MENIFEE – A transgender 17-year-old from Menifee wakes up each morning feeling like a boy, but there is one thing that stops him from looking like any other boy his age; Jace has breasts.
His mother knew early on that her child, who was born a female and named Megan Michelle was not the average little girl. She said that her little girl was just thought to be a tomboy who wanted to play with boys. “As a little girl she would wear ninja costumes and cover her face because she wanted to play with the boys and didn’t think they would play with her if she was a girl,” said Jace’s mother Cat Rodriguez.
Jace, who still went by the name Megan at the time, dressed like a boy and was just not feminine, even heading into puberty at 12-years-old. “I always was very uncomfortable in girl clothes when I was in elementary school,” said Jace. “I cut my hair short and it made me comfortable with myself.”
At around 12-years-old Megan began having Grand Mal seizures, which stopped with medication. Cat found out that her child was transgender almost accidentally after finding messages on Megan’s (Jace’s) phone that appeared as those she may have been interested in girls. She said she asked Megan about it, and she denied interest in girls. “I then explained that I loved Megan no matter what her preference was, only she knew what could make her happy,” said Cat. “Megan then started to cry and said she was scared to tell people of fear of not being accepted.”
Cat believes that the seizures were brought on by the stress of not having anyone to share the secret with and wondering how anyone would react once shared. Cat says that her now son, Jace is much happier, but the difficulty of having to conceal breast with binders and having breast, in general, is something that is difficult. She said he gets headaches and suffering from asthma, the binding causes additional issues. “I started binding about 3 years ago, it helped me a lot with my body dysphoria,” said Jace.
Jace, fortunately, has support from family and friends who accept him for who he is. He said that the students where he attends school all know that he was born female and although they have different opinions, he does have a supportive group of friends. He said that the majority of his friends are male and he has currently has a girlfriend who he has been with for 7 months.
Jace is now reaching out for help to get what is referred to as “top surgery” where his breasts will be removed. “I think that surgery will change my life in a positive way and help me be able to finally be happy with myself and my body.” Cat has started a Go Fund Me account to help her son get the surgery he needs to feel more comfortable with his body. Cat and Jace are asking for donations from those willing or even for those who would like to support him to share his story.
The National Center for Transgender Equality said that 75% of transgender youth feel unsafe at school. Much of the cause is not only bullying by students, but because many school officials refuse to respect their gender identity. For many years students have been judged for using the restrooms or clothing consistent with their gender identity. Cat said that Jace also had issues as far as the use of public restrooms and has only begun using public restrooms in the last two months.
According to ‘Think Progress’, approximately 1.4 million adults in the United States identify with a gender other than their birth sex. “Judging without experiencing what that person goes through on a daily basis is harsh and has lasting effects on the people being criticized,” said Cat. “You may not agree with it but at the end of the day, we are all human and deserve to be happy.”
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