Jo was sent to a private co-ed school at nine, and a private girls’ school at fourteen, and a girls boarding school at seventeen. The school uniform made it impossible to be taken as a boy, but did provide opportunities for sexual relationships. Jo barely graduated.
Father berated Jo for lack of achievement and so Jo married a male friend to get away from home. Jo permitted intercourse only twice, but became pregnant anyway. However she miscarried in the third month, and they separated. Jo fell in with a fast crowd, and one morning awoke in a man’s bed. Again she was pregnant, they married, and again she miscarried.
Only when she was 26 did Jo meet any lesbians: “however, I never felt that I was in quite the same category”. Jo moved to the US Southwest and started raising pure-bred cattle.
For several years Jo’s companion was Barbara who drank heavily and beat Jo. Jo attempted suicide, and underwent two years of psychiatric treatment, that did nothing at all to deal with her feelings that she should be a man.
Joe had met Helen, a friend of Barbara, and started corresponding with her, but it was some time before they were both free of other involvements. They were very compatible.
In 1956 Joe wrote:
“In my case, there is the embarrassment of being in public places and not quite knowing what rest-room facilities to make use of.... Yet, on the rare occasions when I wear female attire because of absolute necessity, I feel inwardly that I am masquerading as a woman. I never have this feeling of impersonation when I am dressed as a man. Rather, I feel comfortable and as if living in tune with what has been part and parcel of me all my life and has been so accepted by my family and is now accepted by most of my friends and acquaintances. … I feel I have never dressed as a man just to flaunt my deviation or for any other reason except that to dress and behave as a man is natural for me while to try to live any other way gives me always the feeling of being an impostor.”Joe met a trans woman, June, who introduced him to Dr Benjamin. He was put on a course of male hormones, his already small breasts were reduced to resemble those of a male, and some years later he had a hysterectomy. He started shaving regularly.
This while living in a small, semi-rural community in Texas. Helen joined him there, and after his birth certificate was re-issued, they married. All members of both families were quite accepting.
Joe and Helen moved to a city, and Joe became an art dealer.
- Harry Benjamin. The Transsexual Phenomenon. Julian Press, 1966. Warner Books Edition 1977: 190, 272-288. PDF: 90, 128-135.