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Changes and Challenges
by Suzie M. Keels
My book is about my life of changes and challenges. My problems started at age five. I felt I was a girl and wondered why my body wasn’t like my female playmates’ bodies. I thought I must be a bad person as I switched back and forth from male to female three times a day.
Things did not improve when I entered school. I was unable to learn to read, write or do math. I graduated from high school without ever having learned to read. Being illiterate in a world based on the written word is a very difficult thing. Fortunately I had mechanical aptitude and learned to work as a mechanic. I worked at masculine jobs in an attempt to escape my female personality. I got married and had children, and still I felt like I was a woman in a male body. Finally my marriage ended and I came out at work as a transsexual and that changed my life.
After I retired as Chief Mechanic at the City of Los Altos, I decided to write the story of my life. This required that I learn to read at age 67. When I went back to school, I learned why I had been unable to learn to read. I was dyslexic. Learning to read when you are dyslexic is not an easy thing. But I was determined…and I was lucky to find help along the way.
Here are some letters from friends who have helped me find my way:
Suzie Keels has been a true pioneer in the transgender community. As a sex educator I met Suzie over twenty-five years ago, when I invited her to come to my class as a guest speaker presenting her transgender experiences. Suzie continues to come to my class as part of her role as a spokesperson for the transgender community.
Suzie has been such an inspiration to me. Her courage is beyond words in her goal to find out her true sexuality. It has been an honor for me that she has shared her story about her dyslexia, sexuality, and just being Suzie for who she is. Suzie will be my friend until we both are gone. I love you, Suzie, and I am so proud of your courage to strive for what you believe in. You truly have come a very long journey to be yourself and I am in admiration of your comfort in who you are. Rejoice transsexuals and learn from this one incredible human being.
Suzie’s friend and tutor
(2011, paperback, 116 pages)