Transgender Woman (she/her) // Colorado Springs, CO // Loves meeting new people. Loves cooking.
With the infinite possibilities of gender identity and expression, when did you know….
“Around 3 or 4 years old. I just remember never fitting in, never wanting to do things other boys would do. I would always play with my little niece and play barbies… I remember telling my mom when I was 3 or 4 years old that I was supposed to be born a girl…”
On preferred pronouns…
“It depends on the circumstance. I know for some people that have been in my life, and known me as Jeremy for so long, it’s difficult for them and they’re trying and they don’t mean anything malicious or any disrespect. For example my ex-wife will sometimes say he. But she doesn’t do it because she’s being malicious… she’s doing it because for the last 15 year it was ‘he’ that she knew. Things like getting misgendered over the phone is completely different… But the case of my mom, where she’s deliberately doing it, it really hurts. It’s like these people that would do this… I’ve never done anything to them to show them disrespect and you expect the same kind of respect from people who say they love you… and when you don’t get it, it really hurts.
How old were you when you came out?
“I was 33. It was last December. It’s been a roller coaster. The first person I came out to was my brother who I knew would be accepting and supporting. He’s always been someone that’s been there for me and someone who’s been very open. He’s a gay man, married to a man. So he was the first person. The second person I came out to was actually my wife. She was really supportive and accepting, but that eventually led to our divorce. No matter how hard she tried she just couldn’t be attracted to a woman. I came out to my friends and family, and I have a couple of friends who are supportive and accepting and a couple of members of my family. For the most part, most of my family has completely shut me out and disowned me…”
Biggest fears or concern about coming out…
“A lot of the fears and concerns I had with coming out was based with my family and seeing the way that my family sometimes treated my brother and his, now, husband… I thought, ‘If I come out it’s going to be the same thing… it’s going to be worse.’ For the most part, I feel like it was worse when I came out because for many years my brother was always accepted to come visit… accepted to be there. He can bring his partners with him it’s no big deal. I was kind of hoping when I came out it would be the same thing. But it’s like, ‘You’re welcome to come anytime… just not as Madison’. They’re like, ‘Not as Madison, don’t come visit as a woman’. But it’s who I am… I haven’t talked to anyone in my family for months and I was forced to talk to my mom recently because I needed my birth certificate and I didn’t have a copy of it. The entire conversation, which only lasted 5 minutes, consisted of her misgendering me three times and dead-naming me 5 times…”
Favorite part about the community?
“I really like what I’ve seen so far of our local community and how great and accepting everyone is. Especially from the town that I came here from. I moved to Colorado in April from Kansas… in a little bitty town that is very close minded, very conservative, less than 800 people in the town. So going from that to the Springs the community here everyone is very open and accepting. I have yet to go somewhere that I haven’t felt safe being in. Moving here has been amazing and I love it.”
“To be fair and honest, it’s not really our local community… because I’m still really new to all of this. I guess what frustrates me the most as a whole is the divide within the community. For example, there’s the whole stigma about people that identify as a gay man or a lesbian… I’ve had to fight to get the rights that I have now but I’m not going to help you with your fight for your rights because you’re transgender.”
What is something you would tell a younger you?
“Face your fears and don’t wait so long. I really wish I would have come out a long time ago…”
Advice for anyone out there who feels like they can’t come out, or they don’t have a community to be a part of?
“You have to find your community, find your people. That’s what I did. My favorite thing about being out is being able to help people avoid some of the mistakes that I’ve made when I was closeted.
One of my best friends, her daughter just came out to her saying that she’s bisexual. I know how awkward it can be trying to talk to a parent about things like that and not have anyone else to talk to. So I told her, if you feel like you don’t have anyone to talk to, here’s my number, give me a text… give me a call. I didn’t have anyone to talk to about things like this when I was in high school, and I don’t want you to feel like you don’t have anyone to talk to.”
Most people go by or keep the name give to them at birth, as a transgender person you have the unique experience of choosing your name… how did you choose Madison?
“I really like this story. Over the years before I came out, I thought if I ever come out and change my name it’s going to be this… And for a long time that name was Jessica. When I decided to come out, I didn’t want to have something so close to my birth name. My dead name is Jeremy. I notice a lot of trans people I know keep something very similar or starts with the same letter, and I didn’t want anything close to that. For a while I really liked the name Alexis. But I didn’t want a name that could be shorted to be a more male name, like Alex. When my youngest son was born, before he was born we were picking names. His name is Carter Logan, but if he was going to be a girl it was going to be Madison Paige. And I just fell in love with that name, so that became my name…”
Someone told me that you should never ask a transgender person their dead name, what are your thoughts on that?
“I think everyone is different. I think it’s one of those rule of thumb things… I don’t mind if it’s the right situation. If it’s someone that is friendly or a friend to me, I don’t mind. But if it’s someone that I don’t know and they just come up to me and ask my name, when I say Madison, they ask but what’s your real name? I hate that question…”
What in your life are you most proud of?
“I think I’m just really proud of the type of person I am. You see so many people, not necessarily just straight/cisgender people, that walk around with a chip on their shoulder or they’re not happy. I don’t think anyone should have to go through life that way and it breaks my heart. I’m a very kind hearted person… the type of person that if I see someone struggling, I’m going to do whatever I can do help them out. And I’m really proud of that fact. I don’t know how many people walk around and hold a grudge. I was that way before I came out. I was dealing with a lot of anxiety and depression. Since coming out I feel freer, I’m more myself and have been able to really discover who Madison is and it’s amazing.”
With the state of the nation and the world in its current state, what’s one thing you would change if you had the power?
“Just one? If it were possible to magically flip a switch and change anything in the world, I would eliminate some of the close mindedness, the hate, the ignorance that people have. Not just towards the LGBTQ community, but towards other people in general. When you walk down the street and you see, especially in Colorado Springs, people who are down on their luck and homeless and they’re just sitting there begging for a few dollars so they can have another meal… I know that takes everything for them to do that and people just look at them like they’re less than human. So, that’s what I would change.”