Gender Identity | Finding His True Self

Article excerpt

MILWAUKEE - It was decades before Bill Jutz admitted the truth to his therapist and to himself. By then he was in his late 50s, a man whose wispy white hair and sad gray eyes made him look older. He had never married. He had no children. He had one cat: Bond, like the secret agent.

He was certain that when it came to love, he would always be alone. He'd lived too long as someone else.

That other Bill blended in easily in Wisconsin. He fit a certain image of Midwestern manhood. He rode a motorcycle. He rode it in winter. He belonged to a cycle club.

A former maintenance man, Jutz had spent years playing the tough guy. The guy who curses. The guy who never says "I love you," not even to his mother. The guy who never cries at the sad scenes in movies. Whenever a tear threatened, Jutz coughed.

He could have been the guy you sat next to the last time you saw the Packers at Lambeau Field. Except that he hates football. Hates the violence of it the way he hates those macho flannel shirts guys wear. The discomfort runs through him like a shudder.

"When I'm wearing obvious men's clothing - and I haven't in a while," Jutz says, "I feel like I'm cross-dressing."

That's because of this other person inside him. He calls her Corrine. He believes she is the real Bill Jutz.

For years he tried to silence her. Now, at the age of 62, he wonders where she came from.

Was Corrine genetic, a sliver of code on the double helix that determines which traits we inherit from each of our parents?

Or did she grow inside him during childhood, a secret self that had nothing to do with nature?

It has taken a very long time just to ask the questions.

Only in recent years has the discussion of gender identity entered the mainstream.

Sports Illustrated, The New York Times and National Public Radio, among others, have produced stories about transgender people, those who say their gender has been mislabeled. …