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July 05, 2018 03:15 PM

Teddy Geiger is finally opening up about her transition.

In her first interview since revealing she was transgender last fall, the singer-songwriter shared her journey to coming out with the New York Times.

“I can remember back to being 5 and looking in the mirror, feeling like a girl and wanting that,” the Rochester, New York native, 29, told the newspaper. “But growing up in Rochester, there were limited resources. I’d never met a trans person before.”

Indeed, it took Geiger years to find herself. And childhood fame didn’t help her do that.

Teddy Geiger
Leon Bennett/Getty

Geiger was discovered on VH1’s 2004 reality competition In Search of the Partridge Family and went on to tour with Hilary Duff and release the 2006 album Underage Thinking, which included the Top 40 single “For You I Will (Confidence).”

“I was going through adolescence and having sex for the first time, but it was in this really weird context,” Geiger said of growing up in the spotlight. “I didn’t have a real support group.”

In recent years, the star has become a go-to songwriter for A-list acts, from Maroon 5 to pal Shawn Mendes. Despite her growing success, Geiger told the Times she struggled with anxiety and obsessive-compulsive tendencies last year. One of those tendencies: keeping her nails perfectly polished.

“It was the only femininity that I was expressing, so I wanted it to be so perfect,” she said. “It was the only thing I could control.”

Last September, Geiger sought treatment for her anxiety and to “get to the bottom of the gender thing.” After one month in the program, Geiger started coming out as trans to family and friends and making life changes.

“I threw away all my boys clothes and started wearing makeup.”

Then, in late-October, Geiger came out publicly in an Instagram post, where she’s since subtly documented her transition. In November, Geiger revealed she had begun hormone replacement therapy, then a few weeks later, she confirmed that she prefers female pronouns and will keep the name Teddy.

And in May, she made her first public appearance since announcing her transition at the 2018 BMI Pop Awards in Beverly Hills, where she was honored for her work cowriting Mendes’s hits “Mercy” and “There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back.”

These days, she’s comfortable in her identity — and it’s informing her art.

“I just feel more open,” said Geiger, who on Thursday released “I Was in a Cult,” her first solo song in years released under the moniker “teddy<3.”

“Because I’m willing to talk about everything now, people are then more open with me,” Geiger added.”There’s no longer this piece of me back there saying, ‘Don’t go there.’ I used to find that I’d sing songs and think, ‘Ooh, it sounds like I’m talking about that stuff, and I don’t want to talk about that stuff.’ But it was just coming out.”

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