The Student News Site of Ballard High School



Follow Us on Instagram

About a boy

An authentic look at the life of one of our transgender students

Will Brodsky, Cub Reporter
Originally published January 29, 2016

Chelsea LeingangSophomore Ezra Finch identifies as transgender, something he has always known.

Chelsea Leingang

Sophomore Ezra Finch identifies as transgender, something he has always known.

Sophomore Ezra Finch stands out in a crowd: a shock of blue hair tops his head, light brown at the sides. Despite claims of shyness, he practically radiates energy; his voice is constantly enthusiastic, even when speaking about mundane things. There’s one thing, however, that people focus on when they see Finch: he’s transgender.

It’s something he’s always known, even if he hasn’t always had the language to express it. “I think I was about 10. Now that I think about it, back to my childhood, I always just saw myself as a boy even though everyone else was calling

me a girl and I had a different name,” Finch said. “But I just think it was always in the back of my mind, like ‘Oh, I’m a boy,’ and I thought I could just be that. According to a survey by the Public Religion Research Institute, seven percent of millennials identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual, while only one percent identify as trans. Transgender people hold a small minority among a small minority.

It’s no surprise, then, that many don’t quite get it. “They think, ‘Oh, you want to be a boy,’ or ‘Oh, you’re gonna be a boy when you transition,’” he said. “No, I’m a boy right now.”

This is the mind-set of a lot of people who, through no fault of their own, are ignorant of what it’s like to be treated as something other than what they are.

“I’ve never seen any incidents where anyone has acted strange around him, or had problems with him,” said Jack Thompson, Finch’s AP World History teacher. “I wouldn’t expect that that would be the case. He might have issues in other contexts with people not accepting him, but I haven’t seen it in class.”

It’s easy to think that the school is free of discrimination. After all, it’s not common to hear slurs in the hallway, not to mention the GSA Club that meets every Thursday.

But, like in all schools, there are still people who, intentionally or not, make others feel unwelcome. “There’s a couple kids who like to joke about me being trans. They call me names and slurs. I think they don’t know it’s hurting me. Obviously it just comes from a place of ignorance, so I can’t be that mad at them, but it does hurt a lot,” Finch said. “But I’m kind of shy. I’m not really good at telling people to stop making fun of me, so I just ignore it.”

Not all of this comes from straight people, either. Some discrimination stems from the LGBTQ+ community itself.

This is something of a sore spot for Finch. “I’m a bisexual trans man, and I feel that a lot of my identities get pushed away by some of the larger groups. I think a lot of people are focusing on the ‘LG’ and not as much on the ‘BTQ+.’ We should all be included, not just the largest minorities,” he said.

Despite everything, Finch says it’s worth it to be himself.

Sitting in the hallway of the world language pod, he chats loudly with the rest of his friends, who range from straight to bi to gay, and every- thing in between. Whenever anyone talks about Finch, it’s always he, never she. The respect is clear.

“Just go out, join GSA, find groups in your area,” he said. “There are a ton of clinics in the Capitol Hill area that have group nights that I go to all the time. And, if you see me in the hallway, you can go up and talk to me,” Finch said.

And, above all, he said, “Just know that you’re brave no matter what. Even if you’re not out, even if you’re afraid of being bullied. You’re still brave to be who you are.”

He’s trans, but there’s something else that’s easy to notice about him: he’s proud.

Leave a Comment
Donate to Talisman

Your donation will support the student journalists of Ballard High School. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to Talisman

Comments (0)

All Talisman Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Activate Search
About a boy