Fred: Even though I’m not gay, my father told me he didn’t want to see his son become a homosexual. That was wrong.
Chai: My mom’s 44 and pretty open-minded, so when I first told her I was going to be transitioning [to a man], I think it was harder for me than her. I’ve pretty much known for 10-plus years what I was going to do, but I was afraid I might lose her. At first, I came out as a lesbian because it makes it easier to understand. She actually guessed it herself and said, “You’re going to make a handsome man. Go for it.” I cried more than her. She has her days when she doesn’t understand, but I’m here to teach her that the “T” is not silent in LGBT.
Parents don’t need to be taught how to set up a Facebook account nowadays. Does his or her presence on social networks hinder anyone’s lifestyle?
Talia: During that time [with my two ex-girlfriends], I had settings fixed so that certain family couldn’t see [my relationship status]. I felt like it would be disrespectful if it was informal and my mother would be put in a bad position because everyone would call her, not me. Plus, I didn’t really feel the need to tell them. If you ask, I’ll tell.
Shayne: I don’t feel like I have to tell anybody, because I come from a Caribbean background and a lot of Caribbeans are judgmental. And I’m one of those people that once you start judging me, I’m either like, “Fuck it, I don’t care,” or I’ll say something back. You didn’t defend me when I was beat up [for being gay] so why should you have a say in what I am? I was considerate by not posting pictures of me kissing boys or guys that I find attractive.
Chai: A transition is a lot different than coming out as a lesbian or gay because you’re physically changing. I put it on Facebook because why hide when they’re going to see you go from one extreme to the next? Anybody’s going to go, “What the hell?” But if you love me for me, you will respect what I’m doing.
Fred: Your [straight friends] should probably know ahead of time that you’re gay.
Shayne: I don’t agree with that. They don’t have to know about your sexual orientation to hang. Because you don’t need to say, “I’m straight, just so you know ahead of time.”
Fred: When people isolate themselves from homosexuals, if they start hanging out with them, their friends might think that they’re homosexual. They start getting on him and making fun of him.
Talia: In high school, me and three other girls were best friends. At one point, me and one of [my friends] ended up dating girls. The four of us were like sisters so it didn’t matter. We still took showers with each other, changed in front of each other—it wasn’t a big deal. None of us felt uncomfortable because we know feelings for someone in a relationship is different.
Delilah: It was great coming out to my friends because then the girls just came to me. My friends suddenly all became curious and made me to be the one they were curious with. And I didn’t have a problem with that [laughs].
Did anyone feel like they were the spokesperson for LGBT once their straight friends knew?
Chai: No. A lot of my friends did their own research. I’m not here to have a Trans 101 session with everybody. If you have a question and if I want to answer it, then I will because a lot of people don’t understand. But I’m here to live, not to teach. Is it safe to say this generation is the most open-minded we’ve seen yet?
Fred: There’s more progress since we have access to the Internet and celebrities who will open up.
Syd: When things are the same for too long, people get bored. I think that’s a deep root of [the openness]. Let’s be honest, if in the Bible heterosexuality were a sin, the whole world would be flipped upside down.
Chai: If the president makes a decision [to support gay marriage], you know this generation has come a long way. We don’t whisper about things in corners anymore.