Living authentically: A story of coming out transgender
by Dustin Woods
Coming out is a complicated and emotional experience that we have heard many stories about during the month of October due to National Coming Out Day, but this is November and it is appropriate that we hear a story of coming out from a trans perspective.
Rayna Vierra tells her story of metamorphosis, painting a series of influential scenes that start with what appears to be a young six-year-old boy watching television with his great-grandparents on a typical day. During an afternoon of watching some good ole’ westerns, the news airs a story about Christine Jorgenson, “the GI bombshell,” Rayna recalls her great-grandfather saying, as he explained the story of one of the first gender reassignment surgery recipients.
It was at this knowledge that made those confusing feelings the young child had felt. It suddenly makes sense and helped with the first step of coming out, the realization of what it is you truly are. Later a grandmother's influence would guide Rayna through consistent lessons on how to be a proper girl, like, “A lady always wears hose.” Or, “You always match your shoes and purse.” These regular affirmations from her grandmother would help Rayna with her acceptance of who she was.
Fast-forward 32 years, and though the knowledge was there, the acceptance hadn't come yet. Now we see what appears to be a thirty something young man living the nuclear family life; the life the young boy watching those westerns before him had seen depicted.
A girlfriend and two kids hadn't stopped those feelings from before - a sense of dysphoria that had only grown with age has pushed curiosity over the edge. But now the knowledge of who you are is mixed with the hope that you can make that a reality. Through online research, those hopes are being founded. However, online research with two teenage boys, 14 and 16, in the house isn't a secret if you don't know to clear your browser history.
Confronted with a parent’s greatest fear - negatively impacting the lives of their children - Rayna realized that fear was totally unfounded. Through her children, she was forced to confront the fact that she must take the next step to live the precedent she had set forth for her children - living authentically.
With the children aware, it is time to see how the girlfriend handles the news, so in true Rayna style the blunt statement comes in the form of a question, “If I was a girl would you be lesbian for me?” A year later, they were married but, like the chances of a flip of the coin, the marriage ended in divorce.
The final product of what we see today is the realization of years of dreaming to live in the body your mind knows it should be. Now we see a beautiful woman who rides a motorcycle to work, whose regal composure mixes with a comforting frankness that inspires those around her to be true to their selves.
Who mentors others during their trials and gives the advice that, “the only way to get want you want in life is to take a stand.” But she doesn't give this advice without qualifiers, adding, “It's a lonely world but is it worth not being you?”
Not pursuing her own authenticity was one of the most difficult feelings, until the actual pursuit turned into loneliness. Finding one’s place after transition isn't easy and the road has not been smooth. But that road stretches onward into a world of possibilities all of which start with Rayna finally living in the female body she identified with from a young age.
Copyright 2016 The Gayly – November 29, 2016 @ 12 p.m.