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. (more…)
BY KIM WHITING
Jack arrived at my office looking like the Hollywood version of a science professor. He was in his late 40s, with slightly unruly, longish hair, a buttoned-up shirt with a pen in the pocket, jeans, and well-made leather shoes.
I asked for his level of education and he told me that he had a PhD in engineering. He went on to say that he’d invented some highly classified technology for a U.S. Department of Defense contractor. He also told me he’d been put on suspension several months prior, due to excessive drinking.
The contractor that had suspended him was paying for his therapy sessions with me and with his psychiatrist. I assumed that his bosses hoped he’d get the help he needed and be able to return to work. If he had indeed invented highly classified technologies, they’d obviously be concerned about his drinking, because he might divulge information while under the influence.
Jack (not his real name) talked about his passion for technology-related projects, and the discussion was fascinating—and plausible—until he told me that he believed the U.S. government was monitoring his every move, via satellite.
He said that’s why he had to stay drunk, to numb his brain against the government’s mental torment.
When I asked Jack what made him believe the government was tracking or surveilling him, he said a government official, who had taken a liking to him, had leaked it to him.
The year was 1988, and I was fresh out of graduate school in the first months of my job as a psychotherapist. But it didn’t take a keen professional eye to see that Jack was dealing with more than alcohol abuse issues.
Still, where did the facts end and the fantasies begin? Did he really work on technology that was sensitive enough to warrant the government’s attention? I assumed, as most of us would, that Jack’s belief that he was under surveillance was a delusion, as was the “government official” whistleblower who supposedly exposed the secret.
But could I be wrong?