W. Meredith Bacon

Profile By: Jacquelyn Anderson

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Early Life and Education

Meredith grew up in an average, middle class, Episcopalian family in New York City. She claims that growing up as a transgender boy in New York City, a highly urban area, did not affect her any differently than if she had grown up in Manhattan, Kansas. When asked if growing up in New York City made any difference, she responded, “When one is transgender, the location doesn’t make much difference … if they prevent you from being who you are, it’s psychologically damaging” (Bacon). During Meredith’s younger years, she knew from the age of four that she was different from all the other little boys around her: “I didn’t like to do the things that I was supposed to like to do. I didn’t like playing the rough-and-tumble Cowboys and Indians” (Bacon). But Meredith hardly let her feelings of being different hinder her and her childhood passions. She found that if she wanted to express herself, then she’d have to find an acceptable outlet in which to do so. She told her parents that she wanted to do something more creative, so she began taking dance lessons. This pursuit promoted a deep appreciation for art, discipline, and beauty. Moreover, she found dance to be an outlet where she could express herself and “get away with it” (Bacon).

During Meredith’s high school years, she struggled to fit in with her peers. She left public high school when her parents packed her away to an all-boys, Episcopalian boarding school in Connecticut. At the boarding school, she was able to continue her passion in the arts, especially theater. Since it was an all-boys school, she was able to snag all of her dream roles, which just so happened to be all the wonderful female roles in the play (Bacon). She became an academic standout at the Episcopalian boarding school. Devoted to her studies, she became what she refers to as a “grind” (Bacon 1).

In Meredith’s college years, she found that she was still a grind. She spoke about having the amazing opportunity of studying abroad. Lightheartedly she said, “I was able to study abroad. Well, you know, not as a broad. But, as my male self” (Bacon). She studied in Avignon, France, and learned to speak French very well. After this experience, Meredith found a passion for languages and eventually learned to speak not only French but also German, Italian, and Russian. She majored in History, International Relations, and Theology and minored in Theater during her undergraduate career. Despite her academic success, Meredith was struggling with her identity, which she didn’t know how to name or explain. It was not until she found a key to the restricted area of the library where she worked that she was able to sneak in and read all the twentieth  century texts about transgender people: “That gave me a sense that I wasn’t the only one, which is really very important. I knew there were other people out there” (Bacon). During the 50s and 60s, the only place one could find this type of literature, besides in the restricted area at the library, was in adult stores, even though the material was not pornographic. “The word transgender was not yet used … transvestite was used at the time” (Bacon). Everyone thought being a transvestite (or transgendered) was a psychological illness. Even homosexuality was listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders as a mental illness. Those years were very important to me, and it also introduced me to a couple of people who were pretty instrumental in directing me toward what would eventually become my area of specialization” (Bacon).  

 

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Adventures (Not As) Abroad

It was during her undergraduate career that she also met her spouse, Lynne, who has played an intricate role in Meredith’s life. Very early on, Meredith fell deeply in love with Lynne. They shared deep passions for the theater and French. Meredith said, “Lynne always tells me she knew I was different” (Bacon). After Read More > >