More than a woman: Edie Recker educates community on transgender issuesWritten by Matt Liasse | | firstname.lastname@example.org
When someone dies, there’s usually a grieving process. For Edie Lanning Recker, death was liberating. During the Christmas season, her church congregation placed poinsettias on the altar in memory of someone they had lost. Recker brought one forward in memory of Edmund Charles Recker, the name she once went by before becoming a woman.
“Only two people in the whole church knew what that was all about,” Recker said.
Edmund was gone.
When Edmund met Edie
Recker is a male-to-female transgender, driven to educate the masses and stand up for her community. But it took her 60 years to get to where she is now.
“When I was created, my brain was born first and it was born as female, then the chromosomes kicked in and I became a male body,” Recker said.
Growing up in the country, Recker faced gender roles imposed by her parents and teachers.
She remembers being caught trying on her mother’s church clothes in the upstairs bathroom when she was a child.
“You are always told, ‘No, boys don’t do that.’ You’re forced to be something that you’re really not,” Recker said.
During the process of getting a third divorce, Recker began cross-dressing, an act she used to do in private.
“I thought it was more of a sexual thing, maybe a little bit of a perversion,” Recker said. “It was becoming to the point where I felt more human, more complete, being dressed that way.”
The cross-dressing led her to research how to apply makeup. She stumbled across a therapist from Connecticut she would Skype with.
“I came to find out that my desires weren’t just a perversion … I was truly a transgender,” Recker said. “I needed to transition to feel complete, to feel whole.”
At the age of 60, Recker began to transition from a male to a female. It took a while to rationalize and understand what was happening. Now, she wishes she would’ve realized it sooner.
“When everybody said ‘Why did you wait so long?’ it’s because I didn’t know,” Recker said. “I knew there was something different but I didn’t know exactly what.”
Recker said she tried to participate in her three marriages as a male when her thought processes were female. That’s why they were not successful.
“I was trying to override that and be the male part of it, so there was a lot of conflict,” Recker said. “I wasn’t happy. I’d never been happy and now I am. I don’t think I ever was happy. I don’t think I ever knew what love was. I wasn’t happy with myself. I wasn’t content because I was fighting inner and outer. Now I don’t do that. Now I’m content with me.”
Recker is interested in women and wishes to marry again. She has met someone and thinks she is figuring out what love is.
“And it scares me,” Recker said. “To have an intimate relationship scares me. Yeah, I’ve been with women all my life, but this is going to be altogether different.”
Recker said she is a “64-year-old virgin.”
“There’s a lot of struggles like that that we go through that a lot of people don’t understand,” she said. “Some of them, I didn’t even realize.”
Recker puts her faith in God.
“If it’s meant to be, it’ll be, and that’s not meant for me to decide,” Recker said. “I only live this life.”
Recker said, “God doesn’t make mistakes.”
“God has had a plan for me before my mom and dad even thought about me,” she said. “When I was conceived, my destiny was already set. I don’t think he made a mistake.”
The day Ed was gone
A lot of things changed once Recker began her transition.
The transformation took roughly three years. Recker said she was lucky enough to have the money to do it in a shorter-than-average amount of time. She acquired a new name, driver’s license, Social Security number, title for her car and more. Being a business owner, Recker had to change all business accounts too.
“I was no longer Ed,” she said.
Recker remembers the first headline she read about a transgender 30 years ago.
“I laughed. Why would anyone want to do that?” she said.
Transgender Day of Remembrance
Recker said she is very open about her transition, more open than most in the community. She welcomes curiosity from people sitting next to her at a bar.
“There hasn’t been a question I haven’t been asked,” Recker said. “That’s how I educate.”
She frequents Quarters Bar & Grill in Perrysburg, a place she where she feels safe.
“[The owner] came up to me and said, ‘When you’re in here, we have your back.’ That’s great, but what happens when I walk out the front door? What happens with the group that’s in here that gets bottle brave and waits for me as I walk out?” Recker said.
Toledo Area Transgender Support will sponsor the Transgender Day of Remembrance on Nov. 20, recognizing transgenders who have been killed worldwide in the past year. Recker will find names of the deceased on the internet. At the event, the names will be read and details on how they were killed will be given.
“I want people to realize the brutality that we go through,” Recker said. “People need to know that this is actually going on. This year is not in vain. These people have made a difference.”
The event will be at at 7 p.m. on Nov. 20 at Sylvania United Church of Christ (UCC), 7240 Erie Street. The event will include a recognition reading, speakers, a memorial service and a time of fellowship.
Sylvania UCC has been supportive of Recker’s transformation. A new senior pastor, Sam Buehrer, took over in January and allowed Recker to be re-baptized as Edie, even though she previously been baptized as Edmund. People of the church often believe once you are baptized, the soul is, and you cannot be again; even though Recker’s name and body changed, her soul didn’t.
“I am a totally different person,” Recker said. “[My baptism] was probably one of the greatest days of my life because now I’m starting to become the person I’ve always wanted to be, always thought I could be or didn’t understand that I could be. Now I feel whole. My whole Iife, I’ve grown up as a Christian but it came to a point where it basically went stagnant, it stood still, and now it’s moved on again.”