Everybody, meet Kyle.
He's one of my best friends. I've know him since year 7, because we go to the same school. We share classes. I sit next to him in RE and hang out with him in form a lot too. I listen to him talk about his huge crush on Mila Kunis (a lot). We go out together, us and the rest of our group of friends at the weekends or in the holidays, and he never fails to make me laugh. He's had his hard times, just like every teenager, but he still manages to smile everyday. Plus he gives the best hugs if you're feeling down! It sounds like the normal story, right? Kyle is just your average teenage boy that I happened to meet in school and got close to. Well, there's something slightly different to this story. The school we share is an all girls school. Kyle was born Kayleigh.
Kayleigh jokingly said a few months ago, "you should all use male pronouns in school when referring to me. It will totally mess with the teacher's heads!" It was a harmless joke at the time, it had no meaning, and sure enough we all did just that. Looking back now though, I can see it clearer. As far as I can tell Kyle was fighting to talk, but was too frightened to be heard. It's understandable; I can't even begin to imagine what it must feel like being trapped in a body that you simply can't relate to. First of all having to come to terms with it yourself, and then having to verbalize how you feel to the people closest to you, and eventually the world. I don't know how a person can survive that. They somehow do though, everyday we live among people just like us that are transgender. Strength is one of the attributes that makes Kyle so amazing. He's managed to overcome the problems that life has thrown his way and at only 16 years old he's had to deal with more than most people in their lives.
It's unfortunate that people today are so judgmental especially with the kind of information available at our fingertips. I guess that's the sad way of the modern world. People are constantly judging us because of our attributes. Hair colour. Skin colour. Sexual orientation Gender. Who we want to be in the world. Sometimes it harmless, but sometimes it's the complete opposite. People being spiteful and hateful and even worse verbalizing their hate, that's the kind of people that Kyle has to face. Whether it's anonymously on Tumblr or in person, it seems to me like he's constantly having to deal with put downs. It hurts me to even think about some of the things that have been said to him. I don't understand how people can think that such a life changing time for Kyle is "just for attention" or funny. It's pure ignorance.
That's where you guys come in to this story. Even if you don't know someone who's transgender, I'm asking you to be the person who understands. That's all it takes, a greater knowledge of what being transgender means, the impact it can have on people and what you can do to help. I had to educate myself on it so that I could try my best to be there for Kyle if he needs me. After all, it's a lot easier to be the one helping someone who's transgender than being them yourself isn't it?
It only takes a few minutes to learn something new and make the world a more understanding place.
Thanks for reading,
Bethany Paige X