The 49-year-old walked into work wearing a "little black dress" that same day, as the New York Post reported at the time. By the next, Ennis had moved, leaving a wife and three children.
But that was then and this is now. In a bizarre turn earlier this week, Ennis announced that she was a he again, and in an email that he circulated at work, says the Post, blamed his change to a woman on what he called "transient global amnesia." He had now returned to being a man.
He went on to write that he was again Don Ennis "now and forever," that he was "now totally, completely, unabashedly male in my mind, despite my physical attributes," and that he had been misdiagnosed as transgendered. Ennis added that he would "remain a strong straight ally, a supporter of diversity and an advocate for equal rights and other LGBT issues including same-sex marriage."
"It became obvious this was not the case once I took off the bra -- and discovered two reasons I was wearing one," he said, referring to his hormone-induced breasts.
"I thought it was 1999 . . . and I was sure as hell that I was a man," Ennis said in the e-mail titled "Not Reportable, Very Confirmed."
"Fortunately, my memories of the last 14 years have since returned. But what did not return was my identity as Dawn," said Ennis, who had been wearing lipstick, skirts and heels.
A Twitter account that appears to belong to Ennis is called @themselves. His Instagram account shows a number of self-portraits taken as Dawn.
Before announcing the reversal, Ennis had told friends that he thought the gender confusion stemmed from his childhood, when his mother gave him female hormones to keep him younger looking, the better to continue some professional acting he did as a kid.
According to the Post, Ennis said that testing at the National Institutes of Health indicated that he was actually suffering from a correctable hormonal imbalance.
Although Ennis received significant support when he announced the change to Dawn, there may not be as much for his change back to Don, as Cosmopolitan columnist Sam Lansky writes that the new decision could feel like a "setback for the transgender community."
Still, some like Jillian Page at the Montreal Gazette say that the reversal of a transgender decision is not unusual and is the reason people are required to live with their choice for an extended period of time before being allowed medical procedures to further the change.
So much of the work LGBT advocates do is about reinforcing the fact that human sexuality is innate -- that is, just as people are born gay, they are also born into the wrong gendered bodies. Introducing the notion of flexibility into that conversation, even on an anecdotal level, could have a real effect on policy changes, like the likelihood that insurance will cover gender reassignment surgery or hormone therapy.
Ennis thanked her on Twitter.
It doesn't really matter what his reasons are, and he shouldn't have to explain them or justify himself. It is his choice.
I wished him well in May. I wish him well now.
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