Very few have inspired others like Caitlyn Jenner who created quite a rage in the world with her remarkable transition story. Many in the media as well as the social commentators praised Jenner for her courage and her stunning transformation.
The reality TV star has brought back transgender issues as an international discussion. Like Jenner, every transgender has a personal and remarkable journey to tell. Their struggles during their childhood, experiments with cross-dressing by complete makeover and finally the decision to live authentically all compile an inspiring story that must be told.
Everyone of this story carries the challenges that all Transgender in America face and in this way all the stories carry a unique thread. We decided to tell the stories of some successful transgender individuals that are leading ordinary lives unlike Jenner.
Below are 5 inspiring stories of Trans-women whose journey and courage will motivate other like them and everyone of us:
1. Shakina Nayfack
Shakina grew up a Jewish known as Jared Alan Nayfack. Her parents had split up after she was born but her father was the first person to whom she told about her decision of transitioning. And he gifted her first high-end wig as a birthday present.
The daughter of an advocate mother, Shakina stepped out in the public with a costume dress on when she was just 6 years old. During her childhood, nobody in America was familiar with the term ‘trans person’ and thus she lived her life as a gay boy and was also a part of the Queer Youth Movement. She used to wear makeup and provoking outfits.
She announced her transition on the night of her graduation. When she came out as Trans she was initially afraid of changing her body. So in the beginning, she devoted herself to cultivating a sense of woman hood before a physical presentation by wearing women’s clothing and using the ladies’ restroom in public.
Once Shakina came toNew York and took her first professional theater job, things began to change for her as her expression of identity became more dominant. She made the medical transition much later in 2014 and started hormones in 2013. Although transitioning medically was really difficult and expensive for her yet Callen-Lorde clinic in downtown helped her a lot with their trans-care program that made it financially possible for her to have a hormone replacement therapy.
Shakina later crowd-funded her surgery in 2013 and raised $22,787, which covered her surgery and travel. Her surgery took place in Thailand by Dr. Suporn, who had a more organic way of performing the surgery as compared to the traditionally accepted conventional method of the surgery which is known as ‘penile inversion’. The surgery is better in the way that it re-purposes tissue and the results were better for Shakina in terms of sensation and functionality.
The surgery was a painful experience for her and she was alone in another country with a brutal recovery. When she came back from Thailand and reentered New York she was Shakina with hair instead of the bald look she had before and that relieved her emotionally. Shakina Nayfack is now the artistic director of Musical Theatre Factory and performs on “Manuel vs. the Statue of Liberty”
2. Veronica Vera
Veronica Vera has been the guardian angel for thousands of Transgender people who need someone to hold on to their hand and lend an ear to them during tough times. Transgender people have thousands of issues that they need support with including buying a wig.
Vera was a Catholic girl who had been repressed to come out and thus she had come to New York in 1970s to explore her sexuality. She is now a feminist, an activist and an author of two books on cross-dressing and sexual empowerment. She had also opened a Finishing School for boys who want to be girls in Chelsea back in 1992. The school assisted men who wanted to master the nuances of living like a femme. She has helped many men to transition into women at her Chelsea finishing school.
Vera’s transgender academy has its basics right and it teaches the newly transitioned women various fundamentals like how to walk in heels or to find the right look by getting a transgender makeover that includes various elements like wigs, dresses, cosmetics, corsets, hip and bust pads and many such things that are very basic yet vital instruments for Transgender.
They also take photos to document the changes that happen with the transition and it gives them a glimpse of themselves in the gender that they have been dreaming about. The school also helps with the more complicated nuances in the process of gender reassessment that includes helping them socialize with other transgender persons.
Vera has been very thoughtful with her school and she also refers her clients to medical professionals that are extremely vital in completing the transition process. There are many practices and processes that medically dangerous for transgender and they need expert medical guidance and support that these professionals help with.
3. Pauline Park
Pauline was a first-generation Korean immigrant who settled in New York and dedicated her life to the trans-activism. She has been quite an achiever in the field of Transgender equality and has numerous accomplishments up her sleeves including finding the New York Association for Gender Rights Advocacy. Park also helped the city pass a transgender rights bill. She is a gifted classical pianist and also holds a doctorate in political science.
In 2005, Park was the first transgender person in LGBT history to serve as a grand marshal of the New York City’s annual LGBT pride parade.
Park has been an activist long enough to understand that the significance of achieving equality under the law is just the beginning of this long struggle. She has been working hard to eliminate transgender phobia the way activists have tried eliminating homophobia or racism. Her activism has helped a lot of Transgender in America to live a dignified and meaningful.
4. Kristin Beck
Kristin Beck is an ex-Navy SEAL who had spent many years in some of the world’s most hostile locations like Iraq, Afghanistan and Bosnia. She wrote a memoir in 2013 and titled it Warrior Princess: A U.S. Navy SEAL’s Journey to Coming out Transgender. In the memoir, Beck shared her deep camaraderie with her fellow SEALs and also explains her fear of coming out when she was an active service member.
Beck had grown up on a farm and was drawn to feminine clothes and toys as early as at 5 years of age. She was encouraged by her parents to adopt masculine roles and had married twice before transitioning. Her gender dysphoria had contributed to her inability to mature emotionally while being in a male body which added to her conflict of sexual identity. Her being away from home on NAVY missions also increased her distress during this phase.
After her transition, Beck now is 100% comfortable in her skin and refuses to be defined by her gender. Kristin Beck is now running for Congress to represent Maryland’s 5th Congressional District.
5. Marci Bowers
Marci Lee Bowers is an American gynecologist and she is an innovator in the field of sex reassignment surgery. Marci Bowers has been helping transgender by performing gender reassignment surgery. She was the first transgender woman to perform the surgery and has helped those seeking gender-affirming surgery. Earlier such people had to consult a physician who could not relate to what they were going through.
Bowers first attempted her transition from man to woman at the age of 19 but was unsuccessful due to lack of funds and family support. After the two decades, at the age of 39, she completed the procedure.
Bowers now performs an average of five procedures every week. She is one of the few surgeons of the world who can perform genital mutilation reversal surgery. She offers the surgery to the victims free of cost and has also shared her experience of helping transgender on the Oprah Winfrey Show in 2007.