A few months ago, Katie Forman donned a simple brown skirt, a hoodie 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 .
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.
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