Friday, November 27, 2020

Death of a Friend

The big names in our community garner a lot of press when they die, for example, the recent deaths of Jan Morris and Monica Roberts. But the death of the lesser-knowns in our community fade away without a word.

The following piece written by Paula Gaikowski, is a eulogy for one of those lesser knowns – Marcia Alvey.

I met Marcia back in the dark ages of the 90’s. I had a site on Geocites and she saw my picture and sent me an email. We were the same age. She lived in Portland Oregon and I lived in New England. We were both married, had children and were struggling with the angst of being transgender.  

Her story is not unlike yours, mine or ours and it is these shared experiences that bonded us together. 

As a child, Marcia always wanted to be a girl. There wasn’t any doubt, however, she did her best to fit in as there wasn’t any other real choice back then. She played football in college and graduated from Willamette University and went on to earn a law degree at Lewis and Clark Law School. She was admitted to the Oregon bar in 1987 and started her own firm in 1996. She married and raised two sons. 

After her divorce a few years ago, she decided to transition. She was an active volunteer with the Oregon Trial Lawyers Association and with Basic Rights Oregon seeking to protect the rights of LGBTQ Oregonians.

Throughout my life, I noticed that the feminine part of me, like a vine always moved toward the light. The growth of our friendship was one of those searching feminine moments, a need for someone like myself, who understood, respected and loved me. She was that light.

We shared our most secret secrets, words we did not dare to whisper to another soul. We shouted to each other in a language that only we understood because we were sisters of a type. What was foreign to others was native to us.

Watching her transition was amazing. I truly envied her and was awed by her bravery and the sensitivity and intelligence of how she approached it all.

Marcia was always there for me willing to listen and respond with kind words or advice. She was a kind, generous and a gifted person. Being transgender is not easy and unless you are transgender it is difficult to understand.

I corresponded with Marcia for over 20 years supporting, comforting and advising each other as we struggled with the problem of being transgender, married and parents.

My own brother died exactly one month before, Marcia did. Because of this preoccupation, I didn’t email Marcia for awhile. Finally, a few weeks ago, I sent an email, then another and finally one with the words, “I’m worried please answer!”

Last night, I received this from Marcia’s sister,


This is Marcia’s sister. Marcia passed away a week ago after having gall bladder surgery. I am so sorry to tell you this way.

I was heartbroken, however, you my Femulate sisters are the only ones who can understand this relationship and the loss. I really can’t share it with my wife, family or friends.

I have not transitioned, but I know that Marcia found peace in doing so. In her last email, she expressed to me the joy and happiness she felt that she was now seen and accepted as a woman by her colleagues and friends.


I was thinking of you yesterday on my drive home from work. I wanted to tell you this information in the worst way; like a girlfriend would.

It is not earth-shattering. I just had the realization due to a few moments and experiences that there is hardly any remnant of maleness left. I am a woman now. I feel it very much physically. I feel it very much socially. 

I went to the paint store yesterday and bought two gallons of stain and supplies for my sons to stain my deck at my condo. The clerk put it all in a box. When it was time to go, he handed me the roller extension pole then said, “Let me help you out with this ma’am.” 

You know what? I was thankful and relieved. I also felt very much a woman…

I believe that we never really lose the people we love, even to death. Their love, thoughts and principles leave a permanent imprint in our hearts. They continue on in this way in every action, belief, and choice we make. So too will you, dear Marcia, in our community you will be with us

I’ll miss you dear girlfriend, thank you so much for always being there and listening and advising. You left us too soon.

Wearing Shoshanna
Wearing Shoshanna

Don Edmondson femulating in the 1974 film Baby Needs a New Pair of Shoes also known as Jive Turkey.
Don Edmondson femulating in the 1974 film Baby Needs a New Pair of Shoes also known as Jive Turkey. You can view the film on YouTube.


  1. My condolences, Paula. As you stated, "I believe that we never really lose the people we love, even to death. Their love, thoughts and principles leave a permanent imprint in our hearts. They continue on in this way in every action, belief, and choice we make." I believe this to be true as I fondly remember the woman, my big sister, who taught me about trans life

    1. Thank you Michelle, there seems to be a perfect storm in my life right now. Thaks for your support

  2. I'm so sorry to hear of Marcia's passing. We corresponded quite regularly for a number of years, but never got the chance to meet in person - even though we lived but a three-hour drive away from each other. She had been so very guarded, afraid of losing the love of her sons and her status in in the legal community. It was just over two years ago that she started her transition, in earnest, only to find that her sons were totally accepting and affirming. She was also very happy to tell me that she had not lost even one client. You could say that her story had a happy ending, even if it ended much too soon.

    Marcia had used the last name of Hamilton before her transition. Perhaps some readers here remember her from her comments on different trans blogs in the past.

  3. Thank You Paula for your very poignant post. How lucky you were to have such a friend and confidant. I wish I had the opportunity to meet her. My sympathies and once again thanks for shining the light on one of our own.


  4. We recently lost a lady that most of you will never have heard of, although she loved this site and in fact introduced me to it.
    Her name was Alison Mary and she was 87. She proudly claimed to be Australia's oldest transsexual and I could not gainsay her on that account. What I do know is that she was absolutely formidable and took shit from nobody even though she was not the most feminine-looking.
    She was using a disability scooter because her legs were giving out and had an accident which unfortunately eventually led to her death. I, for one, will miss her terribly.