When I was 32, I did something that made my father immensely proud. Spontaneously, he proclaimed “That’s my boy!”

Immediately, Dad realized what he had said and shot a panicked look sideways at me, his mouth agape, eyes wide with horror.

Equally shocked, catching my breath, but somehow relieved, I responded, “It’s all right, Dad.” I had to repeat “It’s all right!” because he looked so undone, so unspeakably sorry.

But it really was all right because, for the first time in my life, I felt recognized for who I was: a remarkable man.

We never spoke of it again. But I began to wonder why it had taken 32 years for my father to “get” me. Or had it? Did he know something I didn’t? And if he did, why was he keeping it a secret?

I will never know for sure. So the questions remain…

Was I born intersex and surgically altered as an infant to meet gender norms (the default ‘solution’ in the mid 50’s for ambiguously-gendered babies, then called hermaphrodites); am I naturally transgender—a man housed in a female body; or did “nurture” (the way my parents reared me) have something to do with it?

There are a lot of individuals like me out there who don’t fit gender norms. Many of them feel they need to hide who they truly are just to exist without being scolded as strange or feared as foreign. You probably know several of them; they just don’t trust you enough (yet) to tell you.

Something needs to change. I hope my own story helps that happen.


“Kristine M. Smith offers a straightforward memoir that many of us raised in a generation that didn’t understand—didn’t KNOW—about 'such things' what we have been looking for: A heartfelt story that answers questions we were afraid to ask and turns tolerance to acceptance and compassion—for ourselves or others."

~ Carolyn Howard-Johnson, winner of her community’s Diamond Award for her writing on tolerance


"I read Womb Man a little while ago and loved it! I'm also someone who grew up without knowledge or access to knowledge about aspects of myself, in my case anxiety and asexuality, so I think it's so important to have books like this for the younger generation so there's less of a chance that they will have to grow up without the knowledge they need. It's also important for the rest of us so we can grow up with better understanding of people in the world around us."

-- Rebecca M.

"About a week ago I received a copy of Womb Man! I read it the next day in its entirety. I tried to leave a review a couple of times, but two things interfered. One is intimidation....writing about someone’s book who is a master of the craft as a wordsmith! The second is being overwhelmed....more on that a bit later.

"The book is an easy read...written with a seeming 'Come explore with me as I tell you a story.' It doesn’t have the sensationalism of a tell all/ reveal all-type read, but it packs one heck of a wallop!

"The wallop is the clear, concise, and cogent telling of one’s heart and soul that had me spell bound ‘til I turned the last page! A book packed so full of feeling, yet so devoid of drama, although amazingly in your face. My overwhelm was the “what to write” to let others know just how truly valuable this book is to all of us as we try to understand the world around us AND inside us! This book needs to be available from middle school on in the School Library."

Heidi Smith Artist, Business Owner