Elizabeth Cantey



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Danielle Twomey is a trans woman who was born and raised in Maine. She was born into a working class home and has four other siblings. Her mother died when she was seven and her father’s second wife helped to put the family into a better class. Her father was abusive, as were her peers, and her younger years were “brutal” as she was “physically small”, “effeminate”, and “clueless” when it came to fighting. She watched the world around her to learn how to fit in. She knew she was expected to be like the little boys her age but she did not understand what they found interesting--she often found it “repulsive” and “gross”. She suffered from body dysphoria but swimming helped Danielle combat her aversion to body hair as she had an excuse to shave her entire body. Judo helped her to channel her rage and bodybuilding and weightlifting helped her find safety in her body so she could be the one to stand up to the bullies. She had her first queer experience in the military at eighteen but identified as a straight man to avoid the witch hunts during her time in the service. She married her then-girlfriend, and had her eldest son during that time.

After the military, she got a divorce and had a successful career as an out gay man. But traveling was where she could truly be herself: dressing up and going out to queer clubs as Danielle. She partnered with Phil for 5 or 6 years, unfortunately he found Danielle’s hidden clothing and did not accept her, as being in love with a woman was, “the worst thing a gay man could do”. Phil left, Danielle quit drinking, and although she “had everything” as a gay man, she had to live as her authentic self. She came out as Danielle at 40 and had a new experience of the hierarchy in the LGBTQ community. She lost many friends living in the “fishbowl” of being trans. She struggled to afford hormone replacement therapy for a long time, and now feels as though estrogen is a “godsend”; although she’s lost 2 inches, “as an old woman [she’s] still got it”. While living out as Danielle, she had a second child with her dear friend Catherine when she was 47. They married to fund the birth with their insurance. They are now divorced, as they’re better as friends, and co-parent their son together in Minot, ME with their 2 rescue dogs and cats. She also has two granddaughters. Danielle believes: “Those of us [transgender people] that can speak and be visible– should. Those of us who can’t, should support those who can. Those who can’t speak or can’t be seen, should be quiet and wait and know we are waiting for you”.

Please cite as: Querying the Past: LGBTQ Maine Oral History Project Collection, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer+ Collection, Jean Byers Sampson Center for Diversity in Maine, University of Southern Maine Libraries.

For more information about the Querying the Past: Maine LGBTQ Oral History Project, please contact Dr. Wendy Chapkis.


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USM Special Collections


Minot, Maine


Gay, Trans, Maine, Military, Abuse, Bullying, Dysphoria, Hiding, Secret Life, Double Life, Triple Life, Suicide, Career, Marriage, Parent, Children, Femininity, Masculinity, Expectations, Passing, Covering, Judo, Body Building, Weightlifting, Swimming, Coming Out


History of Gender | Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies | Oral History | Women's Studies

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Twomey, Danielle



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