In addition to her Pulse tattoo, Micaela has a tattoo of a stopwatch and butterfly. The stopwatch is set at 20 seconds, in reference to a quote from the movie We Bought a Zoo that Micaela quotes, “All you need is 20 seconds of insane courage, and anything is possible.” Micaela consistently displays that courage, such as when she had to quit her K-12 teaching job in order to safely transition. She uses her tattoos as an opportunity to engage people in conversation about trans rights, and comes out as trans to complete strangers on a regular basis. She came out as trans to her family on Transgender Remembrance Day in November 2015. She remembers the time between coming out and Pulse as being in a happy bubble, which burst shortly after she heard the news about Pulse. It was a wakeup call for her, and also a call to action. In the days after Pulse, Micaela counter-protested the Westboro Baptist Church, where met a lesbian couple. They didn’t exchange names, but the three-minute conversation stuck out to her as making her feel a part of the Orlando community. Shortly after, when she attended the vigil at Magic Kingdom proudly waving her trans flag, a trans man told her he was thrilled to see his community represented. Micaela and this man did not exchange names either, but when she found a spot at the Lake Eola vigil, she looked to her left and saw that lesbian couple – then looked to her right and saw that trans man. Micaela said it best when she expressed that she “felt like a number in this city, but Pulse really showed how connected we all are.”


  • Title: Micaela Iphys
  • Creator: Carrie Moran
  • Medium: Photography

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