I first met Allison Denise Woolbert at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Southern New Jersey in 2008, only, at the time, she said, she sometimes went by the name 'Bud', my nickname for her. However, on that day, she was 'Allison.'
I had never known anyone who was transgender or wanted to transition, and, frankly, I was fascinated. One of my very best friends was gay and, I had learned a lot from her about the trials and tribulations of being a lesbian; I knew, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that homosexuality is anything BUT a “choice.” But this? I knew nothing and strove to understand.
Allison and I became fast friends: as Bud, she was an extraordinary woodworker – something I wanted to learn more about (I would give anything to have HALF of the knowledge she has in her head about woodworking!) I had the unique opportunity to follow her through her transition, both physically and mentally.
Her determination and devotion intrigued me the most; the stories of her painful youth, broke my heart and made me think, if she were my child, how would I have reacted? Allison Woolbert forced me to face what might have been uncomfortable for some people, except that her enthusiasm, as she moved forward in her transition and her sheer joy as she progressed, told me there was no better choice for her. She made it look, and seem, so natural.
I literally watched her develop from larvae, to pupae, to chrysalis and, finally, into an extraordinarily beautiful butterfly, first, through hormones, then through each and every surgery and through the process of becoming the woman that was always inside of her. And, she faced every step of the way with confidence and heroism; it was abundantly clear transitioning was exactly right.
In the end, I realized that Allison had been a true woman her entire life; that nature DOES make mistakes sometimes; that we, as human beings, were given the technology to correct those mistakes; and, when necessary, we not only should but we must.