One Friday night last fall, 50 well-dressed guests piled into an apartment in Hell’s Kitchen for a party celebrating Sheela-Marie Padgett, a 57-year-old former dancer with the New York City Ballet.
Waiters passed drinks before a buffet dinner of fancy Indian food was presented. Then came a chocolate cake from the Erotic Bakery made in the shape of corseted showgirl with a male appendage. It was sliced up and served to the crowd.
Which was fitting enough, because the following morning, Sheela — formerly known as Bruce — was scheduled to fly to Scottsdale, Ariz., for the last major procedure in her transition from male to female: gender reassignment surgery.
One by one, friends made their way over to the Nakashima-style wood dining table to offer congratulations. Almost unanimously, they noted that Bruce had been cynical, withdrawn and biting, while Sheela is soft and effervescent.
Read the full story on the New York Times HERE.