Even though it’s still young, the transgender movement has occasioned many bizarre and horrific stories. But even in that company, the saga of Jamie Shupe stands out.
Born in 1963, Shupe has been married to his wife, Sandy, for three decades; they have a daughter. He spent eighteen years (1982-2000) in the U.S. Army. In 2013 he began identifying as a transgender woman, claiming that he had struggled for years with a deep sense of being different and had been harassed in the military because he was perceived as gay. After declaring that he was a woman, he “lived for a year in Pittsburgh, got hormone treatments and a name change,” but never had a sex-change operation. Finding Pittsburgh inhospitable for a trans woman, he relocated to Portland, Oregon, where he continued living as a woman for another two years. In 2015, the New York Times profiled Shupe as part of a splashy, upbeat series celebrating “transgender lives.”