A local celebrity on the Ole Miss campus, Danica McOmber, previously known as Derek McOmber, “The Singing Guy,” has decided to change his tune. McOmber is in the process of transitioning from a man to a woman.
A Facebook post dated June 29 was her method of telling everyone about her transition.
“As you all know, I have recently become engaged to my lovely Ladene,” she wrote. “What I have not brought up until now is that I (am) a transgender female.”
McOmber was only 11 when she realized she was meant to be a girl.
“When I was 11, so 20 years ago, I realized I wanted to be a girl,” she said. “I didn’t relate to any of the guys back then. I definitely didn’t relate to how they acted because I was very shy. I’ve never felt like I was supposed to be a boy. I always had more friends that were girls. “
So when McOmber was ready, she made the change.
“I transitioned fully to be a woman about a month ago,” she said. “So now I wear makeup and dresses, and I got my name changed and a new driver’s license.”
The first time McOmber made an appearance fully dressed as a woman, she went to Rooster’s. She wore a little black dress and heels. “I was extremely nervous,” she said. “I thought I looked okay, but I was just hoping for the best.”
McOmber said the feedback she received was better than she could have imagined. Compliments like “cute heels” and “you rock that” helped make it one of the best nights she’s ever had.
“I didn’t believe in myself,” she said, “but everyone else believed in me.”
McOmber started hormone replacement therapy in October of 2015. She will have to continue taking those hormones for the rest of her life.
“No one person is going to have the same kind of reaction to the hormones as the next person,” McOmber explained.
When asked about the amount of time the full transition would take, McOmber said, “It’s not an exact science.”
“Transitioning from male to female is a lengthy process with many risks,” she said. “But in the end it can often lead to great results.”
She said her family has been supportive.
In 2014 Danica told her now wife that she wanted to transition. The couple had been dating for only five months at the time. In August, the couple got married after two years of being together.
Quickly after, Mcomber began her transition.
“She’s been so supportive,” McOmber said about her wife, Ladene. “She came with me to do my hormones and now does most of my makeup, hair, eyebrows and nails.”
McOmber said the community has also been encouraging. “I have not encountered any prejudice other than when people say, ‘It’s not natural, but I accept it.'”
On the other hand, Ladene, McOmber’s wife, has experienced negative feedback.
“She had two guys tell her how it wasn’t natural and began to say some very derogatory things while at work,” McOmber explained.
McOmber’s favorite thing about being a woman is all the new accessories and items she can use.
“I’ve now found the most comfy shoes and jacket that I’ve ever had in my entire life and, of course, yoga pants are amazing,” she said.
McOmber believes one of the most rewarding things about her journey has been the compliments she has received and good-hearted people who have embraced her.
“Before, I had never been called handsome or anything, but so many people now have called me beautiful or have been jealous because I wear a dress better or that I have nice legs,” she said. “I’ve never had those kinds of compliments about my looks.”
McOmber has several hobbies, which include wine tasting, gaming and singing. She became famous on campus for singing while still a man. At the time, she never even knew she was famous.
“Two weeks after I started singing on campus, a friend of mine came up to me and goes, ‘You’re the singing guy,’ McOmber said while laughing. “I had no idea. Apparently everyone had been Snapchatting me and talking about it on social media. After that, I just kept singing.”
McOmber believes as long as long as she makes one person happy while singing that’s all that matters.
Ole Miss student Ellie Steyr said McOmber is an “inspiration.”
“I used to always see McOmber singing on campus, and it brought a smile to my face,” she said. “Now that I have heard about her transition, I think it’s great that she is so open and positive.”
On Wednesday nights you can find McOmber at Rooster’s Blues House and bar, where she continues to sing and make new friends.