Greenwich author opens up in memoir Adam Becomes Audrey

Greenwich’s Alexandra Bogdanovic is sharing the deeply personal story of how her husband transitioned from living as a man to a woman in her book Adam Becomes Audrey. Ken Borsuk

Greenwich’s Alexandra Bogdanovic is sharing the deeply personal story of how her husband transitioned from living as a man to a woman in her book Adam Becomes Audrey. —Ken Borsuk

Chastity Bono has now become Chaz. The hit Netflix show Orange Is the New Black has a transgender character. Colleges are beginning to adopt gender-neutral facilities and Bradley Manning is now Chelsea.

Transgender identity and rights are steadily becoming a part of the national conversation. Transgender men and women are sharing their stories, appearing on TV shows and talk shows, and actively campaigning for their rights. But there is a side of the story often little told: that of the partners and loved ones of individuals who transition.

Alexandra Bogdanovic is one such person. A longtime Greenwich resident, freelance reporter and author, she tells her side of the story in her memoir titled Adam Becomes Audrey, which discusses the impact on her life when her husband told her that he was transitioning to becoming a woman.

It’s a detailed and empathic account of a challenging time in her life that captures the arc of her relationship with her husband, Adam, from their early days of dating, to their first years of marriage and, ultimately, her husband’s decision to live his life as Audrey. Ms. Bogdanovic tells all in what she calls a “tragedy, a comedy and a love story,” where she documents the experiences she had, ranging from the comedic to the harrowing.

Adam Becomes Audrey was published in August 2012, roughly 20 years after Ms. Bogdanovic lived through this experience. The book took her two and a half years from start to finish, and Ms. Bogdanovic describes the writing process as both very long and cathartic.

“It was something that from to time I struggled with doing. I think it did help me cope. In order to write anything well, you need to put yourself back in that place, and I did that,” said Ms. Bogdanovic. “But by doing that, after having some time and distance with the revelation and so forth, it did definitely help in catharsis and helping me cope and get to a much better place in my life.”

Her story is one of a woman who falls in love with the “man of her dreams,” only to have her vision of him and their marriage shatter with one short sentence: “Your husband is really a woman.”

This moment is one that Ms. Bogdanovic has imprinted in her memory. Adam’s therapist shared the truth about Adam, that he had always identified as a woman, and was planning on getting surgery and fully living his life as a woman. Ms. Bogdanovic writes about the fallout, about learning how to live her life after this shocking confession and, in other words, what happened after she found out the truth.

The book is not Adam’s story, it is not a call for transgender activism, nor is it an opinionated treatise about how it’s impossible for partners to stay with spouses who transition. Regardless, Ms. Bogdanovic’s role as an staunch ally to the LGBT community is evident throughout the book.

“I definitely think that anyone in any circumstance who wants to live and take steps to live to what their true identity, I think it’s absolutely fantastic. I don’t think anyone should dissuade or dislike or hate them for doing that,” said Ms. Bogdanovic.

She is forthright in sharing that coming to terms with her ex-husband’s transition, and her current open-mindedness, was a difficult and emotional journey. Nonetheless, she is adamant in declaring that discrimination against transgender people is impermissible in any circumstance, especially with hate crimes such a terrible reality.

“It’s just unnecessary, I don’t have the words. It should be frowned upon by everybody,” said Ms. Bogdanovic.

Ms. Bogdanovic hopes that readers of the book will leave with greater awareness of the transgender community and the issues people face. In telling another side of the story, she sought to present a perspective different from those touted in national headlines.

“There’s always another side of the story. … When anyone who is transgender freely admits that and wants to take steps to live to their true identity, I think it’s incredibly commendable, but remember that there are a lot of people affected, who either don’t want to tell their stories or don’t have the opportunity to do so,” Ms. Bogdanovic said.

And so she has given her account. Despite many years as a reporter, covering many tragic events and telling the stories of others, Ms. Bogdanovic says that telling her own “presented a whole other set of problems” and was among the hardest endeavors she’s ever undertaken.

She’s now laying the groundwork for her second novel, which will be based on her father’s life as a political refugee in post-World War II Europe. While she’s not yet sure what form the book will take, nonfiction or personal account, she’s once again begun the process of telling another vivid story.

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