Meet a former decorated Marine who is leveraging Silicon Valley to establish the first all-inclusive online resource for Transgender Americans.
Born Mark Marquis, Kris (short for “Kristen,” her chosen name) grew up in a suburban town outside of Houston, Texas in the 1970s, 80s, and early 90s, where one didn’t question something as taboo as feeling gender misplaced. “There wasn’t a lot known about this topic, and it was horribly taboo to discuss,” recounts Kris of those early years in life. “The environment around me cast a shadow of fear to not talk about these things, so I buried it.”
Questioning his own gender and gender norms with no outlet for expression, Kris fled Houston after high school graduation to join the military. At the age of eighteen, he was stationed on a Marine base in 29 Palms, California. Still living full-time as Mark, Kris was thrust headfirst into the mega-macho world as a rifleman in a Marine Infantry Division. At twenty-three Kris exiting the military honorably after 4 years of service, worked a few years then returned to college graduating from McCombs School of Business in Austin with degrees in Data & Information Systems in addition to Marketing.
“No matter how driven or how much I buried myself in other activities, I was always conflicted with my gender identity,” she says. “It’s something that never goes away.” When, finally at the age of 27, Kris decided to seek out guidance to address her feelings she found it near impossible to locate the proper local help, going from therapist to therapist in search of someone who specialized in gender identity issues. After an exhaustive search, Kris found The Rosenberg Gender Clinic in Galveston, Texas where she went for therapy for 6 months, before being referred to an endocrinologist to begin hormone treatment at the age of 28.
“I’ve gone off of hormones and gone back on them again, back and forth, ever since. It’s been a long road to finding my own balance.” Now at 42, Kris lives androgynously, though she is still seeing doctors and still taking hormones. When pressed to specify gender, she states, “I’m in between. Predominantly, I’m gender fluid, but I mainly identify as female.”
Now settled in California’s Bay Area, and working in tech software, Kris is certain about the need for accessible quality care for parents of transgender children, and transgender and gender fluid Americans.
Kris has founded Genderis.com. The purpose of Genderis is to modernize access to quality care and services, creating a safe place where people can find the resources and support they need in one organized service; everything from counseling and qualified physicians to electrolysis and beyond. “People can’t find the right care, and sometimes when they do, they are often looked down upon or treated badly. This is a problem!” states Kris.
Genderis aims to provide people with a modern directory of the right doctors, therapists, estheticians, a full suite of services and professionals who are compassionate and trans-friendly.
Professional resources that will be available through Genderis membership will be vetted for and by our community. These professionals know about the transition process, they are accepting, and they and their staff are knowledgeable. Professional health and wellness resources found through the Genderis website provide environments where patients and clients can be themselves to see a provider, and not feel judged, but feel welcome, critical to finding balance and to minimizing the overwhelming trend of suicide rates.
“All people deserve to have access to quality professional care and to be productive members of society, and transgender people are no different,” insists Kris. Operating out of Silicon Valley with developers in tow and a growing number of advisors by her side, Kris is sparing no expense to make Genderis the comprehensive online resource it needs to be.
The Genderis online application will offer levels of Care Package Subscriptions, Local Resources and Care Management Dashboards for its members.
Currently on board as an advisor for Genderis is Dr. Vivienne Ming, PhD and Chairperson of the Neuroscience department at UC Berkley. Dr. Ming is also the founder of startup, Socos – providing cognitive learning science solutions for students. She has given TED Med Talks, and had been a regular guest of The Oprah Show.
Kris is asking that members of the LGBTQ community visit http://genderis.launchrock.com/ to gain some information about Genderis and to sign up for the mailing list to be notified for the site’s official launch.