As a teenager, you’re navigating the world around you, growing into responsibilities, and discovering who you are. Senior Azalea Gerhard, an autistic transgender student, didn’t know the full extent of her personal discovery. “At first, I didn’t think that would be me,” she says. “I thought what everybody else thought, I was influenced by what other people thought about transgender people around me,” she says.
Gerhard is a member of the forensics team, attends ethics club, plays tennis, watches videos online, and is ready to graduate. Only in order to reach this last milestone, she’s had obstacles that are vastly different than those of her peers. “I remember this video kept popping up in my recommended videos of this transgender girl named Corey Maison and I clicked on it, and the things she said resonated with me,” she says. “After I watched that video, I started doing some research about the word transgender, then I learned about gender dysphoria and then I realized that was something I had. I knew when I read all that, I looked at my height, my shoulders, my hips being narrow, my face has boys facial hair, and just body hair especially, all those things made me dysphoric. The way my body looked, when I looked at myself and didn’t like what I saw,” she says.