A local doctor is breaking barriers by opening up about her decision to become a woman.

Dr. Marissa Rodway-Norman has always identified as a woman, even though she was born a man. Rodway-Norman is the chief of psychiatry at Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital. 

“It's as if one is liberated from a jail that one was aware of, but unaware of how arduous it was to finally be free from the iron mask,” she says. “On a personal level I found myself to be immensely more relaxed. I found myself to be immensely more engaged. It allows me to be more effectual on a personal and professional level.”

The recent transition from Mark to Marissa is something her colleagues accepted and supported.

“We all worked with Marissa for seven years and I still stumble on Mark sometimes,” says Phillip Hough, a colleague. “Never meant offensively and never taken that way so we'll all get there eventually.”

Rodway-Norman's wife and daughter supported her transition, but her father struggled.

“As my spouse would say, ‘same spouse different wrapper,’” she says. “He's been very gracious for an 80-year-old traditional gentleman of Icelandic descent that is an achievement.

“I had no wish or desire to let him down, so that was an internal struggle for the both of us.”

Rodway-Norman says one of the most important issues she's currently facing is one that many can identify with – planning for Christmas.