ABC News Editor Says He’s No Longer Transgender After Bout of Amnesia

ABC News editor Don Ennis, who came out as transgender on May 8 and said he had changed his name to Dawn, now says that after experiencing a two-day bout of amnesia he realizes he's not transgender, the NY Post reports:

Ennis“I accused my wife of playing some kind of cruel joke, dressing me up in a wig and bra and making fake ID’s with the name ‘Dawn’ on it. Seriously,” Ennis wrote in an e-mail to friends and colleagues Friday, explaining his shock after he woke up from what he called a “transient global amnesia” last month.

“It became obvious this was not the case once I took off the bra — and discovered two reasons I was wearing one,” he said, referring to his hormone-induced breasts.

“I thought it was 1999 . . . and I was sure as hell that I was a man,” Ennis said in the e-mail titled “Not Reportable, Very Confirmed.”

“Fortunately, my memories of the last 14 years have since returned. But what did not return was my identity as Dawn,” said Ennis, who had been wearing lipstick, skirts and heels.

“I am writing to let you know I’m changing my name . . . to Don Ennis. That will be my name again, now and forever. And it appears I’m not transgender after all. I have retained the much different mind-set I had in 1999: I am now totally, completely, unabashedly male in my mind, despite my physical attributes,” he said.

Ennis says he plans to be a strong ally of the LGBT community even though he considers himself no longer transgender.

He called his three-month odyssey into the world of women “a tremendous gift.”

“I know my wonderful colleagues will no doubt make it easier for the next person to transition at ABC,” he wrote.


  1. Heartsleeved says

    Wait until the conservative blogs get a hold of this one.

    And the commenters there are going to suggest that bashing transgendered people was a way to try to help them.

  2. BobN says

    What? It’s been three months and he has boobs?

    Are we sure those aren’t just man-boobs?

  3. BZ says

    Don’t underestmate what true amnesia can do. It’s not like it’s portrayed in the movies.

  4. Asher says

    Other than the discrimination that we face, and the fact that gender is handled a little differently in our lives than traditional “straight” people, GLB and Transgender people have almost nothing in common. I don’t feel any affinity whatsoever with Trans people. I don’t mean this as a slight or an insult–they deserve rights and compassion, but what do they have to do with GLB issues, really? Ugh.

  5. Wavin' Dave says

    I can’t follow the timeline in this piece: 14 years? 3 months?
    I know identity is somewhat mutable, but this NATIONAL ENQUIRER-style story is the kind of thing our enemies in the culture wars pounce upon.
    I don’t get it. I hope ABC and the wife do.

  6. Pierre says

    Venus Xtravaganza’s read from Paris is Burning comes to my mind – I’m not buying their story:

  7. Ryan says

    There’s a lot of things that have me wary about this case and I wonder if it’s just about attention-seeking and/or instability.

    Either way, it seems better to leave this as a personal matter and ignore the story.

  8. Neil says

    @BobN, he probably didn’t get boobs in 3 months. The earlier story said that his mother fed him female hormones when he was young, supposedly to make him look younger for an acting career. So, he probably already had some sort of boobs before this strange turn of events happened. (Apologies if I didn’t use the right pronouns. It’s too complicated for me to know which pronouns are correct here.)

  9. Psych says

    Sounds like he suffers from multiple personality disorder and has at least one other alternate personality, this one female, and he was in some sort of fugue state.

  10. TimD says

    I don’t like the user’s comment that trans people have nothing in common with LGB people. It reminded me of a Towelroad comment on the Olympic controversy, where the comment made was very kind toward the more “butch” athlete and his dislike of the fem Johnny Weir. LGBT people covers the entire spectrum and we should support each other; we don’t need to try to be classic men or women and we don’t have to follow traditional societal rules. We should be entitled to them if we wish but have the freedom to not follow them as well. I do not know this newsman’s story and neither does any other poster (I doubt). His story is unusual but I believe him until I have any reason not to.

  11. Jerry says

    Here is a really good example of how different Gay and Lesbian issues are from Trans issues. We are not the same and we really cant speak for one another.

  12. Derrick from Philly says


    my dear buddy, you must be new to the blog. You wouldn’t believe some of the anti-Transgender statements made by some of these b.tches over the last few years.

    I guess you’d have to call them Transgender-bashers. That takes a lot of damn nerve for a Gay man to be a Transfolk-basher.

  13. Seth says

    Can we just be honest and acknowledge that transgender issues are different than LGB issues? Can we be honest and humble and acknowledge that most gay people do not understand a whole lot about trans issues, as this story illustrates? Why do we have to keep pretending that because we are gay that we have some inherent, deep connection to and understanding of transgender?

    We don’t. It is insulting to trans people as well as to LGBs to keep insisting that there is a connection when it is obvious that there isn’t? That doesn’t mean that we have to hate on trans people or not be friends. But we aren’t them and they aren’t us and it makes no sense to lump ourselves together.

  14. FuryOfFirestorm says

    Sorry, but G/L/Bs have a lot in common with trans people. Both groups are treated like freaks, both groups are told that they’re psychologically damaged or just need therapy (or prayer) to be “normal”, both groups face hate speech, bashings and are even killed for being who they are, and both groups have severely limited rights (or none at all) in some parts of the world.

    The reason we’ve come so far is because of solidarity. A lot of us have forgotten that the most vocal and fiercest fighters for our rights were drag queens and transgender people. We can’t truly say that we’re all for Equality if we are excluding or diminishing others.

  15. MarkusT123 says

    This story brought up a lot of red flags for me. Every story I have every read about a transgender person is they pretty much knew their whole life they were born in the wrong body. If he mentally went back 14 years he would still know he was transgender. Sounds to me like someone who wants to get on the conservative talk circuit.

  16. Thedrdonna says

    @furyoffirestorm: Not to mention the fact that, until the late 50’s and early 60’s when medically transtioning began to be a real option, the two communities were pretty much indistinguishable.

  17. Phil says

    Hm. Weird story.

    As a gay man with many trans* friends, I must say that trans* issues are gay issues. Besides the aforementioned reasons of Furyoffirestorm, there’s the basic tenets of what gender and gender identity play within the queer community beyond those who transition from one half of the binary to the other. Personally, I don’t believe in the binary and instead believe in a spectrum of gender (I happen to be on the medium butch side–I have plenty of friends butcher who were born with vaginas, so take that as you will). Trans* issues are queer issues because it is our seeming inability to fit the gender stereotypes (beyond our love for musicals, our disgust of vaginas) in the first place that causes some heterosexuals (and some homos, even) to degrade and diss us.

    The other comment I have an issue with is Psych saying this MPD. First of all, please tell me you’re not a psychiatrist or psychologist and believe in MPD? Second of all, if you are a psychiatrist or psychologist who believes in MPD, please give me your full name and list of degrees so I can make sure not to ever see you or anyone you studied with next time I’m seeking a new shrink lol.

  18. says

    @Seth, yes lets be honest, Trans issues are LGB issues. Was that too hard for you?

    As much as gender totally makes place cards for people like you, to hold your hand through the troubles of life, it really is best if we keep the group together. Maybe one of these days you will read some gay history and see how our groups merged under the queer umbrella. Maybe not.

    As for the story, this guy is crazy, you never, EVER, judge an entire people on one crazy guy. It’s just rude. It makes you a bad lover.

  19. anon says

    He has more than transgender issues. There’s a large distinct between gay and transgender groups. The big T are looking for a medical ‘cure’ for their false ‘gender’. If we were to take gay gender norms to heart then they would not need a ‘cure’ or surgery and just be happy they way they are, acting as they might. In other words, we’d come full circle. Instead, they insist on rigid gender norms and full body modification.

  20. KidJ/NYU says

    TheDrDonna: Yes, LGBT does reflect and perpetuate the backwards beliefs and stereotypes of the 1950s and early 60s.

    It is a reactionary concept. That is one more reason why all LGB and T people should oppose it.

  21. Thedrdonna says

    @Anon: that’s pretty incorrect, and really only something someone who is comfortable with their own sex could say. It’s analogous to saying that people who are gay just need to get comfortable with people of the opposite gender, and then they will magically be straight!

  22. Jeff Warren says

    I have a feeling that the people on here who say LGB folks have nothing in common with trans folks don’t have any trans friends.

  23. Knock says

    The LGBT(TIQQ2S)(etc) monolith is the equivalent of lumping everyone who isn’t white and Western together: it’s artificial.

    They (we) may have some things in common and comparable struggles, but being gay and being trans aren’t interchanagble anymore than being Masai and being Japanese are.

  24. johnny says

    One of the first trans people I’ve seen who actually looks better in the wig than out of it.

    Yeah, I don’t readily identify with the T in LGBT, but am not bothered that it’s our caboose in the train of life. Everybody needs equality and good treatment.

    On the other hand, I don’t see how we’re all dealing with the same issues (I’m fine with my gender) and agree with Knock on this one. It’s not interchangeable.

    I understand the sexual attraction rainbow, just have trouble seeing where trans fits in. Perhaps it’s out in the range of gamma rays or ultra violet light or something.

  25. Thedrdonna says

    Hi Johnny,
    If you think about it, many trans people will experience some form of same sex attraction, either before or after transitioning. There aren’t really concrete statistics, but only a small percentage of trans people’s sexualities change during transition. The ending proportions are something like 1/3 gay, 1/3 bi, and 1/3 straight, post transition, and there aren’t really any studies that examine how many people were LGB before transitioning.

  26. Zeta says

    LMAO shameful. The man has issues… just like every other transperson out there. HOWEVER, they deserve to be under the umbrella. Not that long ago that homosexuality was all about the issues.

    He’s trying to find himself. I hope he finds it. Himself. (Herself. Whatever.)

  27. Squirt says

    I used to think it strange that trans issues were matched with gay/lesbian issues. But at the core, our message is the same: “I get to say who I am.” The right to self-identify is central to the GLB rights movement, and it certainly is a basic concept of life as a trans person. Just a thought …

  28. Knock says

    There’s more to being gay or bi or transgendered or queer than the political stance of asserting one’s rights and desires for equality. Being sexually attracted to those with matching genitals does not make one an activist first and homosexual second. It’s the inversion of these two things that has lead to this notion that anyone who wasn’t born heterosexual and with internal/external gender parity are somehow the same or should naturally identify with each other. But we aren’t, and many of us don’t care to be lumped together – or told we’re wrong to prioritize things in any order other than the one written in rainbow colours.

  29. KidJ/NYU says

    Well said Knock! There’s also the problem of defining ourselves based upon what homophobes link us with. The LGBT fans say LGB should be lumped with T because that is what homophobes do. We should never define ourselves based upon what other people think of us or by what other groups they might lump us in with. We decide for ourselves.

  30. Zeta says

    I used to think it strange that trans issues were matched with gay/lesbian issues. But at the core, our message is the same: “I get to say who I am.” The right to self-identify is central to the GLB rights movement, and it certainly is a basic concept of life as a trans person. Just a thought …

    POSTED BY: SQUIRT | AUG 6, 2013 9:09:12 PM

    Squirt has a big point.

  31. Knock says

    You are defining LGBT… as a political allegiance, one detached from the sexual identities of individual homosexuals, bisexuals, etc., but that name is problematic as you can see.

  32. Isabella says

    Cis LGBs are not trans, but trans do have all sexual orientations. A trans person may be homosexual and bisexual too, remember this.