By Micaela Prewitt
For Shaun Ross, a Middle College student at OTC this fall, being happy means being himself.
“I always knew I was different, but I didn’t know it was necessarily me being transgender,” Shaun Ross says. Shaun says that he officially announced his decision to become a boy in April of 2015.
Shaun has previously been known as Sierra Ross. He dropped Sierra for the name Shaun. He feels comfortable with who he is, and he doesn’t care what others think even though he has experienced some slight harassment since then.
He’s not alone.
Ninety percent of transgender people reported experiencing harassment, mistreatment, or discrimination on the job, according to GLAAD. Twenty two percent have reported harassment by police officers. Forty one percent of transgender people have reported attempting suicide. Transgender people are still not able to serve in the military.
The transition has had both ups and downs.
Shaun played basketball at Glendale High School under the name Sierra. Shaun says his girlfriend really helped him through the whole process. Shaun also has a ton of new friends that supports his decisions and pushes him to achieve better.
Shaun currently attends Middle College and strives to keep his grades up. He has a little brother that he loves to death. Shaun works two jobs. He doesn’t care about other people’s opinions concerning his transition. He is finally able to be himself, and he is proud of that.
“If my friends don’t support me I guess they never were really my friends,” Shaun says.
Shaun knows some of what his future holds.
“I’m starting hormones, hopefully, by the end of this year,” Shaun says. “I have two surgeries, top and bottom. I hope to have my top surgery by my eighteenth birthday, and the bottom surgery by my twenty first. My surgeries are my biggest priority.”
Shaun shared his favorite quote by Joubert Botha. He feels it perfectly fits his situation:
“Sometimes people around you won’t understand your journey. They don’t need to, it’s not for them.”
Shaun knows he is not alone in this process. He has the support of many.