After years of struggling, I am where I need to be

A transgender woman has reflected on her journey of self-discovery now she is where “she needs to be”.

Pia Notoriyas, who lives in Formby, began her transition journey whilst she was studying fashion at the University of Salford. Finding doing both at the same time, Pia dropped out of the course to focus on becoming who she always knew she was.

The 25-year-old Hugh Baird College student told the ECHO: “I didn’t really know what trans was until I saw transgender YouTubers, especially makeup artist Nikita Dragun, and I realised that everything they were going through and saying is what I was feeling. It reflected who I was. I started to experiment and when I dressed as a female, I never felt so liberated before and it really empowered me.

“When I had feelings of wanting to be female when I was young I never really understood them. There were days when I looked at myself and didn’t like anything about myself. I couldn’t see myself being a 50-year-old man and the idea of it really ate me up. Clothes never felt comfortable on me and what I saw in the mirror wasn’t something I recognised. When I put make-up and a wig on, I instantly felt like myself.”

Pia shared her experience in light of Transgender Awareness Week 2023, held annually between November 13 - 19. The seven-day celebration acts as an opportunity to raise awareness and visibility of trans and gender-diverse folk and highlight the issues they face. The week is held in the lead-up to Transgender Day of Remembrance (November, 20) when people remember lives lost to transphobic violence.

Liverpool-based brand, Gaff and Go, celebrates trans people all year round. Robyn Electra, originally from Nigeria but now living in the city centre, is the brains behind the company which caters for pre-op transgender women, non-binary people and those who tuck. Pia was recently chosen to model the brand’s latest swimwear collection.

The graphic design student said: “This opportunity has made me feel so validated within myself. I am now in a place of confidence and proud of who I am and once you are in that place, good things come to you and you radiate positive energy. I feel empowered to be part of something I genuinely believe in, stand for and something I can really relate to. Now, I am where I need to be.”

Pia reiterated the importance of education this week about the trans community moving forward, both at a national level and here in the city she calls home.

The waitress added: “Trans people do exist and we are valid. We just want to be part of this world and not be judged all the time. Living in Liverpool hasn’t always been easy - I do music and social media, so many people already see me as different because I am not Caucasian. The pressure with that and being trans gets hard. I want to share my passion and what I love but being trans people rarely see you for who you are and what you are good at. There’s always that barrier of being trans and people not seeing you deeper than your gender.”