ABC News Assignment Editor Comes Out as Transgender

By Chris Ariens 

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Don Ennis spent his last day at ABC News last week. But Friday morning, Dawn Ennis returned to the network, got her new ID (left) and went back to work at the assignment desk.

Ennis, a former local TV news producer, who’s has also had stints at CNN, CNBC and the “Today” show, has come out as transgender.

“Please understand: This is not a game of dress-up, or make-believe. It is my affirmation of who I now am and what I must do to be happy, in response to a soul-crushing secret that my wife and I have been dealing with for more than seven years, mostly in secret,” Ennis wrote on Facebook Friday.

“I have spent years fighting this, trying through dozens of tests and sheer willpower to overcome what doctors cannot cure nor reverse, or even satisfactorily explain. The New York Post says Ennis is shopping a book deal, which would delve into what may be behind the change:

Ennis said she suffers from an “unusual hormonal imbalance,” and blames her mother, who fed her female hormones as a child to prolong a commercial acting career. The hormones made the little boy look and sound young, but Ennis said she eventually developed breasts.

(GLAAD released a statement last night about the Post’s reporting, saying, “There was a bit of an overemphasis on clothing and appearance, but no incorrect pronouns were used, there were no jokes made at Ennis’ expense, and no anti-trans slurs in the headline – all things that have been hallmarks of the Post’s transgender coverage in the past.)

Ennis, 49, and a father of three, is now separated from her wife of 17 years.

“Trust me, this is NOT the midlife crisis I was counting on – I’d much prefer to have bought a sports car.”

The support from ABC was immediate: co-workers left flowers on her desk Friday and ABC News President Ben Sherwood wrote Dawn a note of support.

On a personal note, I’ve known Dawn since we worked together at WFTS-TV in Tampa/St. Pete in the late 1990s. Like many of Dawn’s longtime friends, it came as a shock when I went to Facebook Saturday morning and saw the news. It’s also been great to see so many of Dawn’s old friends, and so many new ones, lending their own words of support and encouragement.