Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Rachael Evelyn Booth, an American writer, poet, US Navy veteran, linguist, computer scientist, martial artist, entertainer, and the author of the biographical book titled “Wishing On A Star: My Journey Across the Gender Divide” (2016). Hello Rachael!
As many other trans-people of my time did, I tried to find my way in society as a man by first joining the Navy, then getting married and having children all in an attempt to find something that would make me feel happy in my expected role in life. Nothing worked and all I ended up doing was bringing more and more people into my life that I hurt terribly when I finally had to move ahead and become the person I am today.
After the Navy I worked for 30 years in computer programming and design for Naval shipboard weapons systems. During that time, I hit rock bottom and tried to commit suicide.
I finally realized that if I didn’t go ahead with my life to find my TRUE self, I was going to die. I had always thought that it took unimaginable courage to make this decision. It turned out it was the conviction that I was going to die if I didn’t. That realization took the weight of the world off my shoulders and I moved forward with my head held high.
Keep in mind this is 1991 and people hadn’t really ever heard of a transgender person before. I put up with this for one full year until I went to Belgium to have my Gender Confirmation Surgery and then tore up my sign and sprinkled pieces of it in all three bathrooms at work daring anyone to say anything about me being in there now.
|The guy who was living in Rachael's body|
for 40 years.
I wanted people to know that transgender people were just normal people like everyone else with just a little different problem than most. I always enjoyed teaching others about the realities of being transgender and I always learned something more about myself with each lecture.
|Rachael's first company Christmas party.|
This is a double-edged sword in the trans community. Female-to-Male transgender people can “pass” as male a lot easier than Male-to-Females. Given hormone treatment, trans-men grow beards and moustaches, their voices lower and they take on male characteristics. But their surgical remedies are not so simple. For Male-to-Females, after hormone therapy their voices don’t raise, their beards don’t go away, and they usually retain male facial characteristics that can only be changed through facial feminization surgery.
|Her books webpage.|
Right now I’m writing a totally different kind of book. It’s the history of the tiny town I grew up in in Ohio. The book is titled “The Little Port in the Cornfields – a History of Evansport, Ohio”. This is something that is fascinating to research. Evansport actually WAS a little port in the cornfields – founded on a river where farmers and loggers could bring their products into a grist mill and a saw mill for processing and then floating them down the river to trains at a nearby town to be taken to Toledo to be sent out across Lake Erie. A direct cousin of Francis Scott Key had a shop there in the town’s heyday. I’m really enjoying writing this.
On the other hand, I personally know some drop-dead gorgeous trans-women who I would confidently put up against any cis-woman in a beauty contest – if I believed in them.
|Rachael's first glamour shot.|
The first time I performed in public I got great applause and numerous people telling me how pretty my voice was. My voice really hasn’t changed all that much other than some diction lessons I took during transition so that I could speak in a more feminine timber. I never had a particularly low voice but my language skills, along with the vocal coaching has allowed me to sing like I’ve always wanted to. In high school I had to sing tenor because boys weren’t allowed to sing Alto. I now sing Alto in a local Chorus and another women’s group.