We caught up with Miss Gia Gunn to talk about her crowd-source campaign.
As one of the contestants on season six of RuPaul’s Drag Race, Gia Gunn impressed us with her “just landed like fresh Thilapia” charm, dazzling on-stage performances, and quote-worthy slam dunks (who doesn’t still “feel their oats” every now and again?!).
On Transgender Visibility Day in 2017, Gia shared a video on her Instagram page where she openly revealed to her fans that she had begun hormone replacement therapy treatment and that “I identify as female and I am indeed transgender.” Now, she is reaching out to her fans and the community to help her complete her transition by starting a GoFundMe crowd-sourcing campaign.
On her campaign page, Gunn explained that “this is not about getting prettier through cosmetic surgery. This gender-conforming surgery will allow me to live as the woman I was born to be. Each donation, regardless of amount, brings me one step closer to this life-altering goal.”
We caught up with Gia, during her busy schedule and after wowing guests at DragCon in LA, to find out just how the public response to her transition has been and what it means to her to live her life as the woman she was born to be.
What does the love and support you’ve received so far for the campaign mean to you?
The love and support that I’ve received so far since I started transitioning goes beyond words. After so many years of struggling with my identity and being scared of rejection as no longer fitting the traditional definition of being a “drag queen”, I would have never made it without my friends, family and the community’s continuous love and support. So thank you all from the bottom of my heart and know I will forever be grateful!
You’ve recently shared your transition story via the #30DaysInTransition videos and posts on social media. How important was it for your fans to hear this side of your story, something which is so personal?
After years of continuously being told how “beautiful” I am and always receiving comments about my outer appearance, which I always took with a grain of salt, I realised that I have more value than just being pretty. There are so many trans women out there who, by default, represent lust, sex and glamour and I realise how important it is that we share what’s going on in the inside as well.
I was inspired by a friend Cassandra James @cassandrajames_ who is also a trans activist and the very first to create the #30daysintransition project on Instagram. She inspired me to open up and share my journey to show my fans a more vulnerable side that I don’t think anyone really knew existed. As a trans person you go through many psychological changes and we aren’t always ready to share our stories. I think it was important for my followers to see that I don’t live the perfect life like some may think due to the lifestyle I paint on social media. I too struggle emotionally, physically and mentally but, due to my transition, I have learned a lot and wanted to show everyone that life is a transition, change is always near and we must be ready to embrace that change!
How have your fellow RuGirls reacted to the #30DaysInTransition and GoFundMe campaigns?
Honestly, I was expecting a little more from my fellow RuGirl “sisters” and I don’t mean by donations. but asking some of them to simply share the post and not even receiving a message back or a share on social media did make me feel unsupported a bit.
I think some of them think it’s funny or a joke but in reality, it’s not for me. So many queens have asked to be funded for pageants, music videos and help to start various projects but somehow I find my campaign to be quite different. My medical transition is not a want, it’s a personal need for me to gain complete happiness and feel aligned with my body.
Right now, I mentally feel like a woman but when I look at myself in the mirror I don’t see that same person therefore, I know that I am ready for this surgery! I realise asking for money can be a uncomfortable thing for some but I believe as humans we all have the right to ask for help when it’s needed and right now I am asking for that help.
What does transitioning and this journey of self-discovery mean to you?
My journey to self-discovery means so much more than just going from a “man” to a woman, which is what a lot of people define transitioning to be. Not only has this process allowed me to accept my true gender identity but it’s also taught me what it means to feel alive and live LIFE to the fullest with no regrets. It’s taught me to appreciate the good people around you and respect others with the same amount of respect that you wish to receive. It’s also taught me to be grateful for our higher powers and everything that they have put in my path in order to achieve this authentic lifestyle that I am now living.
For anyone else who is in a similar position to you, what piece of advice would you give to them and how can they get the support and guidance to help them?
My advice for anyone going through any type of change in life is to take one day at a time. There’s no need to figure everything out in 24 hours. The more we slow down and free our bodies from all toxins, the more clear-minded we can be and get in touch with our true selves.
Self-discovery requires hard work and self-discipline, which then translates to self love. However, in order to get to this point you must be ready to work and be open to all walks of life. Try new things and new things will come to you. If you are seeking help for transitioning, I recommend starting at your local LGBT centre and asking for guidance/resources that will then allow you to explore more options from there!
Good luck to you all and, of course, I’m always here to support my community!
Be sure to also follow her on YouTube where you will be able to keep up-to-date with Gia’s progress through her video channel.
For support and guidance on transitioning, or to simply just find someone to talk to, we recommend the following services: