“Unashamedly Me” – by Teraina E Hird
This is a true story that I found so moving, enlightening and powerful. I have raved about it for weeks since I read it; my friends have had no choice but to listen to me go on and on about this awesome story. But why did it affect me so? It’s not that I had anything in common with this brave woman but because once I read her story I felt deeply educated on the subject of transgender and also inspired by her ability to tell her story with total and utter truth.
Teraina was able to make full disclosure of her journey with such courage in every word that she wrote that it enabled myself as the reader to have a very intimate experience with her life journey. She did not self- edit her story in fear of what people may think of her, this is ultimate bravery. There has been a lot of press coverage lately about a celebrity by the name of Caitlyn Jenner and her recent transition to that of the women she always felt she was and a bravery award that has recently come of this. Yet I must say there are many Transgender people in this world that are going through this process of finally becoming whom they feel they truly are without the support of the media and Hollywood stars; they take this journey very much alone facing bigotry, hatred and sometimes violent attacks.
Whilst Teraina was going through the process she was ridiculed by the Sun newspaper and had to have the courage to continue her journey after the press had most ignorantly exploited what she was going through for the sake of a tantalising story. By ridiculing someone who is transitioning or has transitioned I feel very strongly that this is a dehumanising act. The story in the Sun was titled Mechanic Loses Nuts..And customers Bolt and the story only referred to her as a man and with a male name. Yet she courageously continued her journey successfully. This was a testament to her bravery.
Her story is not only exceptionally entertaining but very informative of all the aspects involved in this kind of journey because it begins all the way back to her childhood and then to present day. Even if you were to remove the issue of her journey into becoming a woman physically, her life was that of just amazing experiences. I was quite wowed by all of her life experience one including an Australian prison and her years as an immigrant of that country, at times I laughed so hard my face hurt. Yet through all of this I came out of this journey of reading her story more enlightened about transgender and also about male and female emotions. She shares the effect the female hormones are having on her and how she becomes more sensitive emotionally; this gave me food for thought about whether or not it was or is a myth that females feel emotional experiences more deeply and powerfully than males, which is assumed to be due to hormones and I wondered with what she was saying if this is actually true that hormones play a big role. Questions then came to mind one being how much is because women are told by society that they are allowed to feel their feelings, whereas men are told to suppress theirs, so was the fact that she was transitioning allowing her the freedom to feel more deeply a psychological factor as well as the introduction of female hormones? A male transvestite who had chosen not to go through with the physical change had disclosed to me that when he started to dress female and go into female form that during the start of this coming out period in his life that he also felt emotions on a deeper level and attributed this to psychologically allowing himself to be more female of mind.
As I was deep in thought about all that I was learning through Teraina’s journey and sharing it with others that are now enlightening me about their own experiences;I am wondering if we shall ever know what degree do hormones rule our emotions and to what degree does our own psychology and that which society projects on to us control what a male or female is allowed to feel emotionally; and if socially we have restricted males psychologically and forced them to suppress how much they can feel about an emotional situation. If a male can tell me through his own experience as a transvestite that he now feels deeper emotions than he ever felt before and has said that he will never be the same again yet he did not take female hormones then perhaps there is something in our psychology and this is not all due to hormones as much as we think. I do believe that hormones do play some roll but I no longer believe that our hormones are completely responsible for the extent to which we feel our emotional experiences.
This book is absolutely worth the read and will not let you down as both entertaining and enlightening, I rarely find a story like this that ticks those two boxes but when I do I love to talk about it. We read to both know we are not alone and to learn something new about ourselves and our fellow species. Thank you,Teraina, for your courage to share your amazing story. If I could give you a courage award I would!
Samantha Flower, Co Author of The Persecution Of Others