One of the world’s worst kept secrets is the fact that dads are inherently embarrassing. They revel in their ability to make you cringe with their questionable dance moves and lame jokes, but ultimately they love you and just want you to include them in your life – something every teenager neglects to do.
Despite their bizarre antics, your dad is the first person you call when things go wrong. You stand loyally by them as they go through a mid-life crisis, smiling meekly as they show you their unique DIY project or the new car they just bought. However, would you stand by your dad if he decided to leave you in order to live as a six-year-old girl? If he traded in family night for tea parties with other children, and swapped the dad clothes for frilly dresses and knee length socks, would you still see him as your dad? When Stefonknee Wolscht turned 46-years-old, she left behind her life as Paul, to become a six-year-old girl after realizing that she was transgender and not simply a cross-dresser. Faced with an ultimatum by her wife to “stop being trans of leave,” she chose the latter and left her wife of 23 years and her seven confused children behind.
Talking to the The Daily Xtra, Stefonknee explained her decision: ‘To me, ‘stop being trans’ isn’t something I could do. It would be like telling me to stop being six-foot-two or leave.” Stefonknee first realized that she identified differently to the other boys at school when she was six-years-old, after she became jealous of the girls in his class who were allowed to wear new dresses on picture day. But, uneducated about what her feelings really meant, she continued to live as Paul. After marrying her high school sweetheart, Maria, Stefonknee began to experiment with wearing women’s clothes. At first Maria was confused, but supportive, when her husband began to wear her clothes. Accepting of her cross-dressing in private, she even bought her outfits to wear. But, the turning point came when Stefonknee announced that she was transgender. After attending several transgender workshops in Toronto, Stefonknee knew that she could hide no longer. So one night she sat her wife and seven children down at the kitchen table and told them that she was a woman. Her children were repulsed by the news, telling him that they were “grossed out” by her desire to dress as a little girl. After the rejection, Stefonknee moved to Toronto to begin hormone replacement therapy, something she had always dreamed of. However, it wasn’t going to be as perfect as she’d imagined. Shortly after arriving, Stefonknee began to experience suicidal thoughts after she was fired from her job as a mechanic for being transgender. With no money, she was forced to live in a homeless shelter for months. But, her life changed when she was ‘adopted’ by friends, who she calls her “mommy and daddy”. They allow her to dress in children’s clothing and play with dolls, whilst also allowing her to play with their own young grandchildren. Explaining her current status, Stefonknee told The Daily Xtra: “I have a mommy and a daddy – an adopted mommy and daddy – who are totally comfortable with me being a little girl. And their children and their grandchildren are totally supportive.” Stefonknee’s life now consists of doing “kid’s stuff” with her adoptive parents grandchildren, such as coloring and baking. “It’s called play therapy. No medication, no suicide thoughts. And I just get to play,” she explains. She often updates her social media with updates about what she has been doing on her “playdates”, in which she is able to act like the six-year-old girl she has always wanted to be. Stefonknee is now unapologetic for her transition and often forgets her past life. “I paid a pretty heavy price for transitioning. I’ve already lost everything, and everything has happened. I’m gonna be me, and I’m gonna show other people that it’s OK to be feminine for a guy,” she confidently told Daily Xtra. While there are many people confused and unaccepting of her lifestyle change, Stefonknee admits that she has many allies who loyally stand by her. She also receives many messages from men online who wish to transition but as too scared to come out as transgender. She actively supports these people and tries to help them understand their true feelings.
“When you see a guy that’s 300 pounds with a goatee that pulls in on a Harley and is going through my closet and saying: ‘Can I wear this dress? Can I kiss you while I’m wearing the dress?’ You don’t expect it.”
Stefonknee is finally happy her life as a six-year-old girl. “I’ve moved forward now and I’ve gone back to being a child. I don’t want to be an adult right now,” she says with a broad smile. It’s taken a long time, but she is finally where she wants to be!
As the world becomes better educated on transgender people, people of all ages and races feel comfortable to admit their true selves early in life. Take 10-year-old, Rebekah Bruesehoff from New Jersey as an example:
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