I remember taking this picture at our old house in Lakeville. I was having issues then as the real me was once again trying to assert herself. I had done everything I could over the years to cement myself as a male in this world. I had even joined the Masons and buried myself so deeply that I was in line to be an officer in my blue lodge, made District Ambassador, joined York Rite where I would become High Priest in Chapter, Deputy Master in Council and Captain General in Commandery. Yes, I was a Knight Templar. As a rookie I won the rookie award, I started a fundraiser for the lodge called Make a Fool of Yourself Night. I would put on a full on pasta dinner arriving at the lodge at noon to start making the sauce from scratch. My son would help me set up for the karaoke show that followed. This was so successful that we continued it for five years. After that, I demitted from all bodies, yet the lodge asked that I come back and do it again. We had a sixth year and did fairly well. I didn’t have to do the food this time, but focused on the show. The funds raised went into the Masonic Charity Fund which helps many in need. That was the one thing that I loved most about the Masons was the devotion to charitable causes.
I remember the night at lodge when we were waiting for the Master, Bill Zablowsky to come. He was making dinner that night. As dinner time drew near and Bill did not arrive, the lodge became frantic. As it turned out, we had every right. That night, on his way to get the food. Bill had a heart attack at the wheel and crashed. Even now, I have a hard time relating this as tears keep welling up. I want to take a moment to state that I loved that man. He was an inspiration to us all. His dedication and love for everyone was overwhelming. Under his leadership a lot got done.
That would become a night that would change my life. After my disastrous coming out in the 90’s, I thought I had buried Emma for good. I went to Bill’s funeral and listened to so many people talk about how authentic he was, how real he was. I, on the other hand, lived a constant lie in order to garner love and acceptance from everyone. In truth, I was Emma, not Ed. It started to eat at me more and more and I sunk deeper and deeper into depression. Cindy and I had moved into this beautiful home in Rock Village. We had plans on starting an alpaca farm. Yet, here I was planning how I would dispatch myself without leaving a darkness on this beautiful place. I had decided that I would get some toxic mushrooms and go deep into the Fall River/Freetown State Forest and lean against a tree and ingest the mushrooms. I had written a story, Emma – An Unlived Life, which was to serve as my suicide note. I also left an In Case of Death (ICOD) note in my desk drawer. It was all planned out except for one minor detail, the love and caring of my wife Cindy. She pressed me on why I had gone to such darkness. I finally caved and tearfully told her everything. I had started to tell her when we were first to be married but she held me off and told me that had her now and all would be good. It was not just good, but great for all those years, but it all caught up to me.
It took Cindy a few days to digest what I shared. She then turned to me and told me that it is time to move forward and that this time, there was no turning back. Soon, I was in counseling and in November of 2015, I started Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). Cindy came with me to one of my sessions, so that she could have questions she had, answered by my counselor. I had given her the permission to talk to Cindy at any time. We pressed on.
I developed a plan, and moved forward. With Cindy fully on board, it was full steam ahead. On Mother’s Day of 2016, Cindy told her family. Everyone was in tears and hugs all around. Her family has been absolutely awesome. We used to have a party in June as that was my daughter, Lindsey, Cindy’s, and Cindy’s Mom’s birthdays. So we decided to have one more Family Day and invited both families. As people were starting to leave, Cindy called them all together. She told them of the changes to come. My aunt let out a war hoop and said “About Time!”. She later would tell me that when I tried to come out in the 90’s and said I would be Emma, it intrigued her. When I came out this time, and still said I was Emma, she told me that it had been my Great Grandmother’s name.
While Cindy’s family was very supportive, my own appeared underwhelmed. They had been through this with me before. I was not accepted and beaten back. I reverted and soon everyone liked me again. Now I was to be Emma again. Cindy wanted it to come from her so that they would see she supported me. One by one, people came up to hug me. My brother told me, “Whatever you believe bro, we believe.” Um, okay.
Everyone cleared out and I was preparing for the backlash. I have to admit, it didn’t really come. I won’t say that I had support of my family, basically I did have the support of my sister Judy, my Mom, my nephew Cam, and my daughter Lindsey. My son Sean, basically said I had supported him so he will support me but he didn’t agree with it. That hurts a bit, but he is a deep Catholic like his Mom.
So, with that all past, the transformation moved into hyperdrive. I was scheduled to go to Austin in July of 2016, so I put in the paperwork for my legal name change. I wanted to have that in hand when I went down there as I planned to meet with my HR rep and my boss. Unfortunately, I also had to post to the local paper an ad advising of the name change. (This would out me to two people who actually read the legal notices.) Anyway, I had to go to Austin for a week. I scheduled a meet with my boss and HR. I advised them of what was happening. (Mind you, in the back of my mind was the remembrance of coming out in the 90’s and losing my job over it.) I have to say that I was overwhelmed by the positive response. HR rep told me that she had a friend who was transgender. She told me that she couldn’t do anything until I updated Social Security. Of course, that requires the court ordered name change. I sat with my boss and he simply asked, “How can I help?”. He asked me if I wanted to tell the team or did he want me to do it. I told him I would. Unfortunately, things didn’t go smoothly with the data center move so I never got to have that meeting. I would tell the team later after I returned home during our daily standups. It was received well and one team member sent me a copy of a wonderful letter that was presented by someone who had transitioned from one of our business units. I modified it to fit me and answer questions that people had.
A few days after arriving home, the letter I was praying for arrived. I was now officially Emma Morgaine Croft. I took a day off so I could go to Social Security and get my name changed. Gender marker couldn’t be changed as I needed a doctor’s letter, birth certificate or passport. Getting my name changed at least allowed me to hit DMV next and get my license changed. As it turned out, I didn’t get my gender marker changed then either because there was another form nobody told me about. Ugh, letter from counselor and the form and back to get gender marker changed. I was finally officially Emma Morgaine Croft, Female!
A week later I got my new Social Security card and took a pic of that and my new license and sent to HR. They updated my records quickly. I was now Emma Morgaine Croft throughout the company. There is a side story to this that I may relate at another time.
I set up a checklist of everything that needed to be changed over. I still need to get some things done, but most of the important stuff is done. Probably the key was finally getting my birth certificate updated. I had submitted the request with the form to be filled out by my endocrinologist. She referred it to her legal who sat on it. I had to get the GLAD lawyers to apply pressure. Despite having submitted the request last year, I didn’t get the signed form until earlier this year. As soon as I had it in hand, I had sent out the request to the State to amend. Shortly after, I had the amended birth certificate. Emma Morgaine Croft was born to Alfred and Dorothy, female!
I got all my credit cards and bank accounts switched over. I have a few things left to get done. I do have to get my military records updated, but I have been distracted by some legal issues. These pertain to an ex and not my transition. That is the only negative in my life at the moment.
I have to admit, my job has shown me nothing but respect. I have been with the company almost fifteen years. Actually it will be fifteen next month. So there is the occasional misname or misgender, but for the most part, at work, I am Emma.
I do want to take a moment to thank all who have helped me on my journey. It feels good to be able to just be. I have come a long way from the picture of the person at the top of this page. I have more to go through. HRT was only the beginning as I will need Breast Augmentation and Gender Confirming Surgery or whatever they call it these days. I keep moving forward.
My heart to your heart, one heart, one spirit!
“Lady” Emma Croft