In late March of 1960 my mom had to go with me for my first visit to Harry's office in NYC. I wasn't happy going as a sort of boy because I had met Harry the first time as a girl but it was a necessity because of what happened in February. Harry had actually flown to Boston to visit me in the hospital because he was worried but we never really had the talk he wanted because of the circumstances.
I think we were on the Eastern Shuttle to LaGaurdia but it was a weird flight. I was shy and timid in most circumstances and physcially didn't project boy well or as my older brother Ray said "not at all". It was not because I was flamboyant I just was not facially and physically at 14 very masculine. If I tried really hard I could do it but it was a lot of effort I was unwilling to make at this point in my life.
As was the norm I catch people staring at me while we wait for the plane to load and it gets me nervous because it often leads to trouble. Mom pats my hand and tells me to relax it will be OK. We board and about 15 minutes into the flight I hear this over the drone of the propellers.
Elderly woman: 'Can you believe that pretty girl wearing those mannish cloths? She has to be a lesbian'.
A lesbian? I knew what a lesbian was and I stand up looking to see her.
Me: 'Mom where is the lesbian?'
Mom: 'Sweetie that would be you'.
Me: Mom I'm not a lesbian I'm a transsexual'.
Mom: 'I know dear but you do look kind of like a lesbian dressed that way'.
Me: 'Mom, you told me to wear this.'
All the time we are talking people start staring so I guess I educated people on Eastern Airlines. I wasn't a lesbian because I was a transsexual. Now since I had not known I was a transsexual and had never heard the word transsexual until 3 months before I am sure those people on the plane were scratching their head. There were lots of stares as we left the plane for sure.
Mom gets a Cab and we give him the address and as we are driving the cab driver is continually staring at me in his rear view mirror. Every time I catch him he looks away. I catch him staring at me again and I tell him the following.
Me:'I'm not a lesbian. I'm a transsexual.'
The poor driver almost drives off the road and he didn't stare once more. Mom slapped my hand and told me not to be sassy or something like that but he didn't stare. I could be a precocious little brat sometimes.
When we get to Harry's office I am met gleefully by this wonderful woman who runs the office and I sit beside this absolutely stunning woman who smiles at me like she knows something I don't. I am escorted into see Harry and he looks at me.
Harry: 'You don't do boy well at all'.
Me: 'Yeah I know. Everyone on the plane thought I was a lesbian and so did our cab driver'.
Harry(Big smile): 'There is nothing wrong with being a lesbian'.
Me: 'I know that but I need to be a girl first and besides I like boys as you already know'.
We talk for a while and I get a physical exam and he says he can notice the changes already from the low dosage of estrogen. Harry asks how many of which pills I am taking and hey I am a kid and if one was good 4 or 5 was better and I get a good talking to about sticking with the schedule so the process isn't too fast because I am still in high school and they are not going to be happy if things changed too quickly. It was not likely things could get any more weird than they already were. Breast development and boys gym should have come to mind immediately.
We agree on the dosage and he calls mom in to make sure she distributes my hormones and mom knows I knew the correct dosage but doesn't squeal on me. She did in her next letter to Harry but that doesn't count. Harry then asks me if I would like to meet another transsexual who has actually gone through the entire process and has had her operation. I am excited because I have never met another transsexual just like I have never met a lesbian. I really did want to meet a lesbian because that would have been fun and interesting.
We are escorted into another room and sitting there is the beautiful woman I sat next to in the waiting room and she hardly gets a word out before I am bombarding her with questions about everything. Like I said a precocious little brat at times. Harry gets me calmed down and mom and I sit down for 45 minutes with this woman who was in the city for just a day and was doing Harry a favor and meeting with a kid Harry wanted her to talk with.
She was wonderful and nice and such a total lady unlike the brat questioning her.She was gracious, complimentary, so kind, and answered a lot of questions and some were detailed. Her name was Christine Jorgensen and the worst part about it was I had no idea who she was. Not a clue.
As we were getting ready to leave she takes me aside and tells me I will be a beautiful young lady and while she is saying that I am thinking if I look half as beautiful as her I will be very happy. She was 33 at the time and photos do not do her justice. If I had known I would have thanked her from the bottom of my heart for her amazing courage. There are times not knowing is good but this was not one of them.
My mom exchanged notes with her for 20 years because she wanted to know how I was doing. Quite an amazing lady. My mom was kind of amazing also.