Transgender woman finds happiness: Along the Way

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It is: controversial happiness.
But how can happiness, be controversial?
For some people, it just is.
Now, we share the story of the tough road a transgender woman has traveled to get to where she is: 'Along the Way' in Rapid City.

Andrea Tracy is 30 years old. But until 2 years ago, who she felt like on the inside, didn't match what she looked like on the outside.

Transgender Woman Andrea Tracy says, "I always felt like different than the other boys in schoool. I didn't feel like the other boys. I mean I tried to act like the other boys but it was just never felt right."

Andrea says she likes music, playing video games, watching Japanese anime's, and clearly: comic books, especially Batman.

Growing up as a boy, and then a man, her name was Zane.

"Like during High School is when I really felt it because I was going through puberty and I started feeling really uncomfortable with my body. And so I grew my hair out, wore baggy hoodies and kind of hid in the shadows," Andrea says.

While Andrea, at that time Zane, had not publicly shared that she always knew she was never meant to be a boy; she still suffered some harsh words.

Andrea Tracy says , "I've been called Fag, Queer, and Homo and so , and it hurts so, I just kinda hid in the shadows."

Andrea lived her first 28 years as a male.

"I started to realize that I just felt like I wasn't being who I was supposed to be. Like, I felt Iike I was supposed to live as a woman. So, and I knew this since I was about 5 years old ," says Andrea Tracy.

She was depressed and finally decided, she needed to make a change.

Andrea Tracy says " I need to come out. I don't care if my family hates me, or friends hate me, or the whole world hates me: I need to be myself. So I decided to start coming out slowly, and it worked out way better than I expected."

So 2 years ago she says she started Hormone Replacement Therapy. HRT is essentially taking the dominant female hormone, estrogen, while also taking something to block the male dominant hormone testosterone. And slowly she started seeing the development of feminine features, like her body shape, her complexion, and a bit of a change in her emotions. Her outside was finally beginning to match her inside.

"I used to feel this wall, but I feel like I broke down that wall. It's like breaking down the Berlin Wall, so just that kind of feeling. You're free to do what you want to do with your life," she says.

And she says reaction has been mostly positive.

Andrea says "Like friends and family have been very supportive and even people in the street have been really nice. I've run into some grumpy people. But most of the people that are uncomfortable, or don't like what I'm doing, they usually leave me alone and just don't talk to me."

She says she feels like she's just another member of the community, that being Transgender is just a secondary thing. As for her sexual preference, she says if she feels a good connection with someone she'll date them, regardless of their gender. She says she would eventually like to have Sexual Reassignment Surgery. She's still transitioning. But she's far happier than she was 2 years ago.

Andrea Tracy says, " I would say 110 percent happier to be honest"

Her next couple of steps are basically, based on cost. So those steps include legally changing her name to Andrea Rose Tracy, and getting laser removal of facial hair.
She says it is a euphoric feeling, every time she looks more like she's always wanted to.

If you've met someone cool "Along the Way" please call or e-mail us to let us know.