By John Moore
Jan. 1, 2013
A professional and personal look back at the year just past. (The unemployed year, that is):
1. Eden Lane: The first transgender journalist on mainstream TV opens up about her life and challenges (see bonus extract below)
2. Personal blog: My stoma: To Die and Live in L.A.
4. Iddo Netanyahu interview: Is there “A Happy End” for our troubled world?
5. My first-ever byline in the New York Times: For the Colorado Rockies, a four-man rotation by committee
6. That’s one way to recover from gut surgery: Visiting 30 Parks in 30 Days
7. John Moore and Mark Collins: Two ex-theater critics, sitting around having coffee
11. Remembering Michael Jackson as “Thriller” turns 30 (and I interview Quincy Jones)
And … just for fun:
Some creative writing: My short story, “-30′-
An added bonus: The deleted Eden Lane excerpt:
Sometimes you get lucky to find remarkable people who trust you to tell their remarkable stories. And, almost every time, some of the most remarkable parts get cut out from publication. Here’s my favorite part of the Eden Lane story. It got distilled into a few sentences in the version of the story that got published.:
Sometimes the best way to know a person is through the person who loves them. Lane has been legally married for more than 10 years to a man named Don who never knew a gay person in his life until a fellow serviceman came out to him in the Air Force. His first thought: “Is he the same person he was two seconds ago? He was, of course. So I said, ‘OK, fine.’ ”
But it says much about the world we still live in that Lane’s husband cannot talk openly about his love for his wife — while also publicly revealing his last name.
The reason, Lane said, has nothing to do with shame or embarrassment. “It has to do with a safety concern for our daughter in high school,” she said.
Because high schools still have Bunsen burners.
“I decided a long time ago there would always have to be a certain sense of guardedness,” her husband said. “I am protective to the point of overbearing. That was a decision I made early on, because I love my wife.”
Lane graduated from high school early and went off to New York, where she would later perform in one of the seminal productions in Broadway history. She doesn’t claim that experience on her resume, or her college degrees, because she did so under a name that no longer exists.
When Lane completed her gender realignment surgery, a process she finds as interesting as the details of your hip replacement, she took on her new name. She says Eden Lane “is both a way to honor my grandmother, and part of the name that I was given at birth.”
But she never tells that birth name, she said, “because it feeds into that idea that the identity I have now is somehow false.”
More than a decade ago, she moved to Colorado and began her TV career contributing to both the longtime PBS gay-issues news program Colorado Outspoken and CBS News’ Logo channel. Lane met her husband crossing paths at a 2000 charity benefit for Children’s Hospital she was covering. He was by then working in automotive sales management.
Dating for any transgendered person is fraught. The dating pool is much smaller. The danger is much higher. Lane was cynical at first, and Don knows why. “Her cynicism was earned,” he said. “It has both protected her — and kept her safe.”
They each faced moments of truth — Eden had to tell him her story; he had to tell her he was a divorced man with joint custody of a toddler. His opportunity came when Lane’s car broke down, and she needed help.
“I had decided that no matter who I was seeing, I wasn’t going to introduce them to my daughter until I felt some connectivity with that person,” her husband said. What better moment than to say, “Well, this is my daughter … Can you watch her while I work on your car?”
Lane never knows whether new people look at her and instantly know she’s different. She’s an evidently tall, buxom blonde who quotes Lenora Claire by saying: “I am more ample-size than sample-size.”
But do people know when they see her? Some do. Her husband didn’t.
Entertainment reporter Kirk Montgomery from KUSA Channel 9 did not know until someone from a focus group mentioned it, “and I spit out my coffee,” he said. I had no idea, and frankly it didn’t matter at all — I just felt like the last one to the party.”
Last month, Lane interviewed actor Ben Dicke, who was seriously injured just before the opening performance of “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson” at the Aurora Fox. Dicke watched Lane’s piece with his parents, telling them first, “I have a secret to tell you about Eden after the show.” When he told them, they were a bit baffled, these churchgoing folks who grew up in rural Kansas. “All they saw was someone who is successful, smart, well-spoken and in the spotlight,” Dicke said.
Lane has never made her medical history a secret. “To me, secrets are poison,” she said. But when it comes to a romantic entanglement, “there comes a point where you have to discern whether they know, because they deserve to know your history,” she said. “You certainly are not trying to fool anyone.”
But, she greatly understated: “Not every man can handle that sort of thing.”
Lane chose to tell her husband in what they now fondly call their “Taco Bell drive-through moment.” She chose there because it’s a safe place. “You can get out of the car and get away if you need to,” she said.
She didn’t need to.
“For me, I was always looking more at the person, and I liked what I saw,” her husband said. “I asked myself, ‘Now that I know the back story, do I still care about her?’ And the answer was yes.”
In the end, he decided, “People are people, and love is love.”
They have lost some friends. “But,” his wife adds, “we’ve made many more.”
A few favorite photos from 2012