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Billionaire philanthropist Pritzker announces she is now a woman

James N. Pritzker is now known as Jennifer NatalyPritzker

James N. Pritzker is now known as Jennifer Natalya Pritzker

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Updated: September 25, 2013 6:17AM

The billionaire retired U.S. Army colonel James Pritzker has announced he is a woman — Jennifer Natalya Pritzker.

According to Crain’s Chicago Business, a memo dated Aug. 16 and sent to the Pritzker Military Library and Tawani Enterprises announced Pritzker’s name officially had been changed.

“This change will reflect the beliefs of her true identity that she has held privately and will now share publicly,” the memo stated.

“Pritzker now identifies herself as a woman for all business and personal undertakings.”

Pritzker’s father was the late Robert Pritzker. Robert Pritzker founded Marmon Group, a manufacturing and industrial conglomerate.

Her uncles founded the Hyatt Hotel chain.

Pritzker, 63, is president/CEO of Tawani and she chairs the military library.

She served 11 years in the military, including a stint in the Army’s 101st Airborne Division.

Bernard Cherkasov, CEO of Illinois Equality, said Pritzker’s announcement should inspire young people faced with the same life-changing decision.

Equality Illinois’ mission is to secure and defend equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Illinois.

“It’s important to know that his high-profile life and distinguished military career should be a role model for young people,” he said.

“Jennifer’s story moves the whole conversation forward to a national center on transgender equality.”

Cherkasov also said Pritzker’s coming out into the open demonstrated transgender people “are in every walk of life.”

“Her career has three streams — the military, business and the in museum. She has a successful and accomplished life.”

In July, Pritzker’s Tawani Foundation gave a $3.5 million grant to the University of California’s Palm Center to study transgender people in the military, according to Courthouse News Service.

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