'What I find is learning to love my body, love me, and just the way I want to live my life, it's the best act of self-actualization.'
Coming out is a stressful situation for people from the LGBTQIA+ community. Even though it remains a personal choice whether anybody wants to come out publicly, those who choose to do so face unprecedented pressure and a fear for their own safety. A trans woman recently came out on national television and tried to conquer these fears publicly. Nora J.S. Reichardt has worked at Local 5 News for more than a year and decided to come out on television, reports PEOPLE. She was with her fellow broadcaster Eva Andersen when she decided to talk about her gender identity. The 24-year-old reporter said, "I didn't know if there was a place and a space for me to do this sort of work that I've really come to love and enjoy, while also getting to be myself while I do it."
The Des Moines resident added, "To gradually come into a role where I am feeling more and more at home in my body than I really ever did before has been amazing to get to experience and share with people." Nora started transitioning a year ago but "had some thoughts in that direction" since she was a teenager. She grew up in a rural area in Hanover, Minnesota, and "didn't even have the language to describe what I was feeling." Several trans people go through this dilemma due to a lack of credible resources on gender that talks about identity beyond societal stereotypes.
"Especially early on, it's hard to place that sense of wrongness — like I'm a person who's wearing my body, and not a person who's living in it," Nora continued. "I thought I was just depressed, I thought I was just anxious. And I've had those feelings almost as long as I can remember." Even after coming to the city and starting working at Local 5 News she always thought she is playing "dress-up" and pretending to be someone she is not. She added, "A while after I started being on air, I kind of just reached a personal breaking point where I thought, 'Why don't I like the person that I am seeing every time I am going out in the field? Why don't I connect with that person? Why don't I want to be that person?' "
Nora said that it was only after starting therapy that she found happiness. She started to come to terms with her gender identity and understood that gender is not limited to what we are assigned at birth. Nora said, "There's beauty in this process. And I wish that got discussed more. Especially among people who are cis and don't find themselves as familiar with it. What I find is learning to love my body, love me, and just the way I want to live my life, it's the best act of self-actualization that I could ever imagine."
She later took to Facebook to explain why she wanted to publicly share her story. The reporter wrote in the post that she has been absent from nightly news for weeks as she was preparing to make this public announcement. She added that her "Des Moines social circles" knew about her transition and she wanted to announce it publicly. "I didn’t want to keep disguising myself at work."
"I avoided confronting my gender identity out of fear. Fear of what would happen to my career as a TV reporter. Fear of losing friends and family by coming out. Fear for my own personal safety and well-being." She realized that the feeling of depression and anxiety she faced was in fact gender dysphoria. "It’s a hard sensation to describe — feeling totally disconnected from your own body, as if it’s not your own—but it was making me miserable," she added.
"After finally deciding to make the leap and accept myself as I am, I’m truly happier than I ever thought was possible." Nora is excited and relieved that she can now be her "whole self" at work without any fears. She wrote, "So often, conversations about people like me center around whether or not we can play sports or what bathrooms we have to use, and that reductiveness really bothers me."
"There is so much joy and beauty to be found in being trans, and I want to share that. For almost 24 years of my life, I didn't know what it was like to truly love myself. Now I do, and I'm never going back," she added.