I’d seen sadness before. A few times in my life I had seen adult men, downtrodden when their favorite football team took a bad beat, but this, this was different. And only coming out could release the dam of grief inside.

Photo by Trym Nilsen on Unsplash

I experienced my first funeral at age 9(ish). I honestly don’t remember the year. What I do remember is what I saw, and what I heard. For the first time in my life, I saw sad grown-ups. I heard hushed, low whispers. Words of mourning. I really wasn’t sure what to make of it. I was clearly old enough…

The surprise result of transitioning was that I suddenly became memorable to… everyone.

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

I’ve changed. I’m different now.

Now, before you accuse me of moonlighting as a stand-in for captain obvious from those hotels.com commercials, no I’m not talking about my gender transition.

I’m different because my gender transition makes me memorable.

Before I started transitioning, I was perceived to be a run-of-the-mill, cis-white-hetero presenting male. Nothing memorable about me. Someone who is everywhere in society, controlling everything from the government to women’s healthcare.

I could run any number of errands in a specific day; go the grocery store, to the hardware store, stop and get a smoothie, pick up something from a…

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.

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…

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.

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…

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

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…

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.

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.”

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…

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

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…

Nia Chiaramonte

People Loving, Margin Building, Post-Vangelical, Trans Woman. Learn more about Nia at loveintheface.com/about. @finding.nia on Instagram.

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