My name’s Amanda and I’m from Cazenovia, New York, small little town outside Syracuse, New York. When I first came to SAGE, which (is) an organization for elder LGBT. When I did as a panel member, first thing I told them is, I was a heterosexual, transgendered, lesbian. A heterosexual, cause I was born as one. I’ve lived my life as one gender. I’m transgendered because I’ve transitioned, from male to female and I consider myself a lesbian because my spouse stayed with me and and so I’m married to a woman.
About seven years ago I was an emergency room technician and I started transitioning and one of my good friends who worked in the emergency room – she picked up on it and she came over to me and says, “Do you mind if I ask you a question? Are you a cross dresser, or are you transitioning?” I says, “Meg yeah, I am.” And she said, “Well, you’re starting to show.”
So at that point I knew I had to go to my supervisor and tell her – and I was going in for surgery so I went in and I told her. The hospital was very very supportive. Unfortunately they said to – for everybody to take and just act like nothing’s changed. Well you can imagine trying to act like nothing’s changed – and your whole appearance has changed. I went out a month earlier, and when I came back to work, I left as Tony and I came back as Amanda. And hair’s changed, body’s changed – but don’t notice. Act like nothing’s happened.
The highlight of the experience was when I came in to work and I sat in the car for quite a while – I mean, I was shaking in my boots when I walked into work. The nurses all came running over and gave me a big hug – told me how good I looked. They were fine with it. And they actually included me in all their conversations. And except for a couple of the guys who were a little more uncomfortable about it – I walked that hospital like I owned it – and nobody said “boo” to me. It’s not the norm.
And usually anybody who transitions will tell you horror stories. Mine is a positive one. So in seven short years I’ve kind of changed my life around. But I’ve managed to make it a positive experience and I try to present that to the younger people so they know there is hope.