Shortly after Christmas 2009, I began a correspondence with a friend who, in the course of a few emails, had asked me many probing questions. After several long email responses I said that, thanks to her questioning, I perhaps had a good start to a book. She said the more I answered her questions the more she wanted to know, and she encouraged me to keep going. It was now the end of February and, though I initially balked at the idea of writing a book about my life, there had been something therapeutic going on as I recounted my stories. As I continued writing throughout the month of March, I laughed and cried to myself more than I ever had. I was surprised at how it all came together so quickly, especially since I had never written anything longer than a term paper—and that was way back in my college days.

As I have thought about an appropriate title for this book, I considered all kinds of possibilities, but I also questioned my motivation for telling my story and whether anyone would bother reading it. What could I add that has not already been said by others; and what, if any thing, would be the differentiating quality of the book?

I didn’t want to add yet another title to the growing number of books about the lives of transgender people. Least of all, I didn’t want anybody reading this book expecting it to be a herald for “the cause.” Additionally, I felt it needed to be stated right from the beginning that my life has not been a tragedy, and that I do not deserve or want pity or admiration. I can think of a hundred worse things than being transgender, and my “suffering”—if you want to call it that—pales by comparison to what others have to endure from the day they are born until the day they die.

Consequently, the title I picked is the most descriptive of what this book really is all about. It’s a look behind the scenes of a good life and the process of becoming transparent about who I am. The truth is, though I lived with a secret identity crisis, I have also had a blessed, busy and happy life.

Now that I have this attempt at a book completed, dedicating it to just one person is impossible for me to do. First of all, I have been blessed with amazing parents and siblings. But I am most grateful for and to the woman I married, to have been known as her husband and the father of her children. And I am most fortunate, because as well as having these people in my life, I have also been surrounded by an amazing collection of friends. I can honestly say on these facts alone that I have had a very good life. To all of you, my family and my friends, thank you for allowing me to have journeyed with you in the past, and for the amazing gift of allowing me to continue with you now.

Finally, I must acknowledge one person above all others, Jesus the Christ. I acknowledge Him because He is the thread running through the tapestry of my life in such an intricate way, it has kept the weave together and prevented it from unraveling.

If you want it put in a less religious way, okay: I have been kept from going nuts, harming myself (or worse) by a Higher Power.

Distraction from one’s problems is a good thing, and this adventure—my life—has had an ample supply of distractions. But there has always been this very private and confusing tension behind the scenes that took me more than forty years to understand and another fifteen years to reconcile.

One last comment: These accounts deal with some sensitive issues that on today’s television shows are usually preceded with the warning “adult content, viewer discretion is advised.” If you are uncomfortable with the “adult” words for body parts and swear words, then be warned: I use them. I mean no offense or disrespect.



It wasn’t always clear to Santiago Salazar that somewhere inside himwas a Lisa who would someday—a long time into the future—show herself to the world. Born in Colombia, Santiago grew up in California and moved to Vancouver in the early 1970s to start a successful career as a graphic designer and photographer. 

After living the first forty eight years of life as Santiago, a married, heterosexual man and father of three children and devout Christian, Santiago was diagnosed with gender dysphoria, a term that describes the challenges, and opportunities, that some have with sexual identity. It would take almost ten more years before Santiago decided to transition to womanhood. For someone who had been a husband and a father, it was the beginning of an amazing new life.

Having recently completed her transformation, Lisa was ready to share the story of her journey with us.

Transparently is an honest and compelling story, told by a brave woman who made the call to accept what she knew she had always been.



Reader Reviews

By Bret G., Nevada

This is a thoughtful, compelling, and insightful look at the life of someone struggling with gender identity. It gives insight into the struggle, and helps the reader find empathy, compassion, and understanding. Lisa, through her humble vulnerability, invites the reader to experience the range of emotions encountered as someone comes to grips with transgender issues. The glimpses into her strong Christian faith and her journey of reconciling that faith gave me hope for a future where transgender people can be participating members of the church. I am so grateful for the opportunity to read this book!


M. Svenson, California

The realm of transgender people was something I knew very little about. As a person who likes to be well informed on a wide range of issues I was searching for a book that was appropriate to gain a solid understanding of transgender people. I also wanted a book that would neither sensationalize nor present a stereotypical image of transgender people. This book provided exactly what I was looking for - a well balanced, methodical, and personal account of someone who has been through it all. I had no idea.

Lisa presents her journey from early childhood through to her complete transition which will help the reader understand the emotional, physical, and intellectual aspects of a transgender person. As if that weren't enough, there is an added bonus. She is also a dedicated and conservative Christian who's faith is important and integral to her life as a transgender woman. This adds a spiritual fourth dimension to her story. Rather than deter her, it was her faith that helped her overcome all other obstacles.

She shares many of the acts of kindness and grace that her family, church, and even many fellow Christians bestowed upon her, as well as her work colleagues and her company's clients. Her tenacity as a transgender Christian is amazing.

If you, as I did, want to understand transgender people better I would highly recommend this book. If you are a person who may suspect that you may be transgender this book would be extremely useful. Last, if you are a Christian or a person of faith this book will enlighten and help eliminate many stereotypes that were once held about transgender people. I highly recommend it.


By Kathy. Baldock, Nevada

It is sometime quite unfortunate that the letters G, L, B and T are mashed together. G, L and B are variations on sexual orientation and T is associated with gender identity. Many people are unclear on this differentiation. People often think they are creating safe spaces for transgender people just because they are affirming to gay people. Not so. To make a church a place of safety and to understand the most marginalized group in our society, one much understand what it is to be transgender. What to DO?? Most of use do not know any T people.

Lisa's book will start the reader on the road that understanding. Her writing style is emotionally packed when necessary and detailed when needed. You will be swept into empathy without realizing it because the story is so moving and Lisa does a great job sharing her pains and difficulties and struggles to become one in brain and body.

I recommend this book very often and actually just did even a few minutes ago to a pastor in TX. He thought he was doing quite well in his affirmation of the G, L and B's and imagined the T's would also just flock in. He is still operating under a strong set of stereotypes using words like "behavior" and "sin". When a person seeks to understand what gender dysphoria is, they will never again such dismissive words when speaking of our lovely T friends.

Lisa's book is SO EXCELLENT in offering understanding. I am honored to actually KNOW Lisa as a friend. Her humility, strong faith in God and humanity in her real life, off the pages of a book shine through in authenticity in her writing.

READ the book. Seek understanding and gain compassion in coming alongside our T brothers and sisters in Christ.


Ask a Transgender Christian

Lisa’s Interview with Rachel Held Evans
from September 2012
Link to Interview


Copyright © 2011, 2012 by Lisa S. Salazar

ISBN-13: 978-0986931901
ISBN-10: 098693190X
ISBN- BN: 978-1-61914-492-7

214 Pages (adult content) Paperback

Table of Contents (PREVIEW)

Foreword by Duncan Holmes 1

Foreword by kaitlyn Bogas 6

Preface 8

Chapter 1: Trip to the Moon 11

Chapter 2: California, Here We Come 16

Chapter 3: Growing Roots 21

Chapter 4: A New Awareness 25

Chapter 5: How American 32

Chapter 6: A Sticky Situation 37

Chapter 7: On the Meaning of Words 42

Chapter 8: The Power of Advertising 47

Chapter 9: The Big Bust 51

Chapter 10: What Do I Know? 56

Chapter 11: Spiritual War 61

Chapter 12: Stupid Zeal 65

Chapter 13: We Meet Again 72

Chapter 14: Fundamentally Speaking 77

Chapter 15: Crossing the Border 81

Chapter 16: Homesickness or Love? 89

Chapter 17: The Countdown 95

Chapter 18: I Promise 100

Chapter 19: Starting a Family 105

Chapter 20: Full of Beans & Fessing Up 111

Chapter 21: Hitting Rock Bottom 119

Chapter 22: Fear of Falling 127

Chapter 23: Cocoon Time 131

Chapter 24: Gender Clinic 136

Chapter 25: A Disaster and a Wedding 142

Chapter 26: What Will People Think? 147

Chapter 27: The Day the Music Stopped 153

Chapter 28: Hormones 163

Chapter 29: The Last Hurdles 168

Chapter 30: Running Into Transition 175

Chapter 31: Navigating Uncharted Waters 181

Chapter 32: The Change 192

Chapter 33: An Epilogue 199

The Last Word: 202

Appendix I: Bed Posts 203

Appendix II: The Letter 208

I’ve been asked where the name

“Lisa” came from? 213

Amazon Reviews

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