Saturday, December 22, 2012

Simple Gifts

I received the greatest gift this year, and it's not even Christmas yet.  While the gesture was small, for me it was a momentous sign of acceptance and love.  Each year, for as long as I can remember, my parents sent out an annual Christmas card.  It’s always a photograph, and early on it was the entire family, at other times it could be various members of the family, or a special event from the year.   There are some classic photos from the early 70’s that capture, with great humor, the wonderful diversity within our family of nine.  The clothing and hair alone would be perfect specimens for a time capsule. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Mutant Genes

Despite the extra glass of wine from the night before, I was halfway finished and feeling pretty good.  It’s remarkable what happens to your thoughts when you’re on a long run.  I’m sure everyone’s mind wanders, but for me, after an hour or so, it’s like meditation or a waking dream. I forget I’m running, and rehearse speeches I’ll never make, compose letters I’ll never write, sing songs without music, thank my heroes for being so courageous, say things to my family and friends I’ll never ever speak of, and believe in things that are unbelievable. Yes, I run for my health and the hope of longevity, but I run to feel me. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Election Day Part 2.

The news via our site manager wasn’t optimistic.  Polling numbers were showing a less than expected voter turn out, especially in Portland.  We made excuses for this alarming situation.  Was it all the early voting, absentee ballots, or was it the frigid cold day that were keeping the voters away? Stubborn and steadfast, we were not willing to accept defeat.  Led by our spiritual role model and site coordinator, our team soldiered on.  She and her partner have been waiting for this day for nearly 20 years.  I noticed on the way in to the office, a wedding dress hanging in the back of her Subaru. Apparently, she was planning on wearing it in the ballroom if we won.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Election Day Doughnuts

It’s funny now, looking back almost a month ago, what I remember about this year’s historic election.  I think my involvement started when a group of friends met for dinner at a Thai restaurant in late July.  It was a welcome change of location to get together and enjoy each other’s company away from our regular monthly group sessions.  We usually meet in a cold and impersonal college classroom.   While it was a stormy night, I remember being eager to see a new friend, but also happy to get caught up with people I had known for years. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

I’m Thankful For

A roommate, partner, and ex-wife who I call my friend
Brothers and sisters who accept me as their sister
Colleagues who believed in me
Doctors and health care providers who look after my wellness
Enthusiastic athletes who love track and field
Facebook “likes” and tumblr
Gender-queer and transgender teens who find hope
Hot Coffee in bed
Janet Mock’s intelligence, bravery and beauty

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Southern Comfort Part 3.

If you’re looking for authentic, I cannot imagine it can get better than Thai Lanna. The food is simply amazing and the dishes are for real.  I was happy to share lunch with my former sister in-law and her husband.  I’d have known them for nearly 20 years, but they had yet to meet me as Gia.  After exchanging pleasant messages, we agreed to meet for lunch.  Thai Lanni is just a few minutes from the conference and they live just outside the city.  The quite and intimate restaurant was the perfect oasis from the commotion of SCC.  The first question they asked was “am I happy?” I’m sure I sad, yes! But happy doesn’t quite explain the feelings I’ve felt since coming out, but for that moment, it worked. 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Southern Comfort Part 2.

Inside the hotel was paradise.   And I’m not referring to the dated décor and architecture, but the beautiful people who filled the lobby.  They took my breath away.  I had asked friends and colleagues about this conference before leaving.  But everyone was quiet about it, now I knew why.  I had to experience it for myself.  Up until that moment, my direct experience with trans people had been very limited.  Not quite four years ago, I was lost.  Fortunately I found my way to a support group meeting in Portland.  It was there, sitting on a stained couch in a small obscure office, I realized I wasn’t alone. 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Everyday is Halloween

Nothing made me happier than Halloween. I always wished it were everyday.  It was that magical event when you could be anything or anyone you’ve ever imagined, without fear of being made fun of or ridiculed.  To me it was even better than Christmas.  As a child Halloween was an exciting and transformative night.   There was candy, creative costumes, and haunted houses.  I loved it all. 

I’ve always looked forward to dressing up, especially as someone else.  I guess it came naturally to me. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Southern Comfort

On the final night of the largest transgender gathering in the US, I sat in the grand ballroom and took off my new red heels to rest my sore feet.  I looked around at the beautiful people having the time of their lives dressed up and dancing like it was prom again.  For most, I’m sure this was a whole lot better.   Being able to be yourself, without the fear of ridicule should be a joyous occasion, but I found myself, as I often do, alone.  I felt like a stranger in a strange and wonderful world. 

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Dear Joanie, part 2

It’s been just a few weeks since meeting Joan Benoit Samuelson.  So much has happened since then; it feels like a month. Being invited to attend a viewing of Joan’s documentary film and running with her were events I couldn’t pass up.  I booked a room at the Radisson Manchester, just a few blocks from the Palace Theater; the location where the movie screening was to take place.  I invited friends and family to join me, and I wasn’t surprised I didn’t get any takers.  The event was very last minute, so I planned to go to the event alone, so I thought.  A day before the event, an acquaintance from high school, a friend on Facebook, said she’d love to go and was planning on bringing her daughter and husband.  Awesome!  I might actually know someone.  I don’t recall that we were very close friends in high school, probably just friends of friends.  But that didn’t matter now, she had reached out and I needed an ally. 

After checking into the hotel, I waited for help with my bags and relished for a moment in a compliment paid to me by the fashionable front desk woman; she liked my Coach wallet. It’s the little things in life that matter.  I made my way to the room with assistance from the bellhop.  He had a sweet disposition, despite a slightly un-tucked shirt and pants that didn’t quite fit. When I apologized for the number and weight of my luggage, he said they were nothing compared to Carrie Underwood’s baggage.  She had stayed in the hotel the previous week while performing in town.  That’s pretty cool I thought.  After saying thanks and handing him a tip, I closed the door and I kicked off my rain boots.

I had a little time before the evening’s event and found myself easily relaxing in my room. Looking out the large window to a wide view of downtown Manchester, I poured myself a glass of wine and sat in the easy chair.  I imagined what the country star did while she was in her suite last week.  Did she rehearse or did she look out the window like me?  I wondered if she saw what I saw?  On the streets below, people were coming and going with purpose and their heads down.  They were dressed in the predictable and practical New England way, nothing glamorous or high fashion here.  The evening was gray and breezy, and a large tattered American flag whipped in the wind high above the concrete plaza.   As I looked in the window I notice myself in the reflection, and while my hair was a mess from the blustery weather, looking back at me was a well-dressed woman.  There I was, a middle-aged trans woman, traveling alone, and about to meet my hero for the first time.

Moments before leaving the hotel room I received a message on my phone. Another friend from high school would be joining us at the theater.  Wow, how great is that!  I drove the two blocks and parked around the corner from the Palace Theater. I could have walked, but the weather forecast wasn’t encouraging for the rest of the night. In fact, there were severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings posted for all of The Northeast.  I later learned of a twister passing through Brooklyn.  It was a special evening indeed.  In the lobby I waited to see if my friends would show up and I thought; would I recognize them? Within minutes they arrived and after a welcome smile and tender hug, I relaxed. It was great to connect with people from the past, but now as Gia, I think it makes a difference.  At least it does to me.   

Joan took the stage carefully.  It was obvious she was nursing an injury.  While her accomplishments are great, she is a small woman. Her voice is humble and soft.  She appears shy with a large microphone in her hand while addressing an audience of hundreds, and yet she’s performed on the largest stages in the world, including the Olympics.  The film was moving and showcased Joan, not only as a dedicated and competitive runner, but also a humanitarian.  She uses her notoriety to help with numerous causes, especially protecting the environment.  The second part of the evening was hearing stories from three people who wrote to Joan, like I did, and shared what running has meant to them. Each person had a unique and courageous story, and I was humbled to be in the audience. At the conclusion of the evening I waited patiently for the right moment to finally meet Joan, say hi, and if possible, share a photo with her.  I was not disappointed.  She was generous and gracious with everyone’s requests, staying until every last person had the chance to say hi and have their picture taken with her.  She was nearly the last person to leave the theater. 

After a quick bite to eat, I found myself sleeping peacefully in my hotel bed, large enough for a queen, no pun intended.  The storm passed through the Manchester night, but my thoughts were elsewhere, the run with Joan and a flight to Atlanta in the afternoon.  I even requested a late checkout; so I could go to the event, and then return to the hotel to shower and change for my flight.  It’s these little details that I worry about the most and makes me so anxious.  Like anyone, I have baggage that’s not just luggage.  Coffee and breakfast arrived with a knock on the door early the next morning. I ordered room service the night before so I could enjoy the start of the day.  I was living large in Manchester. 

I put on my running attire and I drove to Livingston Park on the outskirts of town for my run with Joan.  When I run, I wear I head wrap, not my wig.  I haven’t found a practical way to run with synthetic hair.  So, showing up to the run without the hair I had the night before, can and did raise a few eyebrows.  This is an ongoing issue for me; I do feel more confident as a trans woman in public with female-like hair.  As I arrived at the meeting spot in the park, the clouds had all but disappeared.  Under the warmth of the late morning sun I walk among the invited guests, having conversations with the few who said hi.  The discussions were pleasant and running was the topic; what race was next? Joan was busy with pictures, and giving interviews to the local news.  Finally, a tall runner wearing a knit hat and a loud voice got our attention. He was the event organizer and set the agenda for the morning.  After introductions we’d go for a short run around a beautiful pond and Joan would try to run and talk with each of us, followed by some Q&A.  Sounded like a good plan, except for the introductions.  I wasn’t prepared for that, I’m sure I could think of something to say, but was I ready to share my story in person to a group of strangers.  We went around in a circle, with each person sharing a brief bio and why they were there.  The stories were personal, tragic, hopeful, and honest.  Then came me.  I took a breath and said, Hi, I’m Gia…and shared my story.  I think you’ve heard it before.

So we were off on our run.  Joan was next to me when we started, and we chatted a bit about Maine and some friends and athletes we knew in common, then she was talking with another guest.  I spent the rest of the run with three other women, learning more about their stories and upcoming events.  After 3 or so miles, we all met up for a short discussion and people had the chance to ask Joan questions.  Most of the conversation stayed with running, with questions about training, health and food, technique, and priorities.  We gave each other a round of applause, posed for a final group photo and then parted ways. 

I was quickly off to the hotel to change out of my running clothes and catch an afternoon flight.  Somewhere in my haste, I misplaced my glasses.  I got my first prescription in 1984 and don’t see very well without them.  All I had were my sunglasses, not exactly what I needed for five days at an indoor conference.  I drove back to the park after checking out of the hotel to see if I dropped them in the parking lot, nothing.  I still had a few hours before my departure and I knew the airport was next to a large shopping area. I thought if I could find a Lens Crafters I could get a new pair.  It must have been my lucky day; I got a new pair and made it to the gate with 20 minutes to spare.  I even had time to call my mom before my flight and TSA experience.  It was my first as Gia.  I was off to Georgia to attend the largest transgender gathering in North America.  Just a day before, I was a nervous wreck, anxious about meeting my hero and traveling to Atlanta.  My destination was waiting for me and with Joan’s spirit and my mother’s voice as traveling companions, I wasn’t going alone.  This trip wasn’t to find something new, but having new eyes to see.  

Thursday, October 4, 2012

NYC Marathon!

I’m excited to be running the New York Marathon.  New York will be my 2nd marathon and I just completed my 5th half marathon on Sunday.  I feel healthy, strong and prepared for the challenge ahead.    Through my entry, I am sponsoring a worthy non-profit.  Back on my Feet uses running as a tool to help people who are homeless.  This program is successful in cities across America and I am proud to run on their behalf.  As you may know running has meant a great deal to me and I am grateful to be in a position to give back. 

My challenge is to raise $2,000 dollars by the end of the year and finish the race.  I have an entry into the marathon and a hotel for 2 nights on race weekend.  I thought it would be a fitting reward for someone who donates my behalf.  For every $50 you donate, you will earn a chance to stay at the Renaissance 57 Hotel for 2 nights, November 2nd and 3rd.  This beautiful hotel is just blocks from Central Park near the end of the race.  You are not obligated to watch me crawl to the finish.   The value of the room is approximately $1,000.  The lucky winner will be drawn 2 weeks prior to the race to accommodate travel arrangements. 

I have attached the link to my personal Active donation page.  If you’d rather donate with a check, make it out to BOFM and send it to me.

Thank you for your support,


Gia Drew
20 Stone Rd.
Kennebunkport, Me 04046
Click links for more info and to pledge support

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Without Limits

I am eager to post reflections about the exciting week I’m having, but I’m still in the swirl of it all.  On my way to a transgender conference in Atlanta, I just had a training run with Joan Benoit, and I volunteered with Mainers United for Marriage.  Good thing I’m unemployed.  Anyway, the following is a brief reflection on a fantastic book I just finished.  I hope you appreciate it. 

Without Limits

“To my amazement…the limits that I thought I could see in the distance dissolved as I approached them.” are some of the final words from Chrissie Wellington’s inspiring autobiography.  

I didn’t know who Chrissie Wellington was until two months ago and now I am a huge fan.   In the build up to the London Olympics I “followed” several athletes, especially the distance runners.  I was enticed by a tweet by Shalane Flanagan, an US Olympic marathoner. She mentioned reading Chrissie’s book, and that she had a “major girl crush”.  How could I resist?  Amazon couldn’t get me the book fast enough.  It was published only in England, so I had to wait a few extra days.  In the meantime I read up and researched who Chrissie Wellington was and why was she so crush worthy.

Chrissie Wellington is a four-time Ironman world champion, and has gone 13 for 13 in Ironman events.  Setting numerous world records along the way, this ordinary girl from England is a great tri-athlete.  Her times are approaching the top men and her best marathon split is 2:52.  That’s after a 2.4-mile swim and 114 miles on her bike; all in the unforgiving Hawaiian heat.  Okay, she sounds hot.  I’m not going to ruin the book for you, so I hope you read it.  For me, Chrissie’s story has given me renewed strength and optimism, not just about training and running competitively, which it does very well, but also confronting fears I have about living as a trans-woman. 

Two years ago I sat on the beach with one of my closest friends of twenty years, yet someone whom I never confided my gender identity with; he may have had his suspicions.  Hiding behind my tears, I informed him that the marriage of two of his friends was ending. Very candidly and without flinching, he replied, “So now you can live as a woman.”  I answered, “You’re right.”

A few days after that emotional conversation I found myself alone for the first time in my entire life. I grew up in a full house with nine people: six brothers and sisters, and two loving parents.  Weekends, vacations, and summers were filled with friends, cousins, aunts and uncles.  In college and there after, there were always multiple roommates and eventually I moved in with my eventual wife.  We were together for seventeen years until that summer.  So when I say I was alone, this was completely foreign territory. It was now up to me to come to terms with my identity; I was going it alone. Newfound freedom was enlightening, but also depressing. I was fortunate to have the sweetest dog in the world and a gratifying job.  I turned to running more seriously; finding comfort in training while grasping for some sense of control of my life; but there was something more.

That fall after running the Portland half marathon for the second year in a row, and feeling inspired by the experience, I registered to run the Las Vegas Marathon in December.  Why not, I’m a showgirl at heart.  I trained as best I knew how for the next few months and the race was here before I knew it.  I traveled the 3,000 miles to Nevada, and while the race had 30,000 other runners, I didn’t know a soul.  This was for me. 

The location and event were surreal. The marathon, as you might expect was demanding. I remember approaching the finish and being greeted by a crowd of thousands, cheering on the runners and Bret Michaels serenading us with a rock concert.  I summoned any remaining strength and completed the 26.2 mile journey with a short burst, 4:04; then collapsed.  A blanket was gently wrapped around my shoulders and I was helped to my feet by one of the volunteers.  I gingerly made my way to an open spot and rested my weary legs for a moment among the recent survivors.  Wrapped in foil and nursing a bottle of water, my emotions flowed freely.  Sitting bewildered in a puddle, I leaned against the temporary wire fence on the warm asphalt in the parking lot at the Mirage Casino and thought to my self, what did I just do? From that moment on I started believing in myself, finding an inner strength I didn’t know I had.  The limits I once saw as barriers are now evaporating, like tears in the desert. 


Monday, September 10, 2012

Dear Joanie

Earlier this year, Olympic Gold Medalist Joan Benoit Samuelson and fellow Mainer, introduced a program and documentary called There is no Finish Line to inspire people to be active on their own terms at all ages and all abilities.  Joanie welcomed personal stories of what inspires us to make a difference in our health and in our community.  Joanie selected three of her favorite stories.  I missed the deadline, typical.  Here’s the letter I sent anyway. 

Dear Joanie,

My name is Gia and I believe running saved my life.  I can’t remember exactly how it all began, but I do recall as a child watching with empathetic excitement, runners struggle to make it to the top of Heartbreak Hill near mile 20 of the Boston Marathon.  For years I cheered alongside strangers, family, friends, and teammates for countless marathoners in one of the world’s greatest sporting events.  The joy I feel while watching runners compete and running myself has kept me alive. 

At some point in elementary school, under the encouragement of an enthusiastic PE teacher, I started running. I ran before school, during PE class, and by the 4th grade I had run my 1st 10k.  Diet Pepsi sponsored my first race; I only remember this inane fact because I proudly wore the ubiquitous free tee shirt for years after the race.  The course took a familiar path up and down a section of Heartbreak Hill in my hometown, Newton, Massachusetts.  Running continued through elementary school, cross-country in junior high, and on the track and field team at Newton North High School.  Runners were and continue to be my sports heroes.  Frank Shorter, Bill Rodgers, Alberto Salazar, Greta Weitz, Mary Decker, and you, of course are all inspiring. 

By sheer luck and good fortune I have an Olympic loving dad.  In the summer of 1984, between junior and senior year in high school, I attended 5 days of track and field at the Olympics in Los Angeles.  I was also fortunate to watch the conclusion of the first women’s Olympic marathon from inside The Coliseum alongside 80,000 others and millions across the globe.  I cheered and cried tears of joy, as you took gold.  While this was no Boston, the race was not without heartbreak.  In addition to your historic performance, most observers remember the anguish of a Swiss runner struggling to finish the race. Many were horrified, but to those who were more familiar with the pain and agony of marathons, we understood that suffering is often part of distance running and life. 

Sadly for nearly 25 years, soon after the summer of ‘84, I moved away from running and competing.  Running stopped being an important part of my active life. Colleges, degrees, marriage, and jobs kept me busy, but I wasn’t aware that a hole in my soul was growing.  But my life changed dramatically a few years ago.  I started to coach track at Kennebunk High School; I was elated and my passion for running was reignited.  Buoyed by a few colleagues and runners on my team, I began running again.  At first, a few miles was a real test, but eventually I worked up to 5k, 10k, then a ½ marathon, and my 1st marathon last year!  All this coincided with numerous life changing events.  My marriage of 17 years sadly ended, my beloved dog Olive of 14 years had to be put down, my teaching job at KHS was eliminated after 9 years, and most noticeably I said farewell to my male self of 43 years and embraced my identity as Gia, a transgender woman.  

While coming out as Gia was liberating it was equally frightening.  I began to fear going out in public or going to school.  I felt extremely self conscious and awkward as a middle age woman in transition.  So running became my escape again, but also my passion, and something I could control.  It’s something I can do that accepts me, as I am, regardless of gender. Races are a different story.  Running again reminded my why I ran as a confused child and teenager.  Running gave me pleasure and a sense of freedom as I struggled with feeling like a girl born looking like a boy.  It also gave me hope in times of despair and I was able to release some of the anger and frustration I kept buried deep inside.  Statistically nearly 50% of trans-people have seriously contemplated or attempted suicide.   Without going into details, it’s a miracle that I’m here today writing this letter. 

Coincidentally, now that I’m seriously back into running, my body has to do some recalibrating.  After being on HRT (hormone replacement therapy) for over a year, my body just doesn’t respond like it use to.  The testosterone is all but gone and the added estrogen has welcomely changed my body and mind.  Also, I found out I have asthma, just my luck another hurdle.  As far as racing goes, I’ve entered a few races as Gia, now in the 45-50 female age category, very competitive here in Maine.  It has been an exhilarating life thus far and I can’t wait for more now that I’m running free. 

Thanks Joanie for being an inspiration.

Gia Drew

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Earth was Quakin'

I don’t know exactly how to set the scene, so picture if you will, not a sandy beach and umbrellas, but one of the largest biker bars in Maine.  It’s Saturday of Labor Day weekend and this was the place to be.  Friends were visiting from NYC and so we ventured to Bentley’s Saloon.  In fact two years ago, nearly to the day, the same friends visited and we enjoyed a night of drinking and dancing to a Led Zeppelin cover band.  I remember the biggest commotion of that evening was a spat between two of my friends, who happen to be boyfriends.  Drinks were thrown and glasses knocked to the ground after accusations on-going texts and previous boyfriends, typical for a biker bar.   So here we were again, two years later and all signs were pointing to a return visit. 

After a sumptuous Maine feast of lobster, butter, corn, and beer we got dolled up for Bentley’s.  While there were differences for each of us this time, for me, this would be my first visit to Bentley’s as Gia, a middle age trans-woman in search of her identity and a good time.  I can’t say I recall seeing many or any transfolk on previous visits, but having safely visited with gay friends in the past, it seemed worthy of a go.  After putting on my Saturday’s best with a node to biker chick chic and a little extra black eyeliner, we made our way the five miles to Arundel’s notorious biker bar.  I was a little nervous as we pulled into the parking lot full of hundreds of motorcycles, but I was not alone.  The excitement and anxiety grew as the four of us (3 girls and a guy) exited my cute little car and my ears were greeted by the assaulting sound of the band playing in the background.  I also noticed a specially erected tent for the holiday weekend crowd of what seemed like thousands. In reality it probably was just a few hundred.  As we entered, I immediately felt the curious eyes of some of the patrons.  We moved expeditiously to the back bar for a drink like we knew what we were doing.  As I waited in line to order a cocktail, I scanned the familiar Maine crowd and realized I was there for the same reason as everyone else; to have a few drinks, listen and dance to music, and if lucky, get lucky.

Now in the back open area, we worked our way toward the music and stage, it was familiar too, thumping bass, harsh guitar, and a raspy voice, Dirty Deeds, followed by Shoot to Thrill, of course, an AC/DC cover band, perfect!  I’ve been a fan since elementary school and always loved the intriguing double meaning of the term AC/DC.  For the next two hours I sipped cocktails, shook my head and ass, stomped my heels, and sang along to classic rock anthems.  While some people starred and “whispered” to each other as they discovered the striking trans-woman in the crowd rocking out to the music (I’m not stealth by any stretch of the imagination), I smiled at those who made eye contact and enjoyed living in the moment.  Near the end of the show; eager, proud, and drunk women made their way to the stage to show of their bodies and dance along to the biggest hit, You Shook me All Night Long.  While I was motioned to join them, I declined; I don’t think I was ready for that much excitement, yet.  So with my fist raised in unison with the crowd and beat, I gleefully sang along to every word, it was like I was in sixth grade in my basement and the stereo blasting, only now with my eyes open…all night long!

-Just another day in the life of Gia, trans-rocker.  

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Adventures of Gia

“Being a man one day and a woman the next isn't an easy thing to do.”  -Bernadette from Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert

For some reason, that I can’t recall right now, I wanted desperately to watch Priscilla again.  I fondly remember loving this campy 90’s Aussie film about queens on a journey into the Australian Outback, how fun.   Now, nearly 20 years later and living my own life openly as trans women (not a drag queen, I’m not that fabulous), a little more like Bernadette (one of the main characters), I guess I wanted to see if the film held up, especially from my new perspective.  Anyway, this movie is very difficult to find online, truly it is.  Netflix was no help, nor was Amazon, but there’s always the inter-web.  But even in that magical world, it was a challenge to find.  I did come across a few versions, several in Russian, French, and Japanese, who knew it was so popular, and eventually I found one in English. While the image was the size of a cell phone screen, I enjoyed every minute, especially Guy Pierce, yummy. 
For me, seeing this movie again, anew if you like, was reinvigorating.  And, while there’s some dated language and a reliance on stereotypes, the message rings true today.  LGBT people are people, and our identity is our own.  Interestingly, when this film came out 15+ years ago, I recall my aunt and uncle mentioning how much they loved this film. To me that was so wonderful.  Without speaking openly about my gender and sexuality, I’ve always felt close to them (she’s my Godmother by the way).  They must have known something, or at least were comfortable expressing their appreciation of the LGBT culture to me.  So for me it was no surprise, and a great relief, that they stepped forward this year to openly support me as I started to transition.  You can never be grateful enough when you have allies that love you for who you are and aren’t afraid to show it.  Watching Priscilla this week was a welcome reminder of how fortunate I am to have love and support as I embark upon my own adventure. 

xoxo -Gia

It's a Mystery

It’s been two days since my most recent interview.  This is clearly a case when no news is not good news. The interview on Tuesday was my fourth this summer, actually pretty good I think.  They were all for high school teaching jobs, that’s what I do, or did for the past nineteen years.  Sadly my job of nine years was eliminated this past spring. I was stuck at the bottom of the seniority ladder with seven other art teachers ahead of me, so I got cut.  I did love my job and looked forward to going to school everyday.  But that’s how it is in public schools.  As Heidi Klum says, “one day you’re in and the next you’re out.”  It’s not how good you are, or whether you make a difference, or your passion for learning and compassion for kids that matters, nope, it’s years of service, that’s it.  And while I can accept a small part of the union’s argument, the reality is, it’s difficult to pass someone climbing the same ladder as you.  

Here I am, unemployed. It’s been rather an interesting, if not a very anxious process for me trying to find work.  I’ve been fortunate to have had the same job and employer for 9 years.  So when I had my interview a few weeks ago, the first in 9 years, I was understandably, a little nervous.  To make things more exciting, this was the first time I interviewed for a job as Gia, now a talented middle aged woman, who just so happens to be a trans-woman.  Could it be any different?  Would I be treated unfairly or with skepticism?  I didn’t know.  Since that first interview, I’ve had three more since, I’ve walked into all the same way, with confidence and a smile.  The reactions are typical; a slight pause, quick adjustment, an overly polite greeting, then on to business as usual.  

So why post this?  Is there anything about being a trans-woman that affected the outcome of the interviews?  I hope not, but I don’t know for sure.  And I think that’s why I wrote about this entry.  I’ve never felt so confident in my being and soul after affirming my gender identity, yet never so confused about the future.   I often feel lost and alone.  I now look back at loosing my job a few months ago with more bitterness and disbelief than when I left.  It’s certainly possible that being a trans-teacher expedited my departed from my last job. And despite awesome interviews, impeccable recommendations, and the highest of qualifications, it’s given me reason to understand why I haven’t been hired yet.  All this makes me question everything, my identity, my prosperity, and myself.  What’s a girl to do?

Nothing.  Strangely enough, it all turns out well. How do I know?  It’s a mystery.

A Year in a Life

mostly smiles, mostly

Saturday, August 25, 2012


I really don’t know how to start this blog. I’ve been writing in my journal for the past few years and I guess I wanted to share a few of my thoughts about what it’s like to be a transgender women, transitioning from male to female. So this is part of my so called life. From time to time I’ll try to share what’s going on now, but also look back to where I’ve come from to be here today. Anyway, I’ve debated what to call this blog, but haven’t decided on one name just yet. Perhaps, we’ll decide that later. For now I’m using “up that hill” with the subtitle of “girl afraid”. I hope this blog sheds a little light on my journey to embrace my transgender identity, but more importantly find my own happiness.

 I’m stepping through the door and I’m floating in a most peculiar way - David Bowie