Real Insight - The Trials and Tribulations of a Trans-Sexual Builder
by Craig Levine

In a scantily clad world of adrenaline pumping, ill-compassioned, fire-mouthed contractors, one builder chose, courageously, to be different. Very different. Ever since Bobby Fortenberry was little, he felt like something was wrong. Like he was trapped in a man's body and was fighting to get out. The world expected Bobby to behave in strict congruence to pre-defined male/female mannerisms ordained by society. Bobby, however, felt like life was a stage and he was perpetually having to live it as an actor. His feelings did not agree with what his body looked like. Later in life, he would learn that he was not alone and that a true medical diagnosis for this condition, Gender Dysphoria, existed.

Bobby grew up surrounded by a family of builders, contractors, and graders and was in essence pushed into the business by his siblings. He was actually a talented musician who wanted to pursue a career in music, but those dreams never came to fruition. Instead, Bobby pursued building and constructed his first home in Dekalb County in 1971, a four-sided 2,700 square foot brick split level that sold for $49,000. Soon, he was building homes throughout Dekalb County. From Dekalb, Bobby took on more building roles in other subdivisions. Mountain Creek in Roswell, Arden Lakes, Farmington, and King's Crossing in East Cobb, Summerchase in Cherokee, and Country Walk and Echo Mill in West Cobb.

Although things were going well, Bobby still felt strange and went to see some doctors. He took a test and was diagnosed with a strong case of Gender Dysphoria. He decided that he wasn't crazy and would go through with a sex-change operation. The surgeries were numerous and he had to re-organize his schedule to keep up with work. It was tough at first for Bobby, who consequently has changed his name to Christine, to deal with the contractors who didn't take Christine seriously. In a male dominated industry where physical strength and an imposing demeanor got you respect, Christine now had none of that. Some of her contractors that had been with her for years were let go because they wouldn't heed her advice or demands to do things differently. The new contractors that she hired worked out better because they only knew her as a woman that was providing them with a paycheck. Her respect began to grow along with her business.

Christine attributes much of her present success to the fact that she can now relate better to her contractors and her clients. 95% of the time, she talks with the wives and not the husbands and she has developed a deeper sense of compassion and friendship with her clients. Since the anger, aggression, and uncertainty have disappeared, she can now focus more attention on the jobs at hand. She claims she has the best of both worlds, since she has the ability to talk about the technical aspects of building and yet be pleasant enough to work with on a cordial basis. Christine's best piece of advice to a home buyer looking to build? Get your builder's references checked out thoroughly before you sign a contract. Too many buyers jump blindly into a builder's lap just because they build tons and tons of homes or belong to an organization. Christine's references may have some interesting stories to tell, but most would agree that she builds a sound home.

Having been licensed since 1994, Craig Levine brings to your real estate deal a world of experience, cutting-edge technology, negotiating savvy, and exemplary service. With Century 21 in Atlanta, Craig was the #2 agent in the #1 office in Georgia in 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2001! He repeatedly received Century 21's highest honor, The Centurion Award, in each of these years. In 2002, Craig joined Re/Max Greater Atlanta, the Nation's #1 Re/Max office. Additionally, Craig got licensed in Florida to bring his arsenal of skills and resources into the Emerald Coast's 2nd Home and Investment market. Now, he wants to put his talents to work for you! Craig is an avid boater, golfer, traveler, biker, and reader. He has written for numerous print magazines including The Seasonal, The Gazette, Cobb Living, Cobbonline, The Cobb Times, Atlanta Nation, Cherokee Nation, North Fulton Nation, Gwinnett Nation, The Southeast Business Journal, Lake Lanier Herald, Revue and News, John's Creek Herald, Forsyth Herald, North Atlanta Business Post, as well as various online real estate related web sites. Craig is also frequently quoted in Georgia Realtor Magazine, Florida Realtor Magazine, the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, and the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Please visit all of his award-winning web sites: CraigSellsHomes.com, MyDestinHome.com, AtlantaHomesAtlantaRealEstate.com, AtlantaForeclosures.net, EchoMill.com, and AtlantaMansions.net