Fearless Friday: Grace McKenzie

How would you explain courage to your children?

Courage is following your gut, no matter how scary it seems, or whether you’re swimming upstream.

Who in your personal life do you revere as being courageous & why?

I revere my mother for her tireless strength throughout my childhood. I was raised by strong women, and my mom epitomizes that. She broke glass ceilings as one of the first female paramedics in the entire history of the Niagara Region (and served for 40 years), rode Harley Davidsons her whole life, bred Great Danes in our house, raised two kids single-handedly, and kicked both breast cancer and PTSD’s asses. Betty Bailey is a total badass.

When do you recall being the most courageous point in your life? What motivated you to tap into that courage?

Coming out as transgender and living my life authentically as a woman was the most courageous thing I’ve ever done. I was prepared to say goodbye to my entire life in order to stop the repression and hiding, saying goodbye to my friends, family, career. Turns out that people greatly admire vulnerability and authenticity in those they love, and their support was what allowed me to carry that courage forward into my life today.

How do you bring courage into your daily life?

Every time I step out my front door into a country where transgender people can still be fired for who they are, assaulted for using the bathroom of their choice, denied healthcare or the opportunity to participate in sports due to their bodies, harassed at borders and airports and on the streets, denied the right to serve in the military and fight for their country, and especially if you’re black or brown, shot dead and disregarded for the simple act of loving someone is a daily expression of immeasurable courage. #wearehere

If you could give one tip as advice to anyone listening right now (or to your younger self) about anything, what would it be?

Listen to that inner voice that speaks when the world is quiet and it’s just you and them. Trust yourself, trust the process, and love as hard as you can. We only get one shot at living; there’s no time to hesitate.