Landon and Ty after a Pride Parade (OWN)
In this week’s episode of Our America With Lisa Ling, the award-winning journalist goes back to the subjects of her story three years ago on the journey for several trans individuals. From adults dealing with the gender reassignment process to families dealing with their trans child, Ling gives us a complete window into a facet of our world that is becoming more and more common.
Ling took time out of her busy schedule to reply to some questions via email regarding what we’ll see in tonight’s episode.
Three years is a long time – were you surprised at where you found everyone?
Lisa Ling: I was most surprised by what happened with Ty. After going thru top surgery, and with massively increased levels of testosterone, Ty went off the deep end. He started partying excessively and having a lot of sex–as he says, he “went a little nuts.” Apparently, it’s not uncommon for people to have gone thru such a life-changing transition to take things to extremes. But he is well on his way to recovering and doing exceptionally well.
The world has also changed a lot in terms of trans people and people’s perception and knowledge. Do you think they’ve all experienced that, as well?
LL: I know that our show had a huge impact on our participants. Ty told me that for the first time, he felt like people really understood him. I like to think that we played a small role in changing people’s perception of those who are transgender–that what they feel is real and that they deserve to be able to live happily in the body they feel they should have.
Is there still more of a journey for the people you revisit or is it really them just living their lives at this point?
LL: Life is a journey for everyone, but for the people we profiled, they are finally living in the body they’ve always identified with and learning things from the beginning. I’m hoping to be able to attend some weddings–if that is what they so desire.
Do you explore their dating lives? I’d be curious if that’s been a challenge for them or if they’re happily coupled.
LL: Ty is in a very happy relationship with a wonderful woman who loves him for who he is. I asked him about sex one time, and he said, “you just have no idea how skilled I am. After all, I know what a woman wants because I was once one.” Let’s just say, I was intrigued.
Once you met up with everyone again, did your perception of them change based on where they are now??
I just couldn’t be prouder of all of our participants. They exhibited a kind of courage in sharing their stories–twice–that I so appreciate. It truly just warms my heart to know that they are happy and that people have had an opportunity to get to know their challenges, their triumphs, their lives.
Our America With Lisa Ling airs Thursdays at 10pm on OWN.