Coming out for the holidays

Grey Korejwo '20, Staff Writer

“Dear Family,

As you may or may not know our middle child is transgender. Please understand that while this new may be new to you, we have been on this journey for two years now.”

Troye Aho ’20 Photo by Grey Korejwo ’20


Troye Aho ’20 recently spent time writing this letter to his extended family about his transgender identity, while some took it well, some took it terribly.

“I have a lot of good memories with my family, but from the moment I realized that I didn’t just like boys and then all the way until now I realized I am a boy, it’s kind of gone downhill,” Aho said.

Aho has gone through a lot with his family from hearing degrading comments from now just complete ignoring, according to Aho. This effect can cause negative issues on LGBT youth mental states.

“Unsupportive family is going to impact their self esteem and their self worth,” Dr. Andrea Andrzejczak, a local psychologist, said. “Basically their family is saying they don’t accept them, it’s the defilter, it’s crushing.”

Aho’s experience in coming out to immediate family was a much easier feat than his extended family, yet with everybody there was still some work needed to be done to educate them.

“They understand trans people as a whole and they try their best to understand things they don’t allow me to educate them on,” Aho said.

Jessica Dodge, Aho’s girlfriend, has tried to be there for him in this process as she tries to understand what it’s like to be in his shoes with this situation.

“I think the best thing that I can do is just be there for Troye and be there for him to talk to and talk to his family and just be there for him,” Dodge said. “I think that’s the best thing anyone can do for friends and family who go through this.”

The effects of coming out and the possible looming rejection would be hard on anybody’s mind and this is one of the main reasons LGBT people are afraid to come out to unsupportive family according to Dr. Andrzejczak

“It’s a very stressful time because they run the risk of being rejected not only by family, but friends as well and if you are rejected that impacts your self esteem in a negative way, so it really is quite a stressful time in somebody’s life,” Andrzejczak said.

Dodge has seen first hand how supportive Aho’s family can be, yet the retrospect of it all is that the majority of Aho’s family is there for him and accept him as he is.

“Troye’s immediate family for the most part is really supportive and loving and accepting, but his extended family is very closed minded,” Dodge said. “Troye recently came out to them and some of them reacted with love but some of them reacted with not that.”

There’s still some tension as Aho patiently waits for other family members to respond to his letter.

“My other grandparents they haven’t responded so it’s kind of weird, it’s like the elephant in the room for my family,” Aho said. “I don’t really know how it’s going to go down.”

Aho decided a long time ago that he wasn’t going to let his family stop him from being who he was and a year later he has seen the changes and only looks forward into becoming a male.

“I have a mindset and that mindset is that I’m going to be me and if they don’t like that then that’s their choice to walk out of my life,” Aho said.