Shannon's Story

Yes. Hell yes!

That's the short answer. Is it right for everyone. No.

Being different is not a crime. It is an honor.

Where do I start? I have been mulling this over in my head for a while now since my friend Lori first proposed this idea to us. I want to help people, but how?. I want YOU the questioning, the fearful, the friends and families and the world to know this is without question worth every tear and every moment of joy. 

My story is not unlike many men and women and kids who have struggled most if not all their lives with a deep secret that leaves us wondering if life is worth it at all. After all who in their right mind would willfully choose to "become" a woman. Or a man. It is simply not a choice. It is who we are.

We are not becoming the opposite sex. We already are. Maybe not physically. But every fiber of our being beyond the physical is that man or woman or even someone in between. It is who we are. Not who society says we should be.

I never talk about my past anymore. Not as you might think. So writing this is a tad odd for me. We all transition and live our lives in what we hope if best. I am a late bloomer. I had feelings at a very young age that something was not right. Something about me was off. I was never comfortable in my skin. Like it did not fit right. Strange thing for a 5 year old to be thinking about. That feeling grew as I did. By the time I was nine, I was living a perfectly normal life of any young boy. Or so it seemed. What most people including my family did not see was the what was going on inside. Sound familiar?

Hitting puberty was an absolute nightmare. I did not fit in at school.  I was bullied. I was called a fag and a girl. I tried to show people I was neither. I would go home or somewhere and cry and curse the world because I felt like absolute freak. I thought of killing myself and my tormentors. I took it out on my little brothers. I was a mess and no one knew why. I lived in the south and people like me were not going to live very long if they came out to anyone. Not to mention the fear of telling my parents.

At around twelve I wanted to cut off my penis. I wanted to have a sex change and I did not even know what that meant. They don't teach this stuff in school and Al gore had not invented the internet yet. The will to live is an amazing thing. I thought for sure my life would change when I went to college. The internal pain never went away. I just masked it with drugs and alcohol. I even came out to a group of girlfriends in Art school... Sort-Of. I told them I was a lesbian.They laughed of course and they told me I was crazy.

I met my wife in college. I came out to her in our first year of marriage. We struggled with that giant elephant in the room. We were together for nearly 20 years. But in the end that elephant grew too big for either of us. It nearly killed me. It took being less than 24 hours from being dead and a whole lot of morphine to realize I could not live that giant lie any longer. She encouraged me to seek help.  

And I found it. My world changed when I finally realized I was not the only human in the world that had these feelings I had struggled with all my life. I began my new life, my real life after 40. I woke up with one hell of a smile on my face at age 43 on my second birthday. In less than 2 years I went from being a broken straight man to an amazingly whole lesbian woman. It's a bit of a mind-fuck I admit.

Like I said we all have similar stories in some way. I have abbreviated so many details. Left out so much I could say. But I'm still here. And that is what I really want to tell you. You see. I not only transitioned. I survived. And I am thriving. I consider myself a VERY lucky woman. My family and friends supported me fully. The ones that did not are not my friends. You will lose so much. But you will gain so much more. Self respect, love in your heart, new friends, inner strength, confidence, peace, and a view of the world so few can even imagine.

My transition was very fast and I dare say easy compared to most. A year and a few months. Some people will take years. Don't let anyone tell you that you have to transition in any set time period. You do what is right for you. Remember this is YOUR life. It will have a very significant impact on more people than you realize. And it will not be easy.
And it really won't be easy. You will feel and experience every emotion on levels you never imagined. You will see the world in a whole new way. You will be lonely, scared and awkward. People will say things and even do things out of fear, ignorance and hate. They will tell you that you cannot be who you are. You can and you will if it is right for you. It will be very expensive for a great many of us. I spent almost everything I had on 3 surgeries, hormones, Dr.s and everything else. But I am here to tell you transition is not a quick fix for all that ails you. Do not expect you life to be an instant new me. It wont be. It takes work. Lots of hard work, deep thought, common sense and a little luck.

If I have any advice to offer anyone transitioning it is this: For God's sake prepare for the worst financially and emotionally. DO NOT just jump in blindly. I have seen far too many charge blindly ahead without regard for themselves, friends, families or coworkers. Use that brain you were born with. Educate yourself and everyone you come out to who has questions or concerns. People will surprise you with utter compassion and acceptance. Some will not. The world owes you nothing except respect if you respect others too. Sure this is your life, but when you transition everyone around you does it with you, including your supporters and the people who do not. Just be honest with yourself and others. Know that acceptance is not a given and is
not immediate. You have likely had years to think about this in your own mind. Most of your friends and family will need time to process this amazing transformation you will go through.

Is it worth it? Again, YES without question.  I have a very rewarding life. There is nothing I cannot do. I have a very successful career. I have more friends than I ever had in my life. Is my life perfect? No. I still get scared, I battle loneliness, depression and public perceptions. I started life completely over in a sense and I am still trying to figure out who I am. What do I REALLY like and want to do? How do I fit in? Who do I tell? So many things.  Yup, life is a challenge when you go through puberty and teen years again in your 40s. Oh but the fun you will have. Best of all. I finally love myself. Live without fear, guilt and that constant feeling that my life is wrong.

So who am I really? Well this is not going to be popular with some people. And to be honest, I could give a flying frack. I am not an active part of the T community. I was at one point. I have a great many people in that Trans, LGB and medical community I owe my life to (Lori, MJ, Tiana, Michael and Lillian Brown, Dr. Karmen, Dr. Meltzer and so many more ). However, I do not identify as Trans anything. I was trans. I transitioned. I finished. It's that simple. It's a process not who I am. I live a semi-stealthy form of non-disclosure to everyone who I am not close too. I have no time or need for labels but I openly live as a lesbian woman. And I am very proud of that. As far as the world is concerned my medical history is none of anyone's business. For me this was the right decision. It may be for you. Or you may want to live openly. You may want to take a very active role in the LGBT or just the T community. You may never have a single surgery. You may want to move to a new city, state or country and completely start over never telling another sole as long as you live.

You many be gay or straight or bi, or maybe it just does not matter.

How you live your life is up to YOU. It is YOUR life and I hope with all my heart it is a happy and fulfilling life. Because living life true to yourself is so very worth it.

Peace and Blessings to you All,



  1. Well said Shannon. And it is SO worth it despite all the hardship. Ally

  2. You give so much hope in an otherwise hopeless world. Thank you for this view of your life and transition. The Lord is truly Gracious!

    I like your joke about Al Gore.

    Hugs and Blessing to you also.


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