Homecoming: A Story of Transition & Enlightenment


In November 2015, Lion's Roar Magazine (formerly Shambhala Sun) featured Ellie Krug’s journey to self-acceptance through her transition in ”Coming Home: A Buddhist transitions genders”. 

Detailing her traumatic beginnings in a dysfunctional Midwestern family, Ellie recounts her confrontation with anxiety and lack of self confidence, which carried through her adult life. She sought stability in marriage to her best friend and high school sweetheart, raising children, living in the best neighborhoods, and owning a successful law firm.

Over the years, her feelings of gender dysphoria would not subside, and the September 11th tragedy only solidified her fear of living inauthentically.

However, this isn’t a story about sorrow or heartache. Instead, it’s about how encounters with Buddhist practice and wisdom helped give me the strength to do what I had long considered impossible.

She goes on to recall the friend who gently led her to Buddhism, and the priest Zuiko, who counseled her on the nature of delusion and enlightenment, which was the driving force to lead Ellie to her path to transition.

Enlightenment rather than delusion? Wow! It was what I needed to overcome the fear of living as my true self, a woman.

That evening, Zuiko could see me beaming. She remarked, “It looks like you’ve come home. I’m so happy for you.” A few minutes later, I opened the front door to the Zen Center and floated out. Zuiko’s clarification was the last thing I needed before embarking on what became my own personal “gender journey.”

As is the case for too many, Ellie’s journey led to the loss of her family and career. However, it also moved her into a new city and career path and brought her to a place of wholeness in her body and spirit, culminating in her gender affirming surgery in 2010 at 53.

Read Coming Home: A Buddhist transitions genders by Ellie Krug

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