A transgender life-saving love story

By Cynthia Mulligan

This is the first story in a series about Danica Rain, a Ontario transgender woman who underwent gender reassignment surgery in Thailand. CityNews had world-exclusive access inside the operating room as Ontario funded the surgery, for the first time, as it’s not available in this province.

Underlying a remarkable story of a transgender woman travelling to Thailand for long-awaited gender confirmation surgery there is another even more remarkable story … a love story.

It started five years ago shortly after Danica began transitioning.

She was living in Toronto at Jane Street and Finch Avenue West, had no job, was broke, and struggling with a drug addiction; crack cocaine to be exact.

Danica was suicidal — but fate intervened.

As Danica, 39, tells it, she was outside a Toronto nightclub one cold November night smoking a cigarette, didn’t have a coat on and was freezing.

That’s when a man walked by and noticed her shivering.

He looked at her and said his car was across the street and asked if she wanted to sit in it and get warm.

He promised he had no ulterior motive, he just wanted to talk.

Maybe he was just as lost and lonely as she was.

Danica accepted the offer and after a few minutes of conversation she got out of his car and gave him her number, he called shortly after and invited her out on a date.

This is more than just a classic “Pretty Woman” tale starring Julia Roberts.

He had no idea Danica was transgender.

They went out for dinner and she was terrified.

“I had no idea how to break the news to him, he was such a nice guy. I remember it like it was yesterday. I plowed myself with alcohol, I’m going to lay it on the table let him know about me being transgender and what I went through.”

After she broke the news to him, he didn’t get up and leave as she feared, instead they talked for hours. When the date was over he asked her for some time to think.

About three weeks later he called and said he didn’t care what body she was born with he cared about the person inside it.

They have been together ever since and are engaged to be married.

Danica went off the drugs cold turkey.

She still cries as she describes what it was like when he called her back.

“When I got that second phone call for that second date it meant so much to me. To finally feel someone accepts me for who I am … the way I see it, my partner saved my life … He made me realize life was worth living.”

This story is all the more remarkable considering Danica’s fiancée is a former Canadian military man; a soldier who did two tours in Afghanistan, and served in Bosnia and Sierra Leone — not the type of man one would imagine easily accepting a transgender partner and yet he did.

He was suffering from PTSD, so maybe he recognized a fellow soul that was wounded.

Danica believes few men would be as accepting as her fiancée.

She calls him a hero.

“The way I see it it takes a very strong man to be with a woman like me, I’m sure it wasn’t easy for him at the start.”

Danica says she has never made love to him “as a woman.” This surgery will change that.

He has always told her she doesn’t have to have it, he is happy with her just the way she is.

Once Danica is fully recovered they are planning to have a quiet wedding.

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