A Mom Becomes A Man, And A Family Sticks Together This spring, Les and Scott GrantSmith will mark their 25th wedding anniversary. The couple raised two daughters along the way. But 15 years ago, they hit a crisis that nearly broke the family apart. They solved it by embracing a unique approach — and each other.

A Mom Becomes A Man, And A Family Sticks Together

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It is Friday morning, which is when we hear conversations recorded at StoryCorps. Loved ones have been sitting down with each other and talking for this project, and today we will hear about a marriage that was on the ropes. Les and Scott GrantSmith have been married for 10 years. They were raising two daughters, but Les was hiding something. Les was born a woman, but felt like a man inside. Keeping that secret led to a deep depression until Scott finally confronted his wife.

SCOTT GRANTSMITH: Two days before Thanksgiving in 1997, I said, what's going on? And then you said, I can't tell you, because if I do, you will leave me and take the children and I'll never see them again. And I said, you'd probably better tell me then. Because - you can't leave it hanging like that.

LES GRANTSMITH: You can't leave it like that. So that's when I told you.

GRANTSMITH: First thing I remember is you, you said that you were in the wrong body, that you should be a man.

GRANTSMITH: And if it had seemed to me that I was going to lose you, and I was going to lose the kids, I would have said, OK, I'm not transitioning. But you told me that we'll work it out.

GRANTSMITH: Early the next week, you were on the computer and you were researching all of the surgeries...

GRANTSMITH: Surgeries...

GRANTSMITH: ...the hormones.


GRANTSMITH: And I just freaked out. It finally occurred to me to ask the question, should I stay or should I go? And my visceral response was, well, I won't be better off. Les won't be better off. And the kids won't be better off.

GRANTSMITH: Amanda was seven at this point, and I explained to her where this was going. And she burst into tears and threw herself onto my lap. And she says, oh, please, don't change into a man. If you have to change into anything, couldn't it be a cat?

And that was not a question I had prepared myself to answer. I mean, I was kind of stunned.

GRANTSMITH: So right around that time, you had started transitioning and we just kind of fell out of holding hands when we were walking along the street.

GRANTSMITH: Spontaneous affection - we couldn't do it comfortably anymore.

GRANTSMITH: A lot of it was me. Because it became clear that I would be perceived as gay. But I realized that I didn't fall in love with a couple of body pieces. I decided this is the person.

GRANTSMITH: And I was still the same person.

GRANTSMITH: More so. More like the fun person I remembered from 30-odd years ago than before the transition.

GRANTSMITH: Right. Right. I mean it's just been amazing to watch you. You stuck with it. You persisted. And every year my respect for you grows and grows. I love you.


INSKEEP: Les and Scott GrantSmith at StoryCorps in San Diego, California. Their conversation is archived with the others in the Library of Congress, and you can hear from their daughters at npr.org.

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