This is embarrassing. I just found out that my old friend Steve is dead. And has been dead . . . for a decade! Ouch. Everyone knows that I don’t keep up much with gossip and societal “stuff,” but that’s beyond any normal sense of awareness.
Steve (nee Doris) Dain was the “man” who opened my mind forever to the exquisite range of sexuality and gender. The word “man” is in quotes because, though Steve was a male all of his life, his original body parts proffered female. Despite the narrow hips, broad shoulders and chin stubble as an adult, Doris was to most of us a female for more than thirty years.
Then a newspaper article about the Stanford Gender Identity Clinic got her attention in a way that nothing else could have. “That’s me!” he recalled years later (you have to watch the pronouns here). “Once I realized what my circumstance really was, I started to go out into the world dressed as and acting as a male. That was the most freeing moment of my life, presenting myself as who I really was . . . and being accepted as who I really was.”
Doris-becoming-Steve had problems with some people, as you might expect. A wildly popular high school teacher, Doris-Steve was eventually fired by a principal who Steve thinks had gender identity issues of his own.
After the required waiting period, Doris began the physical transition to Steve: bi-lateral mastectomy, hormone therapy and penis construction (with no loss of orgasm, he reported to me with enthusiastic, elated and thoroughly unembarrassed laughter). When you met Steve, a couple of years after surgery, what you got was a mini Mr. America. Steve had a hairy, well-muscled chest and bulging biceps. He wore a thick beard and a quick, warm smile. Doris had always been the fastest runner and best boxer on her block as a kid; Steve was that and more. The best of Doris remained; the best of Steve emerged.
What I liked most about Steve was his open and refreshing honesty. I don’t ever remember a subject that couldn’t be broached. His dad had a hard time with the transition for a time, but his mother essentially said, “What took you so long?” Those closest to him knew that there was more to him than Doris. When Steve came along, all of that potential was realized.
The superficial is just that, the surface. What lies beneath the surface is almost always more interesting and more beneficial. Here’s to ya, Steve. I would have missed you sooner had I known.
©2018 Richard Paul Hinkle