How To Be Yourself: The 3 Key Needs for Authenticity

  Last month, I was invited to share my story as part of a larger presentation about courage and authenticity.

The presentation was for first-year students at Lesley University and I shared the stage with two incredible professors, Matt Nash and Rachel Carbonara.

We put together a talk that inspired many people that day (my facebook page and inbox were flooded with messages), and I hope you find meaning and inspiration from it, as well.

It's long, over an hour. I suggest you watch the whole thing, but if you want to skip to my part, I get on stage around the 18:00 mark.


LUCID Identity & Authenticity Lecture from matthewnash on Vimeo.

Just Add Hormones: Guest Interview with Author, Matt Kailey

Happy Summer, folks!

And welcome back to my Super Summer Reading Series.

Last week, I featured Amy Wright Glenn, author of Birth, Breath & Death. You can read that post here.


This week, I am thrilled to share some Q& A I shared with author, Matt Kailey. This guy is a huge inspiration to me, his book: Just Add Hormones was one of a few I read several years ago that definitely influenced my own transition process. Back when I read his book, I was eager to learn more to support trans* people. Little did I know, I was reading to learn more to support myself.


Meet Matt.



Matt Kailey is a transsexual man and an award-winning author, blogger, teacher, and community leader, as well as a nationally recognized speaker and trainer on transgender issues.

He is the author of Just Add Hormones: An Insider’s Guide to the Transsexual Experience (Beacon Press), a Lambda Literary Award finalist andRocky Mountain News local bestseller, and Teeny Weenies and Other Short Subjects, a collection of humorous and heartfelt essays about his life before and after transition. In addition, his work has appeared in numerous publications, from anthologies to professional journals.


Matt, you know I think you're super rad. Thanks for taking time to share more about your great books.

DD) Why did you want to write your book(s)?

MK: I wanted to write Just Add Hormones to share my experiences with transition and being trans (as well as my opinions) with other trans people and non-trans people in the hope of better understanding. I wrote Teeny Weenies because people who read Just Add Hormones said they wanted to know more about my childhood and my personal life.

DD) How did you move from having an idea to actually writing your book(s)?

MK: With Just Add Hormones, I was writing a column for the Gender Identity Center of Colorado newsletter, and it became very popular, so I took those columns and rewrote them and added to them and added some additional stuff and it became a book. I am a writer by nature, so I have always written. I just have a lot to say.

DD) Share three obstacles you met and overcame while writing.

MK: Three obstacles: inertia (an object at rest tends to stay at rest); a tendency to rewrite and rewrite; and ongoing battles with "affect" versus "effect."

DD) Writing teaches us a lot. Tell me two new things you learned about yourself during the process.

MK: Two new things I learned about myself: One, while I was writing, I learned that I didn't have a writing voice when I was living as female, and that my writing voice appeared out of nowhere when I transitioned. And two, after I wrote, I learned that my feelings get hurt easily (because people always have complaints and criticisms, as they should).

DD) Why are your books good for folks to grab this summer?

MK: I think both my books are good summer reading – Just Add Hormones because it is actually quite light reading. It is non-clinical, and a lot of people still e-mail me to tell me that they had or are having a similar experience and thought they were alone until they read it. And Teeny Weenies because I think it's funny and entertaining.

DD) Here's the part where you get to share anything you want my readers to know. 

MK: I would like to say that both my books have been finalists for a Lambda Literary Award. Neither won, but I'm still honored and proud that they were chosen. Also, there are many good books out there, so read a variety, and learn from and get support from the ones that resonate with you.


When I was scared to take the leap to transition, Matt replied to my questions on facebook within mere minutes. This guy is the real deal. Friendly, smart, genuine and wicked funny.

To buy any of Matt's books (he actually has several, but JAH and TW are his main "trans" books), go to his amazon author page at


Birth, Breath and Death: an interview with author, Amy Wright Glenn


Welcome to my Super Summer Reading series.

It's summer! Whether you're making more time to relax in the evenings at home or headed away for vacation, I hope you're doing more reading. I'm doing more reading. Let's ALL do more reading! It's good for your health.

I've hand-picked three books you should grab for 3 reasons:

1) these are three fearless individuals who took the leap to share their life stories in print

2) their stories are rich, interesting and inspiring

3) they've skillfully put words to the parts of being human that unite us all

I invited all three authors to share more about the stories behind their books and why they wanted to become authors.

First up, Amy Wright Glenn. She's the author of Birth, Breath and Death.

Meet Amy.


At the age of fourteen, Amy Wright Glenn began to question the Mormon faith of her family. She embarked on a life long personal and scholarly quest for truth. While teaching comparative religion and philosophy, Amy was drawn to the work of supporting women through labor and holding compassionate space for the dying. Amy shares moving tales of birth and death while drawing on her work as a birth doula, hospital chaplain, and her own experience of motherhood. We are born, we die, and in between these irrevocable facts of human existence the breath weaves all moments together. "Birth, Breath, and Death" entwines story, philosophy, and poetic reflection into transforming narratives that are full of grace.

Birth Breath and Death Front Cover copy

Hi Amy. I know you're super busy promoting your book and loving life as a wife and mother. Thanks for taking the time for this interview--I am so grateful!

DD: Tell me, why did you want to write your book?

AG: My husband, Clark, came up with the title of this book when I started working at a hospital as a chaplain. However, I wasn’t ready to write this book at that point in my life. Rather, it was the birth of my son and the profound opening of my heart that compelled me to start.

DD: Writing a book is no easy task. What moved you from idea to action?

AG: I didn’t want to go back to full-time paid work after becoming a mother. I knew I could use my gift for writing as a way to contribute financially to the family and fulfill my heart’s longing (and the longing of my young son) to stay-at-home and nurture him with the best of my energy and talents.

DD: Pursuing your heart's desire--I LOVE THAT! Not an easy job, but totally worth it. What were 3 obstacles you met while writing?

AG: Working around the schedule of my son. I wrote the book when he slept. That was the main obstacle. I also had to master a great deal of information given that I chose to self-publish my book. With the support of a fantastic professional editor and graphic designer, I was able to make this dream a reality

DD: Share something new you learned about yourself while writing:

AG: I learned to trust the inner muse. Often I would wake up in the middle of the night with sentences running through my mind and heart. In this sense, I found writing my book a profoundly spiritual experience.

DD: In your own words, why is your book good summer reading for my readers--many of whom are interesting in transformation and loving their lives more.

AG: I write about authentically facing the powerful thresholds of birth and death. I welcome all who reflect upon life's meaning/wonder to dive into my stories and insights with an open heart.

DD: This has been so fun. Share a fun fact about your book as a closing thought.

AG: I love making links between the particular and the universal, between the day-to-day patterns of living and the deep reflections that thinkers across time and culture bring to human life. My book is academically rigorous in the sense that I draw freely from my training as a scholar in the telling of birth, breath, and death tales.

Folks, there you have it. A profound story covering some of the biggest questions and challenges we face in life--life, breath and death. When I read this book, I laughed and cried throughout! Amy's talent is off the charts--she is one wise woman and it comes through in her insight and writing.


Birth, Breath and Death is available in print and on Kindle via Amazon.


COMING UP NEXT WEDNESDAY: Matt Kailey, author of Just Add Hormones and Teeny Weeny, to name just a few!

Matt's first book, Just Add Hormones, was a huge inspiration to my own transition process and when I contacted him for support he was a huge mentor. Can't wait to share this stories and interview with you NEXT WEDNESDAY!