GALLERY: Finding Justine
By Haley Stracher
Justine Andersen’s name was once Dennis. After surviving testicular cancer, she transformed her gender and way of life moving to Gainesville from her previous home in Ohio.
Andersen left her friends and family in Ohio to reinvent herself in Florida as “Barefoot Justine.” She wrote in her unpublished works, “it boiled down to transition or die.”
Zot Lynn Szurgot, a 54-year-old transwoman, and Andersen meet for Sunday brunch. Szurgot says she understands the hurdles of a transgender person. “There’s about forty of them (hurdles),” she joked.
Andersen's ex-wife in Ohio used to sit on the couch and eat junk food. “I thought to myself, 'if I had that body I would take care of it,'” Andersen said.