II. The Year of 25
“Where should we start?”
“Well, I suppose we should start with Gazebo.”
Around the age of 25, Gwen began to search for a support group that centered on trans-
issues. In 1992, before Facebook groups and affordable computers, finding a group was difficult.
She managed to find the wondrously-named “Powder Puffs of Orange County,” a support group
that met once a month in the back room of a Santa Ana Holiday Inn. It was a start, but it was a
90-minute drive from home in West Covina and the members were self-described, “happily
married men and fathers of every occupation.” Crossdressers typically two decades older than
Gwen was. She still craved connecting with peers.
At the time, Gwen was working at a Kinko’s and had access to the emerging internet. In
the early 1990s, using the internet meant using American Online (AOL), the nexus of social
connection and communication. Having to go someplace just to use the internet was hard for me
to even grasp. I don’t really remember life before WiFi.
I had a feeling that Gwen thought the age difference between us was funny. She was very
patient as I constantly asked her, “How do I explain to someone in my age group that AOL was
all there was?” She would explain that at the time, the internet was a curiosity that people