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Sexual Confusion: Woman, Then Man, and Back Again

Posted by ABC on 2010-11-10 07:23:25 | Views: 96 |

Sexual Confusion: Woman, Then Man, and Back Again

David had all the things society equates with success -- a career as an IT consultant, two homes, cars paid for with cash , a wife and 12-year-old son he loved.

But he was hiding a secret.

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"For all intents and purposes we were perfect, but many of us know from a young age that something is different, odd, we had been miscast in life," said Donna Rose, who used to be David.

"I wanted the life I had built, but I wanted me to be in it, rather than the person portrayed to the rest of the world," said Rose, now 51 and living as a transgender woman in Harrisburg, Pa.

But just before she was to have sex reassignment surgery in 1999, Rose panicked and returned to her life as a man.

For her, it was temporary, but others who are transgender find the challenge of switching genders too great. Often, they discover they have sacrificed careers and loved ones, and face a society that unfairly views them as freaks.

Just this week, British millionaire Charles Kane, who had lived as the glamorous interior designer Samantha Kane for 17 years, revealed he was marrying again as a man.

Born Sam Hashimi, he was a divorced father of two when he spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on his first sex change operation in 1987.

But he later said it was a "mistake," and five years ago he spent thousands more on three operations to restore his male genitals.

"People who think they are a woman trapped in a male body are completely deluded," he told Britain's Daily Mail

this week. "I certainly was. I needed counseling, not a sex-change operation."

And there have been others.

In 2007,

Los Angeles Times sportswriter Mike Penner publicly transitioned to being a woman -- Christine Daniels.

"It has taken more than 40 years, a million tears and hundreds of hours of soul-searching therapy for me to work up the courage to type those words," he wrote under the byline Daniels.

But in 2008, the writer missed his wife and returned to the marriage. She rejected him and Penner killed himself last year at the age of 52.

Former tennis star and ophthalmologist Dr. Renee Richards, born Richard Raskind, also expressed regret over her 1975 sex change at the age of 40, saying that she never was able to fully feel like a woman.

"As far as being fulfilled as a woman, I'm not as fulfilled as I dreamed of being," she told Tennis magazine in 1999. "I receive letters from people who are considering having this operation...and I discourage them all."

Rose, author of "The Binary Divide," admits the transition from male to female was difficult.

"It's meant to be a discovery process," she said. "The minute that happens the old life profoundly changes and you can't get it back. You can always go back to being a man or a woman, but the life you left is gone. And that's the biggest danger."

According to research by Lynn Conway, a transgender woman and professor emeritus at University of Michigan, an estimated 30,000 to 40,000 postoperative transsexual women live in the United States. Many more are in the transition process.

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