Laura Amato Transsexual Biography
Parts 1 and 2
So, how could this all happen? How could a seemingly healthy boy grow up with the feelings of a little girl? Did something just happen last week or was it at a young age? Was it from abuse and cruelty or from circumstances that just happened? Was it a curse from God or a side effect from modern medicine? Can This be prevented from happening to some other boy? Hopefully this Biography can answer some of your questions and maybe some of mine as well.
Before my mother had her first child she suffered three miscarriages. Modern medicine at that time was just starting to study hormonal effects in childbirth. It was discovered that my mother's hormone levels were deficient in Estrogen after conception. Scientists introduced a new drug called DES which was designed to improve these levels. So when my mother became pregnant with me she was immediately placed on DES. Unfortunately somewhere between the 13th week and the 21st week is when fetal brain development begins. It is at this time that the fetuses brained is awash in testosterone if its a boy or estrogen if its a girl. In my mothers case washing her boy childs brain with testosterone wasn't possible because the DES was flooding it with estrogen. Unfortunately it would be until 1970 when scientists learned this. During this time my mother who was very religious and believed in the power of prayer had attended Mass every day, said over 300 rosaries and gone to nearly 50 novenas all begging for me to be her new baby daughter.
In April, 1949 my mother gave birth to a baby boy, me. While my mother was happy I seemed so healthy, her disappointment in my gender led to postpartum depression and eventual hospitalization. While a patient it was discovered that not only was she suffering from clinical depression but that she was schizophrenic as well. My first outfit and subsequently all outfits I was dressed in for the first two years were pink dresses,pants and pajamas.
Sometime after my second birthday long after I was on my feet I suddenly stopped walking and had difficulty breathing. The year was 1951 and in my area was one of the worst Polio epidemics (Polio vaccine was discovered in 1955) ever seen. I was on an iron lung and hospitalized. It was here where the good sisters of Providence finally talked my mom out of keeping me in dresses. After six months I could breathe on my own and started walking again without the devastating damage that most kids with Polio were afflicted with for the rest of their lives. I was most fortunate.
By the time I was four I had decided that I was going to be Mama's little girl. In fact I thought I was one. I just thought it was my mean father who made me dress the way I did. I started going to church daily with my mother saying the rosary and going to novenas all to pray for a daughter she could call her own. That year she gave birth to another "son". So back to the mental hospital my mother went while I was taken care of by many aunt's. During this time I played almost exclusively with girls. In fact I stayed away from boys intentionally including my baby brother. I still insisted I was a girl , not a boy. My father would scream at me to stand while urinating. I had no idea why I sat down and certainly knew nothing of the female anatomy.
Meanwhile my mother had another boy and another breakdown. On a daily basis after that my mom recited the joys of being a girl over and over again. It was "OK" to be a boy but being a girl was the highest form of life you could be, and "Oh my what a pretty adorable little girl" I'd make. I spent the rest of my life thinking I was a lower class of human being.
About this time school started for me and years of hell. The first day I was given two black eyes and a bloody nose, by the first boy I ever said hello to. He explained I was too much of a sissy for him. The very next morning after church my mother dropped me off in the school yard for school. Ten minutes later I was walking home. I decided I would not go to school with boys. They were just too evil and I certainly would never be one. My mother of course brought me right back all the while lecturing me about how I shouldn't fight, and turn the other cheek like Jesus would. How? I never even threw one punch. Most people thought I was born with two black eyes.
Just when I thought life couldn't get any worse my father decided to make his presence known to his kids and become a Prison Guard instead of a father. Things were missing from the house, empty candy wrappers started appearing behind the couch, household items started turning up broken. Of course at NO time was I ever a part of this. I knew it was the other kids. My father's solution was simple: drop everyone's pants, take off his belt and strap all of us until someone confessed. Unfortunately no one ever did. I started to hate my brothers and my father. My father was a man and my brothers worst of all, why they were boys.
Finally some relief came. At the age of seven my sister was finally born. No Post partum depression this time. Finally my mother had some joy. I did too for a brief day or two. Then it happened ..... the day my whole life changed. My mother decided I should learn how to change my sisters diapers. As she removed the dirty one, for the first time I discovered why boys were different from girls. I also finally faced that I was Indeed a horrid little boy. No one knew how I felt but I was devastated. I decided to do something about it. With my limited 5 minute introduction to the female anatomy I was now an expert. The solution was to rid myself of my genitals so I could be like my sister. Who could I talk to, my father? I'd be strapped for sure.
So at the tender age of seven I began a ritual that lasted almost 20 years. I went upstairs into the loft of our barn and discovered a rusted tire chain wrapped around the rafters. I removed my pants and built a ladder out of boxes and wrapped the chain around my genitals and jumped off the boxes hoping they would just rip off. They didn't and I passed out from the pain and the blood the first time. No one found me and somehow I came to and disentangled myself. I found an old dirty rag and wrapped it around my damaged parts pulled up my pants and went to supper. Days later I still had pus in the wounds but gradually they healed. My mother with her limited eighth grade education saw my stained underpants in the laundry and told my father I had diarrhea. She didn't know it was blood. He of course gave me Kaopectate every time my underwear was stained. I was constantly constipated. After I healed my ritual continued daily from that day on. I knew one thing, I was alone and I was a girl. Yet I was smart enough to understand, no one must know. I must hide my feelings.
Then I started acting like a boy, my survival depended on it. I stopped crossing my legs like a girl, started hitting back with my fists and asking the girls to play their games with them. I became an altar boy and started playing basketball. Gradually I stopped getting beat up. I never though let myself get close enough to be a friend to a boy. Girls were my friends. Boys and men were not meant to be trusted. Meanwhile the secret ritual continued daily.
After this my mother started calling me little mother. She said I didn't need friends I after all had my younger brother's and sisters to play with. She called me "lil mother" and before long I was changing the diapers and cooking and cleaning. Mom meanwhile started thinking that the B-52s from a nearby Air Force base were angels from God and then she went to the nut house again. This time for two years. During that time I was more of a housewife than a child.
My father continued to perfect his prison guard role of punishing the innocent to get to the guilty. My mother returned and I could stand life no longer. By this time I was thirteen. I asked my mother if I could be a priest and enter a preparatory Seminary. She was thrilled.
So off I went. My voice changed and my body hair started to grow and I was devastated. I would never be a girl at this rate. The stress got to me and I was sick for a month. Finally a surgeon removed a rotted and twisted appendix form me. I was far from home but I didn't care, at least I was away from the hell at home. The end of my second year in the seminary was another milestone which showed me the evil of men and boys. You would think by this time that I would know all about sex. I had no idea. In June of that year about two in the morning I went to the boys room. What I saw horrified me forever. Nine naked boys, sexually aroused (13-15 years old) were prancing around doing unspeakable things to each other (sorry, no priest was present). I had no idea what I was seeing and had never been sexually excited myself as of yet. I was horrified, and there in the middle of them was my roommate. Thank God They didn't see me. I went to my room locked it and didn't come out for two weeks. I wouldn't let my roommate in. I never squealed either though I'm sure someone must of guessed what happened. My father finally came to take me home.
When I arrived at home I was now 16 and eager to get a job and start driving. I also spotted the girl next door who was 14 and not a little girl any more. WOW!!! Life was good. I now had a girlfriend, worked as much as possible, necked at the local bluff and carefully stayed out of my parents way. The ritual still continued though and now I was confused as hell. What I would never realize until many years later that the only attraction was that I wanted to be her as well as other women I dated. It wasn't ever the standard man/woman attraction which at the time I didn't know. I desparately looked to women to cure me from feeling like a girl.
At the age of 19 I was flunking out of college. The year was 1968 and I knew college dropouts were drafted. So I did the craziest thing. I enlisted for an electronics job for three long years. I was still a virgin. After a year of training I went to Germany for a year and then Vietnam. Talking about the horrors of Vietnam is a book by itself or at least a Web Site (maybe someday). Yes, I did see the horrors of war. So for now I'll just stick to what relates to this site. Finally at the age of 21 my virginity left me. Yeah!!! What was strange was that sex was unpleasant for me. It felt wrong somehow. I never knew why.
Dozens of girlfriend later I came home to a world very hostile to Vietnam Nam Vets. I started working for the local telephone company and got my own apartment and car within days of coming home. There was no way I was going to live with my family. My father though seemed a lot more mellow and more respectful of me though. I thought he'd been replaced by Pod people.
After a few more girlfriend I finally got the therapy I needed. Finally at the age of 27 the ritual though still there became less physically damaging at least. I got married in 1975. It was a disaster. The complaint was that I treated her like I was a female girlfriend and just not aggressive enough. I Lost my job and got divorced.
I went back to college and became a Market Manager in 1976. I loved the work. In 1980 I got married again and bought my first house. In 1982 my wife became pregnant. Suddenly my manhood seemed to go south and I wished I were the pregnant one. The ritual tripled. In 1983 after an on the job accident I became a T12 paraplegic. My legs and my sexual function were gone. I was devastated. In 1983 my daughter was born and with my wife working I effectively became her mother and father.
Finally in 1995 after learning to drive with hand-controls and tired of being my wife's prisoner I moved out on my own. I was told I'd never make it.
I became a volunteer computer teacher for kids and adults at a local Kid's Club until Jan. 2000. I played Wheelchair basketball for awhile. Then in 1997 I had a stroke and a year later two heart Attacks.
I have been in counseling with a gender psychologist since 1986 since I've felt mostly female since my accident. I've hidden it very well. The biggest problem is during the course of a day I would mentally change gender from male to female literally dozens of times a day. I was clinically depressed and attempted suicide at least 20 times seriously.
I live with a loving caring Female Significant Other (my Honey) Who is very supportive and encourages me to be myself. I have come-out to most of my friends and family and even my Doctor. All Have given me unbelievable support and encouragement. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.
In November of 2003 I finally got a breakthrough with this lifetime problem. Finally after $1,500.00 a month in prescriptions I am on the right medication. I have been diagnosed with Clinical Depression, secondary depression (because of the injury) and Gender Dysphoric. I have felt the same way for almost six months in a row. I am a woman trapped in a Man's body. So now let the Fun begin.
My Plan is to continue the hormones I recently started, Get electrolysis for my beard and body hair, get an Orchiectomy first then facial surgery and SRS surgery. In the meantime I'm a little girl training to be a woman. The best Woman I can possibly be. Enough of a woman so that if you passed me in the street that you'd never know I've been through hell.
To be continued ......
Update June 17th,2004 Part II
After Rereading this Biography off and on over the last few months, I made an interesting discovery that I left out a very important point. Its really strange that I'd leave out the suicide attempts. I wonder why that is? Maybe they were so much a part of my life that I considered it normal. Throughout my life I've attempted Suicide no less than 20 times. Most of those times it had to do with me being Transsexual. Sometimes I get overwhelming feelings of despair. Often I would feel like becoming the woman I know I am has insurmountable obstacles, mostly caused by my disabilities Paraplegia, Stroke, Heart Problems and Post Polio syndrome. It is strange knowing the solution to your problem and being unable to fix them due to physical circumstances beyond your control. This causes despair, and despair causes suicide. After one attempt I made the terrible mistake of calling a suicide hotline. I needed to talk to someone desperately. It took me half an hour to convince them not to come get me and lock me up in the nut ward. I finally talked her out of it, but I never did get to talk or tell her what my problem was. One valuable lesson I've learned is if you ever need to call someone to talk because you're depressed the last place to call is a Suicide Hot line. They just want to lock you up, not help you.
Earlier in my life (in my teens and 20's and 30's) I attempted suicide because I was desperately trying to purge myself of being transsexual. I wanted to be cured of this anomaly and become a normal male. It seemed to be the easiest way. Well I wasn't cured with prayers, nor healing, nor even a full court press attempt at being male. I was a failure, thus the suicide attempt. I kept thinking, if I met the right woman, I would be male for her and for one brief year in my life it worked. I've never had that since although I had lots of attempts at the male role with dozens of other women. None of them worked. It took me years to realize that the intimacies I shared with these women was not in the male role. I didn't know that my behavior was abnormal for a male partner, no one told me.
Another suicide attempt was from the weird feeling of being sexless (paraplegia causes lack of erections) and unable to be an intricate part of another human being. The most serious attempt was when I was seven. After trying the ritual with the tire chains, I realized that I could not be a girl and that my male parts weren't going to fall off. A day later I wrapped the tire chain around my neck. I got the idea from a Western on TV watching a man get hanged. The loop didn't tighten and I fell out of the chain putting a gash in my neck. Days later, in the confessional I told a priest what I did. He told me to stop lying because that was a sin. He then told me to say Five "Our Fathers and ten "Hail Mary's" for lying, not for the suicide attempt.
Pre-op Transsexuals and transgendered people in general have the highest suicide rate of any group. There are several conflicting figures so I won't post them here. In addition no one really knows how many really attempted suicide or died because they couldn't cope with being Transsexual or Transgendered. What's more disturbing is how many children and teens may have died because of this, because most Trans-people are very secretive. Who can blame them?
I've never met anyone who wanted to be Transsexual or Transgendered. It is Not a lifestyle choice. It is something people like us have from birth. (DES Articles)It is a birth condition, not a voluntary behavior. Who would choose this life? Who would subject themselves to years of ridicule, pain and suffering if they could stop it? if you saw a person in a wheelchair, you could see their disability, you'd never dream of making fun of them. So why ridicule Tran-Folk who have a disability through no fault of their own? What's worse is that the worst offenders are the last people you'd expect to be prejudiced, Religious Folk. That boggles my mind.
I've been stable for a long time now and have had no suicide attempts in at least two years. This is probably due to the medications I'm now taking and the therapists I'm seeing.
Quite by accident I've discovered that I indeed have a purpose in life. Its to make people smile. I'm very outgoing and usually have a smile on my face which I guess is something you wouldn't expect from a person in a wheelchair. I've been told that I'm inspiring because if I can smile with all my problems they certainly can too. At last! I know why I'm here and that feels just great.
My primary purpose I was created for was to run this site and support other people like me. Creating a Transgender Community here not only shows people they are not alone but that there are thousands who have beaten this. One thing I have learned her from over 5 million users is that Transgender people are far stronger than they think they are. Often times we turn to others for help who are ignorant of our condition. This is almost always a mistake. We need to turn to our own community and to those professionals trained in our care. Not one user here has ever been permanently cured by prayer alone or by wishful thinking and magic wands. Following our Standards of Care is the only true option available to us in our treatment and recovery.