Shirley Corning, FFLUID Facilitator

My life story looked like a typical one for an American man. I was raised in Thousand Oaks, married, had children and a career in information systems. There was just one little problem that wouldn’t go away. I always wanted to be one of the girls and I first
wished I was a girl just before I turned 3 years old. Though my parents took good care of me it was totally unacceptable for a boy to have any girl things or dress up so I was raised effectively alone and afraid in the dark with my secret, terrified that anyone would find out. They didn’t until I told a few in my late teens because I thought there was something wrong with me and that I needed help. They couldn’t help me because they didn’t know what to do.

Six months into my marriage I told my wife I liked wearing feminine things and she said, “Is that all. Go ahead.”. My jaw dropped because she was the first person to ever accept my interest in the feminine things. It was our secret then and years passed before I met Virginia Prince, a transgender pioneer, in January of 1990. She interviewed me on the phone first to make sure I was a cross dresser and not a transsexual. She then encouraged me to get fully dressed up and come to the monthly Alpha Chapter meeting which was for cross dressers only. So I got all dressed up from head to toe for the first time in my life to go to that meeting and when I stepped in front of the mirror I could not believe my eyes. There stood a woman where a man had once been so I had to give her a name and I chose Shirley. So I went out as Shirley at least once a month from about March of 1990 through July of 1997.

It was that last day out in 1997 just before a meeting that the color seemed to drain out of everything because I finally realized I was not just a cross dresser and that I really truly had always wanted to be a woman. My heart sank like a stone and despair enveloped me. I could never be a real woman and nothing less would ever be good enough I thought. So I got even more chronically depressed, hopeless and suicidal then I already was and withdrew. I didn’t go out as Shirley again until April of 2011 when I started going out once a month again. It was the 11th time out on March 15th of 2012 when it finally hit me. I was at a salon as Shirley and I was so very happy, and so very comfortable in the feminine role which came so naturally to me and I felt so very accepted by everyone there that suddenly I just couldn’t bear going back to living like a man in Hell. I call it the six second transition because I didn’t go back to living as a man and in so doing I hit the family wall like a crash car.
 It took about four months for things to settle down but during that time there was anger and arguments, hurt feelings, heartache and tears. Everyday after that for the last 7+ years have been the happiest days of my life during which time I have worked to support trans and other gender non conforming people and their parents.
So here I am today the director of the Trans Alliance Ventura and the UCC’s FFLUID group of Simi Valley. I attend a lot of meetings and events and speak at some of them. I love happy endings!