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Dawn Ennis: 'I Always Knew I Would Be an Astronaut'

Dawn Ennis: 'I Always Knew I Would Be an Astronaut'

dawn ennis

To boldly go where no trans woman has gone before. 

I always knew I would be an astronaut.

The first men walked on the moon when I was just five, so I figured it was only a matter of time before girls and boys could, too. I'd be like those people on TV who traveled where nobody had ever gone before.

My summer days I spent on my swing, practicing blasting off, leaping down to "the moon," bouncing about as I "moonwalked" across the backyard. Then I'd climb back aboard the swing, flying higher, higher, until splashing into the Pacific, also known as my inflatable kiddie pool. I didn't abandon my dream. Instead, I looked for other things I could do "boldly."

I flirted with the fantasy of becoming an astronaut. My friends laughed at that idea, because they didn't see me the way I saw myself. I gave up, not because of them, but because I was the most uncoordinated person on the planet.

What happened next redefined "bold."

My mother concocted a secret plan, which we kept from my father and my sister: nearly a decade after I began work as a child model, I started modeling as a girl. This meant more money, and I enjoyed it. None of the other girls knew nor did my classmates.

That's surprising given I was the only boy on Long Island with a bob-cut hairstyle and long nails that aroused the suspicions of my dad and led to bullying at my all-boys, Catholic prep school.

The school didn't acknowledge I was its first alumna until about four years ago, after I came out as the first transgender journalist in a network TV newsroom.

I did so, boldly. And I got fired.

Despite that, I see all these challenges I faced as having fulfilled my childhood dream: I now live in a brave new world, where perhaps my small steps will someday lead to a giant leap for trans-kind.

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