When Rachel Pollack was four, she knew she was a girl. Like other girls her age, she liked wearing her sister’s clothes and imagining herself as her father’s “darling.” Only…Rachel was a son to her loving, Orthodox parents and to the outside world. A regular boy. No one knew about her secret–core–identity as a girl, nor about the fantasies, the furtive opportunities for cross-dressing, and the powerful desire to be acknowledged as a female.
Through all the milestones of latency and adolescence, no one knew about the confusion roiling the cowboys-and-Indians-playing kid, the religious bar mitzvah boy who put on t’fillin to pray, and later, the non-dating high schooler.
At 25, Rachel “came out” as a woman to her female partner, to her students at SUNY Plattsburg, to her parents and their close community in Poughkeepsie, New York.
At 31, living in Amsterdam, she had the surgery that brought her body into consonance with her gender identity.
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