Stephanie Haskins’ ongoing series of essays detailing her transition will be featured monthly by The Reporters Inc.

The Reporters Inc. is proud to welcome Stephanie Haskins to our Board of Directors. She served as a television news executive in northern California for more than three decades. To read her entire bio, go to our Team page.

‘The Transchick Chronicles’

Transgender Journalist's Life Story Destined to Become Her Most Important

The Reporters Inc. is proud to welcome Stephanie Haskins to our Board of Directors. She served as a television news executive in northern California for more than three decades. To read her entire bio, go to our Team page.

June 2021

Editor’s Note:

Stephanie Haskins is a young transgender woman who has lived a very long time.

Haskins considered herself to be a closeted gay man for most of her life, but after years of emotional turmoil and deep depression, she came out as transgender (male to female) in 2019.

Her actual age? Well, for the purposes of the following essays, Haskins believes her journey into the future is far more relevant than a counting of her past birthdays. Still, her resume might give you a clue. Haskins was a television news executive in Sacramento, California for more than three decades, and followed that up by serving three California governors and other political figures as a media consultant.

Married twice, Haskins is now separated from her second wife and working through some tough times with her adult daughter, two young grandsons, and extended family members—all because of her transition.

Nonetheless, Haskins says her life now is “completely joyous,” as her transition continues. She began hormone replacement therapy in 2020, has just completed breast augmentation surgery and undergone the first of two procedures to alter her voice. She’s planning extensive facial feminization surgery later in the summer, and hopes to have a vaginoplasty in early 2022. 

This is the first in an ongoing series of first-person accounts by Haskins for The Reporters Inc. that she’s calling “The Transchick Chronicles.” Haskins promises her very personal stories won’t be like anything else you might have read before by a transgender author, or about being transgender. Haskins says she plans to offer up her transition tales in an “offbeat, cynical (but humorous), sometimes graphic, uncompromising and passionate style that will hopefully engage and entertain readers.”

That said, Haskins wants to emphasize that she’s not in any way assuming the role of spokesperson for the larger transgender community. She explains, “I’m telling the story of my struggles and my journey, in my words. Only I know this story, and I own it. I’m not writing about my experiences for affirmation or support. And I don’t presume to know anyone else’s transgender journey, or how any other trans person comes to know themselves.”

She continues, “I only hope that my writings stimulate thought and discussion—even if those emotions are anger and disdain. I’m OK with that. Just know that I don’t write to hurt or shock.”

The Reporters Inc. is proud to present Haskins’ utterly original, deeply intimate, and definitely “for mature audiences only” trip though the life and times of a newly liberated, out-and-proud transgender woman—and just in time for LGBTQIA+ Pride Month.

 

PART ONE

 

I Am Who Am
–Exodus 3:14

One thing I want to get out of the way right off, is that I’m an honest-to-God, actual transgender person.

I do indeed exist.

I know that pisses off a lot of straight, cisgender people, who would just as soon believe that I’m actually some kind of a goofy, attention-seeking phony. Like all transgender humans supposedly are.

We exist, they say, but only in our own deranged minds.

They think we want to somehow screw over Mother Nature or God or Mr. Goodwrench. And that because we aren’t comfortable in our bodies, we get surgery—EXPENSIVE surgery—to fool ourselves into thinking that we’re someone else with different pieces and parts.

What twaddle.

Of course most of us are/were uncomfortable with, and in, our birth bodies; that’s the whole fucking point of surgery. So we can finally, happily, joyfully, BE comfortable with and in our bodies. We’re not trying to kid anyone. Especially ourselves. We know exactly who we are, and how we started in life. And how many of us have lived in fear and sadness and guilt for so, SO long.

So, again, I’m most definitely a transchick. I’ve already had a tummy tuck, and breast augmentation. That’s right, gents. 43Cs. I’m actually too big to buy a bra at Victoria’s Secret. What a wonderful sense of humor God has—creating a biological male who always wanted breasts. But still. He did.

And look, I absolutely love them. I love them soooooo much. And here’s the thing about THIS trans person: My neo-breasts make me feel like an actual female person, one who’s learning to look at my world from a whole other perspective. A better perspective. A woman’s perspective.

Me!

Who pretended to be a male my whole fucking life.

Can this dream of incipient femaleness be possible? After all, I have no ovaries. Never did. Never will. But make no mistake, I AM a real trans feminine person. I’m absolutely NOT a figment of my imagination, And I’m sure as hell not a figment of YOURS, Jack. I do indeed consider myself a true female.

Whom I feared and repressed for my whole fucking life.

Oh, yeah. Back to the title of part one of these memoirs: “I Am Who Am.”

Let me explain those words.

Over the years, I was a lector (a person who reads selected passages from the Bible to the congregation) at the weekly Saturday night mass in my pretty little Northern California Catholic church. And every few years, one of the verses in the rotation was Exodus, 3:14. That’s when God appears to Moses in the form of a burning bush. When Moses asks God to name himself, God says to Moses in a very small voice, “I Am Who Am.”

What an astoundingly elegant way to put it: “I Am Who Am.”

And being the exceedingly pious Catholic human that I was, that verse has always stuck with me. It seems to me that it’s simply now the best way for me—and, I hope, ALL transgender humans—to identify ourselves: “I Am Who Am.”

Those four words say it all: I AM a person. I AM a human being. I AM not less worthy. I AM WHO I AM. You can’t change me, you can’t wish me away, you can’t pretend I don’t count for something.

Interestingly, some other ancient texts have translated God’s words to be, “I Am WHAT Am.” That works for me, too. Not only am I an immutable WHO, I’m also a kinda great WHAT.

Oh, and some more good news: My editor here at The Reporters Inc. just pointed out that “I Am What I Am” is also a bravura coming out anthem in yet another ancient text: the Broadway musical and fabulous film, La Cage Aux Folles. Just click on the link and start dancing. 

I feel so jiggy.

Yes, I AM a transgender person. Someone who was so lost inside a body that just didn’t seem to work for me on any level. Someone whose spirit had died in that body, but who now feels re-born, and alive, in a still-transforming new one. There’s breath inside, and for me, that’s huge.

I truly get how ludicrous “transgender” must sound to a whole lot of people. And as someone who analyzes the shit out of everything, and always has, there have also been moments my life when I also thought, “Who are you KIDDING?” This is not real: I am NOT a female. In any way shape or form!”

Those little cats-paws of doubt still sneak up on me every once in a while.

Yeah, they do. Sure they do.

That’s because inside, and I mean really inside of me, I don’t feel any different as Stephanie than I did as Steven.

But then I remember: I Am Who Am.

I don’t exactly know WHAT I’m supposed to feel like as a female person at any given time. But I don’t at all feel male either. I mean, who knows what ANY gender is supposed to feel like? I really don’t have a clue. Still, I can definitely say that much of the day I have a sense of femininity about me, and never a sense of any residual maleness.

I don’t, and I can’t, separate feelings that I have while (still) walking around with a penis versus feelings that I’ll have with a neo-vagina. I mean, how much of a difference does possessing those bits really make to any of us? To the me in ME??

And honestly, other than sexual intercourse and urinating, I just don’t experience most of my life only through my genital presentation. Does ANYONE? It’s a penis; I can pee standing up. I used to be able to ejaculate with it. (More on that later.)

Will I feel any differently with a neo-vagina? Really deep, deep, deep down inside? I don’t have any idea. But it’s worth asking the question. Honestly, I don’t think I will. I HOPE I don’t. I hope I still feel like me. When I have my new vagina, I hope I feel like the pretty kind, funny, cynical, loving, decent, empathetic person I think I’ve always been. Just a female version of that person.

But still me.

A way more complete me. A really, REALLY different me. But still me.

Maybe cisgender humans feel differently inside. But they’re people who are apparently okay with their gender presentation and apparently always will be. I’ve never felt that way—so I’ll never know, for sure, how they experience their lives. Their being.

I remember how I felt when I got married, twice, and when my daughter was born, and when she got married, and when my grandsons were born. Overwhelmed. Delighted. Astounded. But absolutely no sense that of any of those events was connected to any particular gender sensibility. Just the essence of being wonderfully human.

From as early as age three, I felt ashamed of myself. I hated that stupid, little thing between my legs. The thing that didn’t look like all the other boys’ things.

That’s because when I was born, during a short blip in American pediatric medical history, baby boys didn’t get circumcised. I was one of them. And from the earliest fragments of my memory, I always hated, despised, and was horrified by my dick. I didn’t know what else might go there, but I absolutely did not want what I had.

And that’s perhaps where this enormous conflict, sometimes exploding in my head for most of my life, began. My sexuality versus my gender. Does my gender drive my sexuality? Or does my sexuality drive my gender?

I can’t just say that I was born a conflicted male-presenting boy who concluded he was gay at 13, and who then later came to realize her gender incongruence. It’s not that simple. I do NOT conflate my sexuality with my gender identity conflicts. MY sexuality (pansexual, perhaps?) coexists uneasily within my transitioning male to female body. All at the same time. So messy. So confusing.

Look—and I mean this with all my being–I don’t totally get it either.

Not yet.

But I’m DONE feeling all messed up about it.

I Am Who AM.

No, I did NOT play with dolls when I was a kid because I thought I was a girl. I thought dolls were stupid. Because they were dolls. Could something be much dumber? No, I did not want to wear dresses because I thought I was a girl. They looked waaaaaay too vulnerable. I mean, girls’ legs were unprotected underneath. And their private parts: Waaaaaaaay too accessible. I felt sorry for girls who had to wear dresses. Long ones. short ones, REALLY short ones. My God. The vulnerability.

Until the past few months, the ONLY time I remember dressing up and using makeup was when I was around 12 or 13—a weird, hyper-sexualized time—at my grandmother’s house. Not much happened. I thought I looked cute. The end.

I was sure I was gay. This gay “sensibility” coursed through my body. Almost painfully so. I grew into a pimply-faced teen with a concave chest, in a small southern Minnesota town, who craved affirmation from other boys, cuter boys. It was so not normal, society led me to believe. So illicit. So depraved.

And I was so afraid of it. I was terrified.

And here’s a real out-of-left-field twist to my story of sexual and gender displacement: I was also absolutely and totally fascinated by female bodies. Can you imagine how confused and fucked up I felt at the age of 13 or 14?

Add to that the fact that both iterations of the teenage human body were so equally and so totally and so completely unavailable to me. And, on top of all that confused sexuality, what was happening to the out-of-gender part of me?

Well, as I’ve learned over time, it was there all along. I just didn’t know what it was, that it even had a name. It was just me—this boy person that didn’t know how to be a boy, how to act, how to think like a boy, how to walk like a boy or talk like a boy.

To think I was worthy.

But as what? As a gay male living in a body I didn’t want to understand? Who was/am I? What was/am I? Male? Female? Non binary? Gender queer?

More importantly, what will I become? WHO will I become?

Like I said earlier. God does indeed have SUCH a wonderful sense of humor. Only now am I finally starting to get the joke.

We, as human beings, are so flawed, so confused, sometimes so evil, and so filled with hatred. But more often than not, we’re also filled with love and gratitude and honor. We cling to each other for love and support and intimacy.

We’re also glued to a sense of “normalcy,” to assumptions and traditions that make us feel safe. Among them, that there can only be two kinds of people to love. The binary. Male and female. Sexually and gender-wise. No one else. Nothing else. No way, no how. All figured out. Because that’s how we’ve supposedly existed as a planetary culture for, what, 20,000 years or so?

OK, OK. But what’s God’s fucking joke, Steffie, you ask?

It’s that God always sneaks up behind us and screams, “HA!!!”

Laughing yet?

So, gentle readers: Much, much more to come.

The whys and the hows? All ahead. We’ll explore it all together—the further adventures of a transchick who’s still trying to plow through the six tons of change occurring for her over the past year or so.

And her lifetime.

 

This is me, in the early 1980s. I had just come out as gay–sort of. I was battling so many demons about whether to connect with men on a sexual level. AIDS was decimating the gay community and it scared me right back into the closet.  

This is me in the early 1990s, during my days as a television news executive in Sacramento. I presented as a very straight, cisgender male, in a business where strong male authority was the name of the game at the time. I was still years away from coming to terms with my trie gender identity. 

This is me, about a year ago. Despite the beard, I’d been on hormone replacement therapy for six months–and not yet separated from my wife. I was desperate for change, desperate to escape from my life, and my male-presenting body. But I was terrified.  

This is me now, after hormone replacement therapy for 16 months. I’m totally out as transgender, as of the new year. I have my own condo, live alone, and am about six weeks out from facial feminization surgery. I’m hoping much will change for the better as the year progresses. SO excited!

 

A note about my photos:

I’m not afraid of myself. Let’s make that clear, first off. Some trans people are horrified by the prospect of revealing photos of themselves from another time, or other iterations of themselves that they want to relegate to history. I get that. But I don’t necessarily agree.

I have very few pictures of me that were taken after the age of 35-40. By then, I had come to hate how I looked because I felt like a stranger in my own body. I’ve been suffering from various forms of dysphoria and dysmorphia since before there were laptops. 

But I do not want to dismiss the person I was, even as he tried so incredibly hard to be happy and present in his very damaged and very incongruent soul. There is much that I will always appreciate about the years I lived as a non-cisgender person.

And that’s why I share these photos with you. Stephanie is here now, and Steve is gone–but he shouldn’t ever be forgotten.

 

 

PART TWO

 

So, I’m sitting here tonight considering Ty Cobb’s dick.

I know. I can hear you thinking, “Oh, no.”

Yeah, well, hold on.

Here’s the deal. I’m a transchick of undetermined age (you’ll have to slice me in half and count the rings, but let’s just say that I have grandchildren), and I’ve been on hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for 15 months now. I started out with Estradiol tabs, and recently, I switched to Estradiol patches with the ubiquitous Spironolactone as a chaser.

Let me say that being on HRT has been the greatest revelation of my life. It’s done wondrous things to me, and for me. I feel so happy, so serene, so at peace with myself. I don’t know why, exactly, other than within minutes of ingesting that first dose, I began to lose years of anxiety, and miraculously—really—the terror of living as an out queer person. Maybe the estrogen coursing through my body during those first moments was just what I needed to actually start my transition.

Regardless, it was also emotional as hell.

My hormonal ecstasy started at 1:11 pm on February 14, 2020, in my gender therapist’s office in Davis, California.

It was one of the most emotional moments of my life—I popped an Estradiol tab and a Spiro tab into my mouth, and the therapist and I toasted the moment. I took my swallow with Gatorade Fruit Punch (appropriate, I thought!) and she with some sort of vitamin water.

Oh, yeah: So what does all this have to do with Ty Cobb’s dick?

Just this: The great actor Tommy Lee Jones made a movie about Cobb in 1994. It was called, simply, Cobb.

It could’ve also been called Titanic, cuz it was kind of an awful, depressing film that went down with all hands on board. No survivors.

The last telegraph message sent out in Morse code could have read: “Cobb is an asshole. Send no rescue party.”

Glub. Glub. Glub.

But: One of the early scenes in this movie showed Jones as Cobb sitting on a bed in a Nevada whorehouse in the early ‘60s, pounding his thighs with his fists in blind anger and frustration and embarrassment because his dick didn’t work any longer. Totally impotent.

That scene has stayed with me for 27 years, people. I don’t know why. I really don’t. Maybe the thought of having a non-functional penis was simply too horrifying to forget.

I assumed that Cobb’s penis had failed him because he was an old, broken-down guy, and a drunk, and his dick just didn’t want to continue its association with him. Cobb was a misanthrope, an unrepentant racist, a hateful homophobe and a repugnant misogynist. He was mostly despised by almost anyone who knew him, including his former teammates. They thought he was a helluva ball player, but an absolutely awful human being.

In fact, Cobb was probably the greatest baseball player of all time. His lifetime batting average was an astounding .367—20 points higher than one of my all-time baseball heroes, Ted Williams. And even higher than Babe Ruth too—who “only” had a .342 lifetime average. Cobb didn’t know anything else except baseball. His operative philosophy as a player and manager was win at all costs.

Take no prisoners. Have no friends. Trust no one.

Awful human being.

Yeah, I Ioved baseball when I was a pretend boy. Couldn’t play it, but I loved watching it played by great players. Cobb was waaaaaay before my time. I think I’m glad. I think I would have despised him.

OK, OK. So, Ty Cobb’s dick was dead in the movie.

Well, mine is too, but for way different reasons.

Remember, I said that HRT is the most wondrous combo of drugs ever. And it’s not an exaggeration to say that HRT probably saved my life, because the drugs erased all doubts I had about my so very new transgender sensibilities. But, and it’s a BIG “but”—Estradiol and Spiro assassinated my dick. And my balls, too.

And yes, you DO need to know this and understand that this is something that happens to most transgender, male to female people.

The lesson: There are always collateral sacrifices we trans humans have to make for the gender congruence we seek. It’s a price we pay.

When I first discovered that my penis was pulling a Cobb on me, I wasn’t completely surprised because I knew that it was bound to happen sooner or later. Estrogen and any androgen blocker pretty much do away with sexually functioning penises and testicles after about nine months or so. Permanantly. Mine has shrunk considerably, and my testicles have sort of disintegrated into some sort of gelatinous goo—with little or no actual real shape or form.

I’ll admit that I was shocked when I first really noticed what had happened to them. But I didn’t much care. Not at all. Other stuff was more important. Like, when was I gonna start to feel like, you know, a chick?

My body changed a lot. My hair got uber soft. So did the skin on my face. It felt like velvet. I started to develop something approaching an actual ass. Not the incredibly shapely Brazilian butt-lift ass that I always wanted, but still.

An ass! And, boys and girls, the skin on my ass got really smooth and velvet-like as well.

Other trans chicks love their newly-rounded asses, too. Just an incredible bonus. Oh, sweet Jesus, how I love my smooth, soft, shapelier white ass! I laugh when I tell others about this happy little booty-bonus but I’m actually truly JOYOUS inside. I’ll relish the day is coming soon when someone else will appreciate it as well. All in good time, I hope.

But back to the Cobb comparison. My Cobb is toast. Pretty much all sensation is gone. I haven’t had an erection in 15 months. Maybe one. And honestly, I don’t even remember exactly why or when it happened, but then it didn’t. Easy come, easy go.

Meh.

Well, it turns out that I started to care a LOT about not having orgasms from my sad little penis and my gooey little testicles.

In fact, I really, really started to care a LOT.

Okay. I was horny. VERY horny. Where the hell did THAT come from??

But then I started to consider this aspect of my broken junk: If, in a year or so, I get bottom surgery—a vaginoplasty—whereby the docs repurpose my penile tissue to create my neo-vagina, and labia, and a little clitoris, how is that all gonna work THEN, if I can’t feel anything NOW?

Uh oh.

A really good question, and I worried and worried and worried about it some more. I asked one of my docs about it. A nice man who’s also a gynecologist. He didn’t know, but didn’t seem all that concerned about it either.

Well, yeah, doc, but it’s not gonna be YOUR neo-vagina that won’t have any sexual sensation!

So then I talked to a gender therapist about it. He referred me to an endocrinologist, who made me get a bunch of blood tests. She also put me on the Estradiol patch, which is a much more effective delivery system than swallowing three or four little pills. The patches are small, semi-transparent, 3″x 3″ pieces of plasticine-type fabric with one sticky side that affixes to my lower abdomen, or buttocks, or wherever I can stick it. I go through four a week.

But back, again, to my dead dick. Was it curtains for the little guy?

Like I said, no one seemed to know, exactly.

But then: A revelation.

Right now, the shaft of my penis has almost no feeling whatsoever. None. Most males think they orgasm by creating friction between their aroused, blood-engorged shaft and head.

BUT.

My neo-clitoris is NOT going to be created from tissue from my penile shaft. It’s going to be created from the hugely sensitive little tip of my penis,

Which, thank God, is still VERY sensitive. Why hadn’t I known or figured all of this out on my own? Because they don’t teach you that stuff on Pornhub. At least not very well.

So I did a test by only stimulating the tip of my penis. And it worked. Work the tip, ignore the shaft. And, I could orgasm again!

And again!!

No shaft involvement—just that tiny, couple millimeters-square bit of exquisitely sensitive flesh, which produced lovely, sort of understated, quiet cats-paw orgasms. No erections, no okra-like goo all over the place, either—just orgasms. The orgasms aren’t intense, but very satisfying,

I am saved. Some sort of sensate orgasm delivery system is still possible.

And, I will NOT become Tommy Lee Jones’ version of a wrinkled, ancient Ty Cobb wailing in anguish in a dingy hotel room because he can’t get it up any longer.

I won’t NEED to get it up. Because I’ll have a clitoris.

Finally.

Look: I tell you all this not to titillate or shock you, dear reader. I tell you because it’s important for you to better understand and appreciate this hugely important life changing and soul affirming process we call transitioning. It’s way more complex than simply cutting off or pasting on the appropriate pieces and parts. Those of us who choose to change our bodies to more closely align our souls and physical beings want to emerge at the end of our journeys as whole as possible.

But not all transgender people choose to completely transition. Or can afford to do so. Regardless of how anyone presents as a human being to other human beings, we all deserve some level of kindness and respect. Or at the very least, tolerance.

Think about that, dear reader.

 

Stephanie Haskins is hard at work on part three of her story now, and we’ll bring it to you when it’s ready. Sign up for our e-newsletter here to be alerted when it’s published. Stephanie can be reached at .

 

COMMENTS

3 people commented on "‘The Transchick Chronicles’"
Feel free to join the conversation and leave a comment as well.

  • Cindy Riegler says:

    Great story! Very well written!

  • Pamela Stevens says:

    There is both happiness and humour with a kind of ‘Wow!’ factor that Stephanie obviously is feeling that is clearly coming through. Exceptional.

  • Linda Haskins says:

    Oh what a journey! I am so proud of you — Whew, finally Steph. Well done and I will read it again.

    Send me more pictures — you are in GREAT SHAPE GIRL. Hard work, I will get out there just as soon
    as it cools down. No excuses.

Leave a Comment

Comments will be posted following administrative approval.

The Reporters Inc. is a proud member of the Institute for Nonprofit News, a consortium of more than 300 nonprofit newsrooms dedicated to serving the public interest. Our articles are syndicated and shared with hundreds of other media organizations, online magazines, top blogs, etc. Please send news, feature and investigative story tips and ideas to .




 
 

Looking for one of our previous articles, investigations, commentaries, essays or book excerpts? Search our archives by typing key words into our SEARCH bar above, or at the top left corner of our site!

Share: