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One of the first people I invited into my life as an “out” transgender woman was my best friend, Mai. From Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More.

Mai and I bonded over the fact that we were women of color in corporate America, over a silly devotion to The Hills, and over a mutual love of vintage shopping. Most important, we were both on the rebound, having left our starter relationships, longing for partnership.

There were moments of deep intimacy and sharing during our three-year friendship when I felt myself pulling back, withholding details that would reveal me. I remember that evening after her thirtieth birthday when we were placing her clothes (including a Minnie Mouse costume that still cracks me up), DVDs, books, and photos in cardboard boxes. She was sitting on the hardwood floor in gray sweatpants, weeping over leaving a man who was no longer good for her. “I don’t know if I can do this,” she said. “I don’t know if I’m strong enough to do this on my own.”

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