She was born as Steven Mott on the last day of 1957 in Lawrence, Kansas.

    In October of 2006, after a life-long journey she became Stephanie Mott, a transsexual-Christian woman.

    She was born as Steven Mott on the last day of 1957 in Lawrence, Kansas.
    In October of 2006, after a life-long journey she became Stephanie Mott, a transsexual-Christian woman.
    She is the executive director of the Kansas Statewide Transgender Education Project, or K-STEP. The organization seeks to provide transgender education in hopes of stopping discrimination.
    Her presentation was sponsored by the Kansas Equality Coalition, which is a state-wide group that aims to end discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity/ expression.
    Here is her story:
    “The story goes, the doctor told my parents that they could either have the last baby of 1957 or the first baby of 1958,” she said. “Apparently my dad said he wanted an income tax deduction and so I was born 11 minutes before midnight in 1957.”
    A crowd of approximately 20 people from KEC and K-STEP, who gathered in the community room at the South High Rise on Sunday afternoon, laughed.
    “Hopefully you’ll laugh at some of my other jokes too,” Mott said.
    She grew up in a loving home with a mother who loved her unconditionally.
    “My dad, was a typical dad of the 1950s,” she said. “He was a product of the Depression and brought some baggage from his own youth that influenced how he parented. But he was a great provider and, for the most part, kind.”
    A loving house was an important part of her journey because a lot of transgender people don’t have that opportunity, Mott said. She has two brothers and two sisters.
    “The first thing I remember knowing about myself was that I was a little girl and I was born into a little boy’s body,” she said. “I did not have the language to say that at the time, but I knew that at the time.”
    The second thing she remembers knowing is that she would have to present herself to the world as a little boy. And that wasn’t who she was. To express herself as a little girl, it would have to be in the shadows and in the darkness, she said.
    At the time, Mott couldn’t talk to anybody.
    “For anybody who has ever experienced life in the closet, it’s not a very good place to be,” she said.
    There’s always something that says there is something wrong with who they are, she said. And then there are the theological presentations that transgender people or people whose sexual orientation is not heterosexual are wrong, Mott said.
    “I suspect there might be a few people around this table who understand what it’s like to question whether or not God really made me the way I was supposed to be,” she said. “Maybe God made a mistake. Maybe God had abandoned me. Maybe God was mad at me. Maybe really, you know, God had created something that was so horrible in God’s eyes that I was going to burn in hell.”
    This was the theological message got as she grew up. She later came to believe this wasn’t true.
    When Mott hit puberty her body started to change in ways she didn’t want it to go.
    “At that particular point in time it got way harder,” she said.
    But it was also at this point, in 1970, that Renee Richards was barred by the United States Tennis Association from competing in the U.S. Women’s Open tournament.
    Richards is a transsexual woman.
    “It came across my television in rural Kansas that such a thing was possible as a sex change,” she said. “It was the first time I knew it was possible for someone to have a sex change.”
    Mott was 13.
    When she was 17 she attended the University of Kansas, had a car and more freedom.
    “Every single moment of my conscious existence, up till the age of 48, took place on the battlefield of who I am versus who I thought I had to be,” she said. “Every single breath I took. Every single thing I saw was in that framework.”
    She said her life was going well, but inside she felt like she was dying. Then, at 18, Mott discovered alcohol.
    Alcohol changed the way she felt. The shame, fear, isolation, the torment of the disconnect and the feeling that she was a freak went away.
    “Long story short, for the next 30 years, I abusively used alcohol and other drugs to escape from the reality that was my life,” she said.
    Mott was married and divorced to women twice during this time period. She has a 19-year-old son she hasn’t talked to for five years because of her alcoholism, not her transgenderism, she said.
    “My job, at this particular point in my life, if the door opens up for me to be a part of his life again,” she said, “Is to be at a point in my life where I can walk through it.”    
    Eventually alcohol and drugs took a toll on Mott. She ended up homeless and landed at the Topeka Rescue Mission.
    From there, she sought substance abuse treatment and behavioral health care treatment.
    “Landing in the Topeka Rescue Mission was the most blessed thing I could ever have happen to me,” Mott said. At this point in her life, her sisters didn’t want to be part of her life anymore. This has since changed.
    But rock-bottom was a turning point in her life.
    “It finally told me that I can’t keep doing this anymore,” Mott said. “I can’t try to live as a man. I have tried. I have tried desperately for a very long time.”
    She got into alcohol treatment, found a therapist and started talking about the things she needed to talk about. Mott said she wanted to be sure to make the right decision because every decision she makes affects someone in her life.
    “I needed to make sure it was the right thing for me to do,” she said. “And in the process of seeing a therapist I found out it that it was the right thing for me to do.”
    Eventually Mott found support in the Topeka Transgender Alliance and Metropolitan Community Church of Topeka.
    On July 2, 2006 at MCC she met another person who she knew was transgender.
    “And I thought no, that’s a biological woman,” she said. “And I talked to her and I could touch her and she’d been through what I was getting ready to go through.”
    This was the first time Mott knew, she said, in her heart, that it was possible for her to be the woman of her soul.
    “On July the 23 of 2006 I went back to MCC as Stephanie,” she said.
    A good friend took Mott to the thrift store the day before where she bought a dress, purse, earrings and shoes. At the time, Mott was living in a men’s half-way house so she stuffed the items under her pick-up truck’s seat.
    “I couldn’t get dressed and drive to the church,” she said. “So I drove my truck to the church parking lot on Sunday morning and I sat out there for 15 minutes and argued with myself.”
    She still wasn’t convinced but at the same time — she knew without a doubt — that if she didn’t take this chance, she would never have a chance again.
    “It was either do this or resign myself to a life of torment,” she said.
    Mott gathered her clothes and changed in the women’s bathroom while someone guarded the door.
    “Turns out, and I didn’t know it at the time, no one would have been disturbed,” she said.
    When she came out the pastor and congregation welcomed her.
    “I went and I sat down in the pew and looked up at the cross,” she said. “And the first time I felt truth and self in the eyes of the Lord.”
    And as the attendance book was passed around she signed her name, Stephanie Mott, for the first time in her life.
    “And I can’t even begin to tell you what the sermon was about,” Mott said. “I was being Stephanie in front of God and everybody and it was wonderful.”
    But she does remember communion that day.
    “She (the pastor) put her arms on my shoulder and said, ‘God bless your daughter for the faith she has shown in you’,” Mott said. “And Stephanie was born.”