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The Sassy Truth

Interview: Gettin' the sassy truth from Gia

Gia Navarez is a transgender and body positive activist. She grew up in San Francisco and then moved to Sacramento and San Diego to get her bachelors and masters degree. After grad school she moved out to LA. She is currently working for the city of LA in public service. On the side she does plus size fashion blogging, creates YouTube videos and runs a very popular Instagram account.

Links: YouTube | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook

Describe yourself in three words

Sassy, funny, caring!

You’ve been very open with your transition and the ups and down of this process. What made you decide to share your experience so publicly and how has this exposure shaped your work?

I think I started being so open because when I first started my transition there was no one that I felt I could look up to in the trans community. A lot of the people I saw were thin, gorgeous, light skinned etc.  So I thought well there isn't anyone that looks like me, perhaps I can document it and maybe one day I can help someone else out there.  I also wanted to share what it was like publicly because I think people tend to assume its a smooth transition, but it isn't. There are a lot of things trans women go through emotionally/physically/medically that a lot of people don't know about.

What was the hardest part of transitioning and how did you do to get through those tough times?

I would say the phase where I was growing out my hair and starting hormones.  It was hard because I felt like I looked and felt so in between genders, and that was dysphoric for me.  It was also hard because I had no manual on how to do something it was all hit or miss and seeing what worked. It almost felt like a butterfly that is trying to come out of its cocoon but it is having trouble and its wings get stuck for a while… felt like I was there but not totally.  I would say I got through those times by surrounding myself with people that loved me unconditionally and supported me fully.

What advice would you have for your younger self when you were first contemplating transitioning?

Oh goodness this makes me tear up because I denied myself my truth for so long.  I would tell younger me to jump.  To jump and know that everything would be okay.  I would tell myself that this life is for me to grasp firmly, to live it by my rules as the person i've always felt like I was inside.  I would tell myself to not be scared.  I would tell myself that times will get rough.  But that I would persevere and that I would come out stronger on the other side.  I would tell myself that I was valid, and worthy, and wanted and loved.

Not all youth are in environments or families that are supportive. What advice would you have for youth in those situations?

I would say that family isn't necessarily blood.  I have learned growing up that your family are those people around you that cheer you on, that love you for who you are.  I have had a supportive mother and close relatives, but my father disowned me when I was about 18 after telling him about my true self or what I believed was my truth at that age.  I would say try your hardest to find your group, your close friends that love you dearly and support you.  Surround yourself with close friends that support you unconditionally and know that those people love you, don't worry about what anyone else thinks about you. If someone doesn't accept you for who you are, then those people don't have your best interest in mind, and those people don't deserve to be in your life.

What resources (books, YouTube Channels, blogs, etc) did you find most helpful while transitioning?

At the beginning of my transition I read Janet Mock’s first book I believe it is called Redefining Realness, my path to womanhood and so much more.  Janet Mock is a prominent trans activist and I really felt like I connected with her story.  In a way it almost felt like my own journey.  Her book allowed me to see my own truth through a crisp/clearer lens.  I also went through this PDF titled ID Please! By Trans Law Center which guided me in changing all of my paperwork through the state along with my medical transition documents etc.  Aside from that I watched YouTubers like Gigi Gorgeous, Laverne Cox, and other trans women to see what their journey was like.

Were there any unexpected surprises during your transition? Anything you experienced that you didn’t initially anticipate?

You know when I first was about to get started and I was heading to my first psychologist session to get started on hormones, I was so overwhelmed with emotions. And I remember getting there and starting and I felt like with every statement that I made, I peeled back a layer until I finally got to the center which was my truth, the core of who I was.  It was totally unexpected because I was thinking i'm just going here to get medication and to talk about my past but I felt like I had a moment where I realized that this was my truth that it is my truth so that was really great! Also I guess when I first started my transition I never felt like I would be able to pass, it was never a goal nor something that I felt like was attainable, but after being on hormones for so long, it has happened a few times and I am still baffled when it happens.  I think a few weeks ago a male coworker and I were chatting over drinks and I mentioned I was trans because I am so open about it and he just exclaimed “omg youre trans?! I would have never known!” haha and I thought it was pretty funny since he is a pretty good friend of mine.

What advice do you have for dealing with the haters?

DON'T MIND THEM ANY BUSINESS. I know sometimes it is rough even I get down on myself sometimes because of the hateful and mean things people can say. But at the end of the day they are not paying my bills, they are not walking in my shoes, they are not living every day as who I am so I could careless for their opinion. I do me. I live life by my rules, I do not apologize for existing or thriving or being the best self I can be. At the end of the day I know I am existing as who I was meant to be and am, I am living my life authentically and in my truth and that's all you should remember. Don't mind them, you will never be able to please everyone. And YOU are more important than the opinions of others!

What’s next for you?

The sky's the limit! I currently landed a job in my dream field. So I am working hard towards that. I want to continue doing social media stuff and fashion influencing but get more into my creative side with videos and story telling which is one of my biggest passions. So in the next couple of months expect some dope videos and stuff on my social media channels!

Photos from Instagram @thesassytruth_