Boy meets girl

I always wondered how my transgender friends Amy and Gavin dealt with love, sex, surgery — everything, really. So I invited them for dinner.


Kadie Somers was a classic tomboy; when she was eight she asked her mother for a Nick Carter bowl-cut and was horrified to get a Winona Ryder pixie instead.

Her first inkling that she might be gay came when she was 12 and discovered that she was far more interested in kissing her best friend than her boyfriend. For many years thereafter she figured that if the shoe fit, she might as well run in it, but the “lesbian” label never felt entirely comfortable.

Shayne had dyed-black hair that flopped over one eye, thick-framed rectangular glasses and a close-cropped goatee. Kadie met him more than once before she learned he was transgendered. It got her thinking. She asked him for some of his time.

It was the fall of 2006. She was 19 years old and studying stagecraft at New Westminster’s Douglas College. She got to school long before dawn, left well after dark. Weekends were more aspiration than reality.

She and Shayne ended up sitting knee to knee on a piano bench in a practice room closet in the college’s music wing. He did most of the talking, about who he was and how he lived, about hormone therapy and identity. She listened. A light came on.

“All this conflicting stuff in my head, my attempts to turn off my own gender, the unwanted attention I got as a girl, it all kind of slid together and I could see that there might be a way through it.”

Read part one of Ryan Elias’s candid conversation with his transgendered friends in The Tyee here and part two here.


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