JOHNSTOWN — This editorial written by Kasey Caaron was originally published on http://gaylifenewsletter.com with the headline "Speak Out: Richland High School Bigotry?" Caron said that he did not write the headline for it.
Imagine waking up one day in the body of the opposite sex. Sure, at first it might be exciting, different, interesting to say the least. But eventually it would become uncomfortable, scary, unsettling. You might even feel trapped in a way, wondering if you’ll ever return to your own body where you belong. Now, imagine feeling like this for 17 years, your own skin is your prison, you’re unable to escape, and you’ve just taken a glimpse at what it’s like to walk in my shoes.
My name is Kasey Caron and I’m a senior at Richland High School in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. Ever since I was a kid, I have always fit into a more masculine role. Even before I truly understood the difference between girls and boys, I knew something just wasn’t right. I tried having a boyfriend, wearing dresses, and playing with dolls, but it never felt right. I was happiest playing Nintendo, wearing baggy clothes, and keeping my hair short. Today, I identify as a FTM (female to male) transgender. This means that I plan on eventually having gender reassignment surgery and taking testosterone, ultimately becoming a male. I’ve never been happy in this body, and having this done will be my chance to finally be comfortable in my own skin. Most of my close friends already knew this, and I've been listed as male on Facebook for a few years, but I haven’t really come out and said this publicly until recently.
The reason I came out about this is because my school was about to vote for the members of this year’s homecoming court, and I was asked by the school guidance counselor and the staff organizing homecoming whether I preferred to be placed on the male or female ballot. Obviously, since I was given the choice, I wanted to be on the male ballot. I quickly posted a Facebook status the night before the voting to make the seniors of my school aware of this. This status received 109 likes, 51 comments, and several shares overnight. The support I had coming from Richland’s senior class alone was phenomenal. Walking into school the next day, it was hard to turn the corner without someone congratulating me, hugging me, and promising me their vote. I had never felt so accepted, so supported, and so respected in my life. I was sure I was going to make it onto court, and this would be a major step forward for me, my school, and the young LGBTQ community. I was so excited that not only was I going to be on homecoming court, but I also had a real shot at being crowned homecoming king. Everything was falling perfectly into place and it seemed like nothing could possibly go wrong.