By Elizabeth Cook & Molly McCrea

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — While COVID-19 has forced a cutback on public celebrations of San Francisco Pride’s 50th anniversary this year, there are still plenty of stories to share about freedom, including one from a 15-year-old boy named Jack.

Jack lives on the Peninsula and decided to invite KPIX 5 to his home so that he and his mother Juliana could share his story as a way of celebrating and commemorating this important anniversary of the modern LGBTQ freedom movement.

He met KPIX 5 for the interview socially distanced in his backyard, wearing a rainbow flag draped around shoulders. Jack then began to tell us about his journey. From early on, he recounted, he knew something was wrong.

“I never looked at myself in the mirror, ever since I was really, really young. I just didn’t recognize that person, I looked in the mirror and I just didn’t see someone who I felt like was me,” remembered Jack.

You see, Jack was born a female. By age 8, he discovered a word that explained how he felt all the time: that word was “transgender.” Jack pondered that word multiple times, turning it over and over again in his head.

“Oh, you can identify as something different than the gender you were assigned at birth? So, I took a year and half to two years without coming out to my parent’s kind of just thinking about that, like is this really the word that works for me?” explained the 15-year-old

Finally, one day as he was traveling in the family car with his mother, he turned to her and asked her a series of questions:

“Can I cut my hair? and my mom was like “What? Sure, you can cut your hair,” said Jack.

2nd question: “Can I change my name, and my mom was like “Ok, that’s a bigger step, but we can talk about it,” recounted the young man.

3rd question: “Can I wear boy’s clothes? And this was the Sunday before school was starting,” laughed Jack.

Jack told KPIX 5 that it was hard for him to initially say the word “trans” out loud, so he asked these series of questions instead.

When they got home from the car ride, with 3 questions posed to his mother, he then asked his mother if he could tell his dad and if she would come with him to tell his dad.

He remembered his mother looking at him and saying, “you want to tell your dad you want new clothes,” and that she had not yet connected the dots.

There, with his dad in the room, he took a deep breath.

“The way he said it was “I need to tell you something, and I want you to hear me out and don’t get upset,” and all this setting the stage that was causing so much anxiety and I was trying not to show it, and I was like “Don’t worry. I’m your mom, you know you can tell me anything,” recounted Jack’s mom Juliana, laughing at the memory.

“That’s when I was finally able to spit out the word ‘trans'”, said Jack, informing his parents that he thought he was transgender. “I cried and it was really intense.”

His parents were thoughtful about what their child had just told them. They wondered if their kid was just too young to know. They heard him out and took his feelings seriously and decided to give Jack time to see if the word transgender actually fit how he was.

Jack did not grow up of it. Jack and his parents realized he had found his authentic self.

“4 years later, here we are,” said Juliana.

Jack did undergo a lengthy and costly medical process that included multiple visits with therapists. He recently began hormone therapy. Jack plans on eventually undergoing surgery for a complete transition.

“I was privileged to have accepted parents. That was lucky thing. I’m so lucky to have parents who are accepting and that made me really sad because it shouldn’t be a privilege it should be a right,” noted Jack.

“He’s a brave person, really brave,” noted his mother.

KPIX 5 asked Juliana is she ever worries about Jack coming out.

“I worry about the world. Right I don’t worry about who he’s going to be. But I worry about how the world is going to treat him,” she replied.

Jack and his mom have attended Pride events in the past. They’re pleased to be part of the KPIX 5 coverage.

Now when Jack looks in the mirror, what does he see?

“Myself,” Jack laughed.

According to the most recent survey, in 2016, about 0.5 percent of Americans identified as transgender but the U.S Census bureau does not include data on gender identification,

The data on transgender youth who are gender dysphoric is scant. The limited data shows how transgender children are at a much higher risk for many negative outcomes including depression, suicide, and substance abuse,

For more resources:

https://www.glaad.org/transgender/resources

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