More Progress

Tolerance is growing in the very red-ist of Red State Country for (I hate this term) alternate lifestyles:

RAPID CITY, S.D. — After getting involved in a fight in the Legislature over a bill to ban civil unions, Tom Murphy decided to reveal a secret he had kept for four decades, through school, an Air Force career and then as a member of the City Council: He feels more like a woman than a man.

In fact, he plans to undergo a sex-change operation. Tom will become Marla.

“I hope to be happy,” the never-married, 48-year-old retired master sergeant said in an interview. He said he feels as if he has deprived himself for a long time.

Murphy thought he might have to leave town after going public. But to his surprise, he said, the reaction around this Black Hills city of about 60,000 has been largely supportive. Outside of one neighbor and a casual acquaintance, no one has criticized him to his face, he said.


I can’t imagine a tougher choice to make than the one to have a sex change operation. It’s difficult even for people living in places like San Francisco or Manhattan. For Murphy to tell his South Dakota neighbors that he’s really a she, must have been damn near impossible.

And for him to receive a “largely supportive” response would have been almost unimaginable, just a few years ago.


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