Lois was born in Jamaica Hospital in Queens. Unfortunately but understandably, due to a small birth defect, Lois was given a blue blanket and they put an “M” on her birth certificate. She has spent over 50 years trying to sort out that mistake, seeking to know whether her innermost thoughts are correct or the world’s perception is correct. Finally, approaching 60, Lois has come to the realization that she must be true to who she is and do what she can so the world’s perception of her matches who she is on the inside. (While a lady never reveals her exact age, Lois is happy that so many people think she looks much younger than her actual age.)
Lois spent her early childhood just a few blocks away from Aqueduct Race Track in Queens, being very talkative, precocious, imaginative and mischievous. A few years older, but growing up right down the block from Lois was one of the many redheads Lois has admired over the years, Bernadette Peters.
Just like all infants, it took a while for Lois to reach self-awareness. The trigger was a Jimmy Olsen comic in April 1960, where Jimmy goes femme to infiltrate the mob. (Oh girls, if we could only pass so easily on the first attempt! Or maybe there is something about Jimmy that DC Comics never told us?) Anyway, that led to a letter to DC Comics (printed and in pencil, as the writer of that letter was only in second grade!) asking for more stories with the same theme and suggesting that maybe Superman could invent a potion that would allow Jimmy to go back and forth from male to female so he wouldn’t get caught so easily. Lois often wonders about the reaction of the editors of DC Comics receiving such a sophisticated request in such a childish handwriting, but all she got back was a form letter. Still it was enough to make her older brother envious for a little while.
A few months after the comic book incident, Lois’s family moved to Rockland County. Lois continued to excel in school there, but it was not until the onset of puberty that Lois became aware that there was a serious conflict between her true self and the way the rest of the world saw her. Although her own maturity come later than most her age, the body and voice changes she began to observe in classmates hinted that Lois’s body was not taking her down the path where she wanted to go in her mind.
In sixth grade, Lois also transferred from public school to a private prep school, requiring her to deal with another major life change at almost the same time. Lois’s confidence decreased at this time, and she became shyer and more introverted. Fortunately, she only had to deal with one bully and that only lasted one year. While never part of the “in crowd”, Lois was able to make many friends due to her eclectic interests.
It was around this time that Lois, realizing that she needed her own name, provided that name for herself. Undoubtedly, there was a subliminal connection to the Superman-Lois Lane- Jimmy Olsen universe. But the main reason was that Lois saw female as a reversal of male, so the name she chose is a very approximate reversal of her birth name. Lois also has fond memories of another Lois who was the girlfriend of a cousin, and who paid her a lot of nice attention when she was four. An ironic twist came later in life as Lois found out that she had been in the same class at Cornell as Christopher Reeve, although the two of them never met.
Over the years, Lois had many experiences that may be familiar to many of you. There was the time her mother caught Lois in her clothes and makeup the one and only time that Lois ever dared to dress in her parents’ home (around age 13). Lois has fond memories of magazines like Female Mimics, and learning about wonderful trailblazers like Kim Christy, Linda Lee and Randy Roberts. She remembers reading with interest the autobiographies of Renee Richards and Jan Morris. She can still feel her heart pounding a bit when she went into Lee’s Mardi Gras Boutique, both at the Tenth Avenue location near the bus terminal and then on West 14<sup>th</sup> Street. At the latter location, she would walk round and round the store, coming close once to summoning the courage to buy something or to talk to one of the staff, but never could.
Lois would make efforts to emerge out of the shadows, only to pull back out of fear or because life was bringing temporary success to her career in her male mode. Whatever little had been acquired in the way of clothing or literature would eventually get purged, only to see the cycle begin again down the road. Ironically, her career experienced the same ups and downs, always appearing ready to take off but something would always hold it back. For all of her intelligence, Lois continued to try to fit the round peg into the square hole, but it is no surprise that it never worked very well.
At some point in the late 1980’s, Lois’s male side thought that he had Lois well under control and hidden under a full beard (some know this as the Richard Raskind defense). Lois had to be satisfied with what she could find on the internet and the growing number of news stories and media offerings on gender issues. But even then, Lois would emerge here and there. And as you now know, Lois was not held back any more than Renee Richards was, not in the end.
The reader should not assume that all of her life was bleak. Lois can look back on a number of positive moments in her life. By far the best was the day that she accepted Jesus Christ as her personal Lord and Savior. Even though Pathways meets in a church, Lois understands that our group has a non-religious purpose and will not “push” her faith on anyone else. Nevertheless, looking back at It all, she feels very blessed to be “born thrice” and is always open to answering questions about her spirituality.
Other achievements in Lois’s life including a Bachelor’s in Government from Cornell, although she never was able to pursue a desired career in urban planning. Over the years, Lois has been part of an abortive attempt to take over the Nyack Post Office from the inside, handled publicity and public relations for a children’s theater group, was a music librarian for a recording studio, worked as an auditor and an administrator in public housing, and managed a Laundromat. Since 1983, her career has been centered on the financial services industry, where she has been licensed as a stock broker, real estate agent, insurance agent, and a registered tax preparer. She also held a Certified Financial Planning designation for a number of years. Currently, most of her work has been involved in tax prep, but for budget reasons, she is on the lookout for employment providing an increase in income. As part of her past duties, Lois has also edited a monthly newsletter, managed the computer network of her company, and wrote and read a stock market report and a local radio station. Lois has also used her considerable financial, math, writing, editing, planning, research, customer service, and computer skills in Christian service for her church and in parachurch organizations.
Lois also was a co-author of a book on baseball and an article on Positive Speaking/Listening that was published in the American Mensa Journal. (Lois was a member of Mensa at the time.) Of course, all the accomplishments were done under her male name. Currently, Lois has started posting stories to Fictionmania under Lois Lain, her fun name. She also plans to add recently written blog entries to the Pathways website. They will more fully explain her journey and how she finally emerged. Lois has also completed a few chapters of an autobiography with a working title of “I Know You’re Out There Somewhere”, which is also the title of a song by one of her favorite musical artists, The Moody Blues.
Lois loves much of the music of the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and 80’s (with fewer favorites among more recent artists). Her tastes are quite eclectic, and she can be found on YouTube <a name=”_GoBack”></a>from time to time pulling up and singing to (in the same vocal range) songs by artists as diverse as Billy Joel, Anita Baker, Neil Diamond, Donna Summer, Josh Groban, Karen Carpenter, Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell (yes, doing both parts), the Beatles, Joni Mitchell, Gordon Lightfoot, Whitney Houston, and pretty much anything from Doo Wop to Motown to folk rock to acid rock (although Lois has never touched or taken any mind-altering or illegal substances). Lois draws the line at very heavy metal, rap, opera, and pretty much anything made with auto-tune.
Lois twice tried a puff of a cigarette and that has been the extent of her smoking (although she often had to walk through swirling smoke in the dorms at Cornell). She was known to take a drink or two during her days at Cornell and for a few years after that, but now abstains from that, too. Lois likes to encourage others, has a great deal of empathy and considers herself extremely loyal. She still roots for the Dodgers, although she has finally admitted that they are probably not moving back to Brooklyn.
Looking back at it all, Lois has had a handful of crushes and relationships, but probably only one true love. They met over thirty years ago, had a meteoric relationship that ended painfully. Then twenty-five years later, it looked like fate had brought them back together again. But the second time around ended just as badly. Gender issues were not the cause. Actual knowledge of Lois was kept far away from this person. Lois originally thought her autobiography was going to focus on the reconciliation with this person. But now she knows that the person she was looking for all along was herself.
Lois has never been married. But never one to do things simply, she has an ex-wife and a stepson. And as you try to figure out this riddle, we will bring this introduction to a close … except to say that Lois is very happy to be a member of Pathways and has enjoyed meeting all of you, even if she is still getting to know all of your names. She looks forward to getting together with all of you at the monthly meetings.