Gutsy Teen Becomes First Openly Transgender Kid To Graduate From Her High School
You didn’t need New York Magazine‘s beautiful meditation on parenting transgender children to know that kids are perfectly capability of struggling with gender identity. All the more visibility the better for the around 300,000 kids or so, according to the magazine, who toil with their gender. Which is why 18-year-old Katie Bell‘s coming out has done a massive service for the transgender children of her Oklahoma community.
The teenager recently became the first openly transgender student to graduate her high school, legally being recognized as a girl at age 15. Despite tussles with depression, hallway bullies, and even her parents, Katie has made a little bit of history — and accrued some generous donations. An anonymous donor with very deep pockets reportedly offered up $40,000 to give Katie gender reassignment surgery at whatever hospital she chose.
So following her high school graduation, Katie flew out to California to meet the doctor of her choosing, all with the support of her family and boyfriend Arin, also transgendered.
The 4-hour procedure apparently went well, and Katie’s mother Jazzlyn Hill is pleased with the choice considering transgender children are often at risk for suicide:
“Knowing what Katie went through for eight-plus years – there’s nothing worse than watching your child suffer,” she explains. “It’s still my baby – male or female, she’s still my child. And I don’t have to kneel at her grave.”
The teenager plans to attend the University of Tulsa this fall where perhaps she’ll be breaking down some barriers there too.