As times change, transgenders more comfortable living out in the open
By CHERYL LAVIN September 2, 2013 7:30PM
Updated: September 3, 2013 8:43AM
As society becomes more liberal, there’s one group that’s starting to poke a foot out the closet: transgenders.
A real-life transgender actress plays a transgender inmate Netflix’s “Orange is the New Black.” “Glee” had a transgender character. There were transgender characters on “Dirty Sexy Money,” “Nip/Tuck” and “Necessary Roughness.”
Cher’s son Chaz was once her daughter Chastity.
And convicted felon Bradley Edward Manning wants to be known as Chelsea Elizabeth Manning.
Jackie isn’t an actress, the daughter of a celebrity or a criminal, but she is transgender.
“I’m no longer in the closet, but I was for quite a while. Actually, most of my life. I just didn’t know it.”
Jackie says most transgenders realize at a very early age that they’re different, but in the very early ’50s, when she was 5 and 6 and 7 years old and would sneak into her mother’s closet to wear her clothes, she never knew the word “transgender.”
“When my mom took me to a shrink after catching me, I figured it was really bad, and that I must continue to live my life as I was born.”
As Jackie grew up, she was very envious of her twin sister. “I wished so very hard that I could be her, or a girl like her.”
But, wishing didn’t work, and she continued to live as a male, marrying not once, but twice.
“This went on until 1999. I would cross-dress every once in awhile on the sly — until my second wife found a pair of my panties and called me at my office at the bank where I worked and asked me whose they were.
“I told her they were mine, which really confused her. She had thought something quite different. At that point we started seeing a therapist. That is when I first found out about being transgendered.”
Jackie became intent on living and dressing as a female full-time. Her wife divorced her.
“In 2004, I moved out, got a job at Wal-Mart, and lived 24-7 as a female. I started taking hormones, which I still take, but I can’t have reassignment surgery because I don’t have the funds.”
Jackie says her ex-wife is now her best friend. “She’s very understanding and supportive since she’s learned so much more about it.”
Jackie has become an advocate for the transgender community “for the sake of young and new transgenders who don’t have the support around them of their parents, family, friends, employers, school administrators, teachers, clergy or even the general public.
“There are so many myths, misconceptions, and misunderstandings about it, especially in rural areas, that many transgenders are in fear of coming out or even talking to anyone. They feel so alone and isolated, and something must be done.
“I remember back when I thought I’d better just shut up and play the role. If my story, or any information I have, can help others, or help the general public to understand that we’re not aliens or freaks, different in some ways, yes, but human beings nonetheless with the right to respect and dignity, then I’m glad to do it.”
Jackie has an Internet show, “The Jackie Oooo Show,” and a show on CANTV. “I try as best as I can to reach the kids that are afraid to talk to their parents and don’t know what resources exist.”
Do you have a coming-out story? Send your tale, along with your questions, problems and rants to firstname.lastname@example.org. And check out my new website: askcheryl.net. Creators Syndicate