What Happened, Don Ennis?

Update 4/4/2015:  recently, i have become internet acquaintances with ms. ennis. i find her to be a very friendly, likable woman who is devoted to her family, but i’m letting this blog entry stand so as to represent where my mind was at the time. no disrespect intended, dawn; thank you for being a role model!  XO  

There are certain transgender people I look to for guidance and inspiration – Laura Jane Grace, Eden Lane, but also Don Ennis, who, for a short time, publicly announced that he no longer wished to be known not as Don but Dawn, only to revert back a few days later.  Don blamed his mistake on transient global amnesia, “a temporary but almost total disruption of short-term memory.”


Well, if fucked-up feelings about your sexual identity are no longer a mental disorder according to the DSM-5, Don, you’re not helping anyone’s case.  I read what you wrote when you came out:  You said that you and your wife had struggled with your sexual problems for years and had come to the mutual decision you had no choice but to live as a woman, so you show up at your job at ABC in a dress and announced that everyone was to call you “Dawn”.  You started a Facebook page and a Twitter feed for Dawn, posted pictures of your new self, and enjoyed the vocal support of many hundreds of people.  You wrote of a transgender person’s right to happiness, and of your satisfaction with your decision, yet there you were two weeks later, disavowing everything you had said, blaming your momentarily lapse of reason on amnesia and being fed female hormones as a child.

I can’t know for sure, Don, but I don’t think you’ve been completely truthful about what made you revert.  My suspicion, my deep fear, is that once the novelty of coming out wore off and you had to get down to the daily tedium of living as a woman, you said, “Oh fuck, this is hard!”  Once the rain of praise slowed to a drizzle, you thought to yourself, “Hey! I am not going to be constantly rewarded and reinforced by my friends, colleagues, and internet allies!  The strength I need to live this way needs, in actuality, to come from within!”  You concluded you didn’t have that strength, that it would be easier to live they way you’ve lived all your your life – conflicted and unsatisfied, but at least with a loving spouse to take care of you.  Why would any rational person throw that away?

I’m not mad at you, Don.  If fact, I’m grateful for the reminder that crossing over – A) would be hard as all fuck, B) means a lot more than just a opportunity to be the center of attention in the realm of social media, and C) is fraught with negative consequences.