I'm From Driftwood is a 501(c)(3) non-profit forum for true lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer stories. Earlier this year, founder and Executive Director Nathan Manske and two companions successfully completed a four-month, 50-state Story Tour collecting LGBTQ stories from towns and cities across the country. They're pulling some of the most relevant, important and sometimes just enjoyable stories from their archives and sharing them with HuffPost Gay Voices.
Over 13 years ago Shellie and Randi Ruge were set up on a blind date by one of Shellie's 8-year-old piano students. Five weeks later they were married. Recently, their commitment to each other was put to an unexpected test. Shellie explains:
Five years ago Randi came to me after a trip to Lake Powell. And I knew something was very wrong because Randi was calling me and tearful. She came back and said we have to have a talk, and that's when she told me she is transgender.
Shellie had to convince herself that this was actually happening to her and realized her life would never be the same. Randi adds:
And I think, too, it's important to know at this point, I was 47 years old, and I had come to the point that I needed to transition. Everything was on the line for me, and I came to her.
The first time Shellie felt comfort after the revelation that Randi was transgender was when she realized that their relationship didn't have to end. Through years of dedication, patience, and commitment, they're still married:
There were moments that were very difficult, and there were moments that I felt the loss, and there were moments that I really grieved it from the bottom of my heart. And I will always miss aspects of Randy the man; that's just the reality. But there are so many things I love about Randi the woman. But it is a process. It is a Process. Capital letters.
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