A Des Moines, Iowa, television reporter announced on a newscast that she has transitioned, uses she/her/hers pronouns and will publicly identify as a transgender woman.
Nora J.S. Reichardt of WOI-TV — a Minnesota native — re-introduced herself on the day she officially filed for her name change. Reichardt said for a long time, she didn't think she would be able to announce her true identity on air.
"I didn’t know if there was a place and a space for me to do this sort of work that I’ve really come to love and enjoy, while also getting to be myself while I do it," she said.
She first began questioning her identity in late high school, she said, but she wasn't sure what those feelings were and instead identified them as depression and anxiety.
"It’s very weird to approach every day at work as if it’s a dress-up day, but there were times that that’s really what it felt like -- that I was just getting up every morning, putting on my nice shoes, my slacks and a button up, and going into work and telling all my coworkers and the people I was meeting out in the field that I was someone I didn’t really feel like," she said.
After a period of being on-air, Reichardt said she reached a "personal breaking point" where she realized she didn't want to be that person everyone else saw on the TV.
In September 2021, Reichardt began her medical transition process and counseling. She revealed that she is on hormone replacement therapy and taking medication to increase her estrogen levels and decrease her testosterone levels. Around the same time, she began growing out her hair and swapping her wardrobe to become the person she wanted to be.
"There’s beauty in this process, and I wish that got discussed more -- especially among people who are cis and don’t find themselves as familiar with it," Reichardt said. "What I find is learning to love my body, love me, and just the way I want to live my life, it’s the best act of self-actualization that I could ever imagine."
Reichardt said she chose the name "Nora" after experimenting with names she thought were cute until one stuck. Now, she said she's shedding the parts of her that didn't feel like her, and "taking what's left into something better."
She also revealed her parents have been supportive of her transition, something she is grateful for and knows is not the case for everyone.
"What really stuck with me is when my mom told me that she doesn’t think she’d ever seen me this happy. And I feel the same way," she said. "To know that other people are seeing that too — especially my mom and dad, who I love so much; I can do anything as long as I still have them."
When asked to give advice to people so they can be better allies, Reichardt emphasized believing people when they say who they really are.
"Being trans is not a burden. If someone is trusting you with that information, it means that you mean something to them. And they really want to get to share that," she said.
Although it might feel like a loss for loved ones, Reichardt noted, she advises looking at the situation instead like you're gaining a new and better person in your life.
"The way I would ask people to reframe that is, you’re getting someone better," she said. "You’re getting someone that person is so much happier being."
She added, "It’s a magical thing."
This article was originally published on TODAY.com