Don Ennis, a veteran editor at ABC News, has come out as transgender.
Ennis, who now goes by the name Dawn Stacey Ennis, made an announcement on her Facebook page, telling friends “Today I begin anew,” and posting a photo of her new look.
According to New York Post, which first reported the story, Ennis said she has an “unusual hormonal imbalance,” which she attributed to female hormones her mother fed her as a child as a way of prolonging a career in commercial acting. As a result, Ennis tells the Post’s Tara Palmeri, “I don’t resemble the man you first met 10 years ago.”
She added that she would have preferred a more traditional midlife crisis -- like buying a sports car or even having an affair. The Post also reported that Ennis is separating from her wife of 17 years and has already moved out of the house that the couple share with their three children.
Ennis celebrated the life change with her co-workers on Friday, according to the Post. In a statement, she said, “I’m overwhelmed by the strong support I’ve received from my coworkers, and I’m looking forward to telling my story when I’m ready.”
She is reportedly shopping a book deal about her experience.
According to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center, transgender is an umbrella term that includes people whose gender identity differs from the sex assigned to them at birth. Celebrities such as Lana Wachowski and Chaz Bono aside, transgender individuals in high-profile positions are still rare. The transgender community is one in need of greater visibility, according to GLAAD, which observes “Transgender Awareness Week” every November as way of highlighting issues specific to the community.
Ennis, however, is not the first broadcast professional to openly identify as transgender. In 2008, the Colorado-based TV host Eden Lane covered the Democratic National Convention for PBS, making her the first openly transgender journalist to cover a national political event, according to the Advocate.
For several days on Facebook, Ennis had been alluding to a “change” that would be coming. On April 30, she posted a quote from E.E. Cummings: “It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.”
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