Iowa local news reporter comes out as a transgender woman during on-air report into her transition
A local TV news reporter in Iowa announced this week on a newscast that she will now publicly identify as a transgender woman.
Nora JS Reichardt, who has been reporting with Local 5 news WOI-TV since July 2021 under a different name, said that for a long time she didn’t think she would be able to reveal her identity on air.
‘I didn’t know if there was a place and a space for me to do this sort of work that I’ve really come to love and enjoy, while also getting to be myself while I do it,’ she said.
But a little more than a year later, 24-year-old Reichardt re-introduced herself to the community and shared her transition experience.
Reichardt made the announcement during a newscast about her transitioning experience – which was also the same day that she officially filed for a name change with the Iowa courts.
Nora JS Reichardt of WOI-TV publicly re-introduced herself to the community this week with an announcement on a newscast that she will now identify as a transgender woman
Reichardt (pictured in 2019 before transitioning) said that at work she felt like ‘I was someone I didn’t really feel like’ when she dressed in slacks and button-up shirts
Reichardt said she gradually came into her identity as a transgender woman over the course of several years and began a medical transition process in September 2021.
‘To gradually come into a role where I am feeling more and more at home in my body than I really ever did before has been amazing to get to experience and share with people,’ she said.
In an interview with a friend – KARE 11’s Eva Andersen, a former reporter for Local 5 News, Reichardt said she had thoughts about being transgender in high school. But she noted that her Minnesota hometown is rural and she ‘didn’t even have the language to describe what I was feeling.’
In an interview with KARE 11’s Eva Andersen, a former reporter for Local 5 News, Reichardt said she had thoughts about being transgender in high school
Reichardt who has been reporting with Local 5 news WOI-TV since July 2021 under a different name, said that for a long time she didn’t think she would be able to reveal her identity on air
She said that at work she felt like ‘I was someone I didn’t really feel like’ when she dressed in slacks and button-up shirts.
‘A while after I started being on air, I kind of just reached a personal breaking point where I thought, why don’t I like the person that I am seeing every time I am going out in the field? Why don’t I connect with that person? Why don’t I want to be that person?’
She is not the first reporter to make that announcement. ESPN journalist MA Voepel announced in a tweet in August that he is transitioning and would use male pronouns.
As part of the transitioning process, Reichardt pursued a medical intervention and has been on hormone replacement therapy, estradiol to increase estrogen levels and medicine that will reduce testosterone output.
Reichardt also talked about growing out her hair, picking out a new wardrobe and undergoing laser hair removal.
‘There was a decent span of time where everyone in my life functionally knew me as Nora, except for the viewers at home. [I felt like] I was splitting myself into two.’
Another aspect that would be different for viewers who were used to seeing her on air is her name.
‘When I made this exact leap of telling the viewers at home that everything was going to be different, that the little name under my headshot is going to look a little different now on air, and I wanted to personally feel as ready as possible to make that jump because there are expectations that come with it,’ she said.
So why the name Nora, Anderson asked.
‘I had a list of about a dozen girl names that I thought were cute, and I just kind of experimented quietly with calling myself those different names, just seeing how they felt,’ Reichardt said.
‘After I spent a few weeks going through it, I marked all but a few finalists off, and Nora just kind of stuck.
She went on to say that she ‘kind of feels like I have dropped the parts of me that aren’t me. And taking what’s left into something better. Something more like me.’
Reichardt said that at work she felt like ‘I was someone I didn’t really feel like’ when she dressed in slacks and button-up shirts
As part of the transitioning process, Reichardt pursued a medical intervention but also grew out her hair, picked out a new wardrobe and underwent laser hair removal
Reichardt said she has received good feedback from the people she has told and said she felt ‘very fortunate that almost everyone I have told has been nothing but immediately affirming and supportive.’
‘Being trans is not a burden. If someone is trusting you with that information, it means that you mean something to them. And they really want to get to share that.’
She continued: ‘I hope if anyone is ever in that position where someone is telling you something like this about themselves, the best thing you can do is tell them, I’m glad. I’m glad that you trust me, I’m glad that you are being who you are, and what can I do for you?’
Reichardt added: ‘Everyone needs something different. Every trans person has different standards about their comfort level with their dead name, or things like that. Just ask. We are not scary, I don’t think. There’s a sense that because people don’t have exposure to people like me so often, that they don’t even know where to start.’
Reichardt said she wanted the community to know that she’s still very much the person she was before
‘I still know too many Spider-Man facts. I still play a little too many video games for my own good. I still enjoy reading at the coffee shops around Des Moines which is where you can usually find me on my days off. None of that has changed,’ she said.
‘I’m still someone who I think is inquisitive, passionate about what I do…and I’d like to think I’m pretty friendly.
‘One of my biggest guiding principles is that I hope everyone I meet is happy they met me, whatever the context of that interaction is. I just hope that I am a positive part in people’s lives, big or small. And as long as that can say true through all of this, the rest is noise.’