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Award-winning author, Shane Johnson (“Mr. Scott’s Guide to the Enterprise” and “Star Wars Technical Journal”) is not a household name. But to fans of Star Trek and Star Wars, he was recognized as having received some level of fame. In addition to his books, he was able to sit on panels and hobnob with cast members. He named a minor Star Wars character, influenced some of the set designs on screen for the Star Trek franchise and was a design consultant on HBO’s From the Earth to the Moon series.
So when communication from Shane went dark some eight years ago, speculation soon followed. Past health problems were mentioned. Some even wondered if he had died. Fans have continued to wonder to this day. No solid news has been available.
On July 30, 2014, I received an appreciative e-mail from someone who found my blog. She thanked me for my blog and invited me to chat with her. We have much in common, including being Christian and published authors. Although we live over a thousand miles apart, we have become good friends since that initial meeting by e-mail. We frequently talk on the phone or Skype and text chat at other times. We exchange information and links. She sends me pictures of her beloved cats and samples from her graphic arts portfolio. I have been there for her in times of loss.
Her name is Lora Johnson. We have one other thing in common. We are both transgender. When she became comfortable with me, she told me that she used to be known as Shane Johnson. (I have since received an autographed copy of one of her pre-transition books, not that there have been any so far since her transition.)
Her health problems were and are real. The stress of trying to continue to live as a man was so severe, she developed heart problems that nearly killed her before she ever got the chance to live as the person she truly is inside. Realizing that she might not survive should they persist, she removed much of the stress by transitioning. She does have other health problems, serious ones that need attention as soon as possible. More on that in a moment.
Gender dysphoria is the reason why very few pictures of Shane can be found on the Internet. She cared little for “his” appearance and avoided having pictures taken at all costs. She’s not ashamed anymore. She has shared this picture on the Internet. This is my glamorous friend, Lora. Even more important, she is as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside.
One of the things we have in common is the ability to blend completely into the world of women. Neither of us has had a negative experience in public. Being read as having been born with a male anatomy and overdosed on testosterone has been virtually nonexistent. We describe the event of starting to live as a woman 24-7 the same way: “It was like throwing a switch.”
Like me, Lora reports being much more at peace than ever before, including in her relationship with God. Unlike me, she lives in an area of the country that is very trans hostile. So the idea of her coming out has been far more daunting. But she believes that now is the time.
One thing that has not changed about Lora is her abundant writing and artistic talent. One reason for her coming out at this time is to be able to connect to her existing body of work, hopeful of fostering opportunities for future work.
I could go on and on telling you about my dear, sweet friend who I love like a sister. But Lora deserves to be able to tell her own heartwarming story.
The only thing I will add is about the health problems I alluded to earlier. Lora has a congenital condition in her neck that makes her prone to serious infections. The infections are not constant, but when they occur, they are getting worse and are lasting longer. There is a surgeon in her area who believes she can correct this defect. But surgery is not cheap and Lora’s income and assets are limited. She has started a Gofundme page to raise funds to pay for the operation. Please seriously consider contributing. I hope you will find it in your heart to do so. Here’s the link:
And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins. – 1st Peter 4:8