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Iowa Reporter Comes Out As Trans In Powerful On Air Segment: 'There's Beauty In This Process'

Iowa Reporter Comes Out As Trans In Powerful On Air Segment: 'There's Beauty In This Process'
We Are Iowa Local 5 News/YouTube

A local news reporter in Iowa reintroduced herself after coming out as a transgender woman to viewers tuning in for a special live segment on Thursday.

The 24-year-old Local 5 news reporter, who has been working at the Des Moines station since 2021, shared her new pronouns and introduced herself as Nora J.S. Reichardt.

KARE 11’s Eva Anderson–who formerly worked as a news reporter at WOI Local 5–introduced the segment with:

“Today is special here at Local 5. We welcome back a friend and colleague."
"You have welcomed her into your homes for the past year, depending on her to cover the big stories and to bring you critical information."

Anderson continued:

“Tonight, Local 5’s Nora Reichardt wants you to meet the real Nora, her true self.”

Reichardt said she was initially apprehensive about being open with viewers about her identity “at least not on air like this.”

“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.

You can watch her introduction in the clip below.

Meet Nora J.S. Reichardt: Local 5 reporter comes out as transgender

Reichardt said that as a high schooler growing up in a rural area in Hanover, Minnesota, she didn't have "the language to describe" what she was feeling.

She described the experience as being a person who was "wearing my body" instead of a person who was "living in it."

At the time, she chalked it up to feelings of depression and anxiety.

"And I’ve had those feelings almost as long as I can remember," she recalled.

Reichardt said that out in the field, she has felt as if she's been splitting herself into two personalities–as Nora with her co-workers and as someone else in front of viewers–and living that duality felt like approaching work every day as if it was "dress-up day."

She asked herself the following while at work.

"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?"

In the past year, she began her transitioning process through medical intervention and being on hormone replacement therapy.

The segment also showed viewers the process of her legally changing her name online–which in the state of Iowa entails filing a petition with the local court.

She touched on the fact that viewers would notice the name change first.

"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."

Reichardt also shared how she settled on her new name.

She recalled:

"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."
"After I spent a few weeks going through it, I marked all but a few finalists off, and Nora just kind of stuck."

She continued saying 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."

At work, Reichardt always felt it was a safe space.

"I'm very fortunate I'm in a position where my co-workers and my employer want to support me in this."
"I've had all of those support systems, and I've had so much help in this process."

“There’s beauty in this process. And I wish that got discussed more," she continued.

“What I find is learning to love my body, love me, and just the way I want to live my life; it’s the best act of self-actualization that I could ever imagine.”

She assured viewers with the following positive message.

"At the end of the day I'm still the person that you've been seeing on TV for the last year or so. I'm just a little happier while I do it."
"I just hope that I'm a positive part of people's lives, big or small."

Reichardt is not the first transgender reporter to publicly be open.

In August, ESPN journalist M.A. Voepel announced in a tweet that he was transitioning and would be using male pronouns.