Now Or Never

'Tell them boobs bye': Chantel Marostica's gender journey

'I'm waking up to a new chapter where I get to look the way that I feel like I do in my head — the way that I was meant to.'
At times Chantel Marostica has described their look as a cross between k.d. lang and Justin Bieber. (CBC / Winnipeg Comedy Festival)

For Chantel Marostica, the road to self-acceptance and finding identity has been a lifelong journey. The Winnipeg-born, Toronto-based comedian identified as female for much of their life. But recently, they came out as trans and non-binary.

"I feel like my androgyny and who I am as a person dips into the fact that I was raised female, assigned female at birth," they said. "I love women so much, but I was definitely meant to be a boy. It doesn't have to be black and white, or grey. It can be whatever I want."

It took 32 years for Marostica to get to this point. Until now, they've struggled to come to grips with who they are. It's a journey that started when Marostica was just a child.

Marostica was awarded the 2018 Best Breakout Artist at the Canadian Comedy Awards. (Submitted / Chantel Marostica)

"I remember when I was four, I was in kindergarten and I was in a dress," they recalled. "I used to kick up quite a stink. To get put in a dress — I hated it."

As Marostica got older, being bullied and constantly feeling out of place began to take its toll. It led them down a path to depression.

"I used to cut myself a lot. And I guess, as I grew older, drinking and doing drugs was a good coping mechanism," said Marostica. "You feel like you hate yourself, but you don't. You're just not allowed to be yourself, so you put the pain somewhere else."

It wasn't until Marostica finally found refuge in the LGBTQ community in Toronto that they were encouraged to simply be them self. They attended group therapy, where Marostica connected with other gay, transgender, and non-binary people. It became Marostica's safe space.

But there are still days where it's difficult to manage their gender dysphoria.

"My best friend asked me to go to the beach with his new boyfriend," they explained. "I was really excited, and then I thought about putting on a bathing suit, and people looking at me, and gendering me, and having to be so naked in public, wearing a bathing suit. I just crumbled and I just cried. You just realize that you're trapped in your body."

Marostica is holding a 'boob roast' on June 30 at the Comedy Bar in Toronto. (Submitted / Chantal Marostica)

Marostica has decided to get top surgery, a gender reassignment procedure that includes removing their breasts.

"It's a very real surgery. There's risks to it. [But I'll feel] joy that it'll finally be over, they'll be gone," they said. "What will that feel like? But I'm also waking up to a new chapter where I get to look the way that I feel like I do in my head — the way that I was meant to."

In true comedy form, Marostica feels the best way to honour and say goodbye to their breasts is by holding a 'boob roast'. The night will include various comedians who will take part in making fun of Marostica's breasts prior to the top surgery. You can catch the show in Toronto on June 30.