Friday, February 27, 2015

My Ride With Fame

They said everyone has a moment of fame. I was down in Washington DC for an Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) lobby day I think was in 2007 and I shared a taxi with a trans woman to a reception at the National Press Club.
When my friend John became Jennifer
New York Post
By Andrea Peyser
February 22, 2015

I picked up the phone and heard a vaguely familiar voice on the line.

“It’s Jennifer,” said the caller.

“Jennifer who?” I asked.

Pause. The high-pitched voice dropped several octaves. “You used to know me as John.”
To say I was thunderstruck is to underestimate the power of nature. For I remembered my old friend John Leitham as a smart, talented and handsome, if somewhat effeminate, musician who was decidedly male and presumably straight. John played the upright bass left-handed with the jazz singer Mel Torme and with ex-“Tonight Show” trumpeter Doc Severinsen, among others, and married and divorced a woman.
We made small talk on the way over to the press club and then we parted our ways and I didn’t see her again until after the lobbying day and we were all at the hotel having breakfast. Mara Keisling was debriefing us on how the lobby day went for us, what we liked about it, what we didn’t, how our visit to our legislators went, etc. and Jennifer mentioned that she was invited by the Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to the Democratic breakfast. She then said something that clicked in the back of my mind, after breakfast I went up to my room and Googled her. So that was my brush with fame.
Jennifer is now 61, lives in Pasadena, Calif., with two rescued cats, and still performs and records jazz. She underwent sex-reassignment surgery in 2001 at age 48 and received hormone treatments but not breast augmentation. This was hard for me to accept because I believed in the old adage: “God doesn’t make mistakes.”

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