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My Experiences as a Transgender Student at ESU

My Experiences as a Transgender Student at ESU

Being a transgender student, especially at ESU, never came easy to me.  I’m only 18 years old and I’m now a sophomore at ESU, originally from South Philly. There has always been a stigma on my choices and preferences, whether at ESU or in Philly. But I survived and I’m here to tell my story! Keep reading to learn more about my experiences as a transgender student at ESU.

Ever since I was young, I never wanted to play with the other boys.

I was raised in a normal Asian family, went to public school, and had a normal childhood. However, when I was very young, I had a lot of feminine tendencies. I didn’t like sports; I grew up with males that enjoyed sports but I didn’t. Every time I played with dolls, my mom took them away from me and told me to stop playing with them and to play games with my cousins or on the computer.

I came out as gay in middle school, but still didn’t feel like I belonged in my body.

Then, I moved to Sharon Hill and began middle school. In middle school, I knew I was gay and was attracted to guys. I only had female friends, no guy friends. I was bullied a lot because people thought I was weird. Honestly, in middle school, I just thought I was a really feminine gay guy. Yes, being attracted to guys felt normal to me but something else never felt right. I remember when I was little I used to wish I was a girl on my birthday and I always had the mindset of a female. I thought to myself maybe if I act like a female I’ll feel like one too. Yet, I was always uncomfortable with my body. I felt trapped, like I was stuck somewhere that I really didn’t belong.


In high school, I tried on a wig and makeup and felt normal and attractive, finally, for the first time in my life.

When I got to my sophomore year of high school, I tried on a wig and make up and I looked in the mirror and I remember thinking “Wow I really make a pretty girl!” I felt comfortable and normal, for once. Once I took the makeup and wig off, I didn’t feel like I was normal anymore; I felt so ugly.

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My friends supported me being gay, but not me being transgender.

My friends supported me, for the most part, but when I told them I thought I was transgender, they didn’t seem comfortable. They were more okay with me being gay. Where I was from, it just wasn’t normal to be transgender. Being gay was tolerated but they didn’t understand me feeling like I wasn’t in the body that I belonged in. In high school, I was harassed a lot but I always fought back. People called me names and always told me that no matter how much I wanted to be a girl, I will never truly be one. That hurt me more than anyone knows but I dealt with it and moved on. The bullying and negative comments made me angry and I resorted to fighting to ease my personal pain.

In college, no one knew me as Allison, and she was who I really wanted to be.

To be honest, I never thought I would be accepted to college because my grades were never that great and I come from a very poor family. I was so excited to be accepted to ESU and enter into their Early Start program. I was able to go into the program with my best friend from high school, but I didn’t know anyone else and no one knew about Allison. Allison was who I really wanted to be. When I was Allison, I could wear make up and wigs and not feel judged. I made Youtube videos as Allison and even had my own insta as her where I dressed freely and felt normal.


After meeting a friend who accepted me as Allison, I was done being Erik.

My first few days of Fall 2015 were great. I was working towards getting to know myself. I started to show myself as Allison more and more; I was done being Erik all of the time. I got a job working part-time for Aramark, our dining system. I was getting into the feel of college life and learning about who I was as a person and as a transgender student.

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But then I tried to do something ESU had never seen…

Then, spring semester began and my whole world changed. I decided to do something that ESU has never seen. What better way to help my transition than to join a sorority? My friends couldn’t believe that after hiding myself for so long, this was what I was going to do to put myself out there. But I had to do it. I had to show myself that I could be part of something greater than me and that I had the confidence in myself to make it happen. It was rush week and I was dressed as Allison for the first time in such a public setting with so many people. I had my hair and makeup done; my Rho Gamma and my group were all set up. I got my name tag and I was ready to go. I met girls from all different sororities and they were nice to me to my face, for the most part. Behind my back was a different story.

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The LGBT club said they were too “concerned for my safety” for me to rush a sorority.

I made it until the 3rd round of recruitment.  And then, suddenly, I got a call from my Rho Gamma telling me I couldn’t go back. I thought it was because of my GPA not being the required average. Turns out, it wasn’t. I received a message from the LGBT club and they told me that they were concerned for my safety and there were confirmed stories that different frats wanted to hurt me and wanted to sue me for being in a sorority. I was also told that a few of the sororities I had met were actually making fun of me behind my back and were planning on embarrassing me when I became a member. I didn’t get a bid, obviously, so I remained low key for a while. I figured nothing would happen to me but I wanted to be safe rather than sorry. I figured out the sorority thing wasn’t for me and I moved on.

I know that what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger, and that the future holds so much for me.

Now, I feel like after my first year has officially finished, I’ve learned a lot, met so many great people, and the future holds so much for me. I’m looking forward to the rest of my time here at ESU. As I continue to grow, I’ll be more willing to embrace myself as Allison even more and put myself out there to meet new people.

What are some helpful tips or advice you would give to any transgender student at ESU or any other school? Comment below and share this article with friends!
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