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Deciding Not to Be Who I Wasn’t

By Gabi Moynihan

Gabi with the transgender flag at Boston Pride.

March 31st is Transgender Day of Visibility (TDOV), a time to celebrate transgender lives and to honor the resilience and strength of those who led the way to create space for transgender people within the LGBTQ movement. Gabi Moynihan, an active speaker with SpeakOUT, shares her own journey to living her true self and her commitment to supporting others in their quest.

A little over two years ago, the term transgender started being more widely known to me, even with a celebrity name or two identifying that way. Too bad I could never do that. Fear again. I was a volcano ready to erupt. Suicide wards were becoming commonplace, my mind a blur. I found a friend who I felt I could say anything to. I knew I had to share my true existence. Finally, January 19, 2016, at 59 years, 7 months and 20 days old, I shared who I was with her. I finally understood the term “weight of the world off my shoulders.” I didn’t think anything would come of it, but I laugh at that thought now.

First, the pierced ears, then a little mascara. No, I need to introduce Gabi to the world. I had told a few people but on February 25 I shared it on Facebook. Wow, still don’t know what was more emotional, writing it or reading the hundreds of supportive replies that followed. I had to move forward. I learned a little about makeup and dressing well for a 60ish woman. I attended the Transgender Flag Raising at Boston City Hall. I’m pretty much all in now. I went to the ceremonial signing of the Public Accommodations Bill on the steps of the Massachusetts State House in the summer of 2016 in a dress and heels. OK, really all in now.

I knew I could never go back to pretending. I took off on the greatest ride of my life. Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition, Gender Soup, attending and marching in my first Pride Parade. Joining SpeakOUT. I had a lifelong fear (that word again) of public speaking and now I could share who I was and how I got there with groups of people and maybe make a little difference by educating others. I live a life I am proud of today.

A doctor asked if I had regrets I was not born a woman rather than a transgender woman. Maybe a few. Maybe I missed a lot of struggles, but they should’ve been my struggles. I am proud to be a transgender woman. To be accepted as I am for who I am. Not tolerated, accepted.

Transgender Day of Visibility. It is a day to reflect on my own journey and to appreciate the efforts and courage shown by so many before me. To be here. To be of help to someone with similar feelings and to help cisgender people understand the transgender experience better.

I never decided I wanted to become a woman. Thankfully I decided not to be who I wasn’t and be truthful with myself. I like who I am today. Finally. Yeah, it’s a pretty good day.