By Clay Miller
I sat down with Kristina Barrett, a senior at Tustin High. This last year she has made her transition as transgendered. She has been gracious enough to sit down with me and answer some questions.
I am going to be asking you a few questions, so let’s get right to it. What are some of your interests/hobbies?
“I love doing a wide variety of things, ranging from theater and engineering, to volunteering and hanging out with friends.”
Do you have any family?
“Yes! I live with my mother and father, and one brother lives at home, but all told, I have three brothers and a sister.”
When did you first realize you were transgendered?
“I think I really started noticing around when I was ten, and it took me four years to build up the courage to come out.”
Was there a specific incident that made you realize you were transgendered?
“Progressively, as I started going through puberty, my dysphoria became worse. (Dysphoria is referred to as “a state of unease or generalized dissatisfaction with life.”) But, I remember when I was younger I saw an episode of House with a transgender woman, and I can remember thinking, “Oh my god, That might be it!””
How did your friends and family react to the news?
“The first people I went to were my family, beginning with my brother, and he was sort of neutral about it, which, you know, is better than a negative response. The next people I went to were my parents, and they were not as supportive. I can understand that because if you knew me before, its fair to say that it kind of blindsided them. I tried really hard to make sure no one would be able to detect that I had this internal struggle. I tried as hard as I could to be as anti-feminine as possible, and it gave people this perception of me that wasn’t very accurate. So no, my family wasn’t very supportive at all. But, when I started coming out to all my friends at school they weren’t necessarily for it, but they told me to do what makes me happy.”
Would you say you received more support than hate?
“I would say that is true, and if not overwhelming support, they were neutral about it and wanted me to do what made me happy, even if they felt a little weird about it.”
Are people ever shocked when they find out you are transgendered?
“Very much so! Even before I started taking hormones a lot of people didn’t believe me. The first day of my junior year I came out to the school when the teacher called role. I corrected them on my name, and in almost every class everyone laughed. That was before I started taking the hormones in earnest. I went on a plane to see family in a different state over the summer recently. I had been taking hormones for about a year by then, so I didn’t look much like I did in my license. Because of that I was almost not let on the plane! Luckily, I have filed for a new birth certificate with the correct gende, and I will be receiving that very soon.”
When you made the decision to come out as trans* how did it feel?
“It became easier as I became aware that I had support, but that first night when I came out to my brother, I couldn’t stop shaking. Coming out is probably one of the hardest things I have ever done. It isn’t easy, but I am positive it is something I am never going to regret doing.”
Did you ever feel as though there were people who treated you badly because you were trans*?
“A couple people have hassled me, but I let them know very quickly that I would not be hassled, and they generally give up or I just don’t see them as much. I have had a few people who have been extremely homophobic, only calling me by my old name, but generally people have been willing to accept it.”
Have you found your peers to be supporting of your transition?
“My close peers have been supportive, and most of my other peers have been accepting, and that is as much as I could ask for. It has felt really good knowing that I am able to be myself around my friends and at school. Maybe some people think I am freaky, but I don’t talk to them and I really don’t care.”
My last question, do you have anything you want to say to our readers?
“I am not someone to be afraid of. Trans people are not a bunch of nuts and kooks. We are people, and we were just born a different kind of way. We are still human beings, and we still deserve respect.”
So there you have it ladies and gentleman. A firsthand look behind the eyes of a transgendered girl right here at Tustin High. Thank you for reading.