Ellie’s Transition Journey

My earliest recollection of wearing women’s clothing was when I was a young child of 5 or 6. My family was on vacation in Minnesota vising my Aunts, Uncle, cousins and others. I got into my mom’s suitcase and put on a bra and girdle then paraded around in the living room in front of 30 relatives. They all thought it was cute and laughed. I enjoyed the attention, but also remember feeling JOY being dressed that way.

My cross dressing continued with trying on nylon stockings from the drying rack in the bathroom. I loved the feeling of how the air flowed across the stockings and an excitement inside of me. It was a feeling of completeness like the last piece of the puzzle. But I also felt tremendous guilt and shame because I had a belief that what I was doing was wrong. Boys were supposed to be boys and not have feminine feelings and desires. However, that did not stop me, and I continued to dress.

When I was young, I prayed to God every night to change me into a girl and was always disappointed in the morning. I felt abandoned by God and believed I was irreversibly flawed.

Looking back over my life, I sadly recall being miserable most of the time unless I was dressing. I did not have a girlfriend or attend homecoming, prom, or other social activities and turned to alcohol and drugs for relief. I was 15 when I got drunk for the first time. Consumed nearly a fifth of vodka, drove in a black out and wrecked my mom’s car. I woke up the next morning with a terrible hangover and could not wait to get drunk again. This started 16 years of hard drinking and drug use to treat my gender dysphoria.

When I married my college sweetheart in 1980 I was a full-blown alcoholic and addict. In March 1983, I went to inpatient treatment for alcohol abuse. After treatment I was miserable. I was what they call a dry drunk or stark raving sober. I had been to inpatient treatment 5 times, and still received a citation for driving while intoxicated in 2018.

In the fall of 2017, my wife found a pair of panties in my jeans pocket and freaked out. I admitted they were mine and told her I had been attracted to women’s clothing since I was a young boy. I promised to quit and purged my garments only to start up again in the summer of 2018. I was back in the closet until late December when she caught me again with clothing in the laundry. I know now that is when she started her plan to end our 37 year marriage.

I woke up on January 5th, 2019 after a heavy day and night of drinking and my wife asked me to leave our home. After a few days uncontrolled drinking, I checked into Serenity Lane in an extended stay treatment program. My son visited me the first week of my treatment. He was justifiably angry that I was once again in treatment for alcoholism and said something to me that finally stuck! He said why don’t you find out what the genesis is of why you cannot stay sober? With the help of my counselor, therapist, psychiatrist, members of my group, and my sponsor, I finally got honest about my gender identity.

During this time, my wife did not want any contact and I was losing my mind with fear of losing my marriage and being alienated from my family. My counselor arranged a meeting with her. On February 6th, I read my wife a letter that stated I am transgender and needed to live my truth if I had any chance of staying sober. On February 13th, my wife told at the next family meeting that she had decided she could not be married to a transgender person.

My heart was broken. I was devastated and scared out of my mind. Once I composed myself, I reached out to my AA sponsor, my sister and a few close friends. After 55 days in treatment I was discharged on February 28th. I started my life over again and from February 13th until October 11th, I called the VA suicide hotline five times. I came awfully close to killing myself last year but fortunately I reached out for help and am no longer in danger of self-harm. I also had several health issues last year and ended up in the ER with a kidney stone. They shot me up with massive amounts of opiates that triggered a relapse.

In early September I moved into lovely home and took in a roommate who accepted my dressing as Ellie-Mae. She became concerned with my drinking and on October 10th she confronted me. I told her I would take care of it and am thrilled that I just celebrated 7 months of sobriety on May 11th. I now realized that sometime mid-October that I fully conceded to my innermost self that I am transgender, and I started to heal. I identify as gender fluid; I love presenting as a man but also celebrate my femininity as a woman.

I am now divorced and alienated from my immediate family; however, I have created a family and a group of friends that love and support me for who I am. I belong to a LGTBQI welcoming church where the pastor and staff have been wonderful. I now realized how much God loves me, I have been generously blessed with mercy and grace throughout this time of my life and I am filled with gratitude.

The past 15 months have not been easy. I have had a difficult time with the unpredictable grief over the loss of my 39-year marriage and alienation from my family. Time has eased the discomfort and I am no longer ashamed of who I am. I am one of God’s kids. I am convinced God brought me through this journey, so I can help other transgendered people like me.

I have so much goodness in my life. I am now starting to understand the word serenity and experience joy in my life again. Today is special day as I am starting my HRT and am so excited to becoming the woman I have always felt like inside. I am starting to experience serenity, peace and joy for the first time in my life and could not have done it without the help of my girlfriends at CDH and TGH.

Thank you for reading my journey,

Ellie-Mae Nelson

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Joined CD Heaven a few months ago. I always joked that I was a "Lesbian born in a Man's Body". Now I'm starting to realize it's true.

Latest posts by Ellie Mae (see all)

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Alicia Dalmas
Alicia Dalmas (@alicia75019)
3 months ago

Bjr/Hello I write you in french !!!! J’ai été très émue par ce courrier comme la plupart de vous toutes Ma vie est très très compliquée…. Avec des hauts et des bas Je l’ai su depuis l’âge de 6 ou 7 ans Entre l’armoire des femmes de la maison et un père me traitant d’homosexuel Puis viens le mariage à 23 ans et 2 garçons Au décès de celle-ci et après le départ de mes enfants j’ai commencé à 58 ans de faire une transition avec impatience……. Mais malgré une petite poitrine et mon corps imberbe il n’y a toujours… Read more »

Alicia Dalmas
Alicia Dalmas (@alicia75019)
3 months ago


Anne Preuss
Active Member
Anne Preuss (@annepreuss)
3 months ago

I can relate quite a bit to Ellie Mae’s story. I discovered at 11 years of age, how much I preferred the look of being a woman and I am not just referring to the clothes. Poor self-esteem appears to be a common theme for many if not most of us who suffer in their journey of self-discovery. Myself, I was a victim of an abusive father who tore every fiber of self-esteem from me. In need of emotional support, I turned to a woman who I eventually married and had children, but in hindsight, it was the wrong decision… Read more »

Melanie Penson
Melanie Penson (@melaniep)
3 months ago

I can relate to a lot of Ellie Mae’s story. I too knew from a very early age that I was not happy with my birth gender. There was a photo of me, aged either 5 or 6 wearing one of my Gran’s blouses (which fitted me like a dress), headscarf, handbag and my little feet in Gran’s high heels. The caption was “off to the shops”. I say “was” because that photo has vanished from our family archive, I strongly suspect it was destroyed. Until recently, I thought along with any chance I would ever be with anyone in… Read more »

Michelle James
Michelle James (@mjlowry)
3 months ago

Good morning Ellie-Mae, Your story was so familiar I had to respond. I too saw the undoing of my marriage once my transgender life became apparent. It was devastating but predictable as I began to live true to my gender starting much later in life. I also have a wonderfully supportive church, a wonderful trans support network and great health care in a trans friendly clinic, Fenway Health in Boston. HRT for 8 months enroute to a full medical transition. The unfortunate reality seems to be that as many of us figure things out later in life there comes with… Read more »

Kori D.
Kori D. (@sdd757)
3 months ago


Thanks for sharing your story. It spoke to me. I had many of the same experiences; dressing up at an early age and praying to be a girl. I would say my addiction consisted of pornography and religiosity to cope with my feelings. It didn’t really understand what I was going through my whole life was being trans; I just believed I was insane. I’m planning to transition; but I will be ‘late onset’.

Take Care,


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