By Lauren Ebben and Shawn McCrea
Growing up is never easy.
It’s even harder when you don’t feel comfortable in your own body.
“In elementary school, gender doesn’t matter as much, because we’re all kids that look basically the same, but the second puberty hits in middle school, all of a sudden, everyone’s making a big deal about it,” Clayton Pearson, a transman who is a theatre major, said.
A transman is a transgender individual who transitions from female-to-male.
Transgender is an umbrella term for people whose gender identity and/or expression is different from cultural and social expectations based on the sex they were assigned at birth.
Some students who have transitioned said they felt they couldn’t truly be themselves growing up because of society’s standards.
“In high school, I wasn’t able to go by the identity that I wanted to. So, it kept me from doing a lot of opportunities that I wanted to do and it really prolonged the finding of myself,” Troy Cartwright, a transman who is a theatre major, said.
Many transgender people said that they are scared to express themselves, partly due to adversities like threats and bullying.
“If you had something about you that you couldn’t control and you’re being bullied for it, would you enjoy that?” Max Haywood, a transman who is a photography major, said.
Elizabeth Free, a transwoman who is a computer science major at West Texas A&M University, said that education regarding these issues should start early.
“From a young age, explain that there’s a lot more options than we previously believed as a society and that you can be who you want to be. You’re not limited in your choice and it’s not decided for you,” she said.