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High School Student Finds Strength to Come Out as Transsexual

Posted by on Apr. 7, 2012 at 9:37 AM
  • 18 Replies

A few months ago, Katie Forman donned a simple brown skirt and some eye shadow and headed off to school.

That wardrobe choice was a big step for Forman, one that she says has been met with support in the halls of Brecksville-Broadview Heights High School.

Forman, 18, is a male-to-female transsexual.

Forman said she realized when she was as young as 5 that something was different. She was fascinated with girls’ clothes, but hid her interests. This summer, Forman said she was depressed and in counseling, struggling with trying to be someone she wasn’t.

“You know what,” Forman says she told herself, “this is a waste of time.”

She’s been living as a woman for the past three months. Forman said that being transsexual is about “is how we feel inside.” It has nothing to do with sexuality, as opposed to cross-dressing. It’s not a temporary act or a fetish. It’s about changing one’s physical body to fit how they feel on the inside.

It’s been a bit rough at home—Forman said her mother doesn’t accept her decision. She deals with it by staying out of the house a lot, and she doesn’t dress like a woman when she’s at home. She does have an aunt and an uncle who are supportive.

But it’s a different story outside those doors. She had started dressing as a woman at places like the gym before coming out at school. Forman said her peers at the high school have mostly been supportive, telling her they respect her decision and calling her brave. Some have even taken to Twitter to defend and support her decision, Tweeting things like "let her be herself."

“I don’t think it was a big surprise for my teachers,” she said, smiling and noting that she had been wearing nail polish for months before making the change.

Although Forman hasn’t legally changed her name—her given name is Kyle—teachers and others have embraced her new name.

More steps lie ahead for Forman. She’d like to begin hormone therapy in the next few months, and eventually, she’d like to have surgery to complete her transition.

But those aren’t the only steps Forman has to look forward to. Like many other seniors at the high school, she’s headed off to college next year. She plans to attend Cleveland State University to study women’s studies and, possibly, political science. She’s already politically involved, spending much of her free time volunteering with the Obama for America campaign. She wants to see Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transgender rights protected.

Forman said the past few months have made a big difference for her. She’s not depressed anymore. She's involved in a local support group through Life Force Counseling, a step she would recommend to transsexuals. She encourages other young adults who are considering making that leap not to look too far ahead. It gets better once you’re 18, she said, and suggested that people give their families time if they don’t accept it at first. She thinks people should consider that being transsexual is not a choice—people have to do what they feel is right.

“Be yourself … People that matter will care enough about you,” she said.

http://brecksville.patch.com/articles/high-school-student-finds-strength-to-come-out-as-transsexual

 

Are these type of comments helping or hurting?  It has only been a few months and she is giving advice to others.  Perhaps it has gotten better for her because she is getting attention.  Perhaps it's getting better for her because she is going away to school.  Perhaps it's getting better for her....

It's great that it's getting better for her, and I hope and pray it continues to get better for her, but is it irresponsible for her to make statements telling others it gets better....?  There have been so many people make the "it gets better" statement whose "it gets better" is very short lived.  Many continue to struggle even when surrounded by a large support base, and many end up committing suicide. 

Is it possible to "get better" by only doing what feels right?  At what point does one get to before it's suggested a person needs to work on changing how they feel? 

by on Apr. 7, 2012 at 9:37 AM
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Replies (1-10):
purpleducky
by Silver Member on Apr. 7, 2012 at 10:00 AM

What comments are you referring to when asking if "these type of comments" are helpful or hurtful?

As for the it's get better statements, that is the whole point of the Trevor Project. It is to show others that it can get better. I don't think the statements are hurtful as long as resources are given to the individuals too to help their situations.

And I totally do not get your last paragraph.

romalove
by Roma on Apr. 7, 2012 at 10:06 AM

 My daughter has a friend who came out as gay on Facebook last week.  She always suspected he was gay (she is a drama kid, so she has a lot of gay friends and can recognize when she sees it), so she wasn't surprised.  He made the following announcement:

 Can we just—

He got tons and tons of positive comments and support.  This is a GREAT thing, and every time someone comes to terms with who they are, and can be more comfortable in their own skin, and let others know that it's OK for them, too, to be themselves, it's to be applauded.

What do you mean, they should work on changing how they feel? 

purpleducky
by Silver Member on Apr. 7, 2012 at 10:11 AM

That is so great that that kid got so much support. I have found that announcing on FB seems to be the safest way, lol.

Quoting romalove:

 My daughter has a friend who came out as gay on Facebook last week.  She always suspected he was gay (she is a drama kid, so she has a lot of gay friends and can recognize when she sees it), so she wasn't surprised.  He made the following announcement:

 Can we just—

He got tons and tons of positive comments and support.  This is a GREAT thing, and every time someone comes to terms with who they are, and can be more comfortable in their own skin, and let others know that it's OK for them, too, to be themselves, it's to be applauded.

What do you mean, they should work on changing how they feel? 


romalove
by Roma on Apr. 7, 2012 at 10:17 AM

 

Quoting purpleducky:

That is so great that that kid got so much support. I have found that announcing on FB seems to be the safest way, lol.

Quoting romalove:

 My daughter has a friend who came out as gay on Facebook last week.  She always suspected he was gay (she is a drama kid, so she has a lot of gay friends and can recognize when she sees it), so she wasn't surprised.  He made the following announcement:

 Can we just—

He got tons and tons of positive comments and support.  This is a GREAT thing, and every time someone comes to terms with who they are, and can be more comfortable in their own skin, and let others know that it's OK for them, too, to be themselves, it's to be applauded.

What do you mean, they should work on changing how they feel? 


 We have known this boy since he was 6 years old (the kids are 16 now).  I am terrible at figuring these things out (my mind rarely goes there, I don't care about anyone's sexual orientation unless they tell me) but my daughter knew for a long time.  He's a smart, sweet, very sensitive boy.  I'm glad the environment at my daughter's school is as embracing of all different kinds of kids as it is.

12hellokitty
by Platinum Member on Apr. 7, 2012 at 10:18 AM


Quoting purpleducky:

What comments are you referring to when asking if "these type of comments" are helpful or hurtful?

As for the it's get better statements, that is the whole point of the Trevor Project. It is to show others that it can get better. I don't think the statements are hurtful as long as resources are given to the individuals too to help their situations.

And I totally do not get your last paragraph.

I was referring to her comments telling people it gets better when you turn 18 and also telling people to do what feels good.  The trevor project "it gets better" has received much criticism within the GLBT community.  Not to long ago there was a guy who committed suicide after making an it gets better video.  The guy was not much different then this young woman.  He became involved in support groups and was even working as a counselor for GLBT and he still ended up taking his life. 

 

romalove
by Roma on Apr. 7, 2012 at 10:20 AM

 

Quoting 12hellokitty:

 

Quoting purpleducky:

What comments are you referring to when asking if "these type of comments" are helpful or hurtful?

As for the it's get better statements, that is the whole point of the Trevor Project. It is to show others that it can get better. I don't think the statements are hurtful as long as resources are given to the individuals too to help their situations.

And I totally do not get your last paragraph.

I was referring to her comments telling people it gets better when you turn 18 and also telling people to do what feels good.  The trevor project "it gets better" has received much criticism within the GLBT community.  Not to long ago there was a guy who committed suicide after making an it gets better video.  The guy was not much different then this young woman.  He became involved in support groups and was even working as a counselor for GLBT and he still ended up taking his life. 

 

 It may be that there are some people who are disturbed or depressed and coming out doesn't help them.

That doesn't mean that it doesn't help far more of them to be themselves and come out.

What is your suggestion?

purpleducky
by Silver Member on Apr. 7, 2012 at 10:21 AM


Quoting 12hellokitty:


Quoting purpleducky:

What comments are you referring to when asking if "these type of comments" are helpful or hurtful?

As for the it's get better statements, that is the whole point of the Trevor Project. It is to show others that it can get better. I don't think the statements are hurtful as long as resources are given to the individuals too to help their situations.

And I totally do not get your last paragraph.

I was referring to her comments telling people it gets better when you turn 18 and also telling people to do what feels good.  The trevor project "it gets better" has received much criticism within the GLBT community.  Not to long ago there was a guy who committed suicide after making an it gets better video.  The guy was not much different then this young woman.  He became involved in support groups and was even working as a counselor for GLBT and he still ended up taking his life. 


And yet some famous people and/or rich people who seemingly have everything commit suicide too. There are much larger issues involved with suicide than the simple thought process of "it will get better". I do not think telling others that it will get better is a bad thing as long as it is paired correctly with the proper resources. In addition, could you please clarify your last paragraph in the OP.

12hellokitty
by Platinum Member on Apr. 7, 2012 at 10:48 AM


Quoting romalove:

 

Quoting 12hellokitty:

 

Quoting purpleducky:

What comments are you referring to when asking if "these type of comments" are helpful or hurtful?

As for the it's get better statements, that is the whole point of the Trevor Project. It is to show others that it can get better. I don't think the statements are hurtful as long as resources are given to the individuals too to help their situations.

And I totally do not get your last paragraph.

I was referring to her comments telling people it gets better when you turn 18 and also telling people to do what feels good.  The trevor project "it gets better" has received much criticism within the GLBT community.  Not to long ago there was a guy who committed suicide after making an it gets better video.  The guy was not much different then this young woman.  He became involved in support groups and was even working as a counselor for GLBT and he still ended up taking his life. 

 

 It may be that there are some people who are disturbed or depressed and coming out doesn't help them.

That doesn't mean that it doesn't help far more of them to be themselves and come out.

What is your suggestion?

 

In what I have read people within the GLBT community have said people should say what made things better "for them" and not tell others things will get better....  There is much said about teens being bullied and committing suicide, but it doesn't seem like many are willing to address the possibility of these teens not receiving counseling beyond telling them to do what feels good and surround yourself with people who support you. 

 

purpleducky
by Silver Member on Apr. 7, 2012 at 10:52 AM


Quoting 12hellokitty:


Quoting romalove:

 

Quoting 12hellokitty:


Quoting purpleducky:

What comments are you referring to when asking if "these type of comments" are helpful or hurtful?

As for the it's get better statements, that is the whole point of the Trevor Project. It is to show others that it can get better. I don't think the statements are hurtful as long as resources are given to the individuals too to help their situations.

And I totally do not get your last paragraph.

I was referring to her comments telling people it gets better when you turn 18 and also telling people to do what feels good.  The trevor project "it gets better" has received much criticism within the GLBT community.  Not to long ago there was a guy who committed suicide after making an it gets better video.  The guy was not much different then this young woman.  He became involved in support groups and was even working as a counselor for GLBT and he still ended up taking his life. 


 It may be that there are some people who are disturbed or depressed and coming out doesn't help them.

That doesn't mean that it doesn't help far more of them to be themselves and come out.

What is your suggestion?


In what I have read people within the GLBT community have said people should say what made things better "for them" and not tell others things will get better....  There is much said about teens being bullied and committing suicide, but it doesn't seem like many are willing to address the possibility of these teens not receiving counseling beyond telling them to do what feels good and surround yourself with people who support you. 


Well that is very true. Then again many LGBTQ students are bullied by school staff members as well. The key is education of everyone. School staff (and adults in general) need to be taught to be tolerant of others and students and children need to be taught the same. Schools with organizations like Gay-Straight Alliances are better places for LGBTQ students than schools without such organizations. Many schools do not have safe zones.

In addition, many people do not know how to deal with "non-traditional" individuals. So they give them the whole speal about how it will get better and leave it at that. The communities I am part of do not do that. We tell others that but we also work to get them the help they need.

12hellokitty
by Platinum Member on Apr. 7, 2012 at 10:56 AM


Quoting purpleducky:


Quoting 12hellokitty:

 

Quoting purpleducky:

What comments are you referring to when asking if "these type of comments" are helpful or hurtful?

As for the it's get better statements, that is the whole point of the Trevor Project. It is to show others that it can get better. I don't think the statements are hurtful as long as resources are given to the individuals too to help their situations.

And I totally do not get your last paragraph.

I was referring to her comments telling people it gets better when you turn 18 and also telling people to do what feels good.  The trevor project "it gets better" has received much criticism within the GLBT community.  Not to long ago there was a guy who committed suicide after making an it gets better video.  The guy was not much different then this young woman.  He became involved in support groups and was even working as a counselor for GLBT and he still ended up taking his life. 

 

And yet some famous people and/or rich people who seemingly have everything commit suicide too. There are much larger issues involved with suicide than the simple thought process of "it will get better". I do not think telling others that it will get better is a bad thing as long as it is paired correctly with the proper resources. In addition, could you please clarify your last paragraph in the OP.


I agree there are many more issue involved with suicide then the simple process of it gets better.  Are you familiar with the criticisms within the GLBT community of the Trevor Project?  Many are concluding it's doing more harm then good, and that the GLBT community is failing teens in providing them with real counseling.   

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