felt all soft and sensual and rubbery. I
enjoyed being close to my mother and my girl friends who all
seemed to feel the same way. I especially loved taking baths
and being all "soapy" and slippery all over. Things
like that seemed very special to me, and I can remember flashes
of scenes in the bathtub from a very early age.
However, there were some early warnings that something was
amiss, and that I was living in a dream world. For example, since
I was a "boy", I wasn't allowed into the baby shower
party when my brother came along. My mother decided that she
only wanted women and girls there. I felt very left out, and
started to sense that there were magical aspects of girl's lives
that I was not going to be allowed to experience. But why, I
My third birthday:With
some of my friends
The Nightmare Begins
Sometime in my fourth year a terrible nightmare began. I
think it may have started in a store where I saw a print dress
like my friend Janet had. It took some courage, but I asked my
mother if I could have a dress like that. After all, why couldn't
I just wear a dress and "be a girl".
On reflection and using grown-up terms, I had at an early
age observed and patterned on very clear kinesthetic, perceptual
and emotional similarities in my movements, feelings and reactions
to things with girls rather than with boys. It wasn't an identification
with girls clothes or toys. It was deeper and more fundamental
than that; something essential inside of me simply told me that
I should be a girl. I didn't really understand why I couldn't
be a girl, and didn't understand what my girl friends had done
so that people let them be girls. It was all a mystery to me.
Anyway, this feeling made me want to try to be a girl, and
that meant I was in very big trouble. "No you cannot have
that dress. You are NOT a girl!" my mother shouted, and
this is one of my earliest memories of feeling sheer terror.
These conflicting signals went in and out of my consciousness
for quite a while afterwards. It was very confusing, humiliating
and frightening all at the same time, and nothing was ever the
same after that.
Imagine the terrible angst felt by a little child who then
asks her mother the heartfelt question "You mean I can NEVER
be a girl?", and is immediately crushed by a loud "Absolutely
not!" and is from then on subjected to intense pressure
to act only like a boy. I was left with a sense that there was
something terribly wrong with me, but I didn't understand what
it was. I was left with a dull ache inside, and full of fear
about doing things "wrong".
Worse yet, I wasn't allowed to play with my girl friends
anymore, or be seen doing many things I'd loved to do. I guess
my parents thought that being soft with me was "causing
my problem", whatever it was. They began withholding all
affection, hugs and cuddling from that time on. My life began
to feel cold and isolated, and the absence of affection made
the confusing nightmare worse. Rituals such as keeping my hair
cut very short began to seem like deliberate torture.
I learned a powerful lesson. "Inappropriate gender behavior"
by little children led to catastrophic reactions. However, I
didn't really grasp why. My only escapes into girlhood after
that time were carefully crafted ones in my daydreams, and then
later in my school days and beyond in a secret parallel life
that almost no one knew about. This living nightmare persisted
for many years.
Dreams are a wonderful thing, especially daydreams, where
in your imagination you can make anything come true. I did a
lot of daydreaming as a little child, and that became my way
of visualizing and thinking about many things, and about figuring
out how to make things better. It's great fun to daydream something
wonderful, and then try to make it actually happen. It's a game
I've always loved to play, and it's helped me out in life in
many ways. After all, people can't stop you from thinking anything
that you want to, and that inner experience can be full of little
Age 4: Reading to my teddy bears
Age 4:With my baby brother
However, sometimes you cannot think of any way to make something
very important to you actually happen. You then just keep on
dreaming about it, and gradually discovering and inventing lots
of secret ways to partly live the dream, continually hoping that
someday you'll find the magic to make it all real. Thus it would
be with my secret ambition to become a girl somehow.
Public School Years
Going to kindergarten was a mixed blessing. It was scary,
because I'd become shy and self-conscious due to the pressure
to "be normal" at home. However, I loved the creative
things we did there, all the art, music, make-believe play, making
lots of things and story-telling. After a while, I began to make
new friends at school. We had lots of books at home, and I learned
how to read before entering first grade. I really aced that grade
and then skipped second grade.
Age 4-1/2: Me and my little brother
playing with my beloved great-aunt
When I was seven, my parents got divorced and we only say
my father once every few years after that. The divorce was very
traumatic for my mother, and really screwed up our lives for
quite a while. We moved through a series of rooming houses and
apartments before getting settled down in White Plains, N.Y.,
where my mother began to teach kindergarten again. Fortunately,
we lived all to ourselves in a large, older house in a quiet
This period of insecurity and emotional trauma led to my
becoming very, very shy. Living in hotels and rooming houses
and eating out a lot felt awful to me, because my mother kept
saying things like "sit up and eat properly, people looking
at you". "People are looking at you" became almost
a mantra with her - a knee jerk reaction to any situation where
she felt embarrassed by me. Shyness was the inevitable result
of two years of continually hearing this everywhere we went.
My mother herself was very pretty, and she was pursued by
a number of bachelors over the years. However, she never dated
again and never remarried. Being divorced back then meant that
she had to endure a lot of stigmatization during the late forties
and on into the 1950's. This hurt her deeply, and she just shut
down emotionally, mainly living her life by trying to make "her
boys" successful. She was always chiding me for the way
I looked or acted, and obsessed over my school performance, which
had declined during the 4th-6th grades.
During my early childhood years, by mother had gotten me
into piano lessons, and I also went on to play the soprano saxophone.
I was able to play well, but this only brought on the trauma
of being required to play "solos" for visitors. This
was always quite traumatic for me, because I was so shy back
One "music incident" I vividly remember: My piano
teacher brought a wire-recorder to record my playing one day
so I could hear it afterwards. The recoding amazed me, until
I heard my voice talking on the tape! Oh my god, I sounded exactly
like a girl! I was talking in a very feminine manner, but Ididn't
realize it until I heard my voice on that tape. It totally freaked
me out, and I turned red and ran out of the room.I thought for
sure that my mother and everyone else would think I was "misbehaving"
for talking that way, and would punish me even worse than years
before. But she never said anything about my voice. Maybe she'd
gotten used to it. Who knows.
Since my mother worked, I was often home alone. It was inevitable
that I would discover, invent and explore many secret, special
ways of being and playing like a girl, doing things like secretly
playing with my mother's makeup when she wasn't around. However,
there was no way to openly express my inner feelings and my longings
to really be a girl. All I could do was watch other girls at
a distance, and pray I could become one someday.
This was a dreary, sad period for me. I felt very isolated
and lonely. I sensed a strange "otherness" in boys
and hated to be grouped in with them. Sports presented a special
problem. I held back and felt very awkward when forced into the
boys' games. No one ever wanted me on their team. All the other
boys were into pushing and shoving and shouting all the time,
and I wasn't like that. I mostly liked to be quiet and daydream.
When stopping in at my mother's kindergarten class after
school, I'd often see her hugging and giving all sorts of affection
to other children. I guessed she was expected to do that there,
so she did it. However, she was never that way with me at home,
and this added to my sense of emotional isolation.
Age 7: With my brother (age 4)
In the summer of 1948, when I was 10 years old, my mother
sent me and my brother to a boys' summer camp in Maine. This
was scary at first, but turned out to be quite an adventure.
We packed lots of stuff for the 10 weeks of camp and took the
railroad train to "Camp Caribou", near Waterville,
Maine. It was the first time my brother and I were away from
home alone. At camp I learned how to swim, ride horses, go boating,
how to fish and how to shoot a .22 rifle. I also learned lots
about hiking, backpacking and camping-out. These were incredibly
fun things to do, and triggered my lifelong interest in the great
I felt so empowered by learning all those interesting new
things that summer. Getting good at outdoors activities also
helped me project a much more "boy-like" image.
I keenly felt a need to project a boyish persona, and to
somehow fit in and "be like everybody else", at least
most of the time when in public. In fact, over the coming years
my life would be a constant struggle to appear like a normal
boy during the day, but without yielding too much too maleness
so that I couldn't seem like a girl to myself and others in private.
The summer camp was sort of like I'd gone to "acting
school" to learn how to appear to be a real boy. I gradually
covered-up my girly feelings by acting like a "tomboy"
and becoming very "outdoorsy". It didn't feel too bad
inside me, because I really loved being in the outdoors. It seemed
natural to be a tomboy.
However, I got very uncomfortable that summer living in a
small cabin with seven boys and no privacy. Every now and then
pushing and shoving matches would break out that seemed awfully
violent to me. Some of the boys then began prancing about and
proudly showing their erections to each other. I was very innocent
and ignorant, and this frightened me. I didn't like my genitals
and I thought they were terribly ugly. I hid them from myself
most of the time and tried not to think about them. I didn't
yet comprehend the horrible implications of being a girl who
was born with male genitals.
On the other hand, I felt a strange warm, tingly sensation
all over whenever I was around my rifle instructor. He had blond
hair and had a nicely tanned, well muscled body. He looked so
handsome in his tight-fitting T-shirt and khaki pants. I can
still remember him leaning down closely by me and coaching me
on how to shoot. Although he was a college student then, he knew
lots about shooting, being fresh out of the marines or the army.
I think he took a special liking to me because I worked so hard
on becoming a very good shot. Although I was only 10 years old,
something stirred in me. Something I didn't yet understand.
That winter, my interest in new things zoomed off in an unexpected
direction: I developed an incredible fascination with astronomy
after visits to the Hayden Planetarium in New York City. There
was just something about telescopes and astronomy that zapped
my brain as if it were magic. My mind reeled with images of planets
and galaxies and telescopes you could use to look at them. I
began reading about science and astronomy at our city library,
and then team up with a few schoolmates to explore and share
various scientific hobbies. The power that scientific knowledge
could convey amazed me. I began to understand not only how things
worked, but how they came to be - and began a lifelong interest
in "figuring things out".
Not visible to others, and hidden behind all these superficially
"boy-like" activities, was a terrible growing turmoil
inside my mind and all throughout my body. At the age of 11,
my body seemed to become much more sensual and sensitive to touching.
I loved the rubbery feeling of my body, and longed to be fondled
and caressed all over. I also loved to be penetrated by things,
and explored that overwhelmingly luscious feeling while taking
baths. But there was no way to outwardly express my girly feelings
socially and show the world what I felt like inside.
I saw a girl's genitals close-up for the first time that
year when a girl friend of mine showed hers to me. We were only
11, but I think she had a crush on me. One time while we were
playing, we hid under a neighbor's porch and she pulled her panties
down and showed her genitals to me. She then wanted to kiss,
which we did. Seeing her beautiful girl's genitals had a profound
effect on me. I fully grasped what I was missing, and began to
think of my own genitals as a ugly deformity. I could sense how
my friend affirmed her beauty and desirability and sensuality
by showing herself to me and then being kissed by me. I wished
I could have such experiences too, and be able to show my body
as a girl to eager boys, and have them kiss me too.
When I was 12, I spent some time in the summer at the lakefront
home of family friends in Connecticut. Two beautiful girls about
15 or 16 years old were visiting there too. We went swimming
together, and I got a chance to get very close to them. All of
a sudden I felt an incredible angst as I saw close-up what nature
was doing for these girls and wasn't going to do for me. They
were becoming even softer, were growing breasts and were developing
beautiful figures. I could deeply sense the joy they felt to
be living inside their nubile female bodies.
Then, at age 13, male puberty really hit me. I was suddenly
thrown into a deep personal hell. I did everything I could think
of to forestall what was happening, but my efforts at maintaining
physical softness and girlyness had only limited results and
also brought me tons of trouble and humiliation.
To grasp the nature of this hell, imagine that you had a
little daughter, who at age 4 you started raising as a boy, cutting
her hair, and refusing to let her wear dresses or play with other
little girls while she grew up. You also withheld all normal
affection from her, the affectionate touching and hugging that
all little girls crave. Then at age 13 you began administering
male hormones to her, which suddenly begin to ruin her appearance
and her chances in life forever afterwards as a girl and as a
Can you imagine how she would feel about what was happening
to her? If you can forget her outward appearances as a "boy",
you might be able to visualize what the young (MtF) transsexual
girl is going through emotionally as a teen-ager. Inwardly she
is totally horrified at the thought of growing up and turning
into a "man": of becoming large, craggy and hairy all
over, of losing her softness, pretty voice and pretty hair, and
of having grossly inappropriate genitalia protruding from her
body and taking control of her body from time to time. Think
what this is doing to all her childhood hopes and dreams about
At the same time, she sees the wonderful things other girls
are experiencing - the development of pretty female contours,
breasts, beautiful hair and soft glowing skin. She sees how they
cherish being girls among other girls, and how they daily celebrate
the little joys of it all. She senses how they look forward to
life as women, to having boyfriends, finding romance and getting
married, and to having their own babies someday.
And remember, if she does anything to try to counter this
horror and tries to be like a girl, society comes down on her
with a terrible vengeance for "incorrect gender behavior
for a boy". Even the simplest of things she might try to
do to retain a little bit of femininity will bring on ridicule
and humiliation. She can't even talk to anyone about it, not
even her parents, and must suffer in silence.
Can you possibly begin to understand the girl's anguish?
I tried to fight it but to no avail. What was happening to me
simply broke my heart. At the same time the other girls were
being transforming into lovely women, I was being turned into
an ugly "male" freak who would never have a chance
of finding love and happiness in life.
One reaction I had to this horror was to seek knowledge,
scientific knowledge, about sex and sexual differentiation, the
effects of sex hormones, etc. I began spending even more time
in the city library and other places, obsessively exploring scientific
and medical books and journals, searching for answers to the
deep questions I was confronting. In the process I learned all
about sexual anatomy and sexual differentiation, and how sex
hormones cause the development of the secondary sex characteristics,
which are the key visible observables as to whether you are a
girl or a boy.
I also began a practice common among young, intensely transsexual
girls. Ashamed of my male genitals and male arousals,
I began to suppress penile erections by hiding my parts inside
me and tucked under and behind me. Instead of sudden out-of-control
male arousals, I often had long-lasting, "simmering
arousals" deep inside me which I always perceived to be
female in nature. And instead of masturbating like a boy, I would
find ways to put pillows between my legs to press on my tucked
parts, and reach orgasm that way.
I also began serious efforts to learn how to be presentable
as a girl, learning how to use makeup correctly, and how to use
my mother's sewing machine to make simple dresses and clothes
from patterns. One summer my mother taught at the Teacher's College
in Potsdam, N.Y.. By an incredible stroke of luck we stayed in
a girl's sorority house that was vacant for the summer. I found
a treasure trove of clothes, make-up, sewing materials and other
wonderful stuff to experiment with. They even had a lot of really
neat fake suntan stuff that was kind of like makeup that made
your skin look nicely tanned. I loved to shave my legs and put
that stuff on me. It made my legs look pretty like the other
girls, and that made me feel tingly all over. I took a lot of
stuff, as much as I dared, back home with me and secreted it
During the eighth grade I began playing hooky by writing
my own excuses. By building a reputation for being sickly, but
still managing to get reasonable grades, I got away with this
for a long time - skipping over 30 days that winter without getting
caught! I stayed home for days at a time, secretly making and
trying on clothes and practicing being like a girl, and playing
with my body. Gaining experience in improving my appearance helped
compensate a little bit for the terrible physical changes that
were happening to me. I began to sense that I could use sheer
will power and effort to guide the shape of my developing body
- especially the musculature of my legs and torso. By constantly
working at it I found that I could gradually shape my body contours
to be more female and attractive.
My father, unlike my mother, had always seen through my real
boy act. He visited us every few years, and first thing he'd
do was a quick visual inspection for markers of femaleness. Especially
in my later adolescent years, he always noticed some darn dead-giveaway
that I couldn't totally hide. He'd catch glimpses of my shaved
legs, carefully shaped eyebrows and clear nail polish. I did
things like that as much as I dared, so I could quickly "cross-over"
and be like a girl when alone at home. My father would glower
his hate at seeing those things, probably thinking that it meant
that I was becoming gay. I was always relieved when his visits
ended (my father died in '67 just before my gender transition,
so I never had to face his rage and humiliation for doing that).
My mother gradually became very preoccupied with her work
and seldom interacted with me. Once in a while, right out of
the blue, she'd say "Stop doing that! If you don't stop
that I'm going to send you to military school!" But she
never elaborated on what "that" was. I suspected she'd
seen me acting girly, so I just cringed and tried to keep a low
profile for a while. There was a military school somewhere over
in Tarrytown, NY and the idea of getting sent there was totally
However, my mother mostly seemed oblivious to what I was
doing during my teens, as long as I got good grades in school.
We never talked much, and she didn't seem to want to even be
physically near me. Maybe she was just in denial.
My mother had grown up on a farm outside the small town of
Evant in central Texas. We visited there during my teens, and
I met some of my Texas relatives. They were very religious people,
and attended the "tent revivals" in town while we were
there that summer. I never went to those meetings, but I could
hear all the shouting and screaming that went on there, and it
was quite frightening. At a large family dinner one evening,
someone asked me about my interests and I started talking about
astronomy. All of a sudden the whole family acted as if they
were shocked and horrified. But what had I done?
Well, I'd made a huge error by talking about how it was easy
to measure the distance to the moon. That conflicted with their
religious thinking that "such things were unknowable"
because it had to do with "the heavens". I tried to
explain how to do it, but they shouted me down and brought me
to tears and then shamed me for crying because " boys don't
do that". This incident taught me a lesson about ignorant
religious zealot's fear and suspicion of science. Although my
mother prided herself on being educated, she dared not go against
her family's religious pronouncements and she didn't come to
Then one night one of the older local Texas farm boys asked
me if I'd "like to go swimming". Oh my god, he was
so strong and handsome looking! Warmly attracted to him and tingling
all over, I said yes. We sneaked off and went swimming naked
in the dark in a big farm "tank" (that's what they
call a farm pond in Texas). The water was warm, and had fun swimming
playfully close together. It seemed harmless even though there
was an element of flirting that was very sensual and exciting.
All of a sudden my mother and some relatives came running out
there. They all got incredibly freaked out that I'd gone swimming
naked with an older boy, and I practically never heard the end
of it. Seems that going to Texas was just plain trouble for me
- a girly intellectual "boy" was just not in style
Other strange incidents happened during my early teens, and
I don't know how or why. I remember having several friends outside
my usual circle of "brainiacs" whom I'd see from time
to time. I recall "staying over" at these boys homes
once in a while, and actually "having to sleep in the same
bed" with them. I don't know what the heck I or they were
thinking, because nothing happened. By this time I didn't want
to be a virgin" anymore, but I guess I didn't show enough
signs of wanting love and these boys were too timid to make moves
on me. These are strange memories of things that I pretended
to myself "didn't happen", and are hard to pull back
completely. I never thought of the word "homosexual",
although I sort-of figured that was what I was at the time. I
just had deep feelings of being attracted to and wanting to be
"taken" by certain boys who caught my eye once in a
while. These feelings felt so natural to me that I didn't put
a name on them. They just happened.
Fortunately, I had a great aunt named Delia who now stayed
with us occasionally in White Plains. Delia was a wonderful,
loving woman who had enjoyed a long marriage to her dear "Pops"
before he died. Delia O'Malley had come to America from Ireland
early in the century, along with her sister Sarah O'Malley (my
grandmother on my father's side). They'd both come over looking
for husbands, and soon found them! Pops had been a U.S. Army
Officer, and he and Delia had lived and traveled all over the
Aunt Delia and I became great friends and spent a lot of
time hanging out together during my teen years. I often helped
her with cooking, which I never got a chance to do with my mother.
One of these times she began quietly reminiscing about how much
she loved "the boys", and enjoyed being around them.
I instinctively sensed that she wasn't talking to me as if I
were a "boy". She seemed to be talking to me as someone
on "her side of the fence", while we were talking about
the boys who were on the other side. I don't know how Aunt Delia
figured me out, or what she actually thought my situation was.
She just seemed to know, and treated me differently than "the
boys". She was genuinely open and loving with me and would
even hold and hug me, which no one else did back then - except
for when I hugged my little brother. I often wished Delia could
spend more time with us. I wanted to somehow explain to her the
incredible turmoil I was feeling, but I could never find the
words. I also wished that my mom had been more like her. [Delia
passed away before my transition].
High School Years:
In the middle of all this turmoil, the Christine
Jorgensen case hit the media. On December 1, 1952 the New
York Daily News splashed a headline and front page photo
about an ex-GI who had "been changed into a woman".
No story remotely like this had ever been published widely before,
and papers all across the country just wouldn't let the story
go. The media obsessed over it in ways reminiscent of the Monica
Lewinski - Bill Clinton story. I was only fourteen years old
at the time, and in my first semester as a sophomore at White
Plains High School.
Christine's story exploded into my mind. Suddenly there was
a glimmer of hope, but oh so many questions too. My God, was
she really changed? How on earth was this done? Science had clearly
played a key role, especially new knowledge about the profound
effects of sex hormones. But who did she know and how did she
get them to do that to her? And why did everyone make such terrible
fun of her and constantly harass her afterwards?
I was amazed to learn that society viewed being a woman as
so demeaning a station in life that it was considered ridiculous
for someone to want to be one, given any choice in the matter.
Media images that females were silly, inferior beings confounded
me, and conflicted with my own feelings of how wonderful it would
be to be a woman. Fearful my classmates might see through me
and subject me to ridicule, I forced myself even harder to appear
as "normal" a boy as possible in public.
However, the Jorgensen case boosted my morale and my courage
in efforts to "cross-over" and learn how to be a girl.
A few people accidentally caught glimpses of me dressed as a
girl once in a while, but my behavior was quiet and natural enough
that I never had any bad reactions. Who knows what they thought
was going on, but nobody ever told my mother about it. As time
went on, I'd occasionally meet new straight boys who seemed to
sensed this in me, who sensed my inner longings and were drawn
to me, and those encounters made me feel incredibly warm and
tingly all over. I began to get an almost irresistible urge to
somehow find a boy whom I could "show my real female self
too" and have him make love to me as a girl.
Suddenly, early in high school, I was "discovered"
as being gifted when I went off the charts on some key tests.
Being a boy at the time, I was then naturally guided by adults
onto a fast track of elite math and science courses in my junior
and senior years. I loved those courses and really aced them,
already knowing a lot about the work from past readings. To my
astonishment, I began getting huge amounts of positive feedback
from all the adults around me.
By working at odd jobs and scrounging and trading, some friends
and my brother and I were able to get stuff for exploring amateur
astronomy, chemistry, electronics and photography during our
junior high years and high school years. It was fun to be creative
with stuff, whether it was sewing and making clothes in private,
or working with wood, optics and electronics with boy friends.
Designing and making things was tons of fun. I began to attract
friends who got caught up in my enthusiasms for creative "projects".
These interests led to a series of telescope building projects,
projects that got ever larger, followed by efforts to take photos
through the telescopes and to develop and enlarge the photos
ourselves. Something happened during that time that has stuck
with me - a tendency to envision "wild projects", quickly
plan them, and then drive them rapidly to conclusion. I just
loved to get creative ideas and then make them a reality.
I learned a great lesson from these projects that would serve
me well all through my life: When I needed money for something,
all I needed to do was go wild at working for the money, and
I'd get it somehow. When I got motivated by money, it overcame
my shyness and I'd move heaven and earth to make it. One of the
really great jobs I stumbled into while in high school was working
as a "pin-boy" at a local bowling alley. This was before
the automatic pinsetting machines, and it had to be done by people.
This was an incredibly hard, dangerous, low-life kind of work,
especially for a young teen who'd just gotten their working papers.
Most of the other workers there were rough guys who weren't up
to things like drive taxi's or putting things together on an
assembly line. I did it because as an "unskilled worker"
I could earn a lot of money quickly for my science projects.
I was kind of ashamed of actually doing that work, so I never
told my friends about it - especially the ones who went bowling.
Pin-boys were considered true "low-lifes" by bowlers.
Mean spirited bowlers would sometimes even try to catch us by
surprise, rolling their balls unexpectedly and trying hit us
with them, then laughing when we jumped out of the way. This
was my first experience of being a "low-life" in other
people's minds, and it seemed real strange. I didn't understand
why we pin-setters were thought of that way, but it is clear
that we were. I learned that you just do what you gotta do -
and then keep quiet about it elsewhere.
My science projects had another side-effect: They helped
me project a very boyish "butch" image in public, and
I began to work on that image as a kind-of protective mechanism.
The secret seemed to be mostly in posture and stance, and I learned
to do a credible job at that. However, I couldn't seem to learn
how to project natural aggressiveness regular boys did.
Age 16, with my 6" reflecting
Photo of the moon with the
Meantime, a new wonderful world of the mind, of ideas and
of intellectual life opened up to me in high school, building
upon my science interests. All my solitary reading and studying
about science and astronomy now had a real outlet. I poured lots
of energy into my school work after that, and also into outside
scientific projects and readings. I especially loved observing
with the 6" f/12 reflecting astronomical telescope that
I had built.
White Plains High School was a truly remarkable place during
the 50's. Many wonderful teachers taught there. I was deeply
impacted by those teachers and by many courses in advanced mathematics,
physics, history and English literature.
I loved to interact with the bright students in the advanced
classes, and made many new friends based on mutual intellectual
interests. Among these were a number of very intelligent, friendly,
beautiful girls. I lived vicariously by sitting near these girls
every school day, closely observing the way they were and following
their adventures as best I could. I never dated girls in high
school but loved to be around them, hoping I might learn how
to be more like them.
I can vividly remember walking to school in the fall football
season, smelling the burning leaves along the way. I often followed
in the footsteps of groups of pretty girls. They'd notice me
looking at them, and I'm sure it made them feel good to attract
"male" attention. What they couldn't possibly imagine
was that I was aching deep into my soul to be like them, to look
like them, to feel like they did inside their bodies, and to
fully live like them.
White Plains High School,
White Plains, N.Y.
in the 1950's
I watched how boys were stricken by and attracted to these
girls, and how warmly and wonderfully they treated them. I day-dreamed
about all the necking, petting and romancing that was going on
at night in the boys' cars.
I never dated any girls while in high school, even though
people would try to fix me up once in a while. I desperately
wanted to be around girls, but as a girl and not as a boy. Making
up various excuses for not dating, I put my energies into my
hobbies and my studies.
Early in my sophomore year, along with several other boys
in my Latin class, I became one of the favorites of our teacher
Mr. Jacobs. He was an older rather stern but actually very friendly
man who clearly "preferred young men". He occasionally
asked me to spend some time "after hours" getting "special
instruction". He would gently pull me to his side and wrap
his arm around my waist as we delved ever deeper into the Latin
language. I enjoyed this warmth, because no one else in the world
except my Aunt Delia ever hugged me back then. I could sense
that Mr. Jacobs was turned on by me as a boy, and this seemed
very strange to me because I wanted more than anything to become
attractive as a girl. His hugging me did make me feel tingly
though, just like I'd felt around my instructor at summer camp.
Everyone seemed to know that he was gay, but no one talked about
it, or made fun of him, or thought that this was a problem. He
was a highly respected teacher, and his advances were always
quite harmless. However, our interactions helped me begin to
sense the profound difference between straight guys and gay guys,
and how I might attract them and why they might become attracted
to me in such very different ways.
On going to White Plains High I also got more seriously into
music. During my early childhood years, by mother had gotten
me into piano and saxophone lessons, and I now went on to play
the trombone. My mother suggested this for me. I think it may
have been because it was very much a "boys" instrument
back then (I'm guessing that she was somewhat worried by my androgynous
persona at the time). By high school I was pretty good on the
trombone, and played in the school marching band and the orchestra,
and also in a local community symphony orchestra. These experiences
furthered my life-long love of music, especially music that emotionally
speaks to the soul.
While I was in high school, kids began hearing a new music
on the radio called "rhythm and blues" - and it greatly
added to the earthy, lusty feelings in the air back then. We
started finding this music in the early 50's on a few small AM
radio stations in New York City and northern New Jersey. It was
black music and had lots of soul. It also had a profound sensuality
that all teenagers picked up on, including me.
[ Note: In 1954, "Moondog"
Alan Freed started mainlining this music to a wide audience
as a DJ on WINS in New York City. He called it "rock and
roll". I truly loved this new form of popular music, and
I followed it passionately for many decades afterwards. Today,
when I hear favorite pieces from the 50's, 60's, 70's and 80's,
I feel transported in memories back to the times when those particular
songs were in the air. Sometimes I can even "smell the smells
in the air" from the past, so intense are the emotional
connections and memories surfaced in my mind by popular music
from the past.]
By now my girly sensual feelings had become incredibly strong.
I was overtaken by feelings of wanting to dance to this new music
as a girl. I longed to attract boys and be romanced, petted and
made love to as a girl. But it was not to be, and I spent a lot
of time in an state of deep frustration and denial.
However, my study efforts and passion for learning paid off. During my
Junior and Senior years I nearly got all A's. I also got 100%'s in almost
all of the New York State Regent's exams in math and science and graduated with honors, being high up into the top 10%
of my class.