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My name is Lee, I am 19, and currently attend The College of William and Mary where I study geology.  I love knitting and I’m a DJ of an ‘80s alternative radio show on campus. I am also a transgender man.


My first memory of doing something outside of my assigned gender was when I really wanted to play a boy character in a 5th grade play. I even offered to bind my chest and put my hair under a cap so I could play the part.  I loved action movies at the time, particularly with pirates and spies. I thought that the male characters I saw were so cool and I wanted to be just like them. Things became confusing around high school when I realized I was attracted to male-identified people, but I thought they would only like me back if I dressed femininely.  I did what I felt I had to do to be liked, but I was really uncomfortable presenting that way.  It felt like I was wearing a costume, and I was really conflicted because I did look like a pretty girl. Ultimately, it left me feeling trapped and sad that no one could see who I really was underneath.


Eventually, I found a social media profile of a non-binary person talking about gender dysphoria, which really helped me see what was going on in my own life. It’s amazing how much my struggles with mental illness in my early teens were tied to gender. I’m so glad I was able to find someone who helped me put words to what I was feeling. My parents, especially my mom, are supportive and I am lucky to live on a liberal arts campus where I don’t fear too much discrimination. 


I am worried about my academic future—not because of my grades, but because I am a trans man.  I wish to pursue a Ph.D. in geosciences, but what if I am judged negatively for being transgender?  Without non-discrimination laws in place for housing, employment, and public accommodations I could be legally denied acceptance into collegiate programs, the housing I would need to access them, and employment that could help me pay for them. Expressing a transgender identity isn’t a threat to the way someone else lives, so modernizing these laws to give everyone a fair opportunity enables members of the trans community to pursue their goals without fear.