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N.B. transgender woman reveals battles and triumphs of her journey

Above watch: Local women explain the difficultly of beginning a transition, and how they feel Bruce Jenner’s transition is helping. Shelley Steeves reports.

QUISPAMSIS, N.B. – Forty three-year-old Amber Hardy finally feels free to live the life she says she was always meant to live, as a woman.

“I feel on top of the world and overwhelmed with feelings. I don’t have to lie anymore.”

For years she says she couldn’t identify with her reflection in the mirror. She grew up as a little boy in Saint John and says she was born with gender identity disorder.

As a young child, Hardy says she was forced to live life as a boy even though inside, she identified as a girl. She says once, she tried to this share with her father.

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“I told him I am not a boy. I got the belt for that.”

So she grew up and had a son and married a woman she shared her life with for almost 20 years, until last year.

“I transitioned in 2014 along with hormone replacement therapy, that’s not an easy ride.”

A decision that she doesn’t regret, but it did come at a price. Hardy got divorced and lost a special connection with her son and the rest of the family.

“They basically walked away,” Hardy said. “My brother, I was close to my brother but he left. He doesn’t want anything to do with me.”

Hardy says she likely wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for her friend Gloria Halvorsen, who also started her transition last spring.

“Amber had some trouble at a church she was attending. They found out about her past and a priest singled her out and told her she was a sinner and didn’t belong there and it drove her to the point of suicide,” said Halvorsen.

Halvorsen stepped in and the two have been like sisters every since. They originally met at the pride parade in Saint John last summer on Halvorsen’s first appearance as a woman.

“We are both coming out of a place of deep anxieties and a deep dark place in our lives,” she said.

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Things have gotten much better since then. Halvorsen’s family and friends have been very supportive of her transition. The two women say they are finding happiness as their authentic selves.

They also found some light in former Olympian and reality star Bruce Jenner going public with his transition.

“It is a positive impact for the rest of the transgender society and the rest of the allies in the community to start supporting us,” Hardy said.

“Having the anxieties and worrying that you can’t come out and seeing someone do it successfully and it’s okay gives hope to those who are still in hiding,” Halvorsen said.

 

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