"Being a transgender woman isn't always sparkles and glamour. I grew up in rural northern California to an unaccepting community with more churches than schools and hospitals. Opening up about being a transgender girl at the age of 8 in 2003, I was met with degradation, isolation, and violence. However, as many trans people learn, we have to defend ourselves when we want to thrive in these environments. I became involved in organizing when I was 15 and co-founded Trans Student Educational Resources (TSER) the following year. TSER is an organization dedicated to transforming the educational environment for trans and gender nonconforming students around the country. It is the only national organization entirely led by trans youth. Since 2011, it has grown to a large scale with over 50 staff, volunteers, and fellows. It's only through this collective organizing that we can see trans liberation on the horizon." -Eli @elierlick
photo by: Duane Erickson
My name is Asher Garcia. I’m a 19 year old trans male and my brother is my best friend. When I started transitioning I thought it would be weird for both of us. I’m suddenly his older brother and my voice is getting deeper and I’m growing facial hair. He didn’t take it as bad as I thought and it wasn’t really weird. I even talk to him about what I should change my name to whenever I’m in one of those moods where I question how to identify myself to people. I’m 9 Months on T and I have more facial hair than him now, I think it’s pretty funny how that works. We even compare our muscles. With all of that, knowing that my brother - and others of course - support me, it makes transitioning a little less scary because I’m loved no matter what. That’s something everyone and not just trans people should have.
Transgender people are obviously different. Throughout their lives they have to work their way into their cocoon to become a butterfly. Growing up, I think my mom knew something was up with me. I would put on covers sheets like they were dresses and I would act like my favorite Disney princesses. However, I didn't realize I was different until primary school where I was bullied badly. Understanding that you stand out and receiving negative energy makes you think that who you are is wrong.
There were big signs that I was transgender. I would always be jealous of my sister, which made us very distant, and I would refuse to cut my hair short. One of the most life-changing moments happened on my 11th birthday. That day I asked for a wig, and when I saw myself in the mirror, I thought: "why am I not as pretty as my friends?” After my birthday, I thought that my hopes and dreams of being who I really am were over. Shortly after that, my dear grandmother who I loved and who taught me the most about everything that I know about art today, passed away.
High school arrived where I was bullied and suffered depression. One day, I came back from school and I had enough with the bullying. I swallowed a bunch of silica gel that I had kept from every pair of shoes we bought. Nothing happened except a bit of pain in my stomach that passed.
A year later, my dad got the internet for our house. We never had it before because where we lived, Wi-Fi was very expensive. Thanks to the internet, I discovered the word transgender. I did research and found people like me! It gave me so much hope. Because of my growing hope, I finally came out as a transgender to my mom. She was very supportive and the rest of my family was equally as accepting and loving.
And now, look at me today. I am on blockers and hormones and I finally know the meaning of happiness: being myself. I'm so grateful for the support of my family and I hope they know that. Since that day, I started using painting, makeup, and other forms of art to channel all that pain away and make good use of it.
My goal in life is to help others who suffer from the torment of society. I want to spread the word that being different and "weird" is the future.