Marge Ballack – Identity and Awareness

“I introduced myself to new neighbors as ’Mark.’”

I played with all the boys’ toys, introduced myself to new neighbors as “Mark,” and told them my penis had been cut off when I was circumcised.

I was [later] shocked at how many people were lesbians over [on the west side of the state]. There was one place called “The 107” in Pioneer Square that all of us went [to]. It was just a dance place, but it was a place to go and meet other gay people. The first time I went there, you had to be 18 to get in, I think. There was so many gay people I was just like, “Ahhh!” I wasn’t a kid in a candy store, but it was just so nice to be able to dance with somebody . . .


You can pretty much pick out [who is gay] when they are children. [There are] three things that happen [to gay children]. Number one: you ignore the fact that you are gay or different. You put up with living in a straight world against everything that you feel. Two is: you become a gay or lesbian person, [but] you aren’t aware of what has really happened to you psychologically, or [how] your brain has been made up. [The] third thing is that you somehow manage to come to terms with the fact that you are in the wrong body, because every time you look down at your body, you go, “What’s that? What I am looking at?” And somehow you garner the courage to become who you were all along. Those are the transgendered people. I’m telling you, a whole lot of us would have been transgendered had that been available. [If we had] known it was available and had the money. It cost so many hundreds of thousands of dollars to change your sex, but then they become who they really are. The transgendered people are the ones who have lead us the whole way.


Source: Interview with Maureen Nickerson in December 2006, held at the Northwest Museum for Arts and Culture.