On International Transgender Day of Visibility Remember #TransIsBeautiful


In April of 2015 Laverne Cox decided to pose nude for Allure Magazine. By doing this she sent the world a message with hashtag #transisbeautiful. At the time I was just beginning to understand my gender identity. My gender dysphoria was overwhelming me with thoughts of discontentment. I couldn’t help but stare at this photo of a naked transgender woman for what felt like hours. I kept thinking she looks so beautiful. And she’s clearly successful. So maybe I can do that too! She gave me hope for my future. The next month I saw her speak at University of Washington and after relating to most of her story, I decided it was time to stop living in the dark.

I started coming out to people as transgender. I started the blog transisbeautiful.tumblr.com to celebrate the beauty of transgender people and to find people that I could relate to and talk to about gender. On the blog I share people's selfies, comparison photos, stories, struggles, and transition funds. I also published my own personal posts and informative articles. People began thanking me and calling me inspirational. I was shocked and humbled by these comments from people I had never met. The power of the Internet is amazing.

In our society we’re constantly being told what is or isn’t beautiful. Edited photos of tall, slender, white, straight, cisgender women flood our minds every day. I can’t help but compare myself to these images. I used to long for the features of these fake idols. I used to look myself in the mirror unable to recognize who I was looking at. While I was questioning myself, I kept thinking, "Could I be something other than the gender I was assigned at birth? Am I a woman? No, I’m not pretty enough to be a female."

As I came out, I had people tell me I’d never be beautiful. I told them I was doing this to be happy. They asked me how I could be happy if no one loved me. How could anyone love a transgender human? I believed them for a while. Soon after, I found it necessary for my overall well-being to medically transition with hormone replacement therapy. I learned to listen to the voice inside my head instead of the voices of others. My body began changing and reflecting what I felt inside. While hormones helped me feel more feminine, they also taught me to appreciate the more "masculine" features of my body. I learned to love myself.

I still struggle with dysphoria but I’m done listening to the lies society tries to tell me. You don’t have to fit in or conform to what others think of you. Be yourself! That’s the more beautiful than pretending to be something else.

It’s okay to feel crazy or alone, but know that you’re not. Your thoughts are valid. It’s okay to not want to medically transition. It’s okay to not know your gender identity or to change how you identify.

I decided to pose nude for this Transgender Day of Visibility to be the person I needed when I was younger. I want to continue the work of spreading love that Laverne taught me. I want to let others know it gets better. You can be transgender and successful. You can be transgender and be happy. I’m a Hispanic transgender person and I am beautiful. I don’t care if you think I’m beautiful or not because I know that I am. Don’t let anyone tell you that you're not beautiful because you’re transgender. #transisbeautiful

Rose Montoya is a bisexual, Hispanic, transgender woman who uses social media to share her story and advocate for the LGBTQ+ community. She's also a makeup artist who loves helping trans folks feel beautiful. She is on Instagram as rosalynnemontoya.

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