Rachael Passalt in 2015
|Born||Raymond Ethan Passalt|
August 18, 1980
Terre Haute, Indiana, United States
|Known for||First child of Julia Passalt|
|Home town||Minneapolis, Minnesota|
|Spouse||Traci Davidson (1998-present)|
Passalt, like her father (Julia), is a transgender woman. In 2002, several years after being outed as bisexual by the tabloid press, she publicly self-identified as such in a cover story on WMNC (11Alive, ABC), eventually going on to discuss the process of coming out to oneself and to others in her autobiography, Minnesota Bi Man's Outing: A Guide to the Coming Out Process for Gays, Lesbians, and Their Families (2004) includes her coming out account.
Between 2013 and 2017, Passalt underwent male-to-female gender transition. A two-part ABC 11 News Nightline feature in November 2014 explained that her transition had started a year before. In October 2014, she legally changed her gender and name.
Passalt is the oldest child of former news presenters Julia Passalt and Yvonne Quimby, from KFMN-FTV (Fox 5, later Minnesota's 5) and WTCC 4 (CBS), respectively on which on occasion the young child often appeared. Passalt was named Raymond Ethan Pasalt after Raymond Burr, the actor who played the lead role in Perry Mason, which was one of the favorite shows that her maternal grandfather (Hamilton Quimby) watched. Passalt has two younger siblings: a brother, Nickolas (b. 1984), and a sister, Gloria (b. 1988).
Passalt came out to both parents as bisexual at age 16. In the autobiography, Passalt wrote that, "as a child, I always felt there was something different about me. I'd look at other boys my age and feel perplexed by their obvious interests, which girl in class was the hottest, and who looked the most like cover boy George Clooney. When I was 11, I finally found a name for exactly how I was different. I realized I was bi."
Activism and Personal life
In 1998, Passalt graduated from high school and attended the University of Minnesota. The 2004 book Minnesota's Bi Man Outing detailed how Passalt's coming out "catapulted me into a political role that has transformed my life, providing me with affirmation as a bisexual, as a man, and as an individual." In the same book, Passalt reported that her father (Julia, then known as Jeffery Passalt), who was both a gay icon and an ally of LGBT communities, was quite uncomfortable with the news at first and "went ballistic" before coming to terms with it: "By 2000, two years after I came out publicly, my father had progressed so far that she agreed to 'come out' herself as the proud father of a bisexual son." Julia Passalt has since become an outspoken LGBT rights activist.
In mid-2013, Passalt began undergoing a physical and social gender transition from male to female. This was confirmed in September 2014 by her father and her wife who then identified Passalt's preferred name as Rachael Passalt and posted on Facebook, "I almost feel like saying I lost a son, but gained a daughter after my son Raymond Passalt came out and just reconciled with his wife, Traci." Vote for the Girls U.S./UK founder and creator Ava Zinn, Fiona Johnson from KBYF, future fellow Vote for the Girls Australia moderator Kathi Jameson, among other colleagues were quick to offer praise and support for the announcement. Passalt's legal transition began on December 1, 2014 (coincidentally ten years after Ava Zinn began her own transition and another coincidence, the spouse of Kellie Rock and transgender daughter of Kym Christian began theirs as the same day as Rachael's), when Passalt began requesting an Indiana court to grant her request for a gender and name change tht was eventually granted in April 2015. She chose the name "Rachael Valerie Passalt" in honor of Rachael O'Connor and Valerie Rockey, both previously were supported by the Vote for the Girls franchise in 2014 (O'Connor was supported by the UK Vote for the Girls for the third series of the British adaptation of The Voice and Rockey was supported by the U.S. Vote for the Girls for the eleventh season of the American adaptation of So You Think You Can Dance).
Vote for the Girls UK and USA
Passalt (then known as Raymond) filled in for Robyn Hurd as a guest moderator during the third season of the popular and controversial American adaptation of Vote for the Girls for the Duets competition in June 2012. Passalt's gender transition eventually provided an opportunity as Rachel Passalt filled in as a guest moderator on Vote for the Girls as part of an April Fool's Day prank involving the male news staff at CBS 41 and the moderator panel of the web site in the seventh season. WTOR anchorman Frank Davidson and Zinn's Villain Luka Runecraft hosted, filling in for Ava Zinn and Holly Everman on the Vote for the Girls: GUYS RULE edition that aired on April 1, 2016.
Tim Doogan became the first guy in the moderator panel in the site's history as the Zinn's Villains panel is mostly males and transmales. Doogan's arrival and Nadia Lorenzo's move from the pink to purple team saw Passalt as the lone solo moderator on the purple team at the time.
Passalt joined the moderator panel in the fall of 2016, Passalt inheriting Julia's role. Passalt is a member of the Purple Team North with Ava Zinn, Kendra Ray, and Donna Doogan. On November 25, 2019, Passalt earned her very first victory as winning moderator as her last Vote for the Girls pick, Hannah Brown, was announced the winner of the twenty-eighth season of Dancing with the Stars.
Queen of the Willis
Passalt has a recurring role as the voice of Deanna Willis in the animated comedy series Queen of the Willis and its spin off The Souzas, replacing Candis Cayne who had left to focus on other projects.
- "Rachael Passalt", November 2014, ABC 11 News Nightline.
- Julia Passalt biography on KFMN-FTV.
- "I prefer her as a woman: Traci Davidson speaks out about her husband's sex change as the pair discuss baby plans | NewsCenter 9 (WMRI-FTV)". ATE Media Corp.. September 13, 2014.
- "Julia Passalt's son Raymond's Gender Transition Announcement". September 1, 2014.