A television reporter in the US has come out as a transgender woman, revealing her authentic self on-air.
Nora J.S. Reichardt from Des Moines in Iowa started working at Local 5 News in July last year after graduating from university.
She started the medical transition process in September last year. However, she worried she would not be able to reveal her identity while working for the TV station.
“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.
On Tuesday, Reichardt reintroduced herself on the Des Moines channel, after she took a break from work.
Reporter comes out after 'breaking point'
In an interview with a friend who is a former reporter for the station, Reichardt said she had thoughts about being transgender in high school.
But she noted that her Minnesota hometown is rural and she "didn’t even have the language to describe what I was feeling".
She said growing up she felt as though she was wearing her body, not living in it.
My job actually helped me figure it out. Why was I so unhappy every time I saw myself on air? Why didn’t I like how that person looked? And the answer I finally figured out is actually pretty simple—that wasn’t really me. Now, I’m happier than I ever thought was possible!
— Nora J.S. Reichardt 🏳️⚧️ (@Nora_JSR) October 4, 2022
Working for the local news station helped her come to terms with how she was feeling about her body, and said starting her career was somewhat of a "personal breaking point".
Being on air, she started questioning why she wasn't content with the person who was gracing TV screens and being out in the field and why she was not connected with that person.
After medical intervention and therapy, Reichardt is now learning to love her body and the life she is living.
Parents love and support their daughter
For some LGBT+ people, coming out to family and friends is difficult, and in some circumstances, loved ones don't accept people for who they are.
Luckily, Reichardt's family is accepting and supportive of her.
"I have friends who don’t get to have relationships with her parents anymore because of [coming out] and not being accepted for being who they are...I was so scared of that pain," she told her former colleague, Eva Andersen.
"What really stuck with me is when my mum told me that she doesn’t think she’s ever seen me this happy, and I feel the same way.
"To know that other people are seeing that too — especially my mum and dad, who I love so much; I can do anything as long as I still have them."
She said there was a while there where people in her life knew her as Nora, but people watching her on TV did not.
She felt like she was "splitting" herself in two, but now, can be herself.
with Associated Press
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