Parting Glances: Suits moi to a T! – Charles Alexander

Back in the mid-80s I met my first male-to-female T-person, Stephanie DuCharme, introduced to me by violinist Gordon Petersen, then Assistant Concertmaster of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

Stephanie was a gourmet cook, artist’s model, watercolorist, English/French bilingual. Her Forest Avenue flat was filled with dozens of her lush and exotic paintings. I envied her creative output at a time when, due to my own insecurities (and downright laziness), my own talents lay untapped.

For a living Stephanie sold cosmetics at a tres chic Second Boulevard store near the Fisher Theater. She was outted by hush-hush rumors, then let go. Soon after she moved to New York City. Last I heard, she was painting, modeling and appearing weekends as chanteuse in a French bistro. (Vas-y, ma belle cherie noire!)

My first FTM “sharing” happened at MCC-Detroit, then located in Birmingham. One Sunday Dave, whom I had often greeted at church – that day sporting a bright red tie for Pentecost – asked if I thought it curious that a straight couple was worshipping there. “Not in the least. Why?” I asked, over after-service coffee. “Well, I just felt moved to share. I’m a transsexual. My partner is not.” His answer startled me.

I hadn’t a clue. Dave had a beard, crew cut, dressed neatly, and looked like Joe Average (but brighter). I doubt he had ever been “clocked” (didn’t pass). Sorry to say, his partner, who was pleasant, a little older, went back home for a family visit one long, long weekend (too long for Dave) and called to say she was marrying her high school sweetheart. Dave was devastated.