I have an older sister, who's four years older than I am, and my dad raised me as his son. I was his son, except for those times when I had to present as a little girl. I mean, you knew – I knew when those were. No one told me, "That's bad. You can't be a boy." They didn't say that. There was just this given "You will dress like this for this occasion." It was really uncomfortable for me to be in a dress, but I would do that, if my family went to the relatives’. But I mostly dressed then like I do now… “I like to wear T-shirts and jeans." And that's what I wore when I was kid. I identified as a boy. But there came a time when I went to school and kindergarten, where I had to wear a dress. I mean, this was a long time ago, and little girls had to wear dresses, and so that's what I did. I didn't resist. That's what I was supposed to do, so I did that.
I remember the times when I realized I was different from the neighbor boys, when I realized that – I think I was about 10 or 11, and I was boxing. My dad was a boxer in high school, and we were boxing, play boxing or real boxing, or whatever we were doing, and the boys in the neighborhood told me I had to take my shirt off, because that's how you box. And it was that moment when I realized, "No, I'm not supposed to do that." They could, but I couldn't. And it was really disheartening. It made me angry that I couldn't do what I wanted to do and be who I was. Suddenly puberty was setting in, and that changed everything.
As an adult I did drag for several years, and it was really exciting for me because it gave me permission to wear really nice men’s clothing. I would find these vintage jackets that I always wanted to wear, but unlike some of my friends, I hadn’t felt comfortable doing it. I have friends who had been wearing suits and ties forever, and some have transitioned and some have not, but it's the suit and tie that made them feel comfortable. So, it was great to perform with Chicago Kings because it was this community that allowed me to explore so many things around gender, and allowed my colleagues at school to see me perform and to wear this male attire. That was the beginning of me being really okay with my gender nonconforming, my gender variance.
I think that this is a wonderful time to be trans. It's not perfect, for sure. There is a lot of work that needs to be done. But I'm doing it, and lots of people are doing it. I love that Laverne Cox is on the cover of Time magazine. I have to go buy one today. I feel lucky to be living in this time.