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Will, who is transgender, sits for a portrait in the Express-News studio in San Antonio, Texas on October 2, 2016.Carolyn Van Houten, Staff
ill has been taking testosterone for some time, and he passes so well that most people cannot tell he was assigned female at birth. Some who knew him from elementary school still know him as a girl, while others know him as a boy based on his appearance. But he has felt uncomfortable about formally telling classmates and teachers, worried that his peers would make assumptions about him or think of him differently. “I’m just not sure what will happen,” Will said in the fall. “I guess I’m afraid.” For that reason, the Express-News is identifying him only by his first name. He decided to come out first at a church where he volunteers, changing his name tag to reflect his new name.
Sometimes at school, when Will hears others castigating the LGBTQ community, he tries to correct them. “You should just treat everybody with respect,” Will said. “That’s basically what I tell them, because it shouldn’t matter how they want to dress and stuff.”
The next generation: Will | Dec. 11th, 2017
Ashleigh Brown, 54
Ashleigh Brown sits for a portrait in the Express-News studio in San Antonio, Texas on December 8, 2016.Carolyn Van Houten, Staff
Growing up with a military dad, from a young age Ashleigh felt the pressure to act masculine. She served in the Army for four years, entered the rodeo circuit, married and had a daughter. But inside, she knew she was a woman. “I hid it for years,” she said. “I hid it the best way I could.” It took her years to come to terms with her gender identity.
Eventually, she told her wife and daughter. “I just let it out, and I didn’t want to stop anymore,” she said. She and her wife divorced, and her daughter struggled to understand, fighting with her frequently. Over time, Ashleigh reconciled with her daughter, before she died in a car accident. “It was devastating enough to lose her, but at least we were able to talk and we still had a relationship,” she said.