A Brief Introduction to the Visits
A few months ago I started reading biographies and autobiographies of trans people. They were fascinating! I’ll probably eventually review some of them here.
But one question always puzzled me. What do NORMAL trans people think? The biographies and autobiographies that sell are celebrities or people who have gone through extreme transitions or lived crazy lifestyles or who had been on drugs. Biggest of all… none of them had anything resembling a faith in anything. The more I read, the more I wanted to read about someone that was, well, normal. Someone like me.
The interview below and those who follow are those very people. Normal, trans folk who are at one place in their transition or another but who have all agreed to share their stories with the larger world. I am thankful for each one of them for sharing their journey. I hope that their stories can bring hope to your hopelessness. Our community is a community of story, of transition and transformation, and its time to let our stories be known. Let the storytelling begin!
So without further ado… May I introduce Colleen Morgan
What’s your name and where are you from?
My name is Colleen Morgan. I’m from the Detroit metropolitan area, but I’ve lived in northern Alabama for the past 10 years.
How do you identify, preferred pronouns, and where are you from?
I am a transsexual woman. I was born as a male. I live as a woman, so my preferred pronouns are female.
What do you do for a living?
Most of my career has been in the Information Technology industry. I currently am self-employed. I provide a portfolio of services to small business in northern Alabama, which includes legal services, business support services, software application development services and compliance management. I am active in my local business community.
Tell us about growing up and how your experience relates to your life today.
I grew up as a boy in a working-class family in Detroit, Michigan. My father was a bus driver and my mother worked in various administrative positions. Both of them eventually retired from the City of Detroit. When I was about 4 or 5 years old I began to realize that I was different from other boys. Although I had a reasonably happy childhood, I didn’t seem to fit in with most of the other boys. It’s not that I was unhappy; I just knew I was different from the other boys I knew. At about the age of 10 or 12, I read an article about Christine Jorgenson, the first transsexual woman in the country. I knew then that this was what I was. I lived a rather typical youth. I went to a prestigious high school (we’d call it a magnet school today), where I graduated as a “C+” student. I went to college, where I received straight “A’s”, thinking I’d like a career in engineering. My heart was not on college, so I dropped out. During my late teens, I read all that I could find about transsexuals, but did not act on anything I learned. I was drafted into the Army, where I spend two and a half years serving in Germany with a nuclear missile unit. I did well in the Army, being promoted to Assistant Chief of Section of a missile launch crew. During my late teens, I had read all that I could find about transsexuals, but I did not act on anything I learned. After the Army, I enrolled in college where I was an “A” student. My plan was to be a family practice doctor, so I was in pre-medical classes. However, I became involved in student government and married a woman who also attended my college. During this time, I thought more seriously about acting on my transsexual perceptions of myself, but I did not. Instead, I married, thinking it would “fix” me. I did not tell my wife about this part of me. In fact, I had told no one about this. I dropped out of college, went to work in the retail automobile industry. After one child and 5 years of marriage, I decided to act on my gender dissonance. I walked out of my marriage, emotionally, and we divorced. However, I was confused. I was now a father and had a responsibility to my son. I began to attend church regularly. So, I turned away from dealing with my gender dissonance. My wife remarried and a year or so later, so did I, again thinking this would “fix” my problem. We had a daughter. And 5 years into this marriage, the tension was too intense, so I secretly began to see a counselor who had experience with transsexuals. She was convinced I was transsexual. About 6 months into this counseling, I told my wife about my situation. I also told my parents, siblings and my ex-wife. It did not always go well. About 6 months later, just before I was to begin hormone therapy, I backed out of it, began to work with a psychologist whom my pastor recommended and started working on salvaging my marriage and learning to be the best husband and dad that I could be. We had another daughter. But, my wife wanted out, so the marriage failed. I determined to commit myself to seeing my children to adulthood and focused my time on them. During this time, I also completed a bachelor’s degree in business management. I had a successful career in I.T. corporate sales. But from time to time, the gender tension would become too great. For a short time, I experimented with hormones, without the assistance of a physician. About four months after I started taking estrogen, I was diagnosed with lymphoma. For years, I thought the estrogen was the culprit in my cancer, but I’ve since been told that is unlikely. I survived cancer treatment. I continued to focus on my children. The youngest left the home in 2006 to join the Marine Corp. Late that same year my mother was visiting from Alabama and suffered a seizure. We learned that she had brain cancer and that my father had early dementia. So, I focused on taking care of my parents for the next three years. They both died. I had moved to Alabama to take care of them and I decided to stay in Alabama. I began to build a new career, servicing the I.T. needs of small businesses and being active in the local business community. But, I lived a life of quiet desperation and depression, until January 2017, when I hit some kind of “tipping point”. I sought out a therapist who would help me transition to living the remainder of my life as a woman. I began to process of transitioning my life. I told my children about the changes happening in my life.
Describe the moment you decided to transition. What inspired you to make that decision in your life?
I was not “inspired” to transition. In fact, I wish I did not have to transition. I wish I was not afflicted with this transsexual malady. It was not really a decision, either. It took me months to understand what caused me to hit this “tipping point”. I came to realize that I was living a death spiral. I finalized realized that I was committing what I call “passive suicide”. My health was declining. I wasn’t managing my business well; it was failing. I was on the road to losing my home. I really didn’t care if I lived or died. The only reason I didn’t take my own life is because, it doesn’t belong to me. It belongs to Jesus Christ. But, I was on the road to dying and becoming homeless. I saw three paths in front of me: continue on my current path and be homeless in a year and probably dead within 2 years; take medication and live the rest of my life in a medicated stupor; or transition to living as a woman. It really didn’t seem like a choice.
Explain the process you went through to transition to the person you are today.
In January 2017, I began to work with a counselor who had experience working with transgender people. I began to plan how I might be able to transition in my vocation. I talked individually with the important people in my personal life. I began to let my hair grow out. I started hormone therapy under the supervision of a local physician. I restarted electrolysis to permanently remove facial hair. I began to dress androgynously. I became involved in a local transgender support group. In August, I began to meet privately with people in the business community with whom I had relationships. I talked with them about my situation and where my life was going. By December 2017, I knew I had to transition completely, because so many people I encountered perceived me as a woman. And those whom I had known for a while were becoming confused by my appearance. Beginning in January, I informed people whom I had already talked with, that I would no longer use my birth name, and I began the process to legally change my name. My name was legally changed in late February 2018. With the help of my physician, I changed my legal gender with some Federal government agencies and with my healthcare insurance carrier. This in NOT a painless process. It has been emotionally excruciating at time. At the moment, it seems I am about to lose the most important personal relationship in my life.
What hobbies do you enjoy doing?
I enjoy learning and reading, especially about world history, technology, investing, personal relationships, world and biblical history and business operations. I enjoy sailing and sailboat racing on big water. I enjoy officiating for youth soccer matches. I enjoy traveling through the back roads of our nation and visiting out-of-the-way towns, places and eateries. I enjoy a variety of musical styles from Classical to Classic Rock & Roll, Country and Western, Blue Grass, and traditional Christian hymns.
Tell us about your faith. What do you believe about life, God, the universe, and everything?
I am an active, conservative, evangelical, confessional, liturgical Lutheran Christian. I believe the Holy Bible to be the inerrant, infallible Word of God in the autographa. I do not subscribe to Darwinist evolutionary theory. I am convinced of the veracity of Intelligent Design and that God created the universe, although I cannot say I subscribe to 7, 24-hour-day creationism. I have served in leadership positions in almost every congregation in which I was a member. Most recently I was the Head Elder for my Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod congregation.
Describe yourself in a single phrase or sentence. I am…
I am owned by Jesus Christ and I long to glorify Him and to love my neighbors as myself.
If you could go back to the past and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?
Be honest in all your relationships and don’t hide your deepest thoughts from your spouse.
What question or questions have we forgot? What would you like the world to know?
It seems to me that the underlying assumption here is that this is a “happy” experience and I am finally being my “true self”. Not so. I am not “happy” about transitioning. If it were possible for me to NOT transition and live my life peaceably being a grandfather to my grandchildren, I would jump at the opportunity to do so. I don’t want to disrupt my relationships with my children and cause confusion to my grandchildren by my transition. Yet, I see no viable alternative to transitioning. I’ve come to realize that, before I started on the path to transitioning to live my life as a woman, I was slowly dying. I was living each day, waiting to die a natural death. Although I now have a sense of contentment and peace, which I’ve never experienced before, I would that it was not so.