St. Petersburg Times
Special report
Video report
  • For their own good
    Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
  • More video reports
Multimedia report
Print Email this storyEmail story Comment Email editor
Fill out this form to email this article to a friend
Your name Your email
Friend's name Friend's email
Your message
 

The transgender Oldsmar official

By RODNEY THRASH
Published March 4, 2007


ADVERTISEMENT
Related links:
  • in midlife, a rebirth
    For four decades, Ed Kozlowski tried to fit the mold, but nothing worked - until he changed his name, his body and his life.

"In midlife, a rebirth," Feb. 25, 2005; links.tampabay.com

THE STORY: For 47 years, Edward Kozlowski felt trapped in a man's body. In 2003, while chairman of the Oldsmar Code Enforcement Board, he changed his name to Jennifer Edwards and underwent five hours of gender-reassignment surgery.

The new Jennifer was allowed to remain in her position on the code enforcement board, but she lost her marriage, some friends and her job as a software engineer. It seemed she could lose her relationship with her youngest brother.

FROM THE STORY: Ed changed his name to Jennifer, the name his mother would have given the daughter she never had. He began laser and hormone treatments and went from a flat chest to having breasts that filled B cups. He dropped 65 pounds to a svelte 140. And he replaced the chinos and polo shirts with skirts and dresses.

But merely dressing as a woman wasn't enough.

"Every time I went to the bathroom, it was a constant reminder of what I was not," Jennifer says. "I had a birth defect. And surgery was the cure."

THE REST OF THE STORY: In 2003, Jennifer went before the Largo City Commission to speak in favor of a human rights ordinance that would have protected transsexuals from discrimination. The measure was defeated. In February 2004, CBS's 48 Hours aired Jennifer's story on a show called Trapped. After the divorce, Jennifer found someone else to love: Sandra Orlando, a transgender woman. They moved to a yellow house in Gulfport and together they ran a laser treatment business that catered to the transgender community.

WHAT HAPPENED NEXT: Jennifer and Sandra moved to New Jersey late last year. Jennifer is a software engineer in nearby Philadelphia. She says her employers know about her gender reassignment and don't care. Even her brother has begun to accept her.

On Tuesday, Largo city commissioners voted to oust City Manager Steve Stanton, who recently announced plans to undergo gender reassignment surgery. Jennifer doesn't know Stanton. But Jennifer says she isn't disappointed that Stanton didn't speak up when the commission voted down the 2003 human rights ordinance.

"I think he's a very brave person," she says.

Does Jennifer have any regrets about her sex change?

"It was my wildest dream and most cherished dream and now I live it every day," she said. "How many people get to live a dream come true in this world?"

 

[Last modified March 3, 2007, 19:12:49]


Share your thoughts on this story

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Subscribe to the Times
Click here for daily delivery
of the St. Petersburg Times.

Email Newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT