Koch, Anne Lauren. “It Never Goes Away: Gender Transition at a Mature Age”, Rutgers university Press.
The Gender Journey
It seems to me that every day we learn something new about the transgender experience. On a personal level, I read whatever I can so that I can better understand my nephew who has recently transitioned from female to male. I understand that a transgender person lives with the feeling of wanting the body to match the sex that feels and that this feeling never goes away. For some, though, especially those who grew up before trans people were widely out and advocating for equality, these feelings were often compartmentalized and rarely acted upon. Now that gender reassignment has become much more commonplace, many transgendered individuals may feel increasing pressure to finally undergo the procedures they have always secretly wanted.
Ken Koch is one of those people. He had married twice, was a veteran, and a world traveler. Suffering a health scare when he was sixty-three pushed him to acknowledge the feelings that had plagued him since he was a small child. He underwent many procedures that radically changed his appearance and he became Anne Koch. However, during the transition, Anne lost everything that Ken had accomplished. She had to completely remake herself from the ground up. Hoping to help other people in her age bracket who may be considering transitioning, Anne describes the step by step procedures that she underwent and shares the cost to her personal life. She does this in order to show seniors that although it is never too late to become the person they always knew they were, it is better to go into that new life prepared for serious challenges. This is both a fascinating memoir of a well-educated man growing up trans yet repressed in the mid-twentieth century, and a guidebook to navigating gender reassignment as a senior and it shares what is needed to be known.
This is a must-read that is filled with both words of wisdom and lots of practical information for a journey that until recently was a thought that many times remained unfulfilled. Dr. Koch is a role model and humanitarian and provides us with an important example for families and friends who support their loved ones on their gender affirmation journey. Not only is this filled with information, it is authentic and a compelling personal narrative that is written with passion. It is written from the heart, revealing and inspirational. Here are experiences from a personal life merged with experiences from a professional life, something we rarely get. Dr. Anne Koch is a leading practitioner and educator in dental medicine who unmasks “the stigma faced so long by transgender people” and she does so by looking at “one of the biggest problems in transgender medicine—that there is no continuity of care by many healthcare providers, with an exception of a few large gender centers and institutions.”