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Why 2015 was such a remarkable year for me

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As 2015 comes to a close and I look back over the events of the past 12 months, I can’t help but marvel at what an amazing year this has been. Amazing not only in what I’ve experienced but also in how much I’ve grown and become comfortable with myself and with life. I began my transition five years ago but it wasn’t until this year that I finally figured out who I was and got to experience what is was like to be happy and enjoy life as Becca.

2015 began for me in Portland attending my first ever New Year’s Eve party, which was something I’d always dreamed of doing. To be celebrating the start of a new year with my friends was something I’ll never forget, and little did I know it was the start of what would be a truly memorable year.

Becca Benz loves Portland!Portland is a wonderful city where I truly felt at home and made many friends, and where for the first time in my life I developed a social life. Having spent most all my life being shy and socially awkward it felt good to break out of my shell and find the confidence to interact with people, and I found it amazing that people were interested in what I had to say and that they wanted to hang out with me. I spent many fun nights with my friends at our favorite club, where I felt at home and was able to just relax and be myself. We would snuggle in a booth and talk, play pool, or enjoy the various themed nights at the club, my favorite of which was Kink Night. Yes, I do have a kinky side!

I also enjoyed being part of Sex Positive Portland, which is a wonderful organization started by Gabriella Cordova, who is one of the more fascinating people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. I was still learning to enjoy my newfound self-confidence and SPP played a large part in helping me continue to grow and learn more about myself. I made so many wonderful friends through the group and while I left sooner than I wanted the friends I made there left a lasting impression on me. We had some truly memorable times at events such as Massage-a-Trois, Sensation Play Parties, and Tantric workshops. And who can forget Stripperaoke!

My main focus as we entered 2015 was learning about the porn business and continuing to carve out a niche for myself. I spent a lot of time on social media networking and continuing to build up my fan base. I was also preparing to go to Hollywood for the Transgender Erotica Awards, which I was so excited about! I remember when I found heels which perfectly matched the color of the dress I was going to wear, and it just seemed like everything was falling into place.

In February I attended the Transgender Erotica Awards in Hollywood which was an amazing experience in so many ways. To be on the red carpet having a bunch of photographers taking my picture was very surreal. It felt like a dream to be there hanging out with pornstars and being recognized and people wanting pictures with me. It was a magical night full of memories I will not soon forget. I went there with a clear agenda of things I wanted to accomplish, and I achieved everything I wanted and more, and my burgeoning career continued to move forward.

Becca Benz at TEA 2015! Becca Benz at TEA 2015

The next few months after TEA were difficult. Everything seemed to be going perfect and I was so optimistic that my life had turned around and that the worst was over, but then in the blink of an eye everything went wrong and my whole life imploded. I spent the next several months trying to deal with all the problems but feeling hopelessly overwhelmed, and the depression came back as bad as ever. This was definitely the low point of the year for me. But I did as much as I could do to resolve the issues and tried to get back to moving forward with my life again.

One of the issues I had been dealing with was finding a new place to live, and in the spring I relocated to a new place where I was able to get back on my feet and had time to heal. It was a soothing environment and I started feeling better and was able to get back to my regular life. The person who took me in was someone I had already known, but we got to know each other much better and had many enjoyable conversations about a variety of things. We discussed the porn industry since she is very successful and well respected within the industry and she was very gracious in sharing her knowledge and wisdom with me and I learned so much from her. In addition, she taught me about website administration and html and helped me design my first WordPress blog. She was a good friend when I desperately needed one and I really enjoyed my time there, which as it turned out was all too brief.

I had met Venus Lux in February at TEA, and talked for a bit and after I told her a little about myself she wanted to interview me, and then a few months later she asked me to write a column for her magazine, TransGlobal. Then in August she offered me a job opportunity with her company. I could not have been happier because this was exactly what I had been working towards since I made the decision to do porn, and it was like all my plans had worked out perfectly and produced the exact result I had been hoping for.

But it was a very difficult decision to leave Portland and all my friends there. Although I’d only lived in Portland for about a year it already felt like home and I had a lot of friends there who I cared about a great deal. I had thought that Portland would be my home for many years to come, and it was with a very heavy heart that I made the decision to leave. I don’t do well at saying goodbye, and it really hurt to say goodbye to all my friends there who had become such an important part of my life. But the job opportunity in Los Angeles was too good to pass up, so once again I packed up my car and moved to another state to start a new chapter in my life. I was sad to leave Oregon but excited about my future in Los Angeles and all the opportunities there.

While I was excited to be moving to Los Angeles for the job opportunity I wasn’t sure how I would like living there; I’d never really had any desire to live in Southern California and was not looking forward to all the traffic and figuring out how to get around. But after having gotten lost a few times I finally started to learn my way around and get to where I needed to go.

I finally ventured out to Hamburger Mary’s for TGirl Night and had a fabulous time, and got to see a few old friends and make some new ones. I had thought I would be able to fit right into the community and make friends because I already knew people here, but it proved to be more difficult than I anticipated, and for a while I was feeling really lonely and homesick for Portland. But that all changed in early November.

Life has a funny way of giving us something magical when we least expect it. In the midst of a very stressful time someone unexpectedly came into my life who has been a ray of sunshine. I had gone to Hamburger Mary’s the first Saturday in November and met a friend there who introduced me to someone he knew. I can remember the exact moment we met. I turned around and there she was; a statuesque redhead with a dazzlingly smile. Her charisma was apparent from the beginning and I knew she was someone special. She was able to get me to let down my guard down and to open myself up to enjoying the night and to enjoy being with her. We spent the night dancing and kissing and it was a night I won’t ever forget.

The Abbey In the following weeks we spent a lot of time together, going out to eat, going to clubs, but the moments that were the most meaningful were the talks we had in the car. We talked all the time but for some reason we seemed to have more meaningful talks in the car; talks where we open up and get to know each other on a deeper level; to get to see the real person and talk about the stuff that mattered.

One night we drove through the Hollywood Hills and we held hands and talked about everything. It was nothing short of a miracle that I managed to navigate through all those crazy turns in the hills with only one hand on the wheel! She indulged me and showed me all the tourist spots so I could take pictures. We parked and enjoyed the amazing view of Los Angeles, and then we drove to Griffith Park where we got out and held each other as we enjoyed another amazing view of the city lights. That was a magical night that I will never forget.

I knew from the beginning she lived in another country and was just here visiting, and that she was a free spirit and was not ready to settle down. But in spite of my best intentions I still developed feelings for her, but the amazing part was that I was able to live in the moment instead of dwelling on the big picture, which is what I normally do. I just enjoyed the time we had together and managed to not scare her away. We settled into something which was comfortable and worked for us. It has only been less than two months since we met, but it many ways it feels like we have experienced a lifetime of memories together. I’m not sure what the future holds for us but she will always be special to me and I will always love her for what she was able to teach me about relationships and about myself.

Laura and Nikki Among the places Staci and I hung out was Club Shine. I had heard about Club Shine and soon discovered why everyone loves it there so much. The club is fun and full of energy, but what makes it special is the homey feel the club has to it, and the two amazing ladies who run it, Laura and Nikki. They take the time to visit with everyone and to make sure they’re having a good time, and Nikki is never without her trusty camera taking pictures (a lady after my own heart!) And the more I talked with them the more I realized what genuinely good people they are. I attended the Shine Transgender Community Awards and got the opportunity to see how much they care about the community and to meet some truly amazing people and make new friends. It wasn’t until later that I learned about Lunden Reign and what amazing musicians Laura and Nikki are! I was blown away the first time I saw one of their videos and heard their magical voices and the wonderful lyrics they wrote. I was immediately hooked and am looking forward to hearing them live in February!

I have known about Transgender Day of Remembrance for many years and have always wanted to attend, but was always hesitant to for a variety of reasons. But I feel so much more connected to the community now and this was the year I needed and wanted to be there.

Transgender Day of Remembrance 2015I attended Transgender Day of Remembrance 2015 in West Hollywood and it was an amazing and inspiring event in so many ways. The speakers all had very inspirational messages about how we as trans people should be valued for who we are and that our live matter. We are so often forced to deal with negativity and so it was nice for a change to hear words of hope and to feel good about who we are. Listening to names and hearing the stories of those we lost this year was painful and heartbreaking, but we must never forget or let their deaths be in vain.

The musical selections by Alexandra Billings, Our Lady J, and Trans Chorus of Los Angeles were beautiful and inspiring and brought us all to our feet.

The theme of the evening was “Not One More” to bring home the message that we as a society are one whole community and not a bunch of separate entities, and that we need to embrace each other and value the diversity that makes our culture so unique and special. After a passionate and eloquent speech by Dr. Jaye E. Johnson the crowd rose as one with chants of “Not One More” which was a powerful moment. He closed by saying that it was his hope and dream that during his lifetime November 20th will be a day to celebrate the transgender community and not a day to mourn those who we’ve lost. Amen to that.

Transgender Day of Remembrance 2015But what I remember most was the candlelight march through North Hollywood after the program concluded. We marched through the blocked off streets carrying trans flags and signs and we made our voices heard with chants of “Not One More”, “Trans Lives Matter”, and “Stop Transphobia.” What filled my heart with hope and brought tears were all the people along the route who showed their support by honking and giving us a thumbs-up, and the people who stood and cheered us. It was powerful and inspiring to experience so much support and acceptance and to be have the chance to feel good about who we are. In a year full of special moments that was the night I will remember the most because of the inspiration and hope I felt, and the strong sense of community and belonging. But the night wasn’t over yet and I was soon to have another wonderful experience.

I had heard about The Abbey on various tv shows and read about it, and one of the reasons I was most excited about moving to Los Angeles was that I’d get to finally go to The Abbey! But after I moved here I felt a bit intimidated to go there by myself, so I kept putting it off. It wasn’t until after attending Transgender Day of Remembrance in West Hollywood that I finally made it there. I was really hungry, and it was close by, so I decided to stop by and grab something to eat. I found a table to sit at and was a bit in awe that I was actually there, when one of the employees brought me a menu. He was sweet and friendly and we soon started talking, and we kept on talking for a good part of the night until it got busy and he had to get back to work. I had a delicious BLT, made a new friend, and had a great conversation, so it was a wonderful night! I have since gone back regularly on Friday nights to see my friend because we have the most wonderful conversations and he gives the best hugs!

And then to top off what has already been an amazing year, on December 20th I found out I had been nominated for a Transgender Erotica Award for Best Internet Personality! I have to admit that I had been hoping I might get a nomination, but when it was finally announced I felt so incredibly happy, and very humbled to be in a category where so many amazing people had been nominated. I had the biggest smile the rest of the day and even did a fist pump or two! To be recognized by my peers and fans to even be nominated is a very special feeling. So now I’m even more excited about TEA and can’t wait for March to get here!

Becca Benz TEA nomination

This year has been sort of a mixed bag as far as friends and family. I have gotten to know so many wonderful people in Portland, and then in Los Angeles, as well as online and many friendships have developed which mean the world to me. But at the same time my relationships with my mom and sister have deteriorated, and I’m not exactly sure why. We have always been very close and they both have been very supportive of my transition and accepting me, so it really hurts to lose having them in my life. But this year I’ve learned that family in not just defined by blood relations, that family are those people who make the effort to care and to be part of your life. While the void of not having my mom and sister in my life can never be filled, it helps to have so many wonderful friends who are always so caring and supportive. I am very blessed to have so many special people in my life and very appreciative of that.

One of the things I feel most proud of this year is the writing I’ve done both on here and for TransGlobal Magazine. I am so very grateful to have gotten the opportunity to do my little part to be a positive voice for the community, and to hopefully make a difference. I have found my passion in life, and I could not ask for anything more. Thank you for taking the time to read what I’ve written and for all your positive comments and feedback. While I get lots of comments about my looks, it is the comments about my writing which mean the most to me.

2015 has been an extraordinary year for so many reasons, and I’m looking forward to seeing what 2016 has in store for me!

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3 comments

  1. Russell McKenzie

    Wow you have had the most interesting year. I’m glad you got to see and experience things that you wanted to do, ppl who mean so much and even though your mother and sister are a little distant I’m sure that its not forever. Wish you all the joy and happiness for 2016. I am also glad to have made your acquaintance and hope we can be friends for a long time to come. I think your awesome!

    1. Becca Benz

      Hi Russel! Thanks for reading my post and for your comment! It has definitely been a pretty amazing year! I appreciate your kind words and look forward to getting to know you. Have a Happy New Year! 🙂

  2. Marjorie

    My heart is warmed just seeing how far you have ventured since our first encounter in Oregon. Your courage is a beacon to all who have struggled to discover who they were born to be…amazing grace is guiding you..blessings, mmc

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