Barbara Collins had come a long way. Her journey took her from life as a birth male through the storms of dysphoria complete with strong headwinds and cross currents. After a long and bitter struggle with inner demons, societal pressures and rejection by family and friends, she finally scheduled and completed gender affirmation surgery
She knew the journey would be long and difficult. She also understood that doing nothing and suffering in the body that failed to acknowledge, accept and love the woman inside was worse than death. Suicide ideation had played tricks on her sanity. The specter of starting over without a strong support network added to the already thick and soupy tension.
After many hours of searching she found a local support group of transgender men and women who delivered the elixir of promise. She learned that rebirth, while painful, could be the most fulfilling experience a person could have. In order to complete her journey to physical affirmation, Barb marshaled professional resources including psychologists and psychiatrists to diagnose her condition and to work with her to design a therapeutic solution. Surgical qualification standards required approval of these professionals before she could finally and mercifully complete the outward process that removed the last traces of the male shell. Like most transgender, she married hoping to find a way out; a breakthrough, an epiphany. That charade lasted all of five years; ending acrimoniously with the aggrieved wife angry and bent on extracting a pound of financial and emotional flesh to satiate the need to punish for what the ex-wife labeled a farce.
Shortly after the separation, she began to transition at work. The process was long and painful. Every layer of management questioned the motive and required education and training. The line staff seemed to understand more than their better-educated and richly paid superiors. Certain coworkers made her the brunt of jokes and harassed her mercilessly. Fortunately, there was Title VII that was just being expanded to include gender discrimination. Barb found a shark lawyer who was a post-operation male to female transgender. The financial settlement, although not enough to heal all wounds, was enough to fund portions of the myriad surgeries including facial feminization, trachea shave and breast augmentation.
After three months of recovery from surgery Barb found a job with a boutique brokerage firm that was acquired. The acquisition brought with it the initially unforeseen benefit of Russell Radcliffe and the same depth and intensity of dysphoria that Barb had overcome.