For transgender, an eventful life hits new heights – Cecilia M. Vega, Chronicle Staff Writer

If ever there was a real-life, rags-to-riches fairy tale, Theresa Sparks’ story is it.

Only, this being San Francisco, Cinderella used to be a man and went from riches (traveling in a corporate jet) to rags (driving a taxi and sleeping on friends’ couches) to prominence again by becoming a pioneering transgender activist and the CEO of a multimillion-dollar sex-toy company.

It’s not the way Sparks, 58, ever thought her life would turn out.

As she says in her profile on an Internet dating site, she’s “just another San Francisco trans-woman with the uncanny ability to get myself into trouble.”

But this week Sparks started what could be one of the most important chapters in her life when she was voted president of the San Francisco Police Commission. Her election shook up City Hall — she beat out Mayor Gavin Newsom’s pick for the job and prompted a prominent member of the board to resign abruptly.