Transcript: First Person Plural: Sharing A Life Story | Aug 05, 2019

Nam sits in the studio. She's in her early forties, with shoulder length curly brown hair. She's wearing glasses and a black blazer over a gray blouse.

A caption on screen reads "First person plural: Sharing a life story. Nam Kiwanuka, @namshine, @theagenda."

Nam says FORMER WORLD-CLASS WATER
SKIER AND CYCLIST, KRISTEN
WORLEY
COLLABORATED WITH JOURNALIST
AND AUTHOR JOHANNA SCHNELLER
TO WRITE ABOUT HER
EXTRAORDINARY LIFE.
THE RESULT IS,
WOMAN ENOUGH:
HOW A BOY BECAME A
WOMAN AND CHANGED
THE WORLD OF SPORT.

A picture of the book appears briefly on screen. The cover is black, with a picture of a person curled up into a ball, with a bicycle helmet on, holding a bicycle wheel.

NAM continues AND WE'RE PLEASED TO
WELCOME KRISTEN AND JOHANNA
TO OUR STUDIO TONIGHT... HI.

Kirsten is in her late thirties, with long wavy brown hair in a ponytail. She's wearing glasses, a sleeveless pied-de-poule sweater and a yellow and red scarf.
Johanna is in her fifties, with shoulder-length straight brown hair and bangs. She's wearing glasses, a dark blue blazer and a black blouse.

Kirsten says HEY.

NAM SAYS IT'S NICE TO MEET YOU BOTH.

Kirsten says ABSOLUTELY, IT'S
WONDERFUL TO BE HERE.

Nam says SO KRISTEN, THIS BOOK IS VERY
PERSONAL... A LOT OF PAIN... WERE
YOU AT ALL NERVOUS WITH
HOW IT WOULD BE RECEIVED?

The caption changes to "Kirsten Worley. Co-Áuthor, 'Woman enough.'"
Then, it changes again to "A new chapter."

Kristen says ABSOLUTELY.
FOR ME IT WAS AN INTERESTING
TIMING AS WELL WHEN JOHANNA AND
I HAD CONNECTED.
IT'S BEEN ALMOST THREE YEARS BY
TIME WHEN WE FIRST MET AND WERE
CONSIDERING DOING THIS, AND
THAT WAS WITH THE SUPPORT OF
PENGUIN-RANDOM HOUSE.
AND FOR ME I WAS, KIND OF, IN
THAT KIND OF PAINFUL MOMENT WITH
SOME OF THE LEGAL PIECES I WAS
DOING WITH INTERNATIONAL SPORTS.
SO THERE WAS ALREADY A LOT OF
EMOTION AND A LOT OF TENSION FOR
ME IN HAVING TO DO... THAT WAS
KIND OF GOING ON IN MY LIFE AT
THAT POINT IN TIME.
SO DURING THAT DEVELOPMENT OF
THE BOOK I WAS REALLY CONCERNED,
BUT IT'S INTERESTING NOW,
WITH THE RELEASE OF THE BOOK,
I'M KIND OF AT A DIFFERENT
PLACE WITH IT, AND I...

Nam says IS THERE LIKE A SIGH OF RELIEF,
OR JUST LIKE A,
"OK, THAT WASN'T TOO BAD."

Kristen says IT WAS THE RIGHT THING TO DO.

NAM SAYS RIGHT.

Kristen says AND I WASN'T SURE WHEN WE WHEN
WE DECIDED TO DO THIS, 'CAUSE
THERE WAS A LOT OF EMOTION, A
LOT OF PERSONAL THINGS, KIND OF,
GOING ON IN MY LIFE,
AND CHALLENGES GOING ON.
BUT NOW, AGAIN, LOOKING AT THE
OTHER SIDE OF THE FENCE AND THE
RESPONSE THAT WE'VE BEEN
GETTING WITH THE RELEASE
OF THE BOOK... IT'S BEEN
WELL RECEIVED.

Nam says JOHANNA, I WANT TO GET YOU IN
IN A SECOND,
BUT I JUST WANT TO READ
SOMETHING FROM
THE BOOK QUICKLY.
SO I WANT TO READ A PASSAGE FROM
THE BOOK WHERE YOU EXPLAIN
THAT CHRIS JACKSON, THE
PERSON WHO YOU ONCE WERE,
IS DESCRIBED AS A SHY TEENAGER,
BUT THAT DISCOVERING HIS TALENT
AS A WATER SKIER ALLOWED HIM
TO OVERCOME SOME OF THAT.
YOU WRITE...

A quote appears on screen, under the title "Protective camouflage." The quote reads "Chris had discovered that he could wear this New Chris Waterskier Chris, like a suit of armour. Real Chris had real problems. But this shaggy-haired, super-skier party guy? People liked him. The persona offered him some protection."
Quoted from Kristen Worley and Johanna Schneller, "Woman enough." 2019.

Nam says LOOKING BACK ON THAT TEENAGER,
TO WHAT EXTENT DID HE
UNDERSTAND WHAT HE WAS
TRYING TO PROTECT HIMSELF FROM?

The caption changes to "Those difficult teenage years."

Kristen says AT THAT POINT IN TIME, DIDN'T
REALLY KNOW, 'CAUSE AT THAT
TIME... BACK IN THOSE DAYS... WE
DIDN'T TALK ABOUT THESE THINGS.
WE DIDN'T HAVE A LOT OF
KNOWLEDGE AND LANGUAGE AROUND
THIS AREA OF DIVERSITY.
AND GROWING UP IN THE
ENVIRONMENT THAT IT IS, AT THAT
PARTICULAR POINT IN TIME, FOR ME
IT WAS ALL ABOUT SELF-DISCOVERY
AND I KNEW THAT THESE THINGS
WERE KIND OF GOING ON KIND OF
SIDEWAYS IN MY LIFE AND HAVING
TO KIND OF DEAL WITH MY TWO
IDENTIFIED LIVES IN
TERMS OF MY GENDER.
BUT I WAS CONSTANTLY TRYING TO
FIGHT AND TRYING TO GET BACK
TO THAT BOX, TRYING TO GET BACK
TO WHAT WAS ASSUMED AS NORMAL.
AND SO BY LIVING MY LIFE IN MY
WATER SKIING YEARS,
I MEAN I WAS THAT BLONDE
HAIRED... CURLY HAIRED,
BLONDE-HAIRED KID WITH BLUE
EYES, SUN-TANNED BODY,
AND I'D HAPPENED TO DO WELL IN A
SPORTING ENVIRONMENT
AND WHERE I DID A LOT OF SHOW
SKIING AS WELL.
SO I WAS VERY MUCH IN THE
PUBLIC EYE IN CANADA,
AND INTERNATIONALLY IN MY WATER
SKIING, SO IT KIND OF
GAVE ME THAT SEPARATION FROM MY
PUBLIC PERSONA TO ACTUALLY
MY PERSONAL REALITY.

Nam says AND JOHANNA, HOW DID YOU BECOME
INVOLVED IN WRITING
WOMAN ENOUGH?

The caption changes to "Johanna Schneller. Co-Author, 'Woman enough.'"
Then, it changes again to "Coming together."

Johanna says AT THE TIME, KRISTEN'S AND MY
AGENT WERE THE SAME PERSON AND
SHE INTRODUCED US, AND I
KNEW ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.
KRISTEN WAS THE FIRST XY WOMAN
I EVER REALLY GOT TO SPEND TIME
WITH, AND I SAID TO HER RIGHT
FOR THE BEGINNING,
"YOU KNOW, I COULD BE AN IDEAL
PERSON... [CHUCKLING]... TO TELL
THIS STORY FOR YOU BECAUSE I AM
STARTING FROM SCRATCH.
"AND SO I WILL BE ABLE TO TAKE
THE READER ON THAT SAME JOURNEY
THAT I'M GOING ON OF LIKE
KNOWING NOTHING TO KNOWING
A LITTLE BIT MORE.
"AND ALL THE THINGS THAT I'M
GOING TO ASK YOU QUESTIONS ABOUT
ARE GOING TO BE THE SAME KINDS
OF THINGS THAT THE READERS
ARE GONNA WANT TO KNOW."
SO, AND I...

The caption changes to "Watch us anytime: tvo.org, Twitter: @theagenda, Facebook Live, YouTube."

Nam says SO YOU WERE VERY COGNITIVE ABOUT
WRITING FROM A, LIKE I GUESS,
WHAT IT WOULD BE LIKE TO WRITE
A BOOK ABOUT A XY WOMAN, RIGHT?

The caption changes to "Johanna Schneller, @JoSchneller."

Johanna says YEAH, I MEAN, RIGHT FROM THE
START IT WAS ALWAYS GOING TO BE
KRISTEN'S STORY, AND MY JOB WAS
GONNA BE JUST HOW BEST TO KIND
OF, YOU KNOW, TRY TO OPEN THAT
STORY UP AND TELL IT IN A WAY
THAT WOULD BE TRUE TO HERSELF
BUT ALSO UNDERSTANDABLE FOR
PEOPLE WHO AREN'T FAMILIAR WITH
THIS DIVERSITY AND WHO WANT TO
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE LAW PIECE
AND THE SPORT PIECE,
AND, YOU KNOW, IT HAD A
LOT OF MOVING PARTS THIS STORY.
MY BACKGROUND WAS MOSTLY
CELEBRITY PROFILES AND
ACTORS...

[KRISTEN CHUCKLES]

Johanna says AND SO I WAS FAMILIAR WITH TRYING
TO GET PEOPLE TO TRUST ME A
LITTLE BIT,
PEOPLE WHO'D BEEN ASKED
A LOT OF QUESTIONS,
PEOPLE WHO HAD PRIVACY TO
PROTECT,
AND SO I KNEW THAT WOULD
BE USEFUL IN THIS.
KRISTEN WAS SUPER GENEROUS RIGHT
FROM THE START WITH WHAT SHE WAS
WILLING TO SAY, BUT... YOU
KNOW... AS SHE MENTIONED,
THERE WAS STUFF THAT WAS NOT
HAPPY FOR HER TO RECALL,
SO THERE WAS PAINFUL STUFF WE
HAD TO GET THROUGH.

NAM SAYS WELL, WHAT WAS THAT PROCESS
LIKE FOR YOU, KRISTEN, TO GO
INTO THOSE SPACES IN YOUR
LIFE AND TO SHARE THOSE INTIMATE
DETAILS IN ORDER FOR YOU TO
FULLY COLLABORATE WITH JOHANNA?

The caption changes to "Kristen Worley, @kristenworley."

Kristen says IT WAS INTERESTING, BECAUSE TO
DO THAT IT TOOK US A PERIOD OF
TIME FOR US TO TRUST EACH OTHER,
BECAUSE WE DIDN'T KNOW EACH,
WE'D MET PURELY FOR
THE FIRST TIME.
AND IT TOOK... WE DEVELOPED
A FRIENDSHIP... A REALLY FUN
FRIENDSHIP OVER THE
YEARS... 'CAUSE WE HAD TO,
BECAUSE WE ALMOST SPENT THREE
YEARS TOGETHER DEVELOPING THIS
IN SIX- TO EIGHT-HOUR SESSIONS
THAT WE WOULD SPEND TOGETHER.
AND, YOU KNOW, AT TIMES I KNOW
IT BECAME VERY EMOTIONAL FOR ME
ON SOME THINGS THAT
WE KIND OF HIT ON.
SOME DAYS IT WOULD GO LIKE THIS,
KIND OF HIGHS AND LOWS
IN OUR CONVERSATIONS.
AND THEN ALL OF A SUDDEN WE'D
GET ON A STRING OF CONVERSATION
THAT ALL OF A SUDDEN JUST SEEMED
TO MAKE SENSE FOR THE STORY.

Johanna says YEAH, IT WAS LIKE THESE ELECTRIC
MOMENTS THAT WERE FANTASTIC.

Kristen says YEAH, AND ALL OF A SUDDEN IT WAS
JUST LIKE BLAH... YOU KNOW... AND IT
WAS JUST LIKE BOOM,
BOOM, BOOM, BOOM.
AND THE... BUT SOME PARTS WERE
VERY EMOTIONAL, I MEAN, AND
SOMETIMES IT'D BE VERY
TEARFUL, YOU KNOW, AND...

NAM SAYS DID YOU... SO I'M
GUESSING... WHEN THAT HAPPENED,
FOR YOU AS A WRITER... AS A
JOURNALIST... I'M GUESSING THAT
WHEN SOMETHING LIKE THAT HAPPENED,
DID YOU WRITE IT OR DID YOU WAIT
UNTIL EVERYTHING... LIKE
WHAT WAS THE PROCESS OF
WRITING THE BOOK LIKE?

Johanna says I THINK IT WOULD HAVE BEEN
DIFFERENT IF I'D BEEN WRITING
ABOUT KRISTEN, BUT KNOWING THAT
IT WAS GOING TO BE KRISTEN'S
VOICE, IT WAS ALWAYS VERY CLEAR
WHAT THE BEST THING
FOR THE BOOK WAS.
AND THE IMPORTANT THING, AS
KRISTEN SAID, WAS THE MUTUAL
TRUST AND THAT DOES TAKE A
WHILE FOR ANYBODY TO DEVELOP.
BUT I FEEL LIKE ONCE WE
DEVELOPED IT THEN WE COULD GO
INTO THOSE AREAS THAT WERE
DANGEROUS I THINK FOR KRISTEN
TO REMEMBER JUST BECAUSE WHILE
SHE WAS LIVING THEM
IT WAS VERY PAINFUL.
SHE HAD PUT THAT BEHIND HER,
SO THEN IT WAS PAINFUL
TO RECALL IT ALL.
AND REMEMBER AS A YOUNG PERSON
SHE SPENT A LOT OF HER TIME
NOT BEING WHO SHE TRULY WAS
IN PUBLIC, EVEN IN PRIVATE,
AND SO TO UNEARTH ALL OF THAT
FROM A PERSON WHO WAS USED
TO PROTECTING HERSELF WAS JUST A
PAINSTAKING, CAREFUL PROCESS.
BUT I THINK WE WERE ALWAYS SUPER
RESPECTFUL OF ONE ANOTHER...

KRISTEN SAYS ABSOLUTELY...

Johanna says AND VERY CAREFUL
WITH ONE ANOTHER.

KRISTEN SAYS YEAH.

Nam says BUT WERE THERE ANY POINTS
WHERE MAYBE YOU HAD... BECAUSE
YOU HAVE TO WRITE THIS
BOOK... MAYBE YOU HAD
TO PUSH KRISTEN A LITTLE BIT.

[JOHANNA LAUGHS]

NAM SAYS AND OTHER PARTS MAYBE WHERE
YOU HAD TO KIND OF PULL BACK
A LITTLE BIT.

JOHANNA SAYS I THINK I HAD
TO PUSH HER A LITTLE.
I MEAN, I THINK SHE WAS VERY
GOOD ABOUT LETTING ME PUSH HER,
BUT I THINK THERE WERE A LOT OF
TIMES WHERE I WAS LIKE,
"YOU KNOW, WE HAVE
TO... IT'S HORRIBLE,
BUT WE HAVE TO TALK
ABOUT THIS,
WE HAVE TO FIGURE OUT A
WAY TO TALK ABOUT THIS."

KRISTEN SAYS BECAUSE, YEAH... BECAUSE
WE'D ACTUALLY TAKE BREAKS,
LIKE, I MEAN, SOMETIMES
WE'D TAKE WEEK BREAKS.
BECAUSE WE'D GET INTO A
CONVERSATION AND IT WAS JUST TOO
MUCH, AND I'VE HAVE TO KIND OF
RECIRCULATE IT IN MY MIND HOW
TO... BECAUSE A LOT OF THAT STUFF
IS LOCKED AWAY, PSYCHOLOGICALLY,
FOR MYSELF.
AND THEN I NEEDED TO KIND OF
THINK... AS A DESIGNER, I'M A VERY
VISUAL PERSON AND SO WHEN
JOHANNA WOULD KIND OF GO DOWN
A SPECIFIC PATH IT WOULD TRIGGER
A LOT OF THINGS FOR ME.
THINGS MAYBE I DIDN'T
EVEN LIKE THINK ABOUT.
AND ALL OF A SUDDEN,
MULTIPLE THINGS GETS TRIGGERED
AND IT BECOMES VERY EMOTIONAL.
AND FOR ME ALL OF A SUDDEN I
HAVE TO KIND OF STOP TALKING
ABOUT IT.

NAM SAYS WAS IT HARD FOR... WHAT WAS
IT LIKE TALKING ABOUT THE FAMILY
THAT ADOPTED YOU... THE JACKSONS?
WAS IT CHALLENGING FOR YOU?

The caption changes to "Telling Chris's story."

Kristen says OH, ABSOLUTELY, 'CAUSE I
DIDN'T... FOR ME 'CAUSE I WAS
RELIVING, LIKE, FOR ME... AGAIN,
I'M A VERY VISUAL PERSON,
SO FOR ME I'M KIND OF
RELIVING THOSE MOMENTS.
AND SO I FEEL IT VERY PHYSICALLY
IN TERMS OF... IT'S VERY RAW
FOR ME THAT WAY.
I THINK ALSO IT'S ALMOST VERY
THERAPEUTIC FOR ME,
AND I THINK IT GAVE ME RELIEF.
BECAUSE FOR SO MUCH IT
WAS LOCKED UP FOR SO LONG.

NAM SAYS MM, SO THIS... WRITING
A BOOK... CATHARTIC MAYBE?

Johanna says YEAH.

Kristen says SOMEWHAT.

NAM SAYS LIKE IT'S...

Kristen says SOMEWHAT.
YEAH, YEAH.

Nam says I FOUND IT REALLY INTERESTING,
THE EARLIER PARTS OF YOUR LIFE,
THE WAY THAT YOU
WROTE IT IN THIRD PERSON.
WHY DID YOU APPROACH TELLING
THAT PART OF KRISTEN'S LIFE
IN THE THIRD PERSON?

Johanna says IT BECAME PRETTY CLEAR PRETTY
EARLY ON THAT I HAD THESE KIND
OF NOTIONS ABOUT WHAT IT MUST
BE LIKE TO BE BORN IN THE WRONG
BODY, YOU KNOW.
AND THAT WHEN FINALLY THE BODY
AND THE BRAIN ARE ALIGNED,
YOU KNOW, IT WOULD BE THIS WHOLE
LIKE CATERPILLAR-BUTTERFLY
METAPHOR, AND I HAD ALL
THESE HIGHFALUTIN NOTIONS.
AND EVERY ONE I HAD KRISTEN
WOULD BE VERY CALMLY LIKE,
"UH, NO... NO IT WASN'T
LIKE THAT, NO."
AND SO ANY TIME THAT I WOULD
SORT OF GO DOWN THIS KIND OF
GRANDIOSE ROAD SHE WOULD
ALWAYS SAY, LIKE, "UM, NO."
BUT IT BECAME PRETTY CLEAR THAT
IN THE WAY SHE HAD LIVED HER
LIFE, AND IN THE WAY A LOT OF
PEOPLE LIVE THEIR LIVES, THERE
WAS A THERE WAS A BEFORE AND AN
AFTER, AND SO IT MADE PERFECT
SENSE, BECAUSE THAT PERSON THAT
SHE WAS PRETENDING TO BE ALL OF
THOSE YEARS WASN'T EVER REALLY
THE REAL HER, IT MADE SENSE THAT
THAT WOULD BE THE THIRD PERSON,
AND THEN THE PERSON WHEN SHE
FINALLY BECOMES WHO SHE WAS
MEANT TO BE
BECOMES FIRST PERSON.

Nam says KRISTEN, HOW WAS TELLING CHRIS'S
STORY IN THE THIRD PERSON
HELPFUL FOR YOU?

Kristen says AT THE TIME I DIDN'T
THINK THAT WAY.
[LAUGHTER]
I DO NOW...
[CHUCKLES]
BECAUSE...

NAM SAYS WHAT DID YOU
THINK AT THE TIME?

The caption changes to "Connect with us: Twitter: @theagenda; Facebook, agendaconnect@tvo.org, Instagram."

Kristen says WELL, FOR ME... BECAUSE AT THE
TIME IT WAS... AT THE TIME WHEN WE
FIRST STARTED GOING DOWN THIS
JOURNEY, FOR 20 YEARS I'D KIND
OF LOCKED THAT ALL AWAY, THAT
WAS KIND OF... TO ME
CHRIS HAD DIED,
SO FOR ME TO BE ABLE TO MOVE
ON IN MY LIFE AND KIND OF LIVE
THAT NEW PERSONA.
AND PLUS, WHAT A LOT PEOPLE MAY
NOT UNDERSTAND EITHER, IS THAT
YOU HAVE TO RE-CREATE YOURSELF,
AND YOU HAVE TO RE-EDUCATE
YOURSELF, AND KIND OF
RE-SOCIALIZE YOURSELF AS
KRISTEN, FROM WHERE I WAS AND
WHERE I WAS SOCIALIZED AS A
YOUNG CHILD.
BECAUSE WHAT A LOT OF PEOPLE MAY
NOT UNDERSTAND IS THAT THIS IS
HAPPENING FOR THE VERY MOMENT
YOU'RE BORN, AND THROUGHOUT YOUR
CHILDHOOD, THROUGH YOUR
ADOLESCENCE, AND THROUGH YOUR
TEENAGE YEARS, YOU'RE SOCIALLY
GETTING SOCIALLY DEVELOPED DOWN
THAT PARTICULAR AVENUE AS
BEING EITHER MALE OR FEMALE.
SO FOR ME IT WAS IMPORTANT FOR
ME AT THAT TIME TO KIND OF CUT
THAT OFF SO I COULD RE-LEARN
AND KIND OF RE-EDUCATE MYSELF
AND KIND OF RE-SOCIALIZE MYSELF
TO BECOME MYSELF...
TO BECOME KRISTEN.
SO UNTIL THAT VERY POINT IN
TIME THAT HAD ALL BEEN CUT OFF.

Nam says KRISTEN, SO ONE DAY YOU'RE
WATCHING A JAMES BOND MOVIE:
FOR YOUR EYES ONLY,
HOW DID THAT MOVIE
CHANGE YOUR LIFE?

Kristen says IT WAS AN "AHA" MOMENT FOR ME.
AGAIN, I WAS A TEENAGER... IN MY
EARLY TEENS... AND IT WAS WHEN
THE MOVIE CAME OUT, AND THE LEAD
ACTRESS OF THE LEAD,
WHO PLAYED NEXT TO I THINK IT
WAS ROGER MOORE AT THE TIME,
WAS AN ACTRESS FROM THE UK
WHO HAD TRANSITIONED.
AND I KIND OF PUT TWO AND TWO
TOGETHER AND IT KIND OF SHOCKED
MYSELF, AND I SAID, "THAT CAN'T
BE IT," YOU KNOW, I FELT THAT IT
WAS TOO OUT THERE, AND NOT
BELIEVING WHAT I WAS SEEING ON
TELEVISION THAT THAT WAS MY
JOURNEY THAT I WOULD BE TAKING,
OR POTENTIALLY
TAKING AT THE TIME.

NAM SAYS AND WRITING THE BOOK,
JOHANNA,
I'M GUESSING YOU HAD TO DO A
LOT OF RESEARCH...

[JOHANNA LAUGHS]

Nam says INTO, I GUESS, WHAT
DEALT WITH GENDER DYSPHORIA.

The caption changes to "Diagnosis: Gender dysphoria."

Johanna says OH, I HAD TO DO RESEARCH ON
EVERY FACET OF THIS BOOK, IT WAS
HILARIOUS BECAUSE, YOU KNOW,
KRISTEN AND I WOULD SIT DOWN AND
DO OUR SESSIONS, AND YOU KNOW
KRISTEN KNOWS A TON AND SHE
INTRODUCED ME TO LOTS OF PEOPLE
FOR THE LAW ASPECT AND THE SPORT
ASPECT AND THE SCIENCE ASPECT,
BUT I WOULD COME TO THOSE PARTS
OF WRITING A BOOK
AND IT WOULD JUST BE LIKE,
"WELL, I DON'T KNOW
WHO'S GONNA WRITE
THIS PART BECAUSE,
I... UH..."

[LAUGHTER]

Johanna says AND THEN IT WOULD JUST BE ME
HAVING TO GO DOWN THAT...
YOU KNOW.

Nam says WELL, WHAT DID YOU FIND, BECAUSE
AT THE TIME THIS WAS... WHAT
20 YEARS AGO?... AND THIS WILL
BE AT A MOMENT WHEN YOU WERE
STILL CHRIS AND YOU WERE TRYING
TO FIGURE OUT WHO YOU WERE.

Kristen says RIGHT, IT WAS EARLY TRANSITION.
RIGHT, IT WAS THE
BEGINNING OF MY TRANSITION.

Nam says RIGHT, SO WHAT DID YOU FIND
ABOUT WHAT WAS AVAILABLE?

Johanna says YEAH, I MEAN THE REMARKABLE
THING ABOUT KRISTEN'S STORY IS
THAT SHE HAD TO DO SO
MUCH OF THIS FOR HERSELF.
THERE WERE NO MECHANISMS, THERE
WERE NO SOCIAL... YOU KNOW,
PLACES WHERE YOU COULD LEARN
INFORMATION ABOUT THIS STUFF.
IT WASN'T TALKED ABOUT, IT
CERTAINLY WASN'T TALKED ABOUT IN
HER FAMILY, THE... YOU KNOW... THE
PREMIER MENTAL HEALTH FACILITY
IN TORONTO AT THE TIME WAS THE
CLARK, WHICH THEY NOW REFER TO
AS JURASSIC CLARK BECAUSE THEIR
POLICIES THAT WERE, YOU KNOW,
SETTING THE POLICY FOR THE WORLD
AT THE TIME, WE NOW WOULD THINK
OF AS TERRIBLY, TERRIBLY
ARCHAIC AND INCORRECT.
AND SO THAT, YOU KNOW, PART OF
WHAT MAKES KRISTEN'S STORY SO
REMARKABLE IS HOW SELF-MADE SHE
IS IN TERMS OF WHAT SHE LEARNED
ABOUT LAW AND SPORT AND SCIENCE,
AND ENDOCRINOLOGY AND
BRAIN HEALTH AND ALL THE STUFF
THAT HAPPENS IN THE WOMB,
AND YOU KNOW THESE ARE ALL
PIECES THAT SHE HAD TO PUT
TOGETHER FOR HERSELF BECAUSE
NO ONE ELSE OUT THERE
WAS GOING TO BE ABLE
TO DO THAT FOR HER.
SO, YOU KNOW, SHE'S A
TRAILBLAZER IN SO MANY WAYS,
AND THAT WAS ONE OF THE
THINGS THAT MADE IT
SO FRUSTRATING FOR HER IN
DEALING WITH ALL THESE PEOPLE
WHO WERE STANDING IN HER WAY.
IT'S JUST LIKE, "I HAVE FOUND
ALL THIS STUFF OUT BECAUSE
I HAD TO TO SURVIVE."
"WHY DON'T YOU LET ME SHARE THIS
INFORMATION WITH YOU, LIKE,
WHY DON'T YOU LET ME HELP
EDUCATE YOU OR AT LEAST
INTRODUCE YOU TO THE PEOPLE
WHO CAN HELP EDUCATE YOU?"
LIKE ALL KRISTEN'S ENERGY
WAS DIRECTED TOWARD, YOU KNOW,
OPENING PEOPLE UP,
AND THESE WERE THE SAME PEOPLE
WHO WERE INTERESTED IN
SORT OF SHUTTING OR
SHUTTING OR SHUTTING HER DOWN.
SO MY RESEARCH WAS JUST ONE
SHOCK AFTER ANOTHER, OF LIKE,
"THEY SAID
WHAT... THEY DID WHAT?"

[KRISTEN CHUCKLES]

Johanna says SO, YOU KNOW,
IT WAS HEARTBREAKING AND
ALSO INCREDIBLY HEARTENING
WHEN I THINK ABOUT
WHAT SHE WAS ABLE TO DO.

Nam says AND IN THE BOOK, WHEN YOU'RE
WRITING ABOUT CHRIS,
KRISTEN YOU USED TO DO THIS
THING CALLED "THE SWITCH."

Kristen says RIGHT.

Nam says AND WHEN YOU FOUND THAT THERE
WAS ACTUALLY A NAME:
GENDER DYSPHORIA... WHAT DID THAT
FEEL LIKE THAT YOU ACTUALLY
HAD A TERM FOR WHAT IT IS THAT
YOU HAD BEEN EXPERIENCING?

Kristen says IT WAS SOME RELIEF, BECAUSE FOR
ME... BECAUSE I'D EXPERIENCED IT
ALL MY... YOU KNOW, IT WASN'T
UNTIL I WAS IN MY LATE TEENAGE
AND EARLY 20S THAT I ACTUALLY
GOT TO KNOWLEDGE THAT... THAT TYPE
OF ACKNOWLEDGEMENT... SO I'VE BEEN
KIND OF LIVING BETWEEN
THE TWO GENDERS SINCE I WAS
THREE AND FOUR YEARS OLD
AND KIND OF LIVING TWO LIVES.
AND AT THAT TIME, AS YOU GO
THROUGH THOSE... AS YOU DEVELOP
AS A YOUNG PERSON... AS YOU GET
OLDER IT BECOMES MORE AND MORE
INTENSE, BECAUSE... AS I LEARNED
THROUGH THAT PROCESS... THE IDEALS
OF GENDER DYSPHORIA,
WHICH IS THEY CLASSIFIED IT,
THE INDIFFERENCE IN TERMS OF OUR
BRAIN MAKEUP IN TERMS
OF OUR GENDER.
THAT IT GAVE ME SOME KIND OF
QUALIFICATION OF WHAT MY
SITUATION WAS AND WHAT
I'D BEEN EXPERIENCING.
BUT THERE'S A POINT OF REFERENCE
TOO, THERE'S A BIT OF SADNESS
THAT WENT WITH IT AS WELL,
BECAUSE NOW I'M HALFWAY THROUGH
MY LIFE AND I WISH I COULD HAVE
DEALT WITH IT AT A MUCH YOUNGER
AGE, 'CAUSE I REALIZED TOO
THROUGH THAT JOURNEY, AND THE
CONFUSION AND THE INTENSITY... AND
ALSO WITHIN MY OWN FAMILY... NOT
HAVING THAT EDUCATION OR SUPPORT
SOCIALLY, LET ALONE MEDICALLY,
IMPACTED MY MY EDUCATION,
MY OWN PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT,
MY OWN SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT,
AND SO ON... IT DELAYED THINGS.
AND IT WAS A POINT IN TIME TOO,
AS WE TALK ABOUT IN THE BOOK,
IS THAT MY PARENTS ACTUALLY
THOUGHT I HAD
A LEARNING PROBLEM.
SO FROM AGES... LIKE FROM GRADE
6 THROUGH TO LIKE MIDDLE-HIGH
SCHOOL, I WAS TAKING LIKE
SPECIAL ED COURSES WERE AT THAT
TIME THEY'D PULL YOU OUT OF THE
CLASSROOM IN FRONT OF ALL YOUR
OTHER STUDENTS IN YOUR CLASS TO
PUT ME TO ANOTHER EITHER A MATH
OR ENGLISH COURSE.
SO IT WASN'T THAT I WAS HAVING
EDUCATIONAL... I WASN'T HAVING
INTELLECTUAL ISSUES IN TERMS OF
MY CAPACITY TO BE EDUCATED,
THE ISSUE WAS I WAS HAVING
GETTING THESE CROSS-GENDER
ISSUES WERE IMPLICATING IN MY
ABILITY TO SOCIALLY ENGAGE
AT SCHOOL.
AND SO...

JOHANNA SAYS YOUR BRAIN
WAS JUST BUSY COPING.

Kristen says MY BRAIN WAS MORE BUSY COPING,
AND THAT'S WHERE SPORT CAME
INTO IT.
BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY IS THAT WAS
MORE OF SURVIVAL MECHANISM,
SO IT'S INTERESTING HEARING
JOHANNA'S PERSPECTIVE
AS WE'RE JUST TALKING ABOUT THE
COMPLEXITY OF WHICH
I HAD TO KIND OF DELVE IN TO GET
EDUCATION IN THIS SPACE
IN DEALING WITH THE MEDICAL
SIDE, THE SPORTING SIDE,
THE LEGAL, AND ALSO NOW
WORKING AS A DESIGNER,
IS THAT IT WAS SUCH A MISSED
CONNECTION TO WHAT ACTUALLY
WHO I WAS A PERSON AS A
YOUNG... THEORETICALLY AT
THAT TIME AS A YOUNG BOY,
AND HOW IT WAS ASSUMED THAT
I WAS HAVING EDUCATIONAL
ISSUES IN MY ABILITY
TO ABSORB INFORMATION,
WHERE, IN FACT,
IT WAS JUST THE CONFUSION I
WAS HAVING WITH MY GENDER.

Nam says I WANT TO READ
SOMETHING ELSE FROM THE BOOK.
IN THE BOOK,
WOMAN ENOUGH,
YOU TELL US THAT...

Another quote from the book appears on screen, under the title "A slow process." The quote reads "Some people think transitioning is easy: you take some hormones, change your wardrobe, restyle your hair. Maybe you have surgery, maybe not. But instantly you're comfortable with your new life. That's the way it looks on TV, right?
Those people are mistaken. Transitioning is a slow process, not just physiologically, but mentally and psychologically. Chris's -mine- took five years."

Nam says THOSE FIVE YEARS TOOK PLACE
WHILE YOU WERE MARRIED TO ALI,
WHO YOU QUOTE AS SAYING THAT SHE
MARRIED A MAN,
RAISED A TEENAGER,
AND ENDED UP WITH A WIFE.

[KRISTEN CHUCKLES]

Nam says WHAT IMPACT DID THAT
RELATIONSHIP HAVE ON
WHO YOU ARE TODAY?

The caption changes to "A very different marriage."

Kristen says WOW... DO YOU WANT TO...
[LAUGHTER].
I KIND OF WANT TO HEAR JOHANNA'S
PERSPECTIVE ON IT FIRST.

Johanna says IT'S A BIG RELATIONSHIP.
AND, YOU KNOW, ALI HAS ALWAYS
BEEN IN KRISTEN'S LIFE SINCE
I'VE KNOWN KRISTEN.
AND I ALWAYS HEARD ABOUT ALI,
ALI, ALI, ALI, BUT IT WAS A FULL
YEAR BEFORE KRISTEN WAS ABLE TO
SAY TO ME,
"WELL, ALI AND I WERE
MARRIED," RIGHT.
SO I KNEW THEY WERE FRIENDS...

NAM SAYS A YEAR?

Johanna says AND I HAD SUSPECTED THEY HAD
DATED AND EVERYTHING,
AND I KEPT SORT OF SAYING, LIKE,
"YOU CAN TELL ME ABOUT
ALI WHENEVER YOU'RE READY,"
BECAUSE I KNEW THERE
WAS SOMETHING...

NAM SAYS THAT'S REALLY
INTERESTING...

Johanna says YEAH...

Nam says WHY DID YOU
KEEP THAT A SECRET?

The caption changes to "Watch us anytime: tvo.org, Twitter: @theagenda, Facebook Live, YouTube."

Kristen says WELL, IT'S PART OF ALL THAT
UNPACKING, AND THAT WHOLE IMAGERY.
PART OF IT WAS BECAUSE OF MY
SPORTING WORLD, YOU KNOW WITHIN
THE JOURNALISTIC WORLD.
AND HERE WE ARE TALKING
ABOUT THE SIMPLICITY OF HOW THIS
PERSPECTIVE OF TRANSITION,
HOW INCORRECT THAT IS.
IN THE IDEALS OF SPORT IT'S
VERY SIMILAR TO THAT,
HOW IT'S PROTECTED BY
JOURNALISTS AROUND THE WORLD.
SO FOR A PERIOD OF TIME, I
WAS VERY NEGATIVELY IMPACTED BY
JOURNALISM, LIKE AT ONE POINT I
FELT LIKE A CHAMELEON, BECAUSE A
LOT OF JOURNALISTIC VIEWS ARE
VERY MUCH IN THE SIMPLICITY
OF TRANSITION IN THINKING THAT
THERE WAS SOME TYPE... IDEALS OF
ADVANTAGES IN
SPORT... WHICH IS NOT THE TRUTH... BUT INSTEAD OF
GOING DOWN THAT PATH.
SO FOR ME IT WAS MORE OF A
PROTECTION MECHANISM, ONE OF
ALI... THE WORLEY FAMILY... AND OF
MY PAST HISTORY, BECAUSE OF THE
FEARS OF PEOPLE DELVING INTO MY
PRIVATE LIFE AND MY PAST LIFE,
AND THEN THE COMPLEXITY OF
SOMEBODY WHO DIED... WE'RE TALKING
ABOUT CHRIS... COMING
INTO THAT CIRCLE.
AND A LOT OF PEOPLE DON'T
UNDERSTAND THE IMPACTFULNESS
OF THAT HISTORY COMING INTO
MY LIFE AND WHAT IT
WOULD HAVE DONE TO ME.
IT WOULD HAVE DEVASTATED
ME AS A PERSON.
AND ALSO, IT WOULDN'T HAVE
ALLOWED ME TO MOVE ON AS KRISTEN
AND SO THERE'S CERTAIN
THINGS THAT I HAD TO DO, CERTAIN
MECHANISMS THAT I HAD TO DO,
AND ALSO TO PROTECT MY FAMILY
IN NEW ZEALAND, AND THE
SIMPLICITY OF MY KIWI FAMILY,
YOU KNOW, WHO ARE ON THE OTHER
SIDE OF THE WORLD.

Nam says THAT'S YOUR BIRTH FAMILY?

Kristen says THAT'S MY BIRTH FAMILY, RIGHT.
SO THE COMPLEXITY OF THAT AND
THE SIMPLICITY OF THEIR LIVES,
I HAD TO SERIOUSLY DO SPECIFIC
THINGS THAT DISALLOWED PEOPLE
PRYING INTO MY PRIVATE LIFE,
ESPECIALLY WITH SOCIAL MEDIA AND
THE COMPLEXITY OF THE INTERNET
NOW... HOW EASY IT IS TO GET
INFORMATION ON PEOPLE.

JOHANNA SAYS AND IT'S ALSO THIS
NOTION THAT, YOU KNOW, KRISTEN
WAS VERY CLEAR THAT ONE THING
THAT A LOT OF PEOPLE DON'T THINK
ABOUT WHEN SOMEONE TRANSITIONS
IS THAT, YOU KNOW,
YOU'RE BRINGING THE
PEOPLE FROM YOUR OLD LIFE
INTO YOUR NEW LIFE.
AND THAT, YOU KNOW, AS LOVING
AS PEOPLE WANT TO BE, SOMETIMES
OTHER PEOPLE ARE STRUGGLING WITH
THAT TOO, AND THE IDEA OF MAKING
IT AS EASY AS POSSIBLE... ONE OF
THE THINGS KRISTEN SAID,
YOU KNOW, EVEN AS SIMPLE AS YOUR
NAME FROM CHRIS TO KRISTEN,
PEOPLE COULD STILL CALL HER
CHRIS AND IT WOULD BE OK... LIKE
JUST THAT NOTION OF TRYING TO
BRING PEOPLE ALONG AND
PROTECT PEOPLE, THINK ABOUT
OTHER PEOPLE, PROTECT YOURSELF,
THINK ABOUT YOURSELF... I THINK
ALL OF THAT WAS TIED UP
WITH YOU AND ALI, AND...

KRISTEN SAYS YEAH...

Johanna says I THINK IT WAS JUST... IT'S A,
YOU KNOW, IT'S A LOVE STORY
BUT IT'S NOT A LOVE STORY
THAT WE TRADITIONALLY HEAR.
AND SO I THINK JUST, YOU KNOW,
AGAIN GETTING TO THAT POINT OF
TRUST WHERE YOU COULD ACTUALLY
UNDERSTAND THESE WERE TWO PEOPLE
WHO FELL IN LOVE, THEY WENT
THROUGH THIS ENORMOUS THING
TOGETHER, AND THEY STILL LOVE
EACH OTHER VERY MUCH JUST IN A
DIFFERENT WAY NOW.
YOU KNOW, NOT EVERYBODY WILL GET
IMMEDIATELY,
AND I THINK KRISTEN HAD TO LIKE
COME TO THE POINT
WHERE SHE COULD TRUST ME
WITH THAT STORY.

Nam says WHAT MOST SURPRISED YOU
ABOUT HOW ALI RESPONDED
TO KRISTEN'S
TRANSITION TO AN XY WOMAN?

Johanna says ALI IS... I CAN'T IMAGINE A BETTER
PARTNER, LIKE I CAN'T IMAGINE
YOUR LIFE WITHOUT HER OR, YOU
KNOW, I REALLY DO THINK THAT
THERE ARE A COUPLE HEROES IN
THIS STORY, AND KRISTEN'S ONE
AND ALI'S DEFINITELY ANOTHER.

KRISTEN SAYS YEAH.

Johanna says AND JUST THE IDEA THAT SHE SAW
KIND OF WHAT NEEDED TO BE DONE,
AND THEN WHEN YOU LOVE SOMEONE
YOU LOVE THEM AND YOU LOVE
WHATEVER THEY'RE GOING THROUGH.
AND IT'S THE KIND OF LOVE THAT
WE WISH WE COULD ALL HAVE
IN OUR LIFE, BUT NOT EVERYBODY'S
CAPABLE OF IT...
SHE'S AN AMAZING WOMAN.

Nam says WE ONLY HAVE A FEW MINUTES LEFT,
BUT IN THE BOOK WE HEAR THAT
GENDER IS COMPLICATED.
WHAT GREATER UNDERSTANDING OF
IT DO YOU THINK YOU HAVE
AS A RESULT OF HAVING BEEN
A PART OF THIS BOOK?

The caption changes to "Gender is complicated."

Johanna says ONE OF THE THINGS THAT WAS VERY
CLEAR TO ME WAS TALKING TO
DR. DICK SCHWAB, WHO'S A REALLY
PREEMINENT BRAIN SCIENTIST
OUT OF AMSTERDAM, HE IS VERY
CLEAR THAT THIS... THERE'S A LOT
OF THINGS THAT HAPPEN BETWEEN
THE BRAIN AND THE SEX ORGANS
IN THE WOMB.
AND THAT THERE'S A CIRCULAR KIND
OF COMMUNICATION BETWEEN
YOUR OVARIES, OR YOUR TESTICLES,
AND YOUR BRAIN,
AND THAT COMMUNICATION IS
COMPLICATED AND MANY THINGS
CAN GO IN MANY DIFFERENT
DIRECTIONS ALONG THE WAY.
AND THAT THESE ARE THINGS THAT
ARE EMBEDDED IN SORT OF EVERY
CELL OF YOUR BODY AND YOUR
BRAIN, AND FOR PEOPLE WHO STILL
PERSIST IN BELIEVING THAT IT'S
A CHOICE, YOU KNOW, SCIENCE IS
TELLING US THAT THAT IS VERY OLD
THINKING AND THAT WE REALLY HAVE
TO MOVE ON FROM THAT.
BUT WE ACCEPT INFINITE VARIATION
IN EVERY OTHER ASPECT OF
OUR LIVES... THE WAY PEOPLE LOOK,
THE WAY PEOPLE BEHAVE,
THE SOUND OF OUR VOICE,
THE COLOUR OF OUR HAIR,
YOU KNOW, AND IT
ONLY MAKES SENSE.
SO MANY THINGS ARE HAPPENING
INSIDE OF US DURING THAT,
YOU KNOW, GESTATION.
OF COURSE THERE'S GOING TO BE
VARIATIONS ON EVERY LEVEL
OF THE HUMAN EXPERIENCE AND
THIS IS JUST ONE OF THEM.
AND, YOU KNOW, THE OTHER THING I
THINK THAT KRISTEN SHOWED ME IS
OBVIOUSLY THE OPPOSITE OF
LOVE IS NOT HATE, YOU KNOW,
THE OPPOSITE OF LOVE IS FEAR.
AND THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO STILL
APPROACH A LOT OF THESE ISSUES
WITH A LOT OF FEAR, AND IT WOULD
BE SO MUCH SIMPLER FOR EVERYBODY
IF WE COULD APPROACH THEM
WITH EMPATHY INSTEAD I THINK.

Nam says ND THIS IS SOMETHING THAT IS IN
THE BOOK, AND YOU HAD A REALLY
DIFFICULT TIME APPROACHING YOUR
ADOPTIVE PARENTS TO SPEAK
ABOUT THIS.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU OFFER TO
PARENTS WHO MIGHT HAVE TO HAVE
THIS CONVERSATION BUT THEY
DON'T KNOW HOW TO HAVE IT?

Kristen says I THINK FIRST OF ALL TO
LISTEN TO THEIR CHILDREN.
I THINK THE FIRST OF ALL... AND I
THINK, YOU KNOW, BE THERE FOR
YOUR CHILDREN AND LOVE YOUR
CHILDREN AND LISTEN TO WHAT
THEY'RE TELLING YOU.
EVEN IF SOME OF IT IS THE
MOST DIFFICULT CONVERSATION,
YOU KNOW, AND SPEND THAT TIME.
IT'S WHEN THE TAPS TURN OFF WAS
WHEN IT COMES A PROBLEM
AND THE CHILD ISN'T BEING HEARD,
AND THAT WAS MY EXPERIENCE.
AND YOU SEE... THE ISSUE IS... MINE
WAS ALSO GENERATIONAL, AS WELL,
A LITTLE BIT... AND SUPPORT
OF THE JACKSON... MY ADOPTIVE
FAMILY... SOMEWHAT, LET ALONE OUR
FAMILY STRUCTURE, BUT THE ISSUE
IS SOCIETY'S MOVED ON, AND
BECAUSE OF THE PEOPLE LIKE
DICK SCHWAB AND OTHERS
IN THE WORLD THAT ARE
SORT OF LEADING THIS
CONVERSATION,
THAT THERE IS A
LOT MORE RESOURCES OUT THERE.
AND I THINK FOR PARENTS, EVEN IF
IT'S THIS ISSUE OR OTHER ISSUES,
I THINK IT'S BEING CONNECTED TO
YOUR YOUR CHILD, LISTENING TO
YOUR CHILD, LISTENING TO
WHAT THEY'RE TELLING YOU,
AND ALLOWING THEM TO BE,
AND THERE'S NO RIGHT OR WRONG.
AND I THINK ALSO... I THINK
THERE'S ALSO A SOCIAL CONSTRUCT
FOR A LOT OF PARENTS TO KIND
OF FIT IN TO WHAT EITHER THEIR
FRIENDS OR THEIR COLLEAGUES OR
THEIR NEIGHBOURS ARE ABOUT,
TO KIND OF FIT INTO THAT
GROUPING.
AND I THINK SOMETIMES A LOT
OF PARENTS GET CAUGHT UP
IN THAT, UNFORTUNATELY,
AND NOT RECOGNIZING
TO BE DIFFERENT IS A GOOD THING.
AS I AS I SAY OFTEN, WHAT I
THOUGHT WAS KIND OF MY WORST
NIGHTMARE, THIS DIVERSITY THAT
I WAS GIVEN, I NOW LOOK AT AS
PROBABLY MY GREATEST GIFT.

The caption changes to "Producer: Gregg Thurlbeck, @GreggThurlbeck."

Nam says AND I THINK THAT'S
THE BEST WAY TO END IT.
JOHANNA, THANK YOU SO MUCH
FOR BEING HERE WITH KRISTEN.
THIS IS SUCH AN IMPORTANT BOOK
AND I KNOW THAT IT'S GOING
TO HELP A LOT OF
PEOPLE UNDERSTAND.
I KNOW IT'S A LOT OF PAIN,
BUT YOUR PAIN IS A GIFT
TO THE WORLD IN A WAY.
THANK YOU SO
MUCH FOR BEING HERE.
AND WE HAVEN'T EVEN SPOKEN
ABOUT HALF THE THINGS IN THE
BOOK, SO YOU ARE GOING TO BE
COMING BACK ONTO THE SHOW,
WE'LL TALK ABOUT THE COURT
CASE, YOUR ATHLETIC LIFE...

Kristen says ABSOLUTELY.

The caption changes to "Subscribe to The Agenda Podcast: tvo.org/theagenda."

NAM SAYS AND MUCH MORE.

Kristen says MORE ABOUT THE SPORTS STUFF.

NAM SAYS YEAH, THANK
YOU SO MUCH KRISTEN.

Kristen says THANK YOU SO MUCH, IT'S
A PLEASURE TO BE HERE.

Johanna says THANK YOU.

NAM SAYS THANK YOU.

Watch: First Person Plural: Sharing A Life Story