I Am Dawn

  
I am a woman who was assigned male at birth, March 25, 1964. 

I was told there had been a problem: undescended testes. Not totally uncommon, but my parents also mentioned that I needed to have two circumcisions, which of course is impossible. 

What was the real story? I’m not sure I’ll ever know. 

I got my first job at age 4. 

My mom and dad had learned from a neighborhood friend that extra money could be made by having your kids pose for modeling and TV commercials. My sister and I were naturals, the all-American kids next door. 

I secretly started working as a girl when I was 12, voicing the part of a pre-teenage girl in a radio commercial. 

From 1976 until 1981, I modeled girl’s clothing. I remember the first time I saw the girl I was staring back at me from the makeup mirror: instead of feeling as if I had been dressed-up and made-up and coiffed from a boy into a girl, it was as if the girl within had been chiseled out like a sculpture. I had been revealed.

I took vitamins which undeniably helped me be a more convincing girl. My skin, my voice, my lack of usual male secondary sex characteristics — and my budding breasts — they all worked in tandem with my Dorothy Hamill hairstyle and long nails. 

When my dad caught me being fitted for a bra to model at age 16, the jig was up. No more modeling as a girl, no more vitamins. 

I got a haircut, new headshots and changed my stage name to “Don.”

It would be more than 30 years before I learned those vitamins that came in a clamshell case were birth control pills. 

I went back to living a boy’s life. Puberty hit around 19. 

I looked back at my years playing a girl opposite Sarah Jessica Parker and modeling on fashion runways with Brooks Shields as nothing more than acting. 

And less than 15 years later I chose to be a woman for Halloween. 

My then-girlfriend was taken aback. More than a few people asked me what my costume was. I saw me for the first time in more than a decade; the first time as an adult. 

In 2006, I had redeveloped breasts. My body hair flaked off in clumps. My hips splayed, I lactated (three times) and I shrunk three inches in four years.

I started gender therapy in 2008. 

I started using male hormones first then finally conceded that wasn’t what I needed. 

First time I saw “me” staring back in the mirror I cried, seeing both my resemblance to my sister and recovering my own lost self/esteem. I switched HRT from testosterone to estradiol on March 3, 2011.

I realized I was on the right path on April 1, 2011. I’ve not seen or had a penis all this time. 

But I wasn’t ready to live full-time in my appropriate gender — female — until April 3, 2013. 

I legally changed my name April 29, and came out at work and to my Facebook friends May 2. 

Not three months later, I involuntarily detransitioned after a seizure. The doctors told me I was suffering from a form of amnesia.

I returned to living pretending I was male, only to recover the memories of my transition and my happiness within a few weeks. 

I came out a second time May 2, 2014. Despite losing my career and marriage, there is no looking back. 

I choose to celebrate being me, by living my truth.

I Am Dawn. And I’m happy.  

One thought on “I Am Dawn

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s