Shadow Life is a patriotic love story, an unlikely romantic adventure behind the scenes in aviation history.
Sometimes people assume this is fake, but it’s the true story of a real-life man of national note, a conservative Republican Christian 40 years older, who married me, a liberal Democrat Jewish transsexual. I met him in 1989; we married in 1995, Ventura County, California. Joe was former Lockheed Skunk Works, helped make the first two Air Force Ones for President Eisenhower and was Department Manager of Engineering Flight Test over the U-2, and the SR-71; I was a forensic psychiatric social worker and, before that, in the National Security Agency, NSOC, SIGINT, USN, Ft. Meade, Maryland—that place that’s been on “60 Minutes” several times.
Since about the turn of this century, trans phenomena have developed a culture of secrecy about our sexuality. People who have become leaders of the transgender paradigm have been declaring outright that it’s okay to discuss gender, gender identity, gender role in society, but other than sex orientation (who we’re into), basic areas of our sexuality have been kept more and more a secret. Shadow Life does not do this. In addition to how someone like Joe could love someone like me, Shadow Life is also about how not owning our sexuality can enable discrimination and hate crimes.
Joe and I toured the country in light, general aviation aircraft, going to air shows, sleeping under the stars. And when Joe years later got Parkinson’s, I also helped him stay active and engaged in boating and flying, going to church, movies, county fairs, Disneyland, visiting family…in spite of his then complete disability, his wheelchair. I’m a former social worker (MSW, LCSW), I studied martial arts in years past (with Steven Seagal), and I’m a top certified GA pilot (ATP/CFI). It took all three combined to achieve this, and I share my techniques. One example: Taking a man in this condition flying in a light aircraft, with atmospheric pressure changes which could affect blood clots from a wheelchair, who cannot control his own muscle movements yet must avoid the flight controls, is a feat which required some planning and cooperation from three of his doctors, his nursing home, an attorney, and his family. It was the greatest thing I’ve ever seen, and I’m proud of them all! That’s what helping others is about. That’s social work applied in a personal setting. Helping that magnificent man who I love more than life, who has done so much for the United States of America, in quality of life and longevity, brings tears to my eyes and always will.
Shadow life is passionate.
And then there were those other things—
Some people didn’t want a conservative icon like Joe to be married to someone like me. The brazen hate, the lies, the games—
To survive all that, we needed a miracle.