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High School Student Finds Strength to Come Out as Transsexual

Katie Forman began her transition as a senior at Brecksville-Broadview Heights High School.

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.

celeste April 06, 2012 at 05:25 PM
So sad she doesn't have family support :( I have a transgender son, and I fully support him. I can't imagine going through that alone as an adolesent.
Chris Riggi April 06, 2012 at 06:05 PM
Hooray Katie! It's so cool to see you in the Brecksville Patch! I admire Katie's bravery very much.
Heather Scott April 06, 2012 at 11:09 PM
It can get tough some times, but in the end we don't really have the choice to be someone we're not. Don't try to fit into anyone elses box (male or female). Just be you, enjoy not hiding, and you will be truely happy. - Heather (MTF)
Ela Darling April 07, 2012 at 03:40 PM
Beautiful. It's thrilling to hear about someone so young making the choice to embrace themselves as the person they know they are rather than hide who they are. It's especially beautiful that high school students are so accepting of her. Hope the parents adapt similarly soon!
Jim Thrall April 07, 2012 at 06:55 PM
Congrats from California. A well-written, positive article supporting this young woman. I am really happy to hear about a school in a positive context rather than the bullying that makes all the headlines. Keep it up Brecksville-Broadview Heights High School in Ohio.
morgan sheridan April 07, 2012 at 07:03 PM
Best wishes to Katie. Hope her parents come around to become supportive and loving of her as she is, not as they want her to be.
Lisa Salazar April 07, 2012 at 07:36 PM
Be strong, Katie. Congruence in your person in a wonderful thing.
Jessica Whittington April 07, 2012 at 11:21 PM
Congrats Katie, as a m2f trans woman 4 years into transition now I can tell you it DOES get better and there is no substitute for living life as who you are. Stay strong and know there is a place in this world for (twitter) #girlslikeus.
Brittany Jillian Huff April 07, 2012 at 11:35 PM
So proud of you, Katie! You go girl!
ofie April 08, 2012 at 02:40 AM
As a mother of a 10 yr old m2f affirmed girl I applaud your bravery. I support my child and I can't imagine not doing it. Your parents will come around. Just stay true to yourself!!
lalala April 08, 2012 at 03:06 AM
Lack of compassion and acting judgmental towards another person seems more like a mental disorder to me...
Miranda April 08, 2012 at 05:54 AM
Gestr Einherrar - you're trolling, right? You know "reparative therapy" is foolish and dangerous and never "corrects" anything. You lack of understanding and downright bigotry shows you for who you really are, and it's not the lone voice of reason I'm sure you imagine yourself to be.
R Stephen Gracey April 08, 2012 at 12:44 PM
Yay, Ohio! We get such bad political press for being a backward, oppressive state, but I'm proud of Northeast Ohio. Go, Katie! Go, Brecksville! GO, OHIO! Stephen (Lakewood, OH)
Elissa Marcelle April 08, 2012 at 02:47 PM
Lovely story, but I was a bit off put by some of the wording and especially by the fact that they gave out both her legal name and the college she's going to be attending, that opens her up for stalking, harassment and violence.
Michele W April 08, 2012 at 05:18 PM
I have to agree with Elissa, but overall this is a very enlightening story that I would hope helps some transsexuals breakout and be themselves.
casey April 08, 2012 at 05:22 PM
Thats great too hear that some one understands and acepts us for who we are
Valerie Ann April 08, 2012 at 08:38 PM
As a transwoman with surgery coming in August, I admire the daylights out of you for making your decision early. I am 61 and have suffered a lifetime. You dear, have a very full and rewarding life ahead of you! Good for you girl!
Mitchell April 08, 2012 at 09:13 PM
That is great! Be yourself, only you may understand how you feel. It took me up to my adult years to finally come to terms with myself. You have an amazing strength, sorry to hear that you do not have family support. I have some of my family, but not all support me. Stay strong. (ftm)
April April 09, 2012 at 03:57 AM
This is so nice to hear how well Katie is being treated at school and outside her house. Good luck Katie, hopefully your home life will get better but besides that continue being the strong girl you are!
Zoe Bednarik April 09, 2012 at 07:49 AM
Just awesome Katie! As a Transgender in North Royalton right next Brecksvile/Broadview, I love to see this in our area! Go hard and stay strong girl, your awesome!
Katie Forman April 09, 2012 at 04:35 PM
You want to meet up some where? I would love to meet you in person!
mykayla April 09, 2012 at 05:59 PM
we need more stories like these on the internet, so that people can realize there is nothing wrong w/ wanting to be who you are, on the inside, and that loving yourself for who you are, and loving others for who they are, is what this country needs right now. You go, Katie! i applaud you for going against the grain and not making yourself suffer just to make everyone else happy. you will become a positve role model for those that are afraid.
Skulander April 10, 2012 at 01:55 AM
What a courageous woman! I'm glad things are going well for her at school. It's too bad she's not accepted at home, but these things take time. It's a huge, huge step for her mom. I hope in time she'll realize her daughter is exactly the same person she was before deciding to dress as a woman. Big steps indeed lie ahead for Katie and I wish her all the best! She seems determined to affect a positive change in this world, and we sure need more people like her,
Jennifer Malone-Walters April 10, 2012 at 02:03 AM
Good luck, Katie! Your story is inspiring! Just take time with your parents - they will come around. Keep smiling and just be you!!!
Kate Bigam April 10, 2012 at 03:18 PM
Mazel tov, Katie, on having the courage to live as yourself in a world that isn't always welcoming. I wish you all the best & sincerely hope your mother will come around soon.
Miranda April 11, 2012 at 09:09 AM
I'm curious as to whether you thought anyone would think that you had anything valid to say with a handle like "Hugh G. Rection." Especially when you're posting classic high-school homophobia and transphobia.
Ambur johnson April 11, 2012 at 11:22 AM
You are a brave one! When you come to Cleveland there are groups here too. I am glad that you are getting the right help that helps you be who you are and not encouraging you to be something that brings you down. Good luck!
Liz B April 11, 2012 at 12:20 PM
Good for you Katie! Please remember that the intolerance of jerks like Hugh G Rection is not your problem, it's theirs. I am a graduate of your high school, and I recall the intolerance, ignorance, and homophobia well. I hope it has improved in 20 years. Find your strength in those who support you, and do your best to ignore those who don't. Only 2 months left!
Con Fidential April 20, 2012 at 07:59 AM
Katie ~ You are my new hero !! It's NOT sexual, not fetish, not cross dressing And NOT temporary! It Really Is "What's Inside." You speak truth and truth is beautiful. Please continue educating others. You are "Real" and I THANK YOU!! If you need any support from Arizona, track me down. (Idk,maybe via Hope house?) ~Stephanie .
Katie Forman April 20, 2012 at 02:45 PM
Thanks so much! I don't have any money at all but maybe when done with high school June 2 I will try to find some way to be able to get to Arizona after I graduate from high school and find a hope house out there.

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