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Brody Ray on what is was really like being America’s Got Talent’s 1st trans star

Written by gaytourism

Brody Ray | photo: Supplied

He made international headlines over the summer as the first openly trans contestant of America’s Got Talent, reducing judge Mel B to tears with his emotional rendition of Jordan Smith’s ‘Stand In the Light’. And despite being eliminated in the Judges’ Cuts, Brody Ray has made waves among the trans community and beyond.

‘It’s unbelievable – LGBTQ people worldwide have reached out to me,’ says the Nebraska native, 30.

‘I get messages in every language possible; people telling me how they were inspired, how I gave them the courage to come out to their loved ones.’

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Brody furthermore explains to GSN: ‘I’ve even had people tell me that they were about to give up on life when they saw they audition. And that I sparked a flame of hope in them to continue living. If you knew you could possibly help save a life, wouldn’t you tell your story too?’

Here Brody, talks about his gender journey, new music and also his favorite Spice Girl (it wasn’t always Scary…)

Firstly, talk us through your AGT experience…

It was amazing experience overall. The crew and producers put an amazing light on my story. It was great to see the process behind the scenes, meeting the celebrities and other acts.

I loved being able to shoot some B-roll with my mom at Universal Studios. I never got to see anything like that. We got our own personalized tours. There’s so much that goes in to these shows that no one sees or could imagine!

Mel B cried. Who was your favorite Spice Girl growing up?

She did and I love her! She’s got such an amazing heart. She gets that people could be born different from the norm. She understands that we didn’t choose this. All the judges had mad respect for me. They all said amazing things and were so sweet. It made me cry seeing and hearing their reactions.

I would have to say my favorite Spice Girl was Sporty Spice, for sure! What a babe! They were all my favorites. But now Scary Spice is my favorite!

Have you experienced any transphobia since the audition?

I have not physically or in person received any hate or transphobia. But I have definitely seen some comments and messages from people who are enraged or confused.

I usually just delete and block those. But if there’s someone I could maybe help sort through their confusion, I will take some time with them.

There will always be those people who think that we care about their opinions on our lives when they have no idea what it’s like to be born like this. As if we chose it or something! It’s comical really, I find myself laughing out loud sometimes reading things. But for the most part people are getting it.

How would you describe your gender journey?

I was begging for ‘boy’ everything, even as a toddler. My parents knew I was different right away.

I knew some way, somehow, I’d have to figure out how to transition my body to male, otherwise it was not worth it for me. It wasn’t worth living the rest of my life in the wrong body. No one should have to live like that.

We’re fortunate to live in an advanced generation that can offer a surgical fix, which was the only treatment for me as an individual. But everyone’s case is different. Not everyone feels they need surgery or hormones. I think that gender identity and sexuality is so different to each person ,that there’s not one cure or fix for these issues. It’s a very personal and specific journey.

In my case I consider myself strongly on the far end of the trans spectrum. I’ve never had a doubt in my mind. I knew exactly what I needed to fix. And I know people who are on different areas of the spectrum, where they might be on the fence about it. So I try to be careful and not speak for all trans individuals when I share how I identify because I’ve have some negative feedback from some trans brothers and sisters.

My mom asked me if I felt like I should be a boy when I was eight. We found the word trans when I was 14. I took a psychological test diagnosing me with ‘gender identity disorder’ and was cleared to start my transition.

We waited until I was out of high school, as per my mother’s request, due to her fears for my safety. At 21 I told them I was done waiting and was going to start with or without their support. They agreed to help. My parents went with me and paid for my top surgery.

A couple years later my mom traveled with me to three of my four bottom surgeries in Belgrade, Serbia. My younger sister came on a trip and my mom’s husband came on the last one.

My mother also spent her whole inheritance to pay for my surgeries and travel. It’s been a very ‘learn as you go’ journey for all of us. It’s been an exciting, nerve-racking, emotional, enlightening, worldly and painful experience.

It has given me a chance at happiness and a fulfilling life. I’m forever grateful for my family, friends, team of therapists, doctors and nurses that helped save my life.

Finally, what’s next?

We are working on releasing a new album soon! We have lots of great songs ready to be taken into the studio. Some are already done. We have a five-song EP ready to go that will probably drop here soon.

I have teamed up with one of Nashville’s best booking agencies Buddy Lee Attractions and an amazing LGBTQ publicist, Joey Amato. They have been breaking down doors and walls for me. We’re booking tons of major pride festivals and gigs all over the US. I’m so excited for all that’s to come. I’m living in Nashville and it’s been the most amazing year of my life.

For more information about Brody, visit

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