I’m From New Haven, CT – Video Story

by Tony Ferraiolo

I wanted to kinda talk about my childhood and how I struggled with dealing with first my sexual orientation and second my gender identity.  Through my life I was pretty much abused by my father, continuously.  I was supposed to be his daughter but I acted more like his son and I don’t think he could handle it. So, I was in school and it was like sixth grade or something and the teacher said, “What do you want to be when you grow up” and I stood up and said, “I want to be a boy.” And the whole class laughed at me and made fun of me for the rest of my school, let’s say, life. I kinda went into isolation, did a lot of drugs, was a cutter. I used to mutilate my body. But it was really weird because even when all that was happening I always knew my life was going to be better. It was like, the craziest thing. I was just trying to survive.


So, about five years ago things still weren’t right. I mean, I had friends and my life was better. I identified as a lesbian. Things were okay. I had some partners but still I wasn’t connecting with myself. And then I watched a documentary on transgendered people and I was blown away because that’s who I was and I realized it.


About five years ago I got my chest surgery and as soon as I saw myself in the mirror my life just totally changed and I became an activist for my community and I work a lot with the youth. First I was a mentor and I said, “You know there’s gotta be more than this one trans kid who needs my help” so I started a youth group for trans kids between the ages of 14 and 17. And it’s amazing how when I’m sitting in a room with a kid and the kids like cryin’, “I’m cuttin’ myself. I don’t wanna be in school.” I’m like, “Dude, everything is okay. I was there.” So it’s almost like being with the kids rights all my wrongs. I always wondered why I was abused so much and why I was a cutter and I did so much drugs. Like, why was that thrown on one person? And now I know why.


Sometimes you gotta dig really deep and fight like an animal to survive but there will come a day when you’ll sit back and say, “That was all worth it because now I’m happy and I’m me.”

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