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Jun 2, 2015 6:07 PM

Becoming Cynthia: Transgender NH woman reacts to Caitlyn Jenner cover story

NH1 News

It’s the picture and story that’s taken America by storm.

We’re talking about the Vanity Fair cover story, “Call Me Caitlyn.”

Bruce Jenner - now Caitlyn - is sharing her transition from a man to a woman, in part, to give us all a better understanding of what it means to be transgender.

NH1 sat down with a life-long Granite Stater who knows exactly what Jenner’s going through.

“She looks great, she looks happy, much better than I would have ever anticipated, and I’m really happy for her,” Cynthia Tebbetts said.

For 50-year-old Cynthia Tebbetts, transitioning from a man to a woman was the best decision she ever made.

“Because, honestly, if I had to go back to being John, I’d be dead within a week,” Tebbetts said.

Instead, she’s a successful professional woman with a sense of humor.

“I don’t listen to Bette Midler or Cher records," she said. "I’m not into gardening. I’m a punk rocker who loves hockey and auto racing. I mean, that’s not what you would expect.”

It’s also not what her bosses at Cummings publication printing in Hooksett were expecting 10 years ago, when she - known as John back then - broke the news.

Fortunately, they supported the decision of transition.

“Of course, I did it the right way," Tebbetts said. "I didn’t just pop in one day and say, ‘Oh, I’m changing my name, I’m now going to be Cynthia.’”

Cynthia shared - and continues to share - these pictures and her experience with friends, colleagues, even college students at Southern New Hampshire University every year during a special lecture.

That’s when she made a realization: “You know what? I’m not alone. There are other people out there like me that are experiencing the exact same thing.”

While she doesn’t know exactly how many transgender people live in New Hampshire, she believes - based on feedback from the SNHU students - that number is going up.

“The first time I did it, I asked the class how many people knew someone that was transitioned or transitioning," she said. "I think there was only two. Every year that I’ve spoken, that number has grown dramatically to the point that where it’s almost 100 percent."

Cynthia hopes her story, like Caitlyn Jenner’s, will continue the local conversation about what it means to be transgender.

The first thing NH1 News asked her was, "Did you think when you were having surgery four years ago, that we would be trendy?"

Tebbetts laughed.

"Absolutely not.”

Learn more

Transgender New Hampshire: http://www.tg-nh.org/

UNH Transgender Resources: http://www.unh.edu/safezones/resources_trans.html

GLAD.org: http://www.glad.org/nh-stories/facts

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