Miranda is a 32-year-old transgender woman. For most of her life, she lived as a man.
Editor’s note: As the world buzzes with news of Caitlyn Jenner’s debut on the cover of Vanity Fair today, many of us have questions about what it’s like to come out as a trans woman – and what that process actually involves.
Today on Mamamia, transgender advocate Miranda Sparks shares her own experiences of choosing her female name, the challenges she’s faced during her transition, and how happy she is now.
When I was 17, I was overcompensating. A lot.
I was an arty, punk sort of guy who got angry and yelled a lot, got in fights with my dad and my brother all the time, and was just trying to be really macho. I was hugely into wrestling and doing weights. I poured a lot of energy into getting laid.
Underneath all of that, though, I hated myself. I was suicidal. I wanted to express myself as a girl so much, but was so afraid to.
One night I was on the internet talking about how much I wanted to die, when a local lady messaged me and asked if I needed some company. At 10pm she drove all the way to my house and kept me company.
She began to do so pretty regularly, whenever I got down — and one day she asked me what my name was; as in, what my real name was.
I went over the short list: Ashlee, Alicia, Jade, Kaira… but none of them seemed right.
Until one night, when I was talking about how much of a failure woman I am, my friend turned to me and said “your name is Miranda.”
We connected over Shakespeare because I was studying several plays in school at that time. She told me about the daughter from The Tempest who was raised on an Island away from civilization, and how she grew to be a tomboy because she didn’t have the influence of other women.
That’s who I was; Miranda, the lonely girl who didn’t know how to express myself as a woman.
Since I’ve become Miranda, I’m a lot happier and able to relate to people a lot better. Coming out, transitioning, expressing myself, was like being allowed to breathe for the very first time. I’ve never known the sort of joy, laughter, anger or sadness that has come with being this authentic to myself.