Note: This interview is part of a new project called Central Oregon OUTlook, in which we feature members of the Central Oregon LGBTQ community. If you are interested in participating, send us an email!
What is your name and age? Rob Mikael Landis, 31.
How do you identify? Male (although I would be classified as a trangender male)
What is your occupation? Security Officer
When did you come out as LGBTQ? I was 19 when the closest thing I knew to identify with was a lesbian, then I was 28 coming out as transgender.
How have things changed since you came out? Life just seems to be getting better and better. My confidence level has went way up, I’m healthier and I am no longer depressed. I feel like nothing can stop me from achieving my goals in life.
How long have you lived in Central Oregon, and what brought you here? I was born and raised in Central Oregon, moving away for only little bits of time before I missed it too much and wanted to come back.
What’s your favorite thing about living here? It would be difficult to pick one favorite. I love the change of seasons. I love the variety of amazing micro brews. I love the country scenery. I love the smell of wet sage brush and juniper.
What would you like to see change? I think the most frustrating thing for me so far has become all of the legal documentation linking me to the person I was “before.” The legality of all I’ve had to go through just to make my social security card match the name and gender on my driver’s license has proved to be quite complicated. After all, I am currently pre-operations at this point. This issue causes me, unfortunately, to have to come out to new prospective employers in order to verify that my current name and my previous name are the same person. Imagine my dismay. Especially because I feel that there is still quite a bit of uneducated (on transgender issues) people in the Central Oregon community.
What would you tell an LGBTQ person who’s thinking of moving to the area? Welcome to a beautiful place with great activities to do year-round. And if you need any help finding other LGBTQ individuals to meet up with and LGBTQ events to attend, the HDC is your hook up! They’re a great resource for Central Oregon LGBTQ needs.
If you could give a piece of advice to your teenage self, what would it be? Save every bit of extra money you can, research male hormones, get those boobs chopped off and start living your life happy as the guy you’ve always felt like you were in the first place.
Who/what do you want to be when you “grow up”? I would just love to be 100 percent happy with my life (my body, my career, my achievements).
Who are your role models—LGBTQ and otherwise? Honestly, not sure I have any. I admire anyone who is willing to go against the wishes of anyone else who tries to keep them from being happy living as their true self! So many transgender individuals lose family, partners, friends and jobs just because they chose to be true to themselves. It makes me sad for them, yet proud of them at the same time. The strength and courage that it takes to make that kind of sacrifice is comparable to none.
Anything else? I would like to thank all of my friends, family and employers for seeing me for who I really am and keeping me a part of their lives. It has made my transition unbelievably painless and invigorating. I try to remind myself every day how truly blessed I am. I can honestly say my transition has given me a new set of eyes to see all the beauty and happiness in life that I never saw before.