Meet Kat

My strength quote about being who you really are takes on greater significance when you become aware that I am transgender.

I grew up in a small town in Central New York, and all my life I knew something was not quite right with myself. It wasn't until puberty started that I began to find out about people who are Transgender, and that's when it hit me: I figured out why I had felt so different my entire life. I thought I was alone in this, but realized this was who I was and that there were many people like me out there. I came out to my parents, at separate times, when I was a little over 14 years old. With the support of my parents, brother, extended family and others in my school and community, I have been able to be true to myself and gain confidence in who I am.

I had many struggles and frustrations during this time, however I have also seen many other Trans youth struggle more: unable to gain support or access to medical treatment.

While things have come a long way for Transgender individuals we still have a long ways to go. I want to help make that happen. For a long time I thought I wanted to go through life and remain "stealth" as a transgender woman, but it became obvious to me in the winter of 2014/15 that I needed to share my experiences in hopes that I could help other people who are trans and help people who don't know what being trans is.

~I want to raise awareness and acceptance for the Transgender community.
~I want to educate as many people as possible and raise their level of understanding.
~I want to help save lives: the estimated incident of Transgender suicide attempts is too high - 41%.

I was a panelist at a conference for New York State school administrators on how to effectively create safe and accepting environments for transgender students and other of the LGBT community. The talking points were geared toward constructive items the audience could take away and implement immediately to make schools, which can be a very scary place for trans youth in particular, a more welcoming and less stressful place to be.

I was on the cover of the New York Times in June of 2015 featured in an article that told the story of my surgery. A follow-up video by the Times showed me in recovery and talked about my life.

I travelled to Washington DC to speak at the Human Rights Campaign headquarters on the impact of supportive parents and their role in preventing suicide for transgender youth. Suicide amongst the transgender community is one of the most important issues to address because the rate is so much higher than any other group in society. We must do all we can to change this, and my talk on how parents can play such an important role in this helps inspire families to learn more to help their kids as well as the children of others.

Thankfully - there is a lot of news coverage these days on transgender issues - much of it is good, but as always, the media likes to focus on high profile individuals. In this subject area I relay the story of the regular people - myself and my friends and allies that are facing the challenges of being trans in today's society. The audience gets a feel of the raw truth, but also walks away with hope and inspiration to continue making things better for the "everyday" people that are all around them.

I am strong because I am me. 


Meet Nancy

I have recently been given the opportunity to step outside my comfort zone and do something i could have never imagined in my wildest dreams...move to Northern Italy for 3 years.

I've lived in CNY all my life and I had only been overseas once. When my husband asked if I would be willing to move to Italy for his job, I immediately said YES. Not once have I questioned my decision, the timing was right.

The past year was spent preparing for our move in early September, 2016. We sold our home of 21 years and put 90% of our life in storage. 

The experience so far has made me feel emotionally stronger and more confident than ever. I am living dreams I just hadn't imagined yet. 


Meet Renee

In 2005, I was prescribed Klonopin, a powerful anti-anxiety drug, because I was having panic attacks. 

I guess some subconscious part of me knew that I was in a terribly unhappy marriage. The mother of a young son, I was unable to face the reality of divorce at that time. 

After stopping the drug, I went through a terrible withdrawal that lasted 30 months. 

Thirty-seven months later, I'm working at a job I enjoy, made new friends, and started investing in myself and my abilities as an independent artist. I'm in a new relationship and I can honestly say life is the best it's been in a long time. 


Strong Women

What is strength? What does it mean to be strong?
It means many different things to different people. 

This is the definition you get when you google "strong definition".

I think the second one is better suited for this project. 
When I first thought about this, I had a few women in mind. As I got into the project, I had more and more women open up to me and tell me their stories. 
I am hoping that this will be the first project of many. 

We are all strong.
We are all stronger than we think we are. 

I started this in June.
 I thought it would take a month, but to do it justice, I am still finishing it. 
You will have the honor of getting to know these women. 
They are all strong and have their own stories.
I hope you find something to take away from this as I have. 

In the next few weeks they will be sharing their stories with you. 
I am humbled and amazed to get to know all of these women.