For the first time in his life, 68-year-old Mac McCord feels nervous about going to the bathroom.
McCord is a transgender man. He and his wife, Judy, live in Louisburg, 45 minutes northeast of Raleigh.
Judy worries that Mac might be attacked if someone sees his feet facing “the wrong way.” So Mac learned to urinate standing up with the help of a device called a “stand-to-pee packer.”
“There’s a heightened awareness – that maybe we’re not as safe as we thought we were,” Mac McCord said. “I don’t know what the message is they’re trying to send, but the message we’re hearing is we are not OK. We don’t want you to be alive.”
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Mac was raised as a girl, but said he knew from childhood he was supposed to be a man. “I expected to grow up and be a boy since I was very, very young. I had constant fights with my parents. Sometime between 7 and 10 they told me if I continued like I was, I would probably be institutionalized. I just kind of shut all that down.”
He enlisted in the U.S. Army as a woman. Fellow soldiers, he said, nicknamed him “Sgt. Butch.” In 1999, he began his transition.
Mac is now a puppeteer and Judy, 69, his assistant. They have been together 30 years, married for nine.
“It’s been such a wonderful relationship and it keeps getting better,” Judy said. “He’s a very unique individual.”
That’s not to say it’s always been easy. When Mac decided to transition, he and Judy separated for about a year. “It was difficult for me,” Judy said. “Then we began dating, which was really fun. It became very, very clear to me that he was the one. There wasn’t any question that we belonged together.”