Coe to host transgender alumna at reading, book signing March 28


A March 28 reading and book signing is scheduled at Coe for the memoir of Minneapolis attorney Ellen Krug. “Getting to Ellen: A Memoir about Love, Honesty and Gender Change” was published by Stepladder Press.

“Getting to Ellen” tells the story of Krug’s start in life as a boy named Ed, who grew up in an alcoholic household in New Jersey, and then later, in Cedar Rapids. When he was 15, Ed fell in love with Lydia, a kind and loving 16-year-old. Soul mates, Ed and Lydia planned out a life done right, which eventually came to fruition – Ed’s successful career as a trial lawyer, a house in the best neighborhood, two beautiful and adoring daughters, and money in the bank.

All was perfect except for one thing: Ed lived in the wrong gender. For much of his life, he fought an internal battle “with bare knuckles in the mud” resisting an inner voice that told him he was actually female. Giving into that voice would mean losing everything that Ed loved, including Lydia.

Against this backdrop, Ed struggled with the legacy of Tom Terrific, his alcoholic father, who later committed suicide when Ed was an adult. Secrets revealed after Tom Terrific’s death, as well as the national tragedy of Sept. 11, forced Ed to honestly understand who – and which gender – he really was. Eventually, Ed transitioned to Ellen. Her transition was possible only through grit, determination and tremendous luck.

“Getting to Ellen” helps remind us of the need to be authentic and true to one’s self, regardless of the costs. It is much more than a unique story about some things lost and others gained. Krug’s memoir offers perspective on the life challenges that all of us face – transgender or not.

A 1979 graduate of Coe, Krug is a freelance writer for several publications and frequent lecturer on the life lessons learned during her gender journey. She presently serves as executive director of a Twin Cities-based nonprofit organization.

“Getting to Ellen: A Memoir about Love, Honesty and Gender Change,” 326 pages, is available through Stepladder Press,, eBooks, and select bookstores. Visit for information about readings, including one scheduled for 4:30 p.m. March 28 in Kesler Lecture Hall in Hickok Hall on the Coe campus.

Copies of the book will be available for purchase following the reading, which is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served. The event is sponsored by Coe’s Psychology Club, Follett Bookstore, the Alumni Office, English Department, Gender Studies Program and Psychology Department.

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