My Uncle Gloria is a sordid tale graphically depicting how my Uncle Butch's (my mother's brother) transformation into my "Aunt" Gloria, at age 66, brought our neurotic and unhinged family back together, and the lifelong effects it had on me.
Every memoir written about a man becoming a woman, or a woman becoming a man has one thing in common: their family is torn apart, or at the very least, severely stressed.
My Uncle Gloria is extremely different. it's my story of how my Uncle Butch's sex change at age 66, forced me to revisit dark memories of extreme anger, hatred, resentment, and disgust I had for 35+ years for Butch, my only male role model.
But in the end, and through all the drama his gender change created, it brought my estranged and neurotic family back together
from the outhouse to the penthouse...
"opening my box of deep dark secrets"
Steven Shulman author-My Uncle Gloria
The People Behind the Scenes
In the summer of 1946, Butch and his middle-class Jewish family took a vacation to the beaches of Southaven Michigan. Butch, 11 years-old, was left at nighttime in the care of Anita, an 18-year-old babysitter, while both sets of parents went out socializing.
Anita used Butch to fulfill her repressed sexual desires. He was “coerced” into “playful” sex games, including BDSM and forced feminization. Wearing Anita’s clothes, makeup, and shoes, Butch was scared, but orgasms eliminated all fears. After two summers of intense lust, Anita departed for college, never to return, and Butch’s teen life returned to normal.
Butch dated many women. He met Cookie, got married, had two sons, moved to Miami and worked in his father’s auto junkyard business. After his father died, and facing extreme pressure to make fast money to support his family, Butch got involved in a stolen car ring, got caught and faced years in prison. He agreed to a divorce and both sons were adopted by Cookie’s new husband.
In 1967 he met Shirley. They soon got married and Butch introduced Shirley to the same sex games he enjoyed with Anita while smoking pot to increase sexual arousal. After 26 years of marriage, it was over, and he moved out. Living alone he met other women, continued cross-dressing and playing sex games with greater passion and enjoyment than ever before.
Divorced from Shirley in 1997, Butch's marital issues continued. Hiding money while married in offshore bank accounts, and lying to the court during divorce proceedings, the judge locked Butch/Gloria in jail for 120 days for contempt of court. Upon release he was ordered to transfer all assets acquired during the marriage to Shirley, leaving Butch broke and destitute. Butch didn’t comply. The judge issued a second contempt order revoking his freedom.
Facing another lengthy jail term Butch decided to go “underground” and live his life incognito as a full-time woman.
To perfect her appearance as a "lipstick lesbian" a/k/a feminine female, she studied women’s deportment in public places by watching them walk, talk, smile, dress, all while mastering the art of female behavior. Cosmetic surgery, including facial, neck, chin, eyes, nose, and cheeks soon followed including various implants to soften the gruff looking Butch into a glamorous Gloria. Finally, sex reassignment surgery happened, followed by three more nip and tucks to her genitalia, until she was pleased with her new “designer vagina”.
Legal troubles with her ex-wife now over, Gloria began living life as a full-time female, but was left broke and destitute. Needing to earn a living she became an amateur dominatrix. What started out part-time turned into a lucrative career as a professional dominatrix. Her clients were professionals: Judges, Lawyers, Bankers, Police, Doctors, Accountants, mostly those who did very bad things and needed to be punished. Her new career brought financial freedom and no more dependence on friends for financial assistance.
In 2001 Gloria created the South Florida Gender Coalition, a non-profit empowerment organization for transgender people offering guidance and mentorship for individuals going through the transition process.
At one of these meetings in 2002, Dan Friedman, a man in transition, walked into the meeting seeking to interact with other like-minded people. Gloria and Dan’s paths crossed that evening. Twenty years later, they’re still living happily together, madly in love with each other as life partners.
Today Gloria is retired from politics and public service. She and Dan can be found traveling the country together eating healthy diner food while visiting antique car shows, still madly in love.
Steven Shulman was born in Los Angeles, Nov 1952. At age five, after his father was murdered for not paying off gambling debts, he moved into his grandparents’ home in Miami Beach with his mother and sister. Four adults and two kids living in a cramped three-bedroom house with no a/c. Hot tempers made for many volatile situations. Steven felt abandoned. His rebellious behavior and future decadent lifestyle began to take shape.
Steven grew up as a “throwaway kid”. Bullied at school and taunted for what he did and didn’t have. After school jobs left no time to socialize, meet girls, or hang out. Loneliness, rejection, and anger set in. At age 12, he found the solution to all his problems: DRUGS! Marijuana, hashish, and prescription pills killed the pain of rejection, isolation, and life took on a whole new perspective. Quaaludes became his drug of choice. They removed the introverted Steven, and the decadent extrovert emerged.
In October 1971, just before his 19th birthday Steven’s mother abruptly died at age 42 of a brain aneurysm. Feeling lonely and alone again, he embraced Quaaludes and other drugs to kill the emotional pain of her sudden death. After a period of mourning, Steven moved to Tampa and enrolled in the University of South Florida. Craving attention and his need to be loved, he promoted rock concerts and managed local rock stars. He got the attention he craved from girls, musicians, and felt invincible. He had it all, money, women, fame, until excessive drug use left him with nothing.
In April 1976, broke and with no income, he came back to Miami. Working at a collection agency, Steven met Francine. Sharing a mutual love for Quaaludes they moved in together, then bought a house and got married. Their desire for Quaaludes, Crack Cocaine and ever stronger drugs, caused their addictions to worsen. The negative repercussions of their drug abuse spiraled out of control.
September 23, 1987, Steven was home alone when his doorbell rang. It was Butch and his sister Susan offering a drug intervention choice. Go to rehab now or get committed to a mental institution. After completing inpatient rehab, Steven moved out of the house he shared with Fran and began his new life, drug-free. Fran continued to use harder and more addictive drugs. At age 40, alone in her waterfront condo, Fran died of a heroin-cocaine speedball overdose.
Clean and sober since September 24, 1987, Steven has achieved financial success as an insurance broker and real estate investor. As a tireless human rights and animal welfare activist, his life's mission now is dedicated to saving the lives of all pets /animals in distress through the 501 (c3) non-profit charity he founded:
Dan Friedman, born Debra Friedman July 1954 in Chicago Il, graduated from Miami Coral Park Senior High School, class of 1973.
Dan was seven years old when he became aware of his "gender identity confusion". He wanted to become a father and have the girl in the house behind him be the mother but knew this could never happen because he didn't have the "correct genital equipment". Dan couldn't comprehend or identify the nature of his "gender identity confusion" until 1971, when he wrote a book report on Christine Jorgenson, (an American female who was the first person to become widely known in the US for having sex reassignment surgery), for a homework assignment.
In December 1998, after his grandmother died, and being respectful of his Jewish heritage, he now felt safe coming out to his family and friends without any worry of upsetting his family dynamics. Soon after coming out, he began living his life full time as Dan Friedman. Though he accepted his gender issues, he still longed for a meaningful relationship with a woman, hoping it would make his life whole and with a purpose.
In 2002, seeking support from other people with gender identity disorders, Dan walked into a meeting of the South Florida Gender Coalition and met Gloria Stein. Upon meeting Gloria, Dan knew he found the woman he wanted to spend the rest of his life with.
My Uncle Butch and I never had anything in common except a fondness for raven hair women. He grew up with affluence and opulence. I grew up with scarcity and a meager existence.
As a preteen, then teenager, our paths crossed, giving Butch many opportunities to be the male role model I longed for, but never had. Sadly, he ignored my childhood pleas for affection and guidance, in helping me to understand what life’s about for a lost young man living in a lonely world.
We resided in the same county but existed in different realities. I evolved from boy to man with only my life experiences guiding me between right and wrong. One day, years later, I got a phone call from my sister that altered the course of my life and dreams, and of what was about to happen.
I was reconnected with My Uncle Butch; except, he was no longer my uncle. He transcended into a woman named Gloria, eliminating any hope for a reconciliation of my hatred and resentment towards him.
Life has a funny way of making second chances happen. And I took that chance, reconciled with my uncle, now my aunt, and we became family after 35 years of estrangement.
But life also has ways of taking what was once good and replacing it with evil intent. A leopard never changes its spots.
Bernard "Butch" Rosichan was born Jan 1935 in Dayton Ohio. In 1958 Butch married, had two sons, then moved to Miami to become an owner-operator of his father's auto junkyard businesses.
In 2001 Butch completed sex reassignment surgery, changed his name to Gloria Suzanne Stein, retired from the auto junkyard business, and became an activist for transgender rights. Butch went from being a gruff looking, bald-headed, homophobic, angry old Jewish man, who operated auto junkyards, to a naturally feminine-looking Jewish grandma, who now bears a striking resemblance to Shirley MacLaine.
Gloria resides in Ft Lauderdale with her life partner Dan Friedman (born Debra Friedman) and their six cats.
My Uncle Gloria is my memoir: gritty, salacious, and poignant, that invites you to self-examine your own family's dynamics as you laugh hard, cry often, cheer for the underdog, but still leaves you begging for more.
So, grab a box of tissues, turn off your phone, post a "do not disturb" sign, then buckle up for the most dysfunctional ride of your life.
80% of net profits from My Uncle Gloria brand will be donated to
helping save the lives of animals- pets in distress