Kerrville morning radio host transitions in a very public way
For someone who is transgender, their journey is typically complicated. Transitioning is a huge step, and it’s even more daunting in a small town, when you’re a local celebrity.
Meet Mikaela Taylor. Taylor is the host of the “Morning Mayhem Show” on 99.1 Mike FM in Kerrville, Texas. Every weekday morning, Taylor and sidekick Radkowski run a humor-driven morning radio show with plenty of funny bits and jokes and modern music.
Mikaela is married, and between her and her wife has five children. She's about six months into her hormone replacement therapy after announcing on social media, and later on the air, that she is a trans woman.
Mikaela’s journey with gender dysphoria began at an early age, but in her teen years, things got worse. "My body was making changes and I wasn't comfortable with the changes," she said. "And I was told before then, you know, before I hit puberty that my body would be making these changes. And it didn't sound very appealing to me when I was told that. And then they started happening. And that's that's when everything just kind of got out of control."
She struggled with her feelings. She turned to alcohol and drugs. At one point, Mikaela considered suicide. Then, there was the first time she tried on women’s clothing. She described the experience. "It was complete euphoria. I finally felt complete. And that was the the first time in my life that I had ever felt like that. And, you know, I had substance abuse problems at the time. I was an alcoholic. At the time, I had a few months of sobriety that first time. But actually I felt like I saw myself more in the mirror. That was actually me. And not, you know, what I had become."
In 2021, Mikaela had told her wife about her feelings, before she made the decision to transition. She asked her wife Chelsea to go on a “girls trip” to Antonio.
“I wanted to go to the River Walk. I wanted to go to different places in San Antonio," Mikaela said. "I wanted to go where nobody knew me. Where nobody would know who I was and just walk about around and be free and be myself.”
Chelsea went with it.
"We kind of went shopping and she's like, you know, I want to buy some some female clothes for myself. And I was like, 'Really? I guess this is something we're doing.' And so she did. She bought some female clothes for herself," she said.
It was that night out that convinced Mikaela to transition
"And I just said to myself, I'm a trans woman. And I felt an instant sense of relief. My shoulders dropped. They'd been tense for 20 years or whatever," said Taylor.
Chelsea has embraced Mikaela’s transition. "As far as me and Mikaela go, you know, I married her. I married her because I love her. I love the person she is. And, you know, it doesn't matter if she's a man or a woman. I'm going to love her just the same," she said.
Chelsea has seen Mikaela begin to change. "She's a lot more emotional, that's for sure. Things with the kids that I would get emotional over like, 'oh, it's the first day of school,' it's this and that. And, you know, before, it wasn't really a big thing to her. And now she gets emotional about that stuff right along with me," Chelsea said.
Then came going public. Her bosses were supportive. On her morning show before she officially came out, Mikaela and co-host Radkowski began to occasionally reference her transition. One morning they joked about giving the employee of the month award "to a Mike Taylor, who no longer works at the company."
Kerrville, with a population just over 23,000 people, is a fiercely conservative town. About 75 percent of voters went Republican in the last presidential election. "I expected to have to pack my family up and move out of town," she said. "You know, Kerrville is a very conservative area. I was expecting the rocks and beer bottles."
But the community has embraced Mikaela. Kelsey Wallace is a long time listener of the show. She loved feeling like she was a part of Mikaela's transition. "I thought it was the coolest thing to know that this is how Mikaela has felt for so many years, I was glad to be a part of the whole coming out story," said Wallace.
Despite the support from the community and radio listeners, Taylor says there was one casualty in her relationships. After seeing a picture of Mikaela wearing makeup, her father stopped talking to her.