As I sit here looking out my screen doors watching it rain it took me back to being 15 years old sitting on my great grandmother’s porch in Eastern Kentucky. See back then I was a thin country boy being raised by my great grandparents. Now at the age of 40 I am a pre-op transsexual woman living a life I never thought of. If you had asked me in college about my childhood I would have strongly suggested it was horrible, full of injustice, ignorance and poverty. Now I see it was normal for the late 80’s or at least normal for what my family could provide. I come from a long history of hard working coal mining men and women providing the best they could. I am the oldest of three but it wasn’t until I started high school that I began to question my sexuality. I was brought up in the Old Regular Baptist Religion. My Mamaw didn’t cut her hair and in church the men and women sat across isles during church. Homosexuality was STRONGLY shunned and I was told it was a sin and I would go straight to hell. There was no social media or representation on television so I didn’t have anything to compare my feelings too. I believed that the feelings that were tingling throughout my body were that of the devil. I can remember from a very early age acting out only to have those feelings shunned. It was first grade and I naturally felt the need to play with the girls and thus the bullying started. I was feminine in nature but now my Mom describes it as “nerdy”. I had no attraction to sports or anything that the other boys were doing. Imagine fostering those emotions as a young child then you hit puberty and your body begins to change and you have no way to describe the feelings, its emotional torment. My freshmen year in high school was brutal. In study hall a certain young man named Chad would constantly bother me with threats of harm, vocal vomit of “fag” and “queer”. The upper classmen would be so bold to verbally assault me even in class as the teachers over heard and only gave a side eye. I was so scared and ashamed I wouldn’t eat with others or socialize at lunch time. My Mamaw would go to the local IGA and bring me a hot dinner so I wouldn’t be hungry. She would ask why and I would just make up reasons as why I wasn’t eating in the lunch room. Bus rides were even worse as I had no place to hide, I prayed each day that the front seats would be open as I knew the bus driver would protect me even if I didn’t ask for help. Thankfully the latter years in high school I learned to camaflouge my emotions and try and use my humor to fit in. I still didn’t understand what was going on or what I felt but the feelings of abandonment by my parents I used as anger and it masked anything else that was going on in my life. See now I can look back and understand that my father was battling alcoholism and my mother was a battered woman and the best thing they could have ever done was allow me to live with my grandparents but as a child it didn’t make sense therefore I held a grudge that made me feel I wasn’t accepted so it had to be due to those feelings I couldn’t explain. I was lucky enough to graduate high school and with the help of my family I left home and began college at Eastern Kentucky University. The down side of leaving is that I never spoke about my feelings towards my parents or dealt with my sexuality. It was my sophomore year in College and the boom of the internet that my experiences became broader and I could start to sort out my sexuality. I began to identify as “gay” however it didn’t really feel right when I did have my first gay sexual experience. I then began to do drag as “Wendy” and something inside of me awoke. I still held a chip on my shoulder when it came to my family and shortly after I came out and it made relationships even more strained. Even during this time my Mamaw passed no judgment and always told me how much she loved me. My bond with her is something I have never felt and probably will never feel again. My father found religion and stopped drinking but we still had no relationship as I was the gay son who according to certain family members thought I was better than where I came from. But how could I expect those who are products of their own environment to understand someone like me? I know how generations of my community have been raised to believe, maybe not ALL of them but a large demographic of men and women.
When people spoke or asked about my family I was only able to spit venom of hatred which now I understand was hurt. I had never reached out to my parents to talk about how seeing the domestic violence, adultery and alcoholism affected me as a child and I held a grudge towards my mother because she allowed a man to separate her from her child. I continued to sing the song of not being accepted and what a horrible childhood I had to anyone who would listen. Now I see that even though we were poor there were other’s who were much worse. My Mamaw never let me go without anything I needed or wanted. I might not have always had the best or given every last thing I wanted but I truly had everything I needed and a tad bit more. I never looked at how lucky I was to be able to go to college while my sister and friends didn’t have the same opportunity. I just continued to play my own sorrowful violin and feel sorry for myself. My Mamaw would pass away in 2001 and I no longer had that security blanket. I was forced to finally grow up and it also gave me the freedom to pursue what I had then known, I was a transsexual woman. I had been diagnosed with transgendered dysphoria (now it’s no longer considered a mental illness) at the time but I couldn’t take those extra steps to live my truth out of respect to my Mamaw and not wanting to disappoint her until she was gone. I had been working in the gay clubs for years and heard horrible stories from friends who were completely disowned by their family. Friends who family wouldn’t even speak to them or threw them out at a early age. Instead of me looking back and pondering that maybe I was lucky I only used the hurt to fuel those abandonment feelings. It was quite a few years before I told my closest family members that I was transitioning. I moved to Florida to pursue a relationship and that gave me yet another excuse to not face my family with my decision to physically become Wendy. Years would go by and finally the yearning to go back to Eastern Kentucky and see the beautiful hills , creeks and that house on the hill that I was raised in. I can remember driving into the outer city limits and my stomach began to ache and tears flowed down my face. I was having all these mixed emotions flooding my soul and I couldn’t hold the tears back. I stopped at a local floral shop and got some flowers to take to my Mamaw’s grave. As I pulled up the holler I was raised in my heart began to beat faster and faster. I made that right turn off the main road and slowly went up the hill to see that green tin roof and I was finally home. As I walked up the hill to the graveyard her headstone peeked and became closer to my vision. I was no longer that young country boy sitting on the porch sharing stories with her but now a woman. I collapsed on her grave and my heart ached as it did the day she was laid to rest. After having a bit of alone time I began my next journey to see my fathers parents. My Papaw Verlin was the backbone of our family. He had raised five children working in the coal mines. I could go on about some of the family deep secrets but it wouldn’t give any purpose but to pluck at a healed scar. As I pulled into their driveway he was sitting on the porch in a rocking chair. I stepped out in my long maxi dress and began to walk towards him. He stands up and gives me a big hug and says “You are always welcome here and as long as I’m alive no one will ever make you feel any different”. Well that was it, all those years of dreading that moment was gone in a sentence. Neither of my dad’s parents ever made feel awkward or ashamed. My Mamaw Thursa is now 82 and we have the best relationship EVER and she continues to support me in anything I do. Though my father and I have a roller coaster of a relationship he has never disowned me as so many of my friends parents have. It’s alarming and shocking to see a new generation of transsexual women and gay kid’s being disowned even with the vast amount of education online, mild acceptance in media, or how visual the LGBT community is today. My mother and I speak daily and now we can laugh at some of the things I do as a transsexual woman. I have two sisters who love me as a sister and a Dad who with religion and old age has chosen to accept me. Though he and I aren’t close at least he and I can be civil. Meanwhile I read daily on the increasing population of homeless LGBT youth and suicide rates. I am LUCKY! At the age of 40 I can finally say I am LUCKY and it could have been worse. My younger self would NEVER admit that. My humble beginnings though full of misfortune and hurt at times only made me a stronger person and gave me a heart of sympathy and a mind of tolerance. Anytime I visit that growing city in the mountains that little country boy still is running the fields, playing in the creek and sitting on that porch.
If anything I hope this story causes you to think that many have it worse and that all of our beginnings are what made us the person we are today. You would think that the story stops there but it doesn’t. This story is only the beginning of who I am and a small portion of my full yet interesting life, LOL. As I said I was able to finally address my sexuality but what was to happen in 2003 gives the next chapter of my life a X Rated version. See that is when my career in the Adult Industry began. I am now the most awarded Transsexual Pornstar, a publicist for other TS starlets, AVN Hall of Famer Performer, Producer, the first TS to have my own Celebrity Toy Line with Doc Johnson and the list of accomplishments are quite mind boggling, even for me. I have made “Wendy Williams” a brand and used my education to market myself and my brand to give myself a comfortable living. Keep your eyes open and maybe soon I can address what I have learned working in the Adult Industry as a transsexual woman.