From the February 2011 magazine.

February 2011: Who I was and who I am now

A transgendered alcoholic’s search for self

"I joined the army to be the man everyone wanted me to be, and that didn’t work out."

I was born in 1946, in the small town of Homestead, outside Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and was named Richard. Everyone knew me and my parents well, and it was here that I started my journey of three lives: the first as an alcoholic, not yet fully developed; the second as the male whom society accepted, if I behaved myself; and the third as the female inside me, whom many people to this day condemn. You see, I am a transgendered male to female.

In my childhood, my parents drank. My mother would have a drink now and then, and my father was an alcoholic, in my opinion. As an only child, I tried to live up to everyone’s expectations. I would say to myself that I’d never get as bad as my father. When I was nine years old, my parents went their separate ways because of my father’s drinking. In my teen years, I would hang out with older males and nip a drink now and then. It helped me forget my secrets and my desire to fit in.

-- Ricki P.

Homestead, Pennsylvania

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