It’s unfortunate that it took transitioning to really understand how women are treated as second-class citizens — and that this treatment is something that also confirms my womanhood.

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Photo by Biel Morro on Unsplash

One of the fascinating things about gender transition is that I now have a unique experience with how we as a society categorize people based on their perceived gender, and then behave a certain way towards them based on that categorization. I have my own experience of what it was like to move through the world as a man, with all the privilege, control and power that came with that — and now, what it’s like to move through the world as a woman.

What I’m about to say is nothing new for cisgender women, but for someone who is just now starting to experience these societal expectations and behaviors in my late-30s, it’s jolting. …

Hearing people call you by your new name feels like floating, it’s an amazing feeling. The first time someone calls you by your old name when they know your new name however, that feels like a punch in the gut.

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Photo by Drew Colins on Unsplash

Hi — my name is Nia. Nia wasn’t always my name, though you may have guessed that based on the title of this article. Picking out a new name is a big deal for a transgender person. It’s a moment in time when we get to control what happens next, and most of us don’t take it lightly.

For me, it was a struggle. Should I start new and fresh with a name that has no relation to my old one so I can leave that behind? Or do I include some reference to my past, understanding that my past contributed to who I am in the present? …

As a transgender woman, married to a woman, with a Chinese child who is disabled, literally everything is at stake in the current election.

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Photo by Kayla Kozlowski on Unsplash

My Chinese child got bullied on the playground today. Honestly I’m surprised it has taken this long. We’re days away from President Donald Trump’s bid for re-election as President of the United States and this is the first time it’s happened. I guess it takes longer for hateful rhetoric to make its way down from the top of our country into the minds and hearts of 8-year-olds. For that I am thankful. I am thankful my son hasn’t dealt with what he dealt with today for the last 4 years. I’m glad that until now, no one has come up to him and told him his place of origin is evil, that China purposely afflicted the United States with a novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. I’m glad he hasn’t had to hear what President Donald Trump has been saying for the last 4 years. …

Two years ago today my path forked, and my life changed forever

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Photo by Jens Lelie on Unsplash

Two years ago today, my life forked. I’m not sure if the path I took was meant to be taken on that specific day at that specific moment in time, but it happened. It wasn’t how I envisioned coming out as a transgender woman. That vision involved a wonderfully thought out elucidation of who I was, along with immediate support from my family. And while I did write a letter that I thought was very clear, it was spur-of-the-moment, moved forward by my disappointment in the way our country, specifically our leaders were treating us (just google Trump, October 22, 2018, and Transgender). …

I found myself a long time ago. I’ve known myself since I was young; I just kept putting her somewhere safe — while others tried to bury her.

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Photo by Michael Dziedzic on Unsplash

I have lost myself.

I thought, after finding myself through many years of self-work and self-love, it would be harder to lose myself — but I was wrong.

I have lost me. I came out as a transgender woman to my family two years ago this week. Firm in my knowing. Firm enough to tell my family who I am. I was confident. I had found myself and it was real. …

I was willing to change my gender before I was willing to say the word “Fuck.”

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Photo by Jon Tyson on Upsplash

I never used to curse. I honestly still feel bad for writing about it. These scripts are deep down inside me somewhere trying to claw their way out. The scripts that produce guilt and shame, ever present companions of the past, seemingly vanquished for moments of true serenity where I can just be. But here they are again, shouting at me:

Don’t do this!

Your mom would be so ashamed!

You’re going to go to hell, you know!

You can’t say curse words out loud, let alone, write them down for everyone in the world to see!

You’re a seriously unholy person!

The Power of Privilege, and the Eye-Opening Effects of Losing it in One Fell Swoop

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Fish On Sidewalk

Recently I participated in an activity as part of our leadership team at work called Privilege for Sale.* This activity was a part of a larger discussion about race and social justice in the world, as well as within the educational organization where I am the Human Resources Director.

The purpose of this activity was and is to help us understand our privilege, including our blind spots where we may not even realize we have privileges or where we take them for granted.

The way this exercise works is that all participants are given a fictional amount of money ($300, $500, $700, $900 or $1100). They are then given a list of “privileges” that they have to buy with their money. They have to assume that they don’t have any of these privileges on the list in real life, and each one costs $100 to buy. There is a list of 27 privileges that participants have to choose from, and they are supposed to take their “money” and spend it on the things that would matter most, forcing a choice of certain privileges over others. …


Nia Chiaramonte

Nia is a Human Resources Director and transgender woman living in Des Moines, IA with her wife and 5 children. Learn more about her at

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