Interviewed and edited by Indigo Quashie
FB Video Link via Pride Action Tank

Interview by Indigo Quashie

One of AFC’s missions is to continue to amplify the voices of LGBTQ older adults and their experiences navigating advocacy work, healthcare, social stigma, or living with HIV. Stefanie Clark is a lesbian and transgender woman who has spent the past six years advocating for culturally competent care training for all medical professionals throughout Illinois, from clinic receptionists, nurses, PhD specialists, dentists, all the up-to the M.D. 

Many know her from Pride Action Tank’s Storytelling for Change, but Stefanie Clark is also connected to many organizations like Howard Brown and Equality Illinois for their advisory boards. As a self-proclaimed “Renaissance Woman,” Stefanie shares her coming-out story, her thoughts about SB3490: Disrupting Disparities for Older Adults, and the resilience required to have unfamiliar conversations about gender identity in medical spaces.

Taken From Indigo Quashie – Click Here To Redirect To Indigo’s Page

What Was It Like? 

Stories By “LGBTQ Elders” Is A New Program By I’m From Driftwood, In Partnership With Comcast, The Nation’s Largest Cable Provider, and SAGE, The Country’s Largest And Oldest Organization Dedicated To Improving The Lives Of LGBTQ Older Adults.” – Im From Driftwood Website

Dressing Up In Mother’s Clothes As A Child: “I Knew I Could Be The Woman That I Wanted To Be."

Despite being being raised as a boy, Stefanie Clark’s mother would use her as a “dress-dummy” when making girls clothing for the family’s neighbors. This turned out to be an eye-opening experience.  – Im From Driftwood Website

1950’s: “I Had To Be The Man Of The Family... And I Think I'm A Girl."

In the span of a year, Stefanie Clark lost her grandfather, her father and her brother – leaving her as the “man of the family.” Knowing in her heart that she was a woman, this wasn’t a role she was comfortable taking on.  – Im From Driftwood Website

1960’s: Coming Out To Wife “Left An Elephant In The Room For The Next 44 Years.”

After Stefanie Clark married her wife, she decided it was time to disclose that her gender identity. Not only did her wife not accept it, it remained a conspicuous but unspoken part of their marriage for the next four decades.  – Im From Driftwood Website

1980’s: Dominatrix Inspires Trans Woman To Become Comfortable In Her Own Skin.

 In the 1980’s, Stefanie Clark accepted a job that required her to move to Chicago, temporarily leaving her family behind on the west coast. While on her own, she began to more seriously explore her gender identity.  – Im From Driftwood Website

After Wife's Death in 2012, Trans Woman Seizes Opportunity To Come Out To Family.

After her wife died in 2012, Stefanie Clark decided it was time to come out to her family. Seizing the opportunity, she revealed her gender identity to each family member, one at a time.  – Im From Driftwood Website

Trans Woman’s Life Changed After Finding A Mentor.

Shortly after her wife’s death, Stefanie Clark befriended an actress named Liz. More than a friend, Liz became a mentor for Stefanie on her journey to womanhood.  – Im From Driftwood Website

"I’ve Been Helped By So Many People On My Journey To Womanhood."

In the Fall of 2017, Stefanie Clark learned that she was about to inherit a large sum of money from a deceased family member. Having been helped by so many people, she decided to give a little something back.  – Im From Driftwood Website

Trans Woman Finds Companionship Late In Life. “I Laugh Harder Now Than I Have In Twenty Years.”

Stefanie Clark had been living on her own for six years when the Center on Halsted contacted her about a possible tenant for the spare room in her condo. Within a month, she not only gained a roommate – she gained a companion.  – Im From Driftwood Website