March 8, 2021
My exponential individual growth didn’t go unnoticed. I faced scrutiny and adversity on a daily basis, and as the first student to transition in my school district, I had a target on my back. I hadn’t anticipated that my true happiness would not just be controversial, but sometimes entirely disparaged, not just by people who knew me, but also by people who had never met me. I didn’t just teach myself to deal with it, I taught myself to be above it.
I entered high school as a trailblazer for the LGBTQ+ community, living happily as the girl I always knew I was. My journey was finally being noticed, and with this I had my first interaction with journalism. I had the privilege of being interviewed by local news, Michigan Radio, People Magazine, Mlive, panels, doctors, and many more. It was a wonderful feeling, being interviewed and celebrated for just being really, truly, authentically me. I started to wonder: what if I could do that for others? What if I could make them feel as safe, seen, valued, respected, and celebrated as I did?
Before long, I became truly infatuated by the world of journalism. It opened doors. It started conversations. It was a compelling way to tell so many deserving, diverse stories. It was raw, honest, and beautiful. Going into my freshman year, I knew I had to join the introductory journalism class. I had the privilege of already experiencing the joy of being the subject of a story, but I just had to learn how to write one myself. In my first year, I took my first attempt at articulating my journey through the angle of my wardrobe. As a senior now looking back on that piece, it was a diamond in the rough, but it was poetic, honest, and a pivotal point of reflection in my transition. I wasn’t just learning how to tell stories: I was learning how to come to terms with mine.