As a member of one of the wealthiest families in America, Jennifer Natalya Pritzker’s inclusion in the 2013 annual edition of the Forbes 400 list comes as no shock. But her gender is apparently another story; according to reports, the title makes Pritzker the first transgender billionaire in history.
The Pritzker family, which hails from Chicago, sold a majority stake in Marmon Holdings, an industrial service conglomerate, to Berkshire Hathaway, in 2007, for a price tag of $4.5 billion. They also retain a controlling stake in Hyatt Hotels, which was started by Jay and Donald Pritzker. Ten of Pritzker’s relatives also appear on the Forbes list.
Pritzker, a highly decorated retired Army lieutenant colonel, is currently president and CEO of wealth management at Tawani Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising awareness about the citizen soldier. She also founded the Pritzker Military Library in 2011 and made a $1.35 million donation to the Palm Center for the establishment of a Transgender Military Service Initiative. The organization states that its goal is “to sponsor state-of-the-art scholarship on transgender military service and to enhance the quality of public dialogue.”
According to Forbes, her net worth is estimated at around $1.7 billion. She is divorced and has three children.
Pritzker, 63, formally announced her decision to live and be identified as a woman in August of this year. In a statement issued through e-mail, she wrote, "As of Aug. 16, 2013, J.N. Pritzker will undergo an official legal name change, will now be known as Jennifer Natalya Pritzker. This change will reflect the beliefs of her true identity that she has held privately and will now share publicly. Pritzker now identifies herself as a woman for all business and personal undertakings."
Crain’s Chicago Business reported that spokespeople for Pritzker had declined to comment on either her sexuality or whether she would be undergoing hormone therapy, but said that the revelation would not come as a surprise to her closest family and friends.
Pritzker is among 47 other women on the list, including Christy Walton, the Wal-Mart heiress; Elaine Marshall, an heir to Koch Industries, and Anne Gittinger, an heir to the Nordstrom retail chain.