My Uncle Gloria is a sordid tale that graphically depicts how my Uncle Butch’s (mother’s brother) transformation into my “Aunt” Gloria, at age 66, brought my neurotic and unhinged family back together, in addition to 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: the family is torn apart, or at the very least, severely stressed.
My Uncle Gloria is 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 regrading Butch, my only male role model.
But in the end, and through all the drama his gender change created, ultimately it brought my estranged family back together.
Bernard “Butch” Rosichan was born January 1935 in Dayton Ohio. In 1958, with a wife and two sons, Butch moved to Miami to help run 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 transgender rights activist. Butch’s appearance went from being a gruff looking, bald-headed, homophobic, angry old Jewish man owning auto junkyards, to a naturally feminine-looking Jewish grandma, who now bears a striking resemblance to Shirley MacLaine, and with the candor of Joan Rivers.
Gloria now resides in Ft. Lauderdale with her partner of 16+ years, 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 while you laugh hard, cry often, cheer for the underdog, but still leaves you begging for more.
Grab a box of tissues, turn off your phone, post a “do not disturb” sign, then buckle up for the ride.
Steven Shulman was born in LA, November 1952. At age five he moved into his grandparents’ home on 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 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 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. 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 moved back to Miami. Working at a collection agency, he met Francine. Sharing a mutual love for Quaaludes they moved in together, then bought a house and got married. Desiring more powerful drugs caused their addictions to get worse, and so did the negative consequences.
September 23, 1987, Steven was home alone when his doorbell rang. It was Uncle 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.
In recovery from drug addiction, 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 is dedicated to saving the lives of all pets /animals in distress through the 501 (c3) non-profit charity he founded:
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 went to college 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 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 his assets 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.
Gloria Suzanne Stein began her gender change from male to female in 1996. She completed her gender reassignment surgery in 2001.
To perfect her appearance as a “lipstick lesbian” a/k/a feminine female, she studied women by watching them walk, talk, smile, dress, all while mastering the art of female behavior. Cosmetic surgeries, including facial, neck, chin, eyes, nose, and cheeks soon followed in addition to various implants to soften the gruff looking Butch into a glamorous Gloria. Finally, sex reassignment surgery happened, followed by three more nips 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 awfully 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 founded 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. Sixteen years later, they’re still living happily together, madly in love with each other as life partners.
Today Gloria is semi-retired from politics and public service. She and Dan can be found traveling the country together searching for healthy diner food and antique car shows, still madly in love.
Dan Friedman was born Debra Friedman July 1954 in Chicago Il.
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 did not 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.
Butch grew up in a two-parent home, upper-middle-class lifestyle. Anything he wanted, his parents gave him. As a young kid, Butch was an entrepreneur, making money in many ways. He was well-liked and had many girlfriends.
Steven grew up in a single parent home, working-class lifestyle. His father, a compulsive gambler, was never home, and eventually murdered for not paying his gambling debts. At age five Steven moved to Miami Beach with his mom and sister hoping for a better life for all. Even after moving he found no male role model to bond with or seek guidance from.
When Steven sought advice from his Uncle Butch (his mother’s brother), his mother warned Steven to stay away from his uncle, he’s a bad man, dishonest, a liar, was her standard propaganda about Butch. She for
bid Steven to have contact with his uncle, except on rare overnight visits to his house where Steven’s aunt and two younger cousins lived.
Steven pleaded for Butch’s attention, but it wasn’t returned. The void of no father figure in Steven’s life hurt badly. Once he found drugs, the pain of abandonment, rejection and no male role model disappeared, and life had new meaning.
Steven grew to hate his uncle and every day wished he would die. He told his sister to never mention Butch’s name unless he was dead and there was a reading of his will. In 1998 Steven gets a phone call from his sister that would rock his world, telling him Uncle Butch is dead, but we now have an Aunt Gloria instead.
Steven, ecstatic his uncle was dead was confused who this new “aunt” was. After hearing the explanation from his sister, he got nauseated by visions of his macho greasy uncle cutting off his manhood to look like a woman.
With much regret and to stop his sister’s nagging, Steven reluctantly agreed to meet his “new aunt”.