Rochester transgender woman shares experience grappling with gen - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Rochester transgender woman shares experience grappling with gender identity

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -

More and more transgender people are coming out of the shadows and living openly. For 32-year-old Mallory Heath, she has always known her gender did not match her biology.

Heath facilitates the Southern Minnesota Transgender Support, a trans advocacy group in Rochester. She says members of the group are often taunted in public, ostracized by family and targeted in violent attacks.

"It can be a little rough and a little dangerous," Heath said. "There have been a couple of members of our group that has been harassed or even attacked for being transgender. For transgender people to be comfortable, we kinda make ourselves invisible."

An estimated 1.4 million people - around 6 percent of U.S. adults - identify as transgender.

"We're here and that they very easily might know a trans person or several trans people and have no idea."

Growing up in a Catholic family and getting bullied in school, Heath never thought coming out was an option.

"I was really afraid of the social ramifications of that."

In 2015, Heath came out to her mom and says the experience was liberating.

"She grabs me, and she hugs me, and she's like, 'it's okay, it's okay', she kinda holds me at arm's length and she goes, 'now, what is that?'"

Today when Heath looks in the mirror...

"I see me. I see who I want to be, who I always knew I was. Before I used to look in the mirror and no matter how good I looked, I always hated it. And now, I don't feel that anymore. Now, I just look at it and I think, that's me." 

International Transgender Day of Visibility is March 31st. A day dedicated to celebrating transgender people and raising awareness of discrimination transgender people face worldwide. 

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