My name is 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 was a panel member, first thing I told them is, I was a heterosexual, transgendered, lesbian. A heterosexual, because 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 is changed, body is 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.