The Person Inside ... The Gulf Between Us

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Why I Wrote Between Shadow and Sun

Between Shadow and Sun began as a love letter to my children. That beginning profoundly influenced the book it eventually grew into. How can you lie to your children?

Between Shadow and Sun began as a love letter to my children.

They were devastated by the loss of their father. How could he do this? Throughout my transition, they have worked hard to love and accept me, but they were clearly hurt and continue to struggle. Why, then, did I do it?

And so, one night, I started to write. I described what it was like to live for 50 years with the pain, confusion, and loneliness of living enveloped in a body and identity that felt alien to me. I shared my repeated and failed attempts to discover my manhood. I wrote with the desperation and honesty of a deathbed confession.

The second half of the book is more of a love story than a love letter. My wife, Mary, loved me throughout my transition. But she, too, was devastated. “You don’t understand!” she cried one day. “I lost my last husband to another woman. It almost killed me. And now I am losing the love of my life to another woman. But this time it’s worse: she wants me to be her best friend.”

Somehow, Mary managed to see past my exterior to the person inside me. That, she decided, was the person whom she loved. It is why we are still together today. Much of the second half of the book is about our journey to find a new path together. The pages are filled with pain, humor, and irony. But they are mostly filled with love.

I wrote, too, to describe what it was like to go through transition. It wasn’t exactly the wave of a wand. I had to live for a couple of years as a freakish sort of a man-woman. I felt like the human embodiment of Shrek.

All the while, I had to hold onto my job and to convince others that I knew what I was doing. I described what it was like to return to the business world as a woman and to learn to rely on allies to support me.

But mostly the book is about me and my family. I wrote it for families like my own. They deserve an honest accounting of why we do what we do. We deserve to be known for who we are.

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1 thought on “Why I Wrote Between Shadow and Sun”

  1. Suzane Oliva Yendall

    Tina your statement above is from the Heart and unfortunately missed by the Movie and Hollywood crowd. The last statement is very important so many of “us” are VERY good at what we do and have done; that gets lost in the “outside” appearance / wrapper, which is sad because we for the most part are the same person ONLY Better – better because we are happy and at peace with ourselves. It is difficult; at best to be considerate, loving, and caring when you are suffering from deep emotional pain!

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Tina White

Tina White

Tina White is the Executive Director of the Blue Ridge Pride Center, in Asheville, North Carolina, and a member of the board of directors for the Human Rights Campaign.

Tina spent 35 years consulting to and working for global corporations. Her specialty was large-scale business transformation: redesigning companies to pursue new strategies and improve performance. She has since shifted her focus to activism, writing and speaking. She speaks and writes on issues of diversity & inclusion, organization transformation, social justice, and personal identity.

Tina is the author of Between Shadow and Sun. She describes her 50-year struggle with gender and her wife's efforts to embrace her revealed identity. She holds an MBA in Strategy, Marketing & Finance from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and an AB in Economics from Princeton University. She and Mary live in Asheville, North Carolina.

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