On their wedding day, Dr. David Kaufman and his bride, Cathy, thought they'd be together forever.
The couple raised a son and enjoyed a fun and loving relationship. But at age 45, Cathy, an artist, had a change of heart that came as a shock to those who knew her.
She said, “ I started talking to a friend who is a lesbian and as I talked to her I started understanding that was really who I was.”
After 20 years of marriage, Cathy made a startling confession to her husband.
“I told him, ‘I think I want to start dating women,’” she said.
Her husband's reaction?
It was not what anybody expected.
She said, “He turned to me and surprisingly said, 'That's interesting because I’ve been thinking about dating men.'”
What happened next?
Cathy said, “It was very startling to me to find out that my husband of over 20 years wanted to become a woman.”
David turned into Danielle. Danielle said, “I'm really a woman. I am not a gay man. I’m a straight woman.”
David says as a youngster he remembers feeling he was a girl trapped in a boys body.
He said, “I cross-dressed for a while with my mother's clothing. Ultimately I stopped because I felt guilty because we lived in a very conservative part of the country.”
Cathy and David decided it was best for everyone to separate, although legally they remain married.
As they look through their cherished wedding album, Cathy remembers what it was like saying goodbye to the guy she had once loved as a man.
Cathy said, “All of those who knew David, had to kind of had to go through a period of mourning.”
David now goes by the name Danielle and lives a full life as a woman. She enjoys applying eye makeup and lipstick. She loves buying the clothes she's always wanted to wear. Danielle even exchanges fashion tips with Cathy.
Danielle still has a thriving practice as a radiologist in Santa Rosa, California. She says she's grateful for the support she's receiving from her patients and fellow physicians.
A co-worker said, “I think Dr. Kauffman is wonderful and courageous.”
Danielle has written a book, Untying the Knot hoping to inspire others with a message about understanding. As for this former couple who came out together, they vow to stick together.
Cathy said, “We were in a committed romance, now we are in a committed friendship the rest of our lives.”