By Eboni Bays-Holley
Lately more attention is being given to the identity and struggles of transgender individuals. While this attention is happening at a national scale, teens and families are locally impacted as well.
Being transgender can be difficult for some people to understand, but like anything that isn’t easily understood, the best place to go to is the source. There are great benefits from spending time talking to someone and getting to know their story.
Alex Crawford is a student at the Ohio School for the Blind. He, like other transgender people, was born feeling like he was in the wrong skin, which is contrary to most people’s perceptions that it is a fad. “I’ve always felt like a man. Ever since I was 3 years old,” Alex said. He began to tell his parents when he was 5 years old.
“At the time my mother and father were still together and my dad was a very conservative person. So he was completely against who I am. My mother didn’t really know how to feel about all of it,” Alex added.
After his parents got divorced when he was in the first grade, he moved in with his mother. “She began to be a little more accepting,” Alex said.
For a few years he wore a mix of girls and boys clothes. In the eighth grade Alex fully came out to people. “Including my mother and my stepfather. They were pretty okay with it,” Alex added.
Most of the students at his previous school were okay with it as well. “Except for the ones who bullied me,” he said.
Alex feels like being who he is isn’t a choice. He feels like it’s something that you are born with. It’s something that you can’t ignore, push away, or hide from.
Oliver Thomas is gender-neutral. He discovered this when he was in elementary. He just didn’t quite know how to express it. Oliver is also bisexual.
“I liked everybody. I mean liked liked,” Oliver said.
“Boys, girls, it didn’t matter. When I found out that there was an explanation for what I was, it was just wonderful,” Oliver added.
Everyone in his family is completely against what he is, what he stands for. They don’t support him at all, but his friends and partner do. They let him know that it is perfectly okay for him to be himself. They tell him not to hide, and not to be afraid of the outcome. So everyday is a new challenge for Oliver, but he does a lot of learning and growing along the way.