Michael Berke (1964–2018) lived as a transgender woman and later reidentified as a man.
Berke was raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. He later stated that, although he could not clearly remember his childhood, he believed that he had been diagnosed with a neurological disorder. He recalled struggling in school, being bullied, and acting out as a teenage vandal. As a young man, he worked in San Francisco as a roadie for the Sea Hags, a sleaze metal band. According to Berke, he experimented with drugs and became addicted to heroin and crystal meth. After a stint in a street gang, he joined Narcotics Anonymous and returned to working as a roadie, first for the New Kind, a pop group, then for a variety of popular 90s-era musicians. He moved to Miami in 1996, and in 1997 began receiving care from a clinical psychologist. According to Berke, he was eventually diagnosed with both borderline personality disorder and gender identity disorder.
In 2003, Berke decided to start living as a woman. His psychologist agreed to authorise Berke's medical transition without consulting a gender specialist. Berke began taking hormones immediately and received facial surgery within three months, followed by additional treatments such as breast implants and electrolysis. He took the name "Michelle", and lived as a woman for a year and a half.
Although Berke was initially satisfied with his gender transition, he continued to experience personal and mental health issues. He joined Calvary Chapel, an evangelical protestant megachurch in Fort Lauderdale. The pastor and parishioners welcomed him as a transgender person and invited him to the women's bible study group. After becoming a born-again Christian, Berke decided to detransition and return to living as a man. His church agreed to pay for surgery to remove his breast implants, since he was already deeply in debt from his earlier treatments. Berke left the church several months later, and said in 2007 that he thought they had pushed him to detransition too quickly and that he felt regret. (The pastor responded that Berke himself had initially suggested it.) Berke appeared in MSNBC's 2008 documentary Born in the Wrong Body: A Change of Heart. He resided in Leadville, Colorado, until his death by suicide in February 2018.
- Harrell, Ashley (11 October 2007). "Tranny Regret". Broward-Palm Beach New Times.
- Kennedy, Kelli (26 November 2007). "A gender journey—man to woman to man—reaches unhappy ending at a church". AP Worldstream. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
- Born in the Wrong Body: A Change of Heart. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
- Woolsworth, Rachel (21 February 2018). "Details of suicide are revealed". The Herald Democrat. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
- Livingston-Garrett, Annie (21 February 2018). "Michael Berke was a friend". The Herald Democrat. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
- "Einmal Geschlechtsoperation zur Frau und zurück". Österreich. 26 November 2007.
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