MIRROR IMAGE by Nancy Hunt


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Is this a carbon copy of Conundrum? Like Jan Morris, Nancy Hunt is a transsexual with a male-success-ethic past: husband and father, decorated soldier and celebrated Chicago Tribune correspondent. And like Morris, Hunt as a boy felt a misfit: athletically undistinguished, uneasy with other boys, dogged by a few unsanctioned urges--he liked painting because he got to wear his sister's dress. This candid account reviews Hunt's life and details the medical procedures that changed it. Professionally, she won the day: moving from public interviewing to copy desk, from slacks to skirts, she retained her seniority and the outward support of colleagues. Her family, however, recoiled: not just siblings and already-alienated children but also a much-loved second wife who had at first, somewhat innocently, aided and abetted the conversion process by sharing clothes and makeup techniques. Hunt writes well, with a journalist's selectivity and disarming honesty--she considers other transsexuals unappealing ""freaks""--but her psychological conversion, the decision for hormone treatments and surgery still baffle. Her newfound delights seem genuine enough if a bit unsubstantiated: ""As a woman I was freely granted everything that I had sought vainly as a man: friendship, approval, laughter, sympathy."" She claims to steer clear of stereotypical transsexual behavior--unreliability and frills--except for promiscuity, the last an apparent source of pride. But again, like Jan Morris, her notion of feminity ultimately distracts: ""And from that day onward, I have seldom permitted myself an action, a word, even a thought that has not been uniquely feminine."" More evidence, heartfelt and orderly, but perplexing nonetheless.

Pub Date: Sept. 28th, 1978
Publisher: Holt, Rinehart & Winston