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The Transformation
    © April Saul/zReportage.com via ZUMA (bios)
There was a time when Ramsey was not at all happy. In fact, she was miserable, living an inauthentic life, known to all as Richard, and hopelessly trapped in a male body that did not feel like her own. Then, five years ago, at the age of 77, Richard Ramsey underwent gender reassignment surgery and became Renee. The craggy-faced retired Navy veteran, who had spent most of his leisure time hanging out at American Legion and VFW halls in New Jersey, became an older woman with an easy laugh and gangly gait. Dresses, blouses and wigs replaced the old Army uniform Ramsey was fond of wearing. Eventually Renee Ramsey settled in South Carolina, where today she lives quietly, and quite happily, in a small town outside Charleston. Just another typical older woman, except, that is, for the remaining forearm tattoo that reads, “Death Before Dishonor.” Ramsey is likely one of the oldest people in this country to undergo male-to-female gender reassignment surgery, but she is hardly alone. In May 2014, Medicare announced it would begin covering gender reassignment surgery. Two months later, President Obama signed a bill giving employment protection not only to gay federal workers, but also to transgender men and women.
The Transformation
    © April Saul/zReportage.com via ZUMA (bios)
There was a time when Ramsey was not at all happy. In fact, she was miserable, living an inauthentic life, known to all as Richard, and hopelessly trapped in a male body that did not feel like her own. Then, five years ago, at the age of 77, Richard Ramsey underwent gender reassignment surgery and became Renee. The craggy-faced retired Navy veteran, who had spent most of his leisure time hanging out at American Legion and VFW halls in New Jersey, became an older woman with an easy laugh and gangly gait. Dresses, blouses and wigs replaced the old Army uniform Ramsey was fond of wearing. Eventually Renee Ramsey settled in South Carolina, where today she lives quietly, and quite happily, in a small town outside Charleston. Just another typical older woman, except, that is, for the remaining forearm tattoo that reads, “Death Before Dishonor.” Ramsey is likely one of the oldest people in this country to undergo male-to-female gender reassignment surgery, but she is hardly alone. In May 2014, Medicare announced it would begin covering gender reassignment surgery. Two months later, President Obama signed a bill giving employment protection not only to gay federal workers, but also to transgender men and women.