In a recent memo to her staff, Chicago CEO Jennifer Natalya Pritzker (formerly known as James) came out as transgender. In doing so, the retired Army lieutenant colonel joined a small group of high-profile transgender ex-military service members, which includes Army Private Chelsea Manning, Navy Seal Kristin Beck and Airborne Ranger Diane Schroer.
Earlier this year, Col. Pritzker's Tawani Foundation gave $1.35 million to launch the Palm Center's Transgender Military Service Initiative — the only previous public indication of the reclusive billionaire's private identity. It's not hard to understand her desire for privacy; transitioning genders is difficult enough without the world watching. Coming out is a deeply personal act that can be motivated by many factors, and every coming-out process is unique. However, here are some of the hurdles and joys Jennifer Pritzker is likely to face, drawn from the experiences of other courageous transgender public individuals.
• The chance to be herself. All too often, coming out as trans is portrayed as a dreary, dangerous and sad process. There's no denying that it comes with many potential difficulties; however, coming out also can be a deeply liberating and joyful occasion – as former People magazine Editor Janet Mock shared in this essay on love and identity, originally published on XOJane.com.
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