Tuesday, November 26, 2013

And So It Begins . . .

For those of you who know me and the contributions I've made to the movement for transgender equality - in particular with regard to workplace equality and inclusivity - I've always implored my audiences (especially when they were made up of primarily transgender or gender non-conforming individuals) to "follow your heart."  For in times of distress or indecision, it may be the only "real" voice to listen to.  When faced with confusion or conflicted feelings, centering yourself around your heart's compass - your emotional and spiritual "true north" -  may just be what is needed to get you past that perceived mountain that lies between you and the happiness and contentment that await on the other side.

There's only one problem:  I wasn't listening to my own words.  While I espoused this notion for so long, I never truly embraced it - but rather fell prey to old habits of living my life based on the expectations of others, rather than on my own.  

As I was out on my daily run on my birthday this past Friday I was thinking about what to start my blog with, and that's when it really hit me:  true liberation, true happiness can only be attained with a healthy and grounded sense of self - buttressed by the belief that what you do-whatever it is and on whatever level - makes a difference in the world around you.  You see, I got caught up in the notion that the only way I could be effective in the LGBT equality movement was to do EVERYTHING.  Wrong Answer!  

The ability to create the change you seek begins with first BECOMING that change from the inside out, letting your light shine forth so brightly that those around you cannot help but be touched by it.  From there, it's a matter of bringing your light to the world-your world, not in broad strokes, but rather in smaller circles where your sphere of influence is its greatest. Imagine if everyone did that.  Each in their own way, within their own circle.  If enough people do that the circles are bound to touch, to overlap, and before you know it the single light of change is like a second sun. 

Believe me, it's taken a while, but that's where I find myself today.  Finally comfortable, to a large degree, with what I have done and where I stand before you today.   

But I cannot get past the simple fact there is still so much work to be done.  To be sure, the needle is moving in a positive direction with respect to full equality and respect for the humanity of all transgender and gender non-conforming individuals. But is it moving fast enough?  Broadly enough?  Fairly enough?  Perhaps it is our Transgender Day of Remembrance services this month that so poignantly point to the answer.  There are still trans and gender non-conforming individuals being killed just for embracing who they are - and that is simply unacceptable.

That's why I've come to the realization that I must fully embrace the gifts that I believe God has given me to make a difference in this world, by speaking, training and facilitating about the importance of workplace equality and personal empowerment for all transgender and gender non-conforming people - and for the LGBT community at-large. Truth be told, I've been doing it for a while now, so it seems only right - in my heart - that I move forward in a more purposeful fashion. 

That's what Follow Your Heart, LLC (formerly Follow Your Heart Productions) is all about. It is the embodiment of my commitment to myself and to the community I am so proud to be a member of.  It's the only way I know how to bring my light to the world - inside and outside of the workplace - and witness to my life.  Perhaps it's really all about creating and connecting the circles. . . 


  1. Stephanie, I'm not sure what changes you intend, but you know I respect you and love Mari. You have my support and love!

    1. Thank you so much, Gini! Let's just say I'm laying the foundation for pursuing the next chapter of my life. It's all good!

  2. Stephanie, many accolades and congratulations are due you. First, the blog. I think your voice will add positively to the discourse about trans-inclusion in all aspects of the culture. Second, because you came to the realization that your contribution will be heightened by focusing your attention, talent and gifts and engaging with intention and passion. Finally, because you celebrated a birthday...and with another year comes more wisdom. Have a wonderful holiday season. I'm so glad you're in the world!

  3. Yay for you! Of course, you're fabulous. I miss you, my sister!