All eyes on Lizz Lantz
Lizz Lantz has always been curious about how the world works. Photo by Blaise Douros/LLNL.
Lizz Lantz has always been driven by curiosity about how the world works.
“I’m really interested in the materials that make up the world around us, which we often take for granted,” Lizz Lantz said. “And, what better way to explore the world’s fabric than to inspect it under the microscope?”
Lizz Lantz exercises this interest in her position as a metallography technician where she oversees all of the Material Science Division recharge center’s scanning electron microscopes. Lantz also has applied this microscopic lens toward examining other aspects of her life, like her gender identity. In 2023, Lantz shared that she is a woman who identifies with the transfemme experience and uses pronouns she/her.
“In large part due to societal expectations, I didn’t really stop to think about my gender identity growing up,” she said. “I actually figured out who I am while using an online social platform called VRChat where you create an avatar to interact with other users. A lot of users experiment with their gender expression, and it allows for new social rules, in some ways, because you aren’t bound to express yourself by other people’s expectations of you.”
For Lizz Lantz, VRChat served as the microscope through which she was able to examine her own gender identity. Since the platform allows users to create avatars, she said it was the perfect place to expand her gender toward a more feminine expression.
“I saw there was space for the trans community on VRChat and eventually when I started to question my own gender, I decided to join,” she said. “At one point, my wife pointed out that if I was identifying with the trans community and enjoying presenting myself femininely, then I might be transgender. That’s when it finally clicked for me.”
Now Lizz Lantz is in the process of gender affirmation and has bumped into some administrative and logistical challenges while seeking hormone replacement therapy. When asked about it, she said: “You know, I had this moment when I realized that everything is going to be an uphill battle. And I decided I wasn’t going to be one of those roadblocks for myself. If I already have to wait for hormones, then there’s no reason to force myself to wait to come out.”
Lizz Lantz said she feels that people generally try their best to be good people and to offer kindness to those around them.
“It’s hard to empathize with things we don’t know, so I hope that by opening up about my experience, I offer an opportunity for people to heighten their empathy toward the people around them,” she said.
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ContactElenita Makani O’Malley
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