Coming Out As Transgender When There Was No Language To Describe It

In the late 1960s, Elizabeth Coffey-Williams' family kicked her out after she told them that she was transgender — before many knew what that meant. A little brother's embrace welcomed her back.
During their StoryCorps interview in April, Elizabeth Coffey-Williams (left) told her niece, Jennifer Coffey (right), about how her loving family did not understand what being transgender meant. "My parents were afraid, well, you know, this might be contagious," she said. Source: Jud Esty-Kendall

When Elizabeth Coffey-Williams first came out to her family as transgender in the late 1960s, the language of gender identity wasn't what it is today.

"A lot of the words that they have today, like transgender and non-binary, they didn't have them," Elizabeth, who was in her early 20s at the time, told her

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