The 'Drag Race' alum defends her decision to crowdfund her surgery and reveals how it's "altered my life altogether."
"When you look in the mirror, you wanna see the person that you feel you are in your mind and in your spirit and your body." Those are the words of Gia Gunn, a "RuPaul's Drag Race" alum who recently underwent transition surgery after coming out as a trans woman in 2017.
Gunn first rose to fame on Season Six of the reality competition in 2014, before she came out as trans last year. In a moving social media post, she revealed she had been on hormone replacement therapy for about a year. She later got a new birth certificate to reflect her transition that same summer, showing how she had legally changed her name to Gia Ichikawa.
The drag queen will appear on the upcoming season of "Drag Race All Stars," which she filmed before going under the knife. In October, after successfully raising the money for her surgery on GoFundMe, Gunn underwent breast augmentation and had a fat transfer to her butt and hips.
"I just feel like I got over a hump," Gunn told TooFab of her procedures. "I still feel like me. I think it's definitely helped with my look, so I can look in the mirror now and feel much more whole than I did before."
"And of course, yes, I think it has altered my life altogether," she continued. "Much of being trans is very mental, but it's also very physical. When you look in the mirror, you wanna see the person that you feel you are in your mind and in your spirit and your body."
That being said, Gunn noted that "just because this is part of my journey, I always try to [reiterate] that surgery is not a part of everybody's journey."
In order for Gunn to go on this journey, however, she turned to her fans to help pay for the procedures. In May, she set up her GoFundMe page and asked for a total of $30k to cover all the costs. It was a move that was criticized by some close to her -- including a few fellow "Drag Race" contestants, says Gunn -- who wondered why she needed to ask those who may be less well off for assistance.
"Everybody in life I feel deserves a chance to ask for help," she said, defending her choice. "I feel that I have served my community for a good time now, a good 6 years of hard work, of me not having it all be about just me."
"We as humans all have the right to ask for that and I was blessed," she added, saying she "definitely didn't think" she'd reach her goal. A good portion of the funds were raised by Jeremy Joseph, the owner of London's G-A-Y bar, and a few -- but not all -- of Gia's "Drag Race" sisters.
"Certain girls they didn't want to share it, they didn't agree that I was asking for this and that made me feel a certain type of way because us as a community, we should always be down to help each other," Gunn explained. "But I do have to say that the money that was raised through Jeremy's club was from the meet and greets of my 'Drag Race' sisters."
"He asked them if they were okay with these proceeds going to me," she explained. "I do believe some said no, but I do know a lot said yes. So thank you everybody."
Since coming out as trans, Gia said the line between Gia Gunn and Gia Ichikawa is getting harder to find.
"Drag will always be a big part of my life. Where's the line? I don't even know that there is one anymore," she told TooFab. "I think I spent many years trying to figure out what that line was and I got really frustrated with not being able to find that line. Now I'm just trying to embrace the fact that I'm a woman that does drag and that's it."
She does admit, however, that her drag alter-ego is "definitely more amped up" and "high glam." Gunn added, "If you catch me during the day, I'm very low key, yoga pants and a top, no makeup and casual. Because that is very much who I am as a woman."
Heading into 2019, Gunn hopes the added limelight from "All Stars 4" will lead to even more activism in the trans community.
"I look forward to working with campaigns and universities and doing public speaking, sharing my story, talking about some of these topics that we need to talk about," she explained.
Gunn plans to hit the road with a one-woman show, "This Is Me," which she describes as a "more theatrical presentation" of her act. She added, in closing, "Instead of my lip singing and dancing round a bar -- which is totally fine -- I look forward to being in theaters, selling out tickets and really showing people who I was, who I've become and where I'm going."
See Gunn stun when "RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars 4" premieres Friday, December 14 on VH1.