JUNE 6, 2015
Like teens everywhere, Rancho Bernardo’s Sam Moehlig can’t wait for school to end. He’ll play video games, hone his martial arts skills, perhaps visit his favorite place, Disneyland.
Another highlight: In July, this 14-year-old who was a girl at birth will undergo surgery to remove breast tissue.
“When I found out I could be a boy,” Sam said, “it was oh, yes, sign me up!”
An unusual sentiment, no doubt, but no longer unheard of. On Monday, ABC Family network will premiere “Becoming Us,” a reality show about a teen whose divorced dad is becoming a woman. A day later, an Olympic champion formerly known as Bruce will appear on the cover of Vanity Fair magazine, wearing a slinky outfit that displays her new curves.
In the transgender community, Caitlyn Jenner’s debut is applauded. But for non-celebrities — especially teens and their families — this public makeover is almost irrelevant.
We are thrilled that the society is talking about it,” said Kathie Moehlig, 53, Sam’s mother. “But Caitlyn has the privileges of prestige and money that most trans people don’t have.”
Jenner has another advantage: She’s an adult. “Trans teens” like Sam embark on a journey that can be as daunting as anything endured by adults, while also undergoing the strains of adolescence. Voices and bodies change in unwelcome ways. Self-confidence, rarely a strong suit among teenagers, can plummet to lethal levels.
“At first, I was confused about what’s happening to my body,” said Kyler Prescott, 14, a Vista resident who was born a girl but identified as a boy. “This is wrong, this is not supposed to be happening to me.”