Early Recovery (Autumn 1988 to May 1989)

The first month in the VA rehab was like being let out of prison. I hadn't been clean and sober that long since high school, not even in Basic Training or jail. But my hope for a "normal" life was fleeting; without drugs to supress them, my transsexual feelings flooded back. The macho atmosphere of the VA was no place to confess my womanhood, so I wrote what eventually became my autobiography. I also romanticized heroin and suicide as alternatives to the guaranteed rejection and other pain of a transsexual woman's life.

So, how did I handle re-transition? How did I handle living as a woman and dealing with all the hatred and surviving without prostitution and enduring the pain of electrolysis removing my beard? How did I take the steps of transition now that I knew what not to do this time? How did I handle the double burden of facing the world as a transsexual woman and as an addict who no longer tackled life's problems with drugs after doing nothing but my whole adult life? That's something I will leave to my book, but I can give you some hints with these photos.

Kicked out of rehab, the only afforbable rent was in the Tenderloin. Still on state disability I got a bus discount ("MUNI Looney") card, and ate at a church homeless dining room for a bit. I resumed part time data entry for my stepfather (only this time I wasn't shooting up in the bathroom). I began electrolysis and female hormones and got a replacement transit card to reflect my changing appearance. For most of April I was a clean & sober bartender, until I finally got hired to a real computer programming job as a guy, for the moment.

The big question was: would they fire me like my last employer when I asked to work as Christine?