“I’m just this crazy bitch who gets all wound up about shit.” -Daniela A. Wolfe
Every trans person has their own unique experience. I often try to capture those experiences as I interview various trans women through all walks of life. Back in August and September I conducted a string of interviews I am not getting around to publishing. This was a particular favorite of mine as I have a lot in common with this woman.
Below is a Q&A presentation of the entire interview. It is preserved in tact exactly as it took place. I chose to do this rarer form for this interview as the author is very eloquent in her writing I felt letting her words shine was the best choice for this. I do hope paints a picture of one of the fiercest transwomen I know.
Q. First can you spell your name for me how you wish to be identified. This is not a newspaper I will ID you however you prefer.
A. It’s Daniela A. Wolfe. You can call me Daniela or Dani whichever you prefer. My pronouns are she/her.
Q. I know we’ve talked about your writing before but can you share, in your own words, what got you into writing and how you developed your craft?
A. I always crafted stories and narratives in my head, even as a young child. I remember creating entire universes and magical kingdoms. I played out those fantasies on the playground. It seems only natural that as I got older that I should find another outlet.
So, I often cite Terry Brooks, the author best known for the Shannara novels, for my inspiration for becoming an author. In Junior High school, I saw a classmate reading one of his books and I went to the school library and while looking for the first book, Sword of Shannara, I discovered it was checked out, in retrospect it was probably from my classmate. So, I went to the next book Elfstones of Shannara, instead. From then on, I was hooked. Good thing the book was set several generations later or I’d have been lost!
By high school I’d developed enough interest that I took a creative writing class and the next year I was on the literary magazine. Practice has been really my number one way of building my craft. With any skill it’s all about putting the time in and learning from your mistakes. Having beta readers look over my work is beneficial too. You can be so dead set on a concept and become so enamored with it that you fail to poke holes in it. A good beta reader will help you find those holes.
“I didn’t decide I’m trans out of nowhere there were signs, hell there were times where I thought: “If only I could be a girl!” -Daniela A. Wolfe
Q. How has being transgender affected or informed your writing? Have you had any instances where you changed a story to insert more trans-ness or to make the story more accessible/relatable to transgender individuals?
A. I mean, I discovered I was trans partially through my writing (more about that below) um so I’d say most definitely. I do write transgender and queer narratives, but I’ve been doing it for years before my egg cracked. I can’t help but throw those themes in there. I do take a look at some of my earlier trans narratives and cringe, I definitely have come a long way and understand things a lot better.
Q. How long have you been transitioning? What was the tipping point for you?
A. I started my medical transition in October of last year. The tipping point was this realization that if I didn’t transition, I was going to be miserable for the rest of my life. It came after years of back and forth, am I trans or am I not? Mostly, I decided the answer was not, and I explored this through gender identity in my writing. I wrote Facades in 2012 and really in retrospect, while there are some fictionalized elements to the character’s backstory, she is basically me.
Link to Facades:
I didn’t decide I’m trans out of nowhere there were signs, hell there were times where I thought: “If only I could be a girl!” and these moments of intense jealousy of cis girls. In fifth or sixth grade there was some silly book about a boy swapping into his sister’s body and I checked it out from my school’s library and took it home. I never told my parents about it. I knew, even then, they wouldn’t understand.
My egg cracked after reading an article from a trans person who’s experiences were so close to my own that I realized that every excuse I was making was absolute bunk. That day, I shaved my beard and came out online. I would link to the article if I could, but I have not been able to find it.
Q. How have your friends, colleagues and extended family responded to your coming out?
A. My brother and sister-in-law have been supportive as have my friends. My mother’s side of the family is virtually non-existent. So, it’s mainly my father’s side that I have to worry about extended family. I have an aunt who thinks gay people are pedophiles. She won’t even speak to my gay cousin. Few of my relatives are what you would call allies, so I doubt very many of them will be supportive.
I did discover a relative, the adult child of a first-cousin who is trans and autistic like myself. We’re in contact and it’s nice having someone related to you who understands.
Work has been great! I’m federally employed and there are a lot of protections in place. Most people have been pretty accepting, though some have been pretty awkward especially in the beginning. I came out about two and half weeks ago and I keep randomly having to come out to people on other teams. It is so weird! Thursday, I came out to someone who moved to a different team while I was wearing a skirt!
Most of my friends have been pretty awesome, lots of support. I came out to most everyone through facebook, I’ve notice a few unfriended me and I actually had one who was repeating a lot of Gender Critical talking points. I actually came out to him via Messenger and confronted him about it. He was congratulatory, but refused to accept how problematic his view points were. So, that was pretty rough.
Q. How has your family responded? What has been the most difficult part of coming out to people?
A. Um, well it’s actually a lot better than I thought. My father apparently figured it out and well it was a whole thing. I actually thought my mother had outed me and my parents weren’t talking to me. Apparently their phones weren’t working. I’m very encouraged by what I’ve heard from my father. My mother and I have had some words over it, but we’re still talking. So it could be a lot worse.
My brother and sister-in-law have known longer than pretty much everyone and they’ve been on my side from the very beginning.
The most difficult part of coming out was the fear and anxiety of being rejected or outed. That fear dwindled significantly after I was out to my parents. Now I’m out to just about everyone except my dad’s relatives.
Q. Are you comfortable sharing any of your coming out story? If so please elaborate on any aspect you wish to highlight.
A. Haha, well I think I just shared that part of my coming out above at least as far as coming out to my parents. Coming out at work was so surreal and scary! I came out first to my manager in a meeting with the agency’s LGBTQ program manager and I came out to the rest of the team in our monthly meeting. I’m the lead, and my manager actually introduced me as Daniela and I said a little spiel. Most of my coworkers have been awesome and a few have been a little…awkward, but they’ve been slowly coming around. I will say that most of the fears I’ve had about coming out were very far off the mark and in reality people have been far more accepting than I thought they would be.
I would like to say to any newly-cracked eggs that transitioning is something you’re doing for yourself. You will face rejection, it may be from your parents or your friend, but someone will reject you and it will hurt like hell. Just know that if this happens to you there is a wonderful community of trans folk online or at your local support group that will be there for you.
Q. How has being visible on social media changed your life prior to before? What has been the worst part of being visible on social media? What has been the best part?
A. Well, I’ve never been this visible on social media. I have somewhere in the neighborhood of 6,000 followers on twitter. I don’t actually understand why, and so many people have tried to tell me, but I’m still oblivious. I’m just this crazy bitch who gets all wound up about shit.
The worst part has been getting attention from some really malicious people. Just existing is enough for them to target you and it’s a little scary. Hell, I’ve had a few tell me I deserve to die.
Despite that, it’s all worth it. The best part has been finding all my trans siblings all over the world and even a few nearby. I have found family. I always felt like an outsider even before accepting being trans. Now, I have community.
Q. Has transitioning had any impact, negative or positive, on your professional life? If so how?
A. Um, not so far it really doesn’t seem to have effected me. I am privileged being federally employed. There is a lot of push for inclusion at my workplace, especially with Biden’s executive order. I got in contact with someone who helps trans folk come out within the agency and they helped me along with the process. I’m actually more worried that my autism, would be more of a hindrance to advancement where I work, so I haven’t been real keen on advertising that particular aspect of myself at work.
“Just be yourself. Life is too short to be anything else. I understand that not everyone has that freedom, but just know that even if your only outlet is social media, you’re still valid.” – Daniela A. Wolfe
Q. What is your favorite part of being trans? How much of being trans do you claim as part of your identity?
A. Just being allowed to be myself and really breaking down all these barriers that I’d erected for myself over the course of these last 30+ years.
As far as it being a part of my identity, that I find difficult to quantify. I mean, it’s there and it influences me, but at the same time I’m a writer, I’m an artist, and a nerd. There is so much more to me than being trans. Yes, it’s important, but does it change who I am all that much? I’m still trying to figure that out. I know many other neurodiverse trans folk tie their autism to their gender, but even where that is concerned I have mixed feelings.
Q. Looking back on your life, in regards to being transgender, is there anything you would have done differently or you wish you could change?
A. Oh, that is a difficult one if I’m going to be honest. I mean, it’s one thing to look back and think: “If only I’d come to my senses when I was eighteen, I only had to shave every other week”, but it’s another to realize that the person I was then wasn’t emotionally prepared for the difficulties that come with being trans and potentially being rejected by your family and friends.
Not only that, I’ve talked to a few trans elders and there was a lot more gatekeeping for trans people when I was younger. It was mainly mental-health professionals who decided the criteria of what made someone trans and I think they would have questioned the fact that I didn’t always “know” I’m trans or that I’m attracted to women.
I do wish I would have come to my senses a lot sooner, but as they say hindsight is 20/20.
Q. Tell me about your other websites, your trans resources, and the network of trans individuals you have become intertwined with on social media. What prompted you to spend so much time, effort and energy standing up for trans people online?
A. Well, I run two websites, danielawolfe.com and lgbtqiaresources.com. The former was created as a place to share and promote my writing and the latter was created because it seemed like there weren’t many sites of that type. When I first started out, I had no idea what I was doing or who to turn to. I found them eventually, but imagine if I’d found a site like LGBTQIAResources right from the start and how helpful that would have been. I don’t want others to go through what I did. Queer folk should be able to find all the resources they need without looking high and low. That’s why I created lgbtqiaresources.com. I actually received a very lovely letter from the parent of an LGBTQIA+ individual who was making extensive use of the site. It was such a nice feeling.
As far as standing up for trans folk? Um, to be honest? I just did it. It wasn’t anything I put a lot of thought into, but I saw myself and others being cast in this unfavorable light and it pissed me the hell off. So I started speaking out.
Q. What books or stories have you published so far? What can you say about them and your writing process? Also which, of all your stories, would you say was your favorite to write?
A. I have a variety available on my website for free, but only one is available for sale. It’s called Battle for Earth, you can find it on amazon. I am going to work at getting Psyren’s Redemption and The Fall of Kruhl up for sale too, but they can still be found on my website for the time being.
Battle for Earth:
The Fall of Kruhl:
Most of my stories revolve around exploring my gender to some extent or another. My writing is chaotic, compared to most. I am what a lot of people of people call a “pantser”, but I fucking hate that term. It sounds like I go around pulling down people’s pants.
George R.R. Martin calls people like me gardeners. We start out with a patch of soil and a few seeds and nurture the story and allow it to bloom. Basically, I sit down and write with a basic idea of the plot, what I want to accomplish and I just write.
Q. What motivates you as a writer? What inspires you?
A. What motives me? Um… well I have what I suppose I’d call a creative impulse. It’s what drove me to create narratives on the playground and it’s what drives me to create these stories because truth be told I do it for my own sanity. I’d drive myself up the wall, if I didn’t create something.
I’m inspired by the world around me, by other narratives and just random bullshit that pops into my head.
Q. Do you see yourself as a role model for young trans girls around the world? If so what piece of advice would you share with them?
A. I have mix feelings about being called that. I don’t understand why people see me that way, but I recognize that they do. So, I try to be the best version of myself so that I can be a positive influence.
What advice would I give a trans girl? Just be yourself. Life is too short to be anything else. I understand that not everyone has that freedom, but just know that even if your only outlet is social media or dressing as yourself alone in your bedroom, you’re still valid.
Q. What is your favorite part of being trans? What is your least favorite?
A. Well, just being allowed to be myself and to hell with what the world thinks!
I really hate that trans folk are the target of bigotry and that so many people think they need to dictate what we are or aren’t. I just wish people would let us be ourselves without all the drama and hatred.
Q. Do you have any additional comments you wish to add?
A. Well, I’d just like to say thank you to all the people who have supported me online and offered me a virtual shoulder to cry on when the going got rough. I don’t know if they want to be singled out here, but they know who they are and I appreciate and love them for being there for me.
Finally, I recently started designing and selling t-shirts and other merchandise online. I’m hoping this can help fund some parts of my transition. To anyone who might be reading this, if you have some spare cash and would like to buy some neat trans or gay merch, please take a look.