First Person


This Trans High School Student Found Love and Acceptance

Ethan is a popular 17 year-old guy living in the Bronx. He has a girlfriend whom he loves, a team of friends that have his back, and a doting younger sister. His gender transition story is an unblinking look at the reality that can exist when school administrations act in the best interest of our youth.

AIRED: July 03, 2018 | 0:07:44

For me it was a process with coming out like at first I came out as bisexual you know liking

both men and women.

Then I came out as lesbian liking only women.

Then after that I was like whoa it's deeper than that.

I'm transgender.

Therefore makes me straight since I don't like women.

So like a process coming out every time.

But the very first time that I ever came out to my sister was coming out as bisexual when

we were about like nine and eight.

And I was trying to figure out a way like how do I say.

And so what I did was I took a piece of paper and I drew the hangman game and then the note for her

to solve it.

I was like I'm bisexual.

So I was like OK you have to guess it now.

And then when she finally gets the whole thing I was like wait you can't see it take it and

go to the bathroom.

And so she took it to the bathroom and then she came back like either side and she was

like I knew! like I already knew this why are you-

And I was just shaking the whole time.

And now we just look back at it and we laugh because like I was just so nervous and so

and she was like bro I already knew.

Oh wait that happened.

All I remember was me saying to him I'm playing with J. And then you were playing with Anessa

during sophomore year my best friend J. Jason he came out to me as transgender as well.

So I'm here like OK well what does that mean.

I've never heard the word before so when I looked up information on what it means to

be transgender.

And as I was reading I was like Yo this is me like this describes me.

And then sophomore year towards the end I came out to my mother and my younger sister

she helped me come out to my mother because I was really nervous.

And then for junior year I had cut my hair off.

I came to school and told everybody I go by Ethan now use male pronouns please you know.

And so what I really like about my classmates as well is that once they heard the teacher

say Ethan everybody was like a little confused like what's going on for nobody ever really


So they just straight was like OK.

Ethan. he and him. you know.

But again they are always a little clique of people who have something to say.

So you know they just talk about everything like oh what's what's in her pants or whatever.

You know saying all these things and if my friends are there, they're quick to shut it down.

So I really appreciate my friends for that.

We're all teenagers.

So even though we go out to educate other people we still have a lot to learn ourselves.

So when we're in the GSA we meet Mondays after school and we would have our counselor Jennifer

she's the one who runs the whole thing.

We would have her in here and we would just discuss things you know that are going around

the world like LGBT relations.

We also try to see how we can you know better school for other students who may not be out

because of school in the Bronx.

There's a lot of homophobia.

Even though people may say oh it's a joke.

So last year we had a workshop for teachers and staff.

So the GSA led that workshop for them on how to make our school much better and safer place

for all students.

You might as well just quit the game for a few hours so and scores more of my safe place

rather than home is because I home my family is religious.

I mean my dad is more religious than everybody else in the house.

So I don't really have a I want to say a good relationship because I love my dad and he

loves me.

The thing is when it comes to like this whole thing about being transgender and liking girls

and you know when it comes to the LGBT community anything about politics those type of things

he doesn't want to hear.

So we don't really discuss these things now.

On the other hand my mom I have an extremely close connection with her.

The thing is ever since I came out as trans that connection has kind of altered itself

a bit because we would argue more like she would ask me why can't you just like guys.

So one day I told her Well it's not really a choice it's just who I am.

I'm trying to go see my girl.

Guys we leave basically whenever we travel to a Dominican Republic and we go see our

other family members.

My younger sister she's 16.

She has a boyfriend.

They've been together for about two years now.

So we go over there you know the families the aunts and everybody's like como esta,

and like how's the boyfriend? you got a boyfriend? and then you can see by the way

that I dress by the way that I act the way that I express myself and they have the audacity

to come to me and be like Oh so what about your boyfriend.

But my mom just doesn't want me to tell my family like oh no I have a girlfriend.

You know even though everybody you know it's just she doesn't want me to say it because

it makes it much more real for them.

I have a surprise for her.

I would like a little island where I put all her pictures all over pictures videos.

You know the show my girlfriend if she sees this she's not going to believe me.

But I've never felt that way about a girl like first sight.

And you know how you get the butterflies in your stomach.

I've had girlfriends before and it's like I never really had this reaction to it.

We were different.

I had a girlfriend once and she would tell me like I want you to slow down your process

because I'm not ready for you.

I fell in love with it and she said my birth name.

And then she was suddenly just slowed down so you know me being me I was like OK I understand.

And then a few months went by and I'm like I'm not for this.

I got to put myself first.

That was when we was on in her house.

I've had cousins in Dominican Republic who are gay lesbian bisexual.

So ever since I came out they kind of look up to me and they're like OK I'm going to

follow in your footsteps because I see that even though it's hard for you get you happier

living as who you are.

And even though it's still hard for my mom she has become someone that the other parents

in my family go to like they like how do you deal with your kid being like this.

And my mom would just tell them Look you have to love them and respect them.

And you know like I had to hug my mom because it's like I know this is hard for you but

I know that you're trying.

And the fact that you're you know giving advice to all these other parents about accepting

their kids is like hey I really love you like this crazy.

This tattoo has a lot of meaning to me.

It says power on it.

So my next tattoo.

I'm not sure where I'm going to do it but it's going to say patience because I'm telling

for something like this.

You need so much patience with everyone from friends to family to people on the street

you need so much patience with them.

So my advice for you know other people would be have patience with your Self, have patience

with other people because your time will come.

And on top of that if somebody does try to say something to you if it's bothering you

speak to someone and I just think all young people specifically since we're so impatient

with everything we just want to get out the house I want to go do this I want to do that

just have patience.


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