Transgender Awareness Week – StoryCorps

“I Was Going To Have Family Again:” How One Woman’s Path to Being Herself Led Her Home

Elizabeth Coffey-Williams was in her early 20s when she told her family that she was transgender. But back then, in the early 1970s, there were very few options for people who wanted to medically transition. 

She is now 71 years old. She sat down for a StoryCorps interview with her niece, Jennifer Coffey, to reflect on that journey. 

Elizabeth now lives in a LGBTQ-friendly housing complex for seniors in downtown Philadelphia. Hear more from Elizabeth and her neighbors on the StoryCorps podcast.

Top Photo: Elizabeth Coffey-Williams and Jennifer Coffey at their StoryCorps interview in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on April 8, 2019. By Jud Esty-Kendall for StoryCorps.

Originally aired August 16, 2019, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

Love Lost, And Found

“I had to be who I wasn’t so that I could survive.”

Sue McConnell and Kristyn Weed

Sue McConnell and Kristyn Weed are best friends and Vietnam-era veterans. Although they didn’t serve in the war together, they share a story of courage — on and off the battlefield.

They met at a transgender veterans’ support group, and after hours of talking over coffee, they became inseparable. Since coming out, both Sue and Kristyn have lost contact with family members, but they’ve formed a powerful, enduring sisterhood.

Listen to Sue and Kristyn’s original StoryCorps interview.

Para subtítulos en español, haga click en el ícono de YouTube en la esquina derecha, y escoja “Spanish” bajo la opción de “settings” y “subtitles/CC.

The Door She Opened

“I knew I was a girl. And so that weekend, I got to be me.”

Dee Westenhauser and Martha Gonzalez

In 2018, at the age of 63, Dee Westenhauser came out as a transgender woman. But growing up in El Paso, Texas in the 1950s she remembers having a hard time fitting in.

One weekend, her parents decided to take her to her aunt Yaya’s house. Aunt Yaya saw a kindred spirit in Dee, and gave her an opportunity that no one else would: a safe, loving space to be herself.

Listen to Dee’s original StoryCorps interview.

Para subtítulos en español, haga click en el ícono de YouTube en la esquina derecha, y escoja “Spanish” bajo la opción de “settings” y “subtitles/CC.

StoryCorps 497: Meet Them Where They Are

For some kids, the saying “just be yourself” can be a scary proposition. In this episode, we’ll hear from an Arizona family helping their 9-year-old transgender son do just that.

Chris López always knew there was something different about her youngest child, Gabe. Although born female, Gabe always knew he was a boy. When he was 8 years old, Gabe came to StoryCorps with his mom to talk about how a weekend at a camp for transgender kids transformed his life.

Gabe is 9 now and recently came back to StoryCorps with both of his parents, Chris and Julio, to talk about their hopes and fears parenting a transgender son, especially after the federal government’s February 2017 announcement that it won’t enforce the guidelines that protect transgender kids from discrimination in schools.

Released March 14, 2017.

Like the music in this episode? Support the artist:
Blue Dot Sessions – “Periodicals,” “Cast in Wicker,” “Surly Bonds,” and “Vittoro”