“Since I’ve come out, I’ve really started enjoying DJing in a whole different way.”
Amidst the dozens of glimmering discoballs that hovered above the dancefloor, a radiant energy pierced through what was already a jovial crowd. Her exuberance soaring with each thump of a kickdrum, she elevated the spirits of those in attendance.
It’s a passion that she, herself, recently reconnected with. The adoration for her craft was losing steam, a train to nowhere slowly stalling in its tracks. However, as she came to terms with her own identity, she inadvertently reignited her love for the art of DJing.
In December of 2020, as the world coped with the ramifications of the pandemic, Worthy was dealing with major repercussions of her own after announcing that she is transgender.
Worthy, who cofounded the famed dance music label Dirtybird and launched her own Anabatic Records imprint, penned a poignant message on her social media accounts mere months after coming to the realization of her gender identity. Going in blind, she hoped for the best, knowing this was the next major step in her process.
What followed was an outpouring of support from friends and colleagues, but more importantly, her fans.
Throughout the pandemic, she’s performed on Twitch’s Dirtybird channel in her own weekly show, “Worthy Wednesdays.” As she read through the chatrooms of the popular streaming platform, she gained a sense of confidence, allowing her to experiment with different sounds. Those new sounds have now found their way into clubs as venues across the country start to reopen.
It was there, on a technicolor dancefloor, where we saw Worthy’s passion shine. As the main headliner in an all-transgender lineup, the beacon that is her truth illuminated the dazzling gay nightclub.
Prior to that engagement, Worthy caught up with us to share her story. Sincere and forthright, she detailed her coming out experience and hinted at what’s next as her journey continues.
EDM.com: Coming out can be one of the most difficult things anyone can go through. What led you to the decision to finally come out as transgender?
Worthy: I knew at some point I had to come out. It was this clear feeling and message that I got that this is what will take you forward in this process. But I was so scared to come out. What are people gonna say? what are people gonna think of me? Am I going to lose fans? Are my friends going to leave me? How is the industry going to treat me?
I was feeling really sick, I was hating myself and I just felt like hiding. But it also felt so weird not telling people what’s going on with me.
When I came out, it was all love and support and I said to myself, “This is kind of crazy.” I made a post a couple of days later online and got even more support and I just started getting more and more open with my posts. As I started doing these posts, I got the realization that this is helping me move forward. I was being so brutally honest about what I’m going through and that was helping me confront myself more and taking bigger strides.
EDM.com: The sincerity of your social media posts is what made us reach out to you. Have you always been an open person?
Worthy: No. I was really closed off before I came out. That caused me to be super reserved, shy, and quiet for most of my life. I was scared to look at this part of myself.
EDM.com: When did you come to terms with the fact that you were a transgender person?
Worthy: I was working with a therapist and talked about these emotions of dressing up as a girl and what that meant, but it never came up that I might be transgender. So it was kind of crazy when it was said to me by my ex-wife.
After I told her about my therapist and how I liked to dress up, she said to me, “I think you might be trans and that’s what’s been going on with you.” It took that one person to say it for me to realize it.
EDM.com: Prior to telling your ex-wife, how did you resonate those emotions and feelings within yourself if you did not think of yourself as transgender?
Worthy: I just thought I had this weird kink for dressing up. I thought I was so attracted to women that I had to imagine being one. That’s what made it okay for me.
I would tell myself it was just this weird thing I do, and I don’t know why I do it. I’d make excuses for it and I was super ashamed for it. So ashamed. I’d feel very wrong and disgusting after I would get dressed up.
Now I look back and I see that I wasn’t cross-dressing. I was just getting dressed up like any other girl.
EDM.com: Thank you for sharing that. You’ve been sharing your truth with fans of your music as well—what’s the fan reaction been like?
Worthy: It’s been surreal. I didn’t see the support that I was gonna have and it’s been amazing just to read the comments from people. I read every single one of them, no matter what.
I’ve had a couple of people who are trans that are still working through their emotions reach out to me, as well as parents of trans children thanking me for coming out and being so open. People who are going through heavy stuff are reaching out to connect with me.
EDM.com: Do you find comfort in knowing that your courage is now touching lives and helping others in their journey?
Worthy: I realized it shortly after I started doing these posts. It’s amazing to go from being this dark cloud, and now coming out and just shining and radiating light to people.
EDM.com: Good metaphor there! You’re bringing people sunshine and lollipops.
Worthy: Yes (laughs). Early on in my coming out, I came out to my daughter’s best friend’s mom. I was telling her my story and literally the world just all of a sudden got brighter.
I was living under a veil my entire life. How is it possible that the mind can just hide parts of ourselves? It’s crazy.
EDM.com: Unfortunately, the world isn’t always accepting. Have you had to face any negativity since your announcement?
Worthy: I’ve definitely had a couple of random people post some mean, super transphobic comments. I lost like 2,000 followers on Instagram after coming out. That was really surprising. I didn’t know who they were but I did see it going down and it was a little scary for a minute.
EDM.com: Have you taken any action towards addressing the criticism?
Worthy: With some negative comments, I’ve let my followers handle the replies. Otherwise I usually just delete them. I don’t know what else I could do to combat that other than just being myself. I wish it wasn’t like that.
EDM.com: Do you consider yourself an advocate for the transgender community?
Worthy: I think the time for me to be a super standout advocate is in the future. Right now I’m working through so much stuff emotionally and it’s a bit hard for me to be a crazy advocate. I feel like I need to figure out exactly where I land and become comfortable in myself as a trans person before I start advocating in those ways. But I do see that in my future.
EDM.com: Have you ever participated in Pride events or surrounded yourself within the broader gay community?
Worthy: In the past, I’ve played at pride parties in San Francisco that were really fun. I didn’t have any trans friends but I’ve had gay friends over the years, especially being in the house music scene.
EDM.com: The global pandemic put a pause on our industry. As an artist, how did you cope with the last year?
Worthy: The pandemic definitely caused me to look at myself and figure this out. I had just moved out from living with my ex-wife when the pandemic hit. I had to move back and quarantine with her and our daughter. It was like a bad sitcom. But eventually, we started becoming better friends.
I was by myself every night, and I think having all that time to myself eventually led to me discovering my identity. If it wasn’t for the pandemic, I don’t know if I would’ve figured this out.
EDM.com: As the dance world slowly returns, you’ve recently started performing again. What are the reactions you’re seeing on the dancefloor?
Worthy: Everybody’s excited to hear a big sound system again but everyone’s been more spread out. It’s a step, but it’s not the same. It’s hard to connect when everyone is so separated. You’re not getting that energy that you feed off of as DJs.
But playing on a big sound system again is the best feeling. I haven’t done it in so long and I feel lucky to have that opportunity.
EDM.com: You also have your own show on Twitch called “Worthy Wednesdays” Did that become an outlet for your artistry throughout the pandemic?
Worthy: Yes, it’s allowed me to explore music differently and find different sounds that I like. I’ve been taking down a lot of the barriers that I put on myself as a DJ.
Since I’ve come out I’ve really started enjoying DJing in a whole different way. I can’t really describe exactly what it is, but I just feel like I have a better time than I did before coming out. Before I was feeling like I was grinding and trying to get through sets.
And then it just changed. Maybe it was just the interaction I had in the Twitch chats. I like that there’s a level of freedom that I didn’t have before.
EDM.com: It sounds like there’s a sort of reawakening within your artistry that has been sparked from owning your truth.
Worthy: Definitely. It’s showing up in my DJing and that’s been really cool. I was a little burned out of it before the pandemic and all of a sudden it’s given me a whole new love for being a DJ.
EDM.com: Has this sparked your creative process at all? Possibly generating new music?
Worthy: I’m trying to get my creative process going again. Before the pandemic, I was having a difficult time and then I came out and I had no bandwidth for trying to create.
I’ve just recently started trying to get back to a creative flow and it’s taking me a while to figure out where that goes. I’m getting some ideas but I know once I get it going it’s gonna be flying out of me.
I’m still working through a lot of stuff internally. There’s a level of acceptance I haven’t gotten to yet. I’m sure once I get through that acceptance things are gonna be very different with my music. But I don’t know what that looks like or feels like yet.
EDM.com: What does the rest of the year look like for you?
Worthy: I’m planning to put out a small album at some point, hopefully within the next six months. I have a bunch of tracks that I didn’t release before the pandemic and possibly make another track or two to get the creativity flowing. There’s a bit of rebranding with myself so I’m still working on that.
EDM.com: Rebranding? Can you elaborate?
Worthy: I’m not really ready to go into that. I wanna let it out when it happens, and that’s gonna happen when it feels right.