JOHNSTOWN — Finding his voice
Kasey said that he was bullied throughout middle school and lacked self-confidence. Rather than speak with others at social gatherings, he would sit quietly in the corner, trying to not be noticed.
Things got worse when Kasey disclosed an attraction to girls.
“The summer before eighth grade is when I came out as lesbian,” Kasey said. “I told a few of my friends and it spread like wildfire. At first, it was really negative. I was bullied a lot. I went through depression terribly.”
Kasey did find an outlet in marching band. Originally a trumpeter, he played so quietly that he could barely be heard, but he did make some friends in the musical group.
He also found a girlfriend and decided to tell his mother about his desire to change his sex. But Kasey was so shy that he let his girlfriend do most of the talking for him.
His moms – both of them – made sure he understood the consequences of the choice, but tried to be receptive to it.
“We didn’t discourage it,” Kathy Caron said. “We’ve always been open to understanding it. We were in situations our whole lives where we weren’t allowed to be who we were. We weren’t going to do that to our children. Unfortunately, the times were different for us. It’s not that time anymore.”
Gradually, Kasey grew more and more confident about his decision and revealed his desire to be a man to more and more people. But not everyone. When he first started dating Katie, who is from another Cambria County school, nine months ago, she knew that Kasey was more masculine than other girls, but not that he was transgender.
“He told me from the beginning that he dresses and acts like a guy, but it was probably like two months before he told me that he wanted to be a guy,” said Katie, who went to her high school prom with Kasey in the spring. “It was startling, but I didn’t really mind. The only thing I really minded was how afraid he was to tell me. I guess he was really scared.”
Katie, who asked that her last name not be used because her extended family does not know about her lifestyle, said that Kasey’s self-confidence has blossomed since that first timid conversation about his gender identity.
“The whole thing with him telling me, he was really scared,” she said. “Now he’s putting it all over Facebook. He’s becoming very proud of who he is. It’s giving him a lot more confidence.”
While Kasey once was afraid to toot his own horn loud enough to be heard in the marching band, he’s now front and center as the drum major for the Rams.
“I didn’t think I’d ever be anything more than the quiet little trumpet player in the corner,” he said. “Now, I’m not the best player, but I play loud enough for people to hear me.”