Stefonknee Wolscht says she wasn’t really missing when her photo was tweeted out by Toronto police last month.
She was hiding.
Hiding from a world that couldn’t accept how a once-burly auto mechanic with a mustache longed to play with dolls. How a long-married man and father of seven could turn his back on everything to live life as a woman, and sometimes, a young girl.
“People have threatened to kill me, shoot me, cut my head off, throw me in the oven,” Wolscht explained. “(They said) that I should kill myself. There’s hundreds of different messages. The worst ones (threaten) to mutilate me.”
Hiding doesn’t come naturally for Wolscht. She’s endured crushing pain and countless indignities because she’s refused to hide.
Four days after Toronto police tweeted that she was missing, she came forward.
“I got a call to say that I’m missing, so I went to Peterborough police to say ‘I’m not missing,’ and I showed them the death threats.”
Wolscht says she became the target of threats after making headlines around the world for her lifestyle choices.
First she was profiled on a British TV documentary called The Trans Project. Then, in an interview with gay and lesbian culture magazine Xtra, she openly spoke about play therapy, where she takes on the persona of a little girl and plays with dolls, reverting to a childhood she finds comfort in.
“It’s a place to escape to,” she explained. “I tried all sorts of different medications for depression and anxiety and none of them work.”
The 52-year-old even has a “mom and dad” in Peterborough (below) who allow her to act out her life as a six-year-old girl.
“There’s a time when I can just hold my dolls and I can just cry,” she explained. “And even just crying is a huge, huge release.”
Wolscht says she left her family in 2009 after being presented with an unpalatable ultimatum by her wife of 23 years — “Stop being trans or leave.”
She equated the request to being told to stop being six foot four, so she left, moving to Toronto where she lived openly as a woman.
Her openness and longing for acceptance ultimately attracted hate.
“It’s like being a hunted rabbit and you have all these dogs chasing you,” she explained.
“There is a stigma attached to this, and there are so many people that feel justified in hating me. The last (threat) I had said ‘you can run but I’ll catch you.’ ”
“I responded with ‘bring a big stick, I’m not running.’ ”
“I’m not running any more.”