Natsuya Uesugi is living proof that in spite of being bullied as a child for being intersex, you can rise above and emerge a superhero.
Natsuya was raised with no particular sense of gender. Natsuya was brought up with the notion that you could be anything you want with the right education. Natsuya excelled in academics, music, language and won multiple medals for running track all though high school. Like with any race there are hurdles and Natsuya did not have it easy “I was bullied in high school and had a hard time finding who I was.” Natsuya wants gay, trans, intersexed and questioning teens to know it is alright and no one should bully you for being who you are.
Like many gay, trans and intersexed youth, Natsuya struggled with a sense of self. In school, Natsuya continued to make achievements like earning a track scholarship to college to Georgetown University at age 16. Natsuya turned it down but still attended school there. While on the outside, it appeared as if everything was just fine that wasn’t the case. “In freshman year, I tried to commit suicide because my body did not align with my mind. Finding the way to your genuine self can be a long and difficult road. There is family to think about, society and friends. Finding my genuine self was a battle that I had to wage. I spent much of my teenage years trying to understand my feelings and get in touch with myself. The direction of society weighed on my mind and at that time psychiatrists were not familiar with transgender and questioning. Much of the pain I faced was because people were trying to tell me who I was.”
When Natsuya become involved in a relationship, things started to change for the better. “When I met my boyfriend who was gay in college I had a sense that I was a gay man, the thought of being straight never crossed my mind. My boyfriend was openly gay it was a badge of honor for him. I can even say he helped me embrace gay culture and understand my place in the LGBTQ spectrum. In a sense, it was liberating because for the first time I was expressing my genuine self and being who I was. I had always had to explain myself and where I was coming from. My boyfriend just got it and I didn’t have to explain everything to him.”
Natsuya graduated from Georgetown, took a huge leap of faith by moving to New York City. Natsuya didn’t have a job lined up and ended up sleeping on the streets. “When I first got to New York City straight out of college I left with $120 in my pocket, a bag of stuff and no place to live. I ran away to New York City. I thought that if I could make it there I could make it anywhere and that is why I went.” Natsuya’s unique look caught the eye of talent agent and while walking down the street was stopped and offered a modeling contract. Natsuya didn’t want to become a model, it just happened and provided much needed income. “I started modeling and was neither happy nor unhappy that I was doing it. It was a way to put food on the table. I tried to keep my gender identity out of it. When I was modeling I had to “be a woman.” It was difficult to reconcile these two worlds.” Natsuya eventually quit modeling to pursue a business career. “I quit modeling because it was superficial. Even though I had a modeling contract and made good money at it, I wanted more. I wanted to be known for my mind not my body.”
Once again, Natsuya was forced to assimilate. “When I first entered the business world, I soon learned that I was going to have to conform to a gender. I learned that woman and men are not equal. Later on, when I went to work for a large Fortune 500 technology company, I learned that transitioning can cause problems. My resume said one thing and I was accepted as that but when I went to change my exterior people around me had issue with it. It was very uncomfortable at my work many years later when I told them that I was transgender and would be taking hormones. When I did that, everything seemed to change. Before I declared that, my gender was not really an issue I was androgynous and presented like that. Actually, declaring I was transgender seemed to change the dynamic. Today I have changed my name at work and present in my target gender. My current job does not have an issue with it like my last job did. I think, I am excelling at my current job because I can be gender neutral, transition and be myself. Having the weight of gender over my head would be an extra worry. I am glad my workplace is LGBTQ friendly.”
As a creative outlet, Natsuya began to take acting classes and started to write which lead to The Grydscaen series. In addition to being a successful systems analyst, Natsuya is also a celebrated science fiction author! The Grydscaen series features an array of heroic characters representing the LGBTQ community. Writing has provided Natsuya with a platform to present LGBTQ characters in positions of power; depicting role models living as their genuine selves. “I want to relay that LGBTQ people deserve equal rights like non-discrimination, marriage equality and equal pay for equal work. Transgender rights play a big theme in my sci fi Grydscaen series. There are actually 1 MTF and 1 FTM character in Grydscaen, a bisexual character and an asexual character. The main character of the series Ameliano Dejarre is a gay male.”
Natsuya is currently recovering from gender assignment surgery and is fully male…“I now know who I am and I am whole. Some people chose not to transition for one reason or another. I have chosen to walk the transition path, this is who I am, I will not be defined by the gender box someone wants to put me in. Being intersexed the box might be a little different but in the end we are all people!”