In honour of Pride Month, Team Jilly had the amazing opportunity to virtually sit down with Nick North and ask him a few questions about his transgender journey! We chatted about everything from his career to big lofty goals, this chat was so insightful and eye-opening and we are so excited for you to get to introduce you to Nick North today!
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I am a transgender man and I lived the first 30 years of my life trying really hard to be a girl, I got married and had the babies, I did my nails, and all the “girly” things. Then at thirty, I had a bit of a mid-life crisis; I left my husband because I thought I was gay, then fell in love with my wife. But a year later, I realized that I wasn’t just gay, rather I was transgender, and had to go about figuring that out.
I had months of therapy and preparation and wanted to have the right setup for when and how we shared this with our kids. It was a really good conversation, we were making pizza as I wanted them to have a tactile activity to do (thanks to my therapist!) while I was sharing this news. I’m not going to lie I was a little worried about how the kids were going to take the news, but they were really chill about it and asked me if I was going to grow a beard and stuff haha. I explained to them that they could call me mom, dad, or whatever they were most comfortable with. For a while, it was father in a Darth Vader voice and then while they were enrolled in French immersion it transitioned into papa. I shared with them that I was taking medicine that would change my voice and the way I looked and they could decide how they felt most comfortable addressing me.
Can you share with us a little bit about what your transgender journey looked like?
I kind of touched on this above, but for the first 30 years of my life, I worked really hard on being the best girl that I could be. Throughout those 30 years I always knew there was something different about me and deep down I knew I didn’t feel the way that I was supposed to feel, I didn’t feel like myself. And deep deep down, internally I just kept saying to myself I couldn’t wait to be a boy. Being a child of the 80s trans people (that I knew of!) didn’t exist, which is why I think it took me a little longer to discover who I truly was. There was a really negative connotation with transgender people in the past and it made me worried, will people accept me and love me? Even when I was going through my transgender journey I was still worried that people wouldn’t love and accept me. My wife was the most supportive person on the planet and she has been my rock through it all, she reassured me that the most important people, my family, would love and accept me for the way I am! All I have to say is if you can marry yourself a life coach, she has been an absolute gift to me!
What is one goal you have (can be big or small!) for future generations as it relates to the LGBTQ2IAS+ community?
Oh, this is such a great question! I actually have a really lofty goal when it comes to being a place of refuge for those in the LGBTQ2IAS+ community who are not supported or loved. I would love to buy a piece of land and turn it into a communal property, where queer kids can come and learn life skills, and feel loved and supported. There are so many queer kids who end up trying to survive during the time when they are supposed to be learning new skills and they don’t get the loving launch into the world that they deserve.
A career-related question, what do you do for a living?
I am a strategist and consultant, and I work with companies of all sizes! With smaller companies, I help them strategize ways they can share what’s special about them with their customers and get their products/ services in the hands of a wider audience. Whereas, with larger companies, I typically consult and help them strategize on ways that they can be more inclusive in the DEI space.
What is one piece of advice you could give to those looking to make an impact?
Figure out your why! Or as Jillian would call it, your BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal!). Why do you care? Why do you want to make an impact in the first place? Why does it matter? Once you have figured those things out, that’s when you can really start making an impact.
Is there anything else you would like to say that we didn’t get to touch on?
Before we wrap things up, I really want to say thank you for chatting with me virtually and giving me the opportunity to takeover your blog and Instagram account. I think it’s really great that your team is prioritizing and giving the opportunity to regular people to share their story, while the world may feel isolating at times, I know there are so many people out there like me who are experiencing similar things and I am so grateful that Jillian and Team Jilly has allowed me to share my story! Chances are someone reading this blog either knows someone that is transgender or has a family member who is or whose life is impacted by it. Some think, oh that person is so scary or different but I am just a regular dad, a regular dude minding my business. We are all really just the same!
Nick, thank you from the bottom of our hearts for being so vulnerable and sharing your story with us. If you would like to learn more about Nick, please check out his 20-minute documentary, which was done in collaboration with Telus. Also, he will be taking over our @jhthebrand Instagram account today, so if you have any questions you would like to ask him please pop over there. You can also check out his amazing website, and social channels to stay in touch and follow along on his amazing journey!
Thanks again, Nick!