The family emigrated to Florida when she was five. She became a crack addict during a stint in the US Army. Afterwards Maritza went wild in the Miami gay scene, and at 24 made a last-ditch attempt to go straight by marrying a 55-year-old Englishman. However the marriage quickly fell apart as did several lesbian affairs. In one case the intention was to start a family, but Maritza was unable to get pregnant.
At age 38 in 2002 Maritza had become a bodybuilder and occupational therapist, where she took up with Violet who worked in the same gym. She was asked if she was transitioning, based on her appearance, but she did not understand the term until she looked it up on the internet.
"The sky just like opened up. There are others like me. It was like a revelation."Mark Cummings, as he became, went from an initial consultation with a therapist, to hormone therapy, to a full mastectomy and hysterectomy with Dr Harold Reed in Miami, to a legal name and gender change in just five months.
"It was the easiest thing. I don't let grass grow under my feet. I was fulfilling my destiny. This is what I was supposed to be."He and Violet were then legally married. To Mark's surprise it was his father alone in family who accepted him.
|Violet and Mark, 2004|
In January 2006 Mark and Violet appeared on the syndicated Maury Povich Show to great success.
"Well, Maury, I want viewers to know that being transgender is not a sin, a crime, or a deviant behavior. What it is, is a birth defect. We are human beings with feelings, and all we ask is the respect... "Following this, he was contacted by the Anderson family in Florida who were attempting to enrol their trans daughter, Nicole, in school. They were said to be the first US family to support a trans child in this way. Mark immediately agreed to help. He wrote in response to a negative posting:
"My mother did everything within her power to make me a girl, although, I knew other wise. When I met The Andersons, I had only wish they could have been my parents. When I met Nicole, I bonded instantly, and felt, what a lucky girl she is. Gender Dysphoria is real. To tell you the truth, there will be an epidemic of it. You see at 8 weeks time when the brain and central nervous system is being developed, exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals ( pesticide, herbicides, fungicides, and estrogenic compounds such as soy products) alter the typical pathways that hard wires the brain to be a boy or girl brain. The weight of scientific evidence demonstrates that Transsexualism is biologically based."He also wrote to the school board offering to educate and train teachers himself – an offer that was declined. He persuaded the Andersons to talk to a reporter. They were grateful, but sometimes found him a bit overwhelming.
Mark became a celebrity on US Spanish-language television for his open and outspoken appearances explaining his gender change and wowing the Latino television hosts. Again he explained transgenderism as a birth defect resulting from environmental toxins. Later that year Mark Cummings published his 79 page autobiography wherein he described the anguish he felt living in a female body:
“Being in the wrong body is a crime. Death is appealing to those of us, who are encased in the wrong shell, who are trapped in a ﬂesh of darkness, that ...sickens us to the point of madness” (pp 33).Mark and Violet opened a wellness center business. He also wrote and performed music and toured with his life story.
Continued in Part II.
It was said at the time that the Anderson family was the first US family to be supportive of a trans kid in this fashion. However the Wisconsin woman we know by the pseudonym of Sally Barry was supported by her parents in the 1930s/1940s with varying response from the school authorities