Transgender History Event

Transgender History: Stories of Our People

Who are we as a people? What is our shared heritage? Who are our pioneers?

Please join transgender historian Una Nowling, the hostess of “Trans Talk” on 90.1 KKFI and founder of the Transas City Project, as she takes us on an audiovisual journey through transgender history!

Presented in honor of the affiliation between the Transas City Project and The Transgender Institute.

Transgender History Event

DATE:  Sunday, April 24, 2016

TIME: 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm

LOCATION: The Transgender Institute: 8080 Ward Parkway, Suite 400, Kansas City, MO


Refreshments will be provided. There is no cost to attend, although donations will be accepted for transgender persons in need in the Kansas City metropolitan area.

Hope to see you there!

Review of “The Danish Girl”

Screening of The Danish Girl

The Danish Girl Review
By Samantha Kay

4.5 out of 5 Stars


I saw “The Danish Girl” as part of a special screening sponsored by The Transgender Institute on December 15, 2015.  Purposefully I refrained from reading any reviews prior to the viewing, but I did read up on the life of Einar Wegener so as to gain some historical balance.  (It should be noted that while the movie is based on historical notes, it is not considered a documentary.  The timeline and some of the finer points, including the details around her surgery, have been met with creative licensing). Besides viewing the movie with members of the LGBT community I was joined by my wife, Julie.  For the record I am a transgender woman and this review reflects my opinion with input from Julie and others.

Be aware there are spoilers and possible triggers.

The Danish Girl is a movie inspired by the lives of Einar and Gerda Wegener played respectively by Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander.  The movie was directed by Tom Hooper (“The King’s Speech” and “Les Miserables”).  It is based on the true the story of how Einar transitions and becomes one of the first transgender women to undergo gender reassignment surgery.

The movie portrays a story of love between Einar and Gerda Wegener, a married couple, set in Copenhagen during the 1920s.  Both Einar and Gerda are painters with Einar being an accomplished painter of landscapes while Gerda is struggling to gain an audience for her portrait paintings.  They live a somewhat bohemian lifestyle with friends that participate in the arts including their friend Ulla (Amber Heard) who is involved in ballet.

During one of Gerda’s painting sessions her portrait model was unable to attend so she asks Einar to sit in as a temporary replacement.  While hesitant he succumbs to Gerda’s pressure and sits for the painting with a dress draped over his legs and his feet in heels.  During the session he is taken back by the feeling of the dress and fabric against his skin.  A few moments later Ulla drops in carrying a bouquet and after a bit of innocent teasing places one of the flowers on his lap and dubs him Lily.  Later that evening Gerda asks if there is something he wishes to tell her and he replied, “Is there something you want to hear?”  In one of the proceeding evenings she discovers he is wearing women’s undergarments as a way of sharing his femme persona.

Gerda later paints his portrait while he is sleeping and adds feminine characteristics.  Jointly they go to the backstage of the theatre and pick out an outfit and wig.  Gerda continues to paint the portrait of a freshly made up Lily with porcelain skin, auburn hair and red lips.  Shortly thereafter Gerda’s portraits of Lily catch the eye of a local art dealer and her painting career takes off.  Then while preparing for a social gathering they both decide to present Lily to the public as part of a social experiment and game. The ruse becomes real for Lily, and the ensuing transition begins.  During this time their relationship changes.  In one scene Gerda announces, “I need my husband”.  This line resonated with both myself and Julie.  The tears in both our eyes began to swell while we clenched hands and a glance was shared.

During the middle part of the movie several things take place.  Lily begins to present more frequently and Gerda continues to paint her portraits.  Lily begins to seek medical advice and is met with skepticism and is diagnosed with everything from schizophrenia to homosexuality.  The medical community even suggested shock therapy, brain surgery and placement in a mental facility.  After the initial shock therapy the reply to the question, “how are you doing” was a somber, “you hurt Lily.”

In part to avoid further scrutiny, and due to Gerda’s painting career, they move to Paris and Lily begins to present full-time.   Lily researches her gender identity at the local library and while heading home she is assaulted and severely beaten.  At about this time a third character is introduced, Hans Axgil, played by Matthias Schoenaerts, an old friend of Einar whom Gerda seeks out.  Gerda learns from Hans that Einar and he shared an innocent kiss when they were young and Einar was wearing his grandmother’s kitchen apron.  He rekindles his friendship with Einar and meets Lily.  Hans acts as an ally for both Einar/Lily and Gerda.

Eventually they end up moving back to Copenhagen, and they learn of a surgeon that has developed a procedure for transsexual surgery.  The process is explained as a two-part operation.  The first one removes the male genitals, and the second is to implant a womb.  After recovering from the first surgery Lily takes a job at a local department store and blends with the other women selling cosmetics and perfumes.  Their relationship stays strong although Gerda is struggling and seeks out support from Hans. Eventually Lily decides to undergo the second surgery so as to align her body and possibly bear children.  The organ transplant is rejected and Lily passes while recuperating at the surgical hospital.

The movie ends with Gerda and Hans visiting the homeland where Einar grew up and viewing a landscape depicted in one of his earlier paintings.   A scarf that belonged to Lily blows away into the wind as the movie credits begin to roll.

Overall I think the movie was great, and has been nominated for a few academy awards.1  The costume and set design were excellent and captured what life must have been like in 1920s Copenhagen.  The muted colors with bluish tint along with the cobblestone streets and brick buildings were exquisite.  The camera angles, slightly above eye level, highlighted Redmayne’s femininity.  Casting a cisgender male has been criticized by some but I didn’t see that as a problem as I believe it added to the realism.

Ten years ago I would have been considered cis and the transition as portrayed resonated with me.  By the way there is a transgender actress from the “Boy Meets Girl” series, Rebecca Root.  She plays acisgender woman as a nurse in this movie.   She and many other transwoman consulted on the movie. Seeing transgender actors and actresses in non-trans roles is an important milestone.  Besides, Redmayne is an accomplished actor, and I believe he captured the struggles I face as a transgender woman.

While Redmayne’s acting at times seemed technical and crafted, I felt that also added to the realism as I have often acted my way through life as I presented cis.  Even when learning to present as my feminine self I would have to act out as a woman and mimic women I admired until I was comfortable.  The same thing happens with Einar as he transitions to Lily.   Take for example when Lily was walking down the cobblestone street towards the middle of the movie, a 15-second scene but one that could earn him an acting Oscar.

In contrast, the acting of Vikander was exquisite and at times did not seem like acting, which is the hallmark of a great performance.  I do wish they had expanded on the depth of her character as well as the challenges a partner goes through while the other is transitioning.  Although they did touch on this subject, I think it could have been further developed without taking away from the main story.  I also enjoyed the character of Ulla, the glamorous friend of both Einar/Lily and Gerda, and Amber Heard deserves a nod for her supporting role, both in the movie and with Lily’s transition.

In some reviews there was criticism of the characterization of Einar becoming Lily as sexualized and fraught with femme erotica.  I didn’t get that although I did sense the enjoyment and excitement Einar experienced while touching and wearing stockings.  I think being attractive can be sexy without introducing aspects of erotica or fetishism and I believe the writers pulled that off.  There is a scene when in a dysphoric state Einar rushes to the theatre and pulls clothing and accessories from the rack and stops in front of a mirror.  He quickly discards his male attire, like a suit made of fiberglass, and examines his body while tucking his genitalia.  In another scene, Einar/Lily mimics a girl from behind glass during a peep show.

I also think the surgery procedures could have been explained a bit more especially for the segment of the audience that doesn’t understand the process.  The timeline seemed a bit disjointed with gaps that weren’t explained and others that jumped too quickly.  The ending was somewhat of a cliché with the scarf blowing in the wind; however, I did like the tie-in to his earlier landscape paintings when revisiting his childhood home.

All in all I enjoyed the movie.  To me it was a love story between two people who both endured challenges as one transitioned.  Bottom line is go see the movie and decide for yourself.  I do suggest going with supportive friends, loved ones or both.  P.S. Bring along a few tissues just in case.

Academy Award Nominations for The Danish Girl

  • Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role: Eddie Redmayne
  • Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role: Alicia Vikander
  • Best Achievement in Production Design: Eve Stewart and Michael Standish
  • Best Achievement in Costume Design: Paco Delgado

Did you see The Danish Girl? What did you think?

We’d love your help by participating in a survey!

Calling for HELP from all clients at The Transgender Institute.

Medical student Tequilla Manning at the University of Kansas Medical Center is conducting a research project at The Transgender Institute. She is interested in the client profile and services available for the transgender community both at TTI and Kansas City. Her goal is to gain knowledge about the resources available for the transgender community and provide education to other medical professionals.

She is administering a ten-item survey on Saturdays and Sundays starting Saturday, January 16, 2016 through Sunday, March 27th, 2016 at The Transgender Institute. This questionnaire is completely voluntary and anonymous.

Please contact Tequilla directly with questions and to schedule a time to take the survey. She can be reached at 662-722-1217.

Thank you!

Read The Vital Voice

A Thriving Transgender Tomorrow – January Issue

Screening of The Danish Girl
Don’t miss the screening of THE DANISH GIRL December 15th!

Screening of The Danish Girl


We are really excited about this! Make sure you don’t miss this exclusive event!

Local film screening of December 15th

THE DANISH GIRL (Opening in Kansas City December 25!)

Rated “R”

Find the courage to be yourself.


Academy Award winner Tom Hooper (“The King’s Speech,” “Les Misérables”) directs the remarkable love story inspired by the lives of artists Einar and Gerda Wegener (Academy Award winner Eddie Redmayne [“The Theory of Everything,” “Les Misérables”] and Alicia Vikander [“Ex Machina,” “Anna Karenina”]), whose marriage and work are cast into the unknown when Einar begins a groundbreaking journey to become one of the world’s first transgender women, Lili Elbe.



Click HERE to download a screening pass, while supplies last. This is on a first come, first serve basis. Once you download a pass, you will need to print it out and bring it to the theater the night of the screening.

Please share this with anyone who’d love to attend. See you there!



DON’T miss our after-party! Get all of the info here.

Join us!

What it Means To Be Transgender: One Gal's Story

What It Means to be Transgender: One Gal’s Story

Written by a Transwoman

When you are young and act as a girl, and tell people you are a girl, but have a boy’s body people get very upset with you. I believe they react this way for many reasons. Some of it is out of concern for you and some of it is out of concern for themselves and others. They see your behavior as abnormal and feel they have to fix you. You are told you are a boy and expected to act as a boy or there will be very, very bad things happen to you. You become confused about whom you are. Since it is only natural to resist not being yourself, the techniques that are used to “fix you” get progressively stronger until you outwardly abandon your identity. This is a very traumatic experience. This is the point that you first realize that you are unacceptable and unlovable and your lifelong quest to be so begins. You become literally “scared to death” to expose your true self. This fear combines with a strong desire to “do the right thing” these become your great motivators in you quest to be a boy. Your survival instincts kick in. You resolve to take the steps you feel you need to, to be a boy, so that you can become OK. The problem is you never feel OK, you always feel there is something wrong with you.

Unfortunately, this causes another problem. You’re a girl and don’t know how to be a boy, so you do two things. You learn to suppress your true feelings and identity and you set about learning how to be a boy. This is the beginning of living your life with your head and not your heart. It is the reason you find it extremely difficult to make emotional connections with people. It is impossible to feel connected to someone when you desperately feel you have to hide yourself from them to protect yourself.

So you begin to watch what boys do and because you are motivated and smart you eventually get very good at acting like a boy. But, this process is very painful and rocky. Early on, you’re not good at it and the other kids see you as odd and make fun of you, call you names and cause you pain in other ways. You can’t go to anyone for help, not your parents, your teachers, your siblings, or anyone else because to do so you have to reveal yourself, your failure, and as you see it, risk death. You learn that even your religion rejects you and instead of being a source of help and comfort it is just another tool people use as justification to hurt you and “fix you”. You don’t understand why GOD made you this way and why with all of your efforts you can’t change the fact that you are a girl. You desperately want to feel OK but you can’t. You get to the point that you feel even GOD won’t listen to you pleas for help and you wonder if even he can love and accept you. You find that even though you are with people all of the time you feel disconnected and all alone. But you get so good at hiding yourself, your pain, your feelings, and acting as a boy no one realizes what you are going through. You suffer in silence.

Living life like this robs you of your self confidence. How can anybody feel self confident if they believe there is something fundamentally wrong with them and they are unlovable, unacceptable and not OK?

Another thing that happens when learning to live as someone you’re not is that you lose your spontaneity. You can no longer allow yourself to act instinctively in any situation where gender is at issue. With every situation, you have to pause, mentally evaluate, and then make a calculated judgment on how to gender appropriately respond. This makes you appear unsure of yourself, aloof, makes it harder to make friends, and further under minds your self confidence. You begin to feel as an outsider. But some good comes of it, because you find out that if you can survive it all it makes you stronger and that strength helps to save your life later on. It also makes you lopsided. You find you overcompensate by doing male things that you don’t really want to do and avoiding female things you want to do. To make it worse, you do these things to the extreme in an effort to have an even denser shield between you and people to prevent them from seeing you. In a nutshell, you hide yourself even more deeply.

You get so good at interacting with the world as a boy that when you hit puberty you welcome it. You believe that finally this is the thing that will make you feel like a boy and not a girl. But it is just another painful disappointment and failure you have to endure. It doesn’t change who you are, other than making you look less like yourself and this depresses you further but, you continue to endure.

And, for all of your efforts hide yourself you continue to leak out. One way this shows up is as an uncontrollable desire to dress in woman’s clothes, act like a girl and allow yourself the brief freedom to feel yourself, but this too comes with costs. You experience extreme anxiety and stress at the prospect of being exposed; extreme guilt and failure at you inability to change or at least control yourself. In addition, your self confidence takes another hit. It is just repeated pain and suffering you have to endure because the leakage occurs over and over again.

You survival instinct is strong and you find an escape, in this case work, that you can pour all of the negative energy into. You also self medicate with food and drink. These things combine to slowly wreak havoc on your body and health. But you don’t care you are desperate to get rid of the pain. They help you survive now and more importantly when the going really gets tough later on.

You get to the point, after continued heroic efforts, your urges diminished and you believe you have overcome yourself. You meet someone and develop a relationship and get married.

Unfortunately, the urges to be yourself come back with a ferocity you never experienced before. The end result is divorce. Again you have to deal with the pain and guilt of yet another major failure and the fact that you unnecessarily hurt someone you cared about and didn’t deserve to be hurt. This time it nearly destroys you.

Your struggle with yourself gets overwhelming, your sense of failure, your guilt, your pain all conspire to lead you to giving up on life, but somehow you survive. You come to the conclusion that you have to be yourself. You find an organization to help you. You start your transition to becoming the woman you are. You get to the point in your transition where you tell your family. It does not go well. You begin to have doubts and second thoughts about what you are doing and about your ability to make a living. You decide to try again to overcome yourself. You go into years of intensive psychotherapy. You stop the psychotherapy at a point where you believe, once again, you have overcome the challenge GOD saddled you with. You go on with your life thinking you did it, you test yourself, and the feelings do not surface, more evidence that you have been cured. But, at the same time you can’t get rid of constant feelings of unhappiness and depression, but you attribute this to some physical condition.

And then it happens, events in your life collide and cause the feelings of who you truly are to come rushing back. You think again about becoming you and you experience unbelievable joy and happiness. This is your sign. You decide to begin to transition again, but this time for good. Your feelings of unhappiness and depression disappear. You’re elated and petrified at the same time. You find people to help you. You tell your family and significant other. You know they love you but you find you are supporting them more than they are supporting you, but this is OK, you don’t want to lose them. You find the process to be very tough. You wonder why you are doing this at this point in your life and you ask yourself if you are crazy, but you know you no longer have a choice. You have learned having an integrated identity is one of the most fundamental needs of a human being and since you’ve proven to yourself, through major trial and tribulation, that you can’t change your internal identity, you need to change your body to become whole.

The cat is out of the bag, the desire to be authentic has become overwhelming and you welcome it. As you proceed, you experience glimpses of the pure joy and happiness you felt not so long ago when you decided to finally be yourself and this sustains you. But, the toughest thing is yet to come. To be yourself in the world you have to face and overcome your greatest fear, that of literally dying, the “scared to death” feeling, that was instilled in you when you were a little girl. This is too important, with help from others, you become strong enough and you jump off of the cliff and expose your true self to the world. You don’t know if you will live or die. Finally, after a lifetime of struggle and pain you have laid all of your cards on the table and surprisingly you are still alive. You know much work remains, but the hard part is over. After a lifetime of hiding, suppressing, denying, trying to change who you are, and hurting people in the process, you are becoming whole. You finally get to experience what most people take for granted, you are you, and it is absolutely WONDERFUL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Fashion Workshops

Fall Fashion Workshops

Wouldn’t you feel more confident if:

  • You knew what to wear, when and how to wear it?
  • Could become the woman or man you are destined to be?
  • Could express who you really are?
  • You earned the respect that you deserve?
  • You could blend in with your own unique style with elegance?
  • You could be classy and convincing?

Anna Mc Connell is a Wardrobe Stylist  and Image Consultant and helps men and women create and maintain an efficient and functional wardrobe to suit their lifestyle, personality, body proportions and budget.

Do you want to learn more about Fashion? Sign up for the Workshops

OCTOBER 11TH, 2015

We will discuss what you need to know to build a wardrobe.

We will talk about Image, Body Type, Body Shapes, Proportion, Style and accessories. There will also be a Q&A session so come with your questions.

Workshops will be $25.00 per person/per workshop, payable at the door.

Location : Transgender Institute of Kansas City

Makeup Workshop: September 20th and November 1st

2-5pm on Sunday, September 20th and Sunday, November 1st.

There will be “Focus Demos” and “Learning Summits”

Facilitated by Monique Brown, of MLB MAKE-UP ARTISTRY.

Appetizers, snacks, drinks & wine will be provided.

There will also be a raffle for a HUGE gift bag of Beauty Products!

It’s just $25 to reserve a spot in the workshop. Only cash or checks accepted. Please RSVP to Monique Brown, either via text or phone call. Please include in your message, your name, contact information, which date you will be attending (or both!) and what main focus feature you would like to learn or see during the workshop.

There will be different summits of contouring, natural to dramatic smoky eyes, different styles of eye makeup & complexion application, lash application, lips, brows & etc.!

Feel free to bring your own makeup and brushes/tools, so Monique can help you with the products & tools you already have at home! This will also help in knowing what you might need to complete certain looks, that you don’t have!

Monique will be using each of you as a model, for a certain look, of a focus feature. That way everyone will get to watch and learn, as well as have makeup applied to them!

It’s going to be a party and spots are filling fast! Please RSVP as soon as possible to Monique at 816-719-7667.

We are looking forward to seeing each and every one of you there!


LA Times – Bruce Jenner and the shifting dynamics of TV’s transgender moment

The stakes are high for Bruce Jenner, who in a highly anticipated interview airing Friday night is expected to reveal to Diane Sawyer what many have long speculated — that the 1976 Olympic champion is now identifying as a transgender woman.

But the ramifications go beyond Jenner, an American celebrity who’s spent decades in the public eye. For an estimated 700,000 transgender Americans, the interview is a milestone in how TV and the media continue to consider transgender people and issues.

Other breakthrough moments on television dramas and reality series have led to a perception in recent years that attitudes toward the transgendered may be shifting.

“We’re no longer just a punch line for comics, or just limited to that sphere,” says Dana Beyer, a transgender rights advocate and executive director of Gender Rights Maryland. “Stories about us are now of interest to the mainstream media, and not because we’re special but because we’re not just marginalized and ridiculed. We’re actually newsworthy.”

Read More on the LA Times