I had my first transgendered patient. He was a she, but he was doing she poorly. The patient looked like a man trying hard to be a woman, but in no way pulling it off. The voice, the facial stubble, the clothes said male. I suspect the patient couldn’t afford to take hormones and was poor. I ended up being right on both counts. The patient was elderly, tall and skinny with long, greasy, gray unkempt hair. She was new to Chicago having just recently arrived from California. California is a much better place to be transgendered. San Francisco practically invented transgender and hippie; she was a bit of both. Midwest, not so much. She had come to Chicago to live with a friend and start a Church for the transgendered. She called herself a Reverend. The plans fell through and she was asked to leave her friends apartment. Homeless and still wanting to open a church for the transgendered. She had both savvy and schizophrenia. My job was to find her another shelter. She had been at Pacific Garden Mission but didn’t feel accepted or safe there. We talked for a few minutes about how difficult it was to be transgendered in America. She thanked me for not judging her and trying to help. I called a gay organization and was told to send her to a shelter on the North Side, stay on the North Side they cautioned me. I brought her to my office and she called a relative in California to let them know she was okay. I could tell from the conversation it was a person who really cared and understood her.
Later that evening I found a note the patient left for me on my computer keyboard. It was written in cursive and said, “Hello, I would like to offer you something, the only thing I have to give. A blessing for you, a person who has helped me. Father above, I ask you to bless this woman. May she have all she needs in life; good health, wisdom, abundance and understanding. May she be blessed with her hearts innermost desires. Watch over her lord Jesus. We ask in your name. Reverend.”