MSNBC guest Eureka O'Hara discusses transitioning again after earlier detransition

O'Hara: “I saw so many trans individuals being killed or worse”

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Citation From the January 20, 2023, edition of MSNBC's The Reid Out

JOY REID (HOST): The thing is, Eureka, it was not clear in the other episodes, because the three of you, while being LGBTQ, proudly so, you never talked in the previous episode about being trans. And you also talked about something we don't talk a lot about, which is you transitioned and then re-transition back, which about 2%, according to this Atlantic article by Leo Valdes and Kinnon MacKinnon — who are social workers and experts in this — do transition back. Can you talk about why you transitioned back and why you’ve made the brave decision to transition again? And how all of that works? 

EUREKA O’HARA (DRAG PERFORMER): Thank you. You know, I was put through a lot of discomfort and fear when I lived in East Tennessee as a trans woman from 18 to 23. And I was honestly afraid for my life. I went through a lot of really traumatic experiences that caused me to re-decide how I was going to present myself and live, because I needed to have success, I needed to build my life up to support my mother, who was sick, my family, you know. And I wanted to be somebody. And I saw so many trans individuals being killed or worse, you know, sexualized, et cetera. And for a long time I found contentment with being nonbinary. But as I progress as a human being, and especially this last year, working with Mandy who was 70 and transitioned at 70, and working with Dempsey on We’re Here, who was 10 years old and spoke like an adult about who she was. Seeing pictures with her and her family, being respected as the daughter that they had, you know, it reminded me that I don't have to be afraid anymore. Because I don't want to live in that fear of not being allowed to exist. It makes me self destructive. It makes me want to harm myself. It doesn't make me hurt other people. It makes me want to illuminate my existence. Because I don't believe that I am living authentically as myself. And the worst struggle in the world is a fight that you have within your own mind. And I decided the rest of the world, I can fight you all better than I can fight myself. Because, honey, if I try hard enough, I will kill myself. You know? But I can fight the world. And that is the fight I'm willing to do to be able to be my authentic self and be happy and to be unafraid. You know, there's a beautiful woman who said it, freedom is living without fear. 

REID: Amen. I have to say that this show — and everyone should watch it. It doesn't matter how you present or who you are, it is just so heartwarming. And you guys are so brave and so fun that it hurts my heart so deeply when you cry. Because you're always making everyone else laugh and making everyone happy. And so I'm glad that you are finding your joy.