Connor Maddocks has been doing advocacy and civil rights work in the San Diego Transgender community for the past 20 years. He is the lead facilitator of the San Diego FTM-SO Discussion group, is an active guest speaker to various organizations, businesses and colleges on Transgender issues. He has done extensive trainings on all aspects of the Transgender Community as well as workshops for the community on legal name and gender changes. He is a member of the Community Leadership Council of San Diego, Chair of the San Diego Day of Remembrance and planning committee member of the Day of Empowerment. He is a former member of the San Diego Pride Board of Directors, and an active volunteer of Pride for the past 19 years. He was the first Transgender member of the American Cancer Society California LGBT Diversity team, Past Co-Chair of TASC San Diego and he also served on the Transgender Leadership Summit planning committee, the LGBTQ Reducing Disparities Project – TG Advisory Group, and served on the EPN Steering Committee, appointed to the City of San Diego Mayor’s LGBT Community Advisory Board, San Diego Police Department Chief’s Advisory board as well as the San Diego VA LGBTQ workgroup. Connor also works with the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department. In 2015 Connor began working with the San Diego Police Department doing the very first trainings on Transgender issues for the police officers in every Division in San Diego.
Connor has received the Harvey Milk Civil Rights Award at the Nicky’s. He was the first recipient of the Susan Davis Equality Award, San Diego Pride Champion of Pride Award and the Equality California Community Service award among many others.
He is also the parent of 3 daughters and grandparent to 10 beautiful grandkids.
In His Own Words
I was born in Natick, Massachusetts way back in 1953. I am the third of four children, to an Irish Catholic Family. I knew around 3 years old that I was not a girl, I knew as surely as I knew the sun came up every day. I preferred the company of boys and the activities they played. Unfortunately, my mother was not on board with that, and I was often scolded to behave like a girl.
We moved to Tarzana, CA when I was 6. As I grew up, my knowledge of who I really was never left me, but those around me had different ideas. I did nothing right and the constant harassment from parents and teachers to conform left me with a sense of self-hatred, feeling unlovable, and the belief that I was inferior, inadequate, and defective. At age 20 I married, it was about trying to feel normal, trying to fix myself and become the female person everyone expected me to be. It was, from the start, a rocky marriage. Problems with alcohol and a husband so self-involved there was no room for me. My three daughters arrived in the 80’s and I stayed home and raised them for 12 years until I finally went back out into the world.
I stayed married for 25 years, which proved to be extremely difficult years of abuse. This is what happens to people who are marginalized in their early years.
I came out as a Lesbian in 1997, when the divorce was final. I had always loved women, just wasn’t one of them. I got sober and joined Gay AA to meet others like me. But they were not like me, still I did not belong.
In 1999 I met someone online who asked if he could talk to me about being a Lesbian. He told me he didn’t think I was one, but he knew what was really going on. He was a Trans man, he told me his story and that was my story!! Finally I had a name for who I was and I knew I wasn’t the only one who felt this way.
It took until 2003 for me to be ready to medically transition. I was over the moon! At the same time I had to move to San Diego to take care of my parents. I met a group of Trans men who were meeting monthly. I joined them and was given all the love and support I had never known before.
I started my activism then. I wanted no one to go through this alone, as I had. I started working with a person at the LGBT Center to develop Trans events. In 2006 I began working at the Center as Facilities Manager. As they had no Trans services or even a basic understanding of what Trans was, I became the de facto person to call when the word Trans was mentioned. They allowed me to help community members alongside my regular duties.
I started speaking at colleges and doing trainings for different organizations throughout San Diego. Including San Diego Police and San Diego County Sheriffs, it was work that I loved doing and still do.
In 2013 I created Project Trans at the Center. The very first Transgender Program there. I was able to do my community work full time and I knew I was so blessed to have this opportunity.
Over the years I helped create Transgender Community Coalition, I created most of the Transgender groups that still meet today and I still run my TransMasculine group that I joined in 2003. I was a Board Member at San Diego Pride, and I am still actively volunteering with Pride today making it 19 years now.
The best part of my life now is finding time to spend with my beautiful daughters and my 10 grandchildren. They all live in Rhode Island, but I make sure I go visit at least once a year.
People say I’ve accomplished a lot and have given me numerous awards, which truly humbles me. The award I am most proud of is being inducted to the LGBT Centers Wall of Honor in 2019. But what I see is that I was the lucky one who was able to reach out to so many people in San Diego and be blessed by their kindness and all the things they have taught me over the years. I have always felt a need to help others, but what I have received back is 10 fold more than I gave.