You can’t open a newspaper or magazine today without reading about Olympian Bruce Jenner’s sex change. At first I didn’t believe it, but with his longer hair, nail polish, adam’s apple and facial surgery, together with his mother’s remarks to the media, I now believe it’s true. I also understand that he remains sexually attracted to women and so will live as a lesbian. I can’t imagine the courage it takes to commit to this transition so late in life.
His story, however, reminds me of an article in the New York Post about a gender change involving prominent ABC network news editor and producer, Don Ennis.
One morning in 2013 Mr. Ennis arrived at the ABC New York studios wearing a tight black dress and a long brown wig and advised his colleagues he was transitioning to a female. He asked to be called “Dawn”.
“Please understand,” he said in a statement, “this is not a game of dress-up, or make-believe, it is my affirmation of who I now am and what I must do to be happy, in response to a soul-crushing secret that my wife and I have been dealing with for more than seven years, mostly in secret.”
He left his wife of 17-years and began living as a woman however, the “change” lasted only three months when he realized he had made a mistake. He was a man.
Apparently Mr. Ennis was a child actor whose mother gave him female hormones to extend his modest acting career. Over the years he felt like a man trapped in a woman’s body and eventually had a breast augmentation.
After suffering from what he describes as two days of “transient global amnesia” he realized he was not a woman and had been misdiagnosed. His letter to friends and workmates to announce his second gender reversal read:
“I am writing to let you know I’m changing my name . . . to Don Ennis. That will be my name again, now and forever. And it appears I’m not transgender after all.
I have retained the much different mind-set I had in 1999: I am now totally, completely, unabashedly male in my mind, despite my physical attributes,
I’m asking all of you who accepted me as a transgender to now understand: I was misdiagnosed. I’m already using the men’s room and dressing accordingly.”
Mr. Ennis sought professional help at the National Institute of Health in Bethesda Maryland to understand why his mind and body changed from male to female. He was told he had a hormone imbalance. After his bout with amnesia he suffered a “drastic loss of memory” and could only remember himself as a man, hence the second gender reversal.
Medical literature describes the amnesia suffered by Mr. Ennis as related to emotional instability triggered by a phobic or challenging precipitating event.
Unfortunately for Dawn/Don, he changed his mind again and showed up at work in his female attire. It may just have been bad timing, but shortly thereafter he was fired from ABC for “performance issues”.
Not hard to understand that his mind may not have been on his work! Hopefully for Dawn/Don he will receive the support and treatment he so sorely needs.
The statistics on sex change reversals are highly controversial. The transgender community asserts that reversals are rare, however, website SexChangeRegret.com disagrees.
While in the past the media rarely reported on these stories, more recently they have been making news, including the fate of the transexual Belgian man who was permitted by Belgian authorities to participate in legal euthanasia.
Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang