The GenderCool Project is a national storytelling campaign spotlighting remarkable stories of transgender young people.
Lia is a thirteen-year-old 8th grader who loves to perform, sing, draw and compete on her school and club soccer teams. What fuels her the most, however, is connecting with people and hearing their stories and opinions. She is fascinated by the world around her, and tells her parents she’s loving life as a teenager.
Lia has always been focused on bringing truth to the forefront of every conversation. When she was eight years old, she was featured in one of the country’s first-ever documentaries by PBS’s Frontline on transgender young people titled “Growing up Trans.” Most recently, Lia worked with Freedom New Hampshire to pass a bill adding protections to transgender people in the state based on gender identity. She is on the speaker circuit in her state, regularly participating in panel discussions to help people replace their opinions with real experiences of meeting young people like herself.
Lia is the first to admit that keeping her room clean is a daily challenge. She’s much more interested in changing the world for the better and believes the more conversations we have, the stronger, healthier and happier we’ll all be.
Light-hearted, happy thirteen-year-old, middle schooler who is proud to be in a family with his parents, brother, one dog, three cats, and five chickens. Doing well in school is very important to Daniel because he would like to someday go to college, meet new people and get involved in campus life.
Daniel’s free time is frequently spent playing board games and directing films starring his friends and family. Swimming, kayaking, biking, camping, backpacking, and listening and singing along to music are all activities Daniel loves. Daniel considers himself a good friend and likes socializing with friends in person, or on FaceTime, Instagram and through video gaming. Daniel recently joined the Scouts and is a part of his school’s Unity Club. During his 7th grade year, Daniel participated in Connecticut History Day and earned first place for his documentary film on the unsung hero of the civil rights movement, Bayard Rustin. Daniel did fundraising for the organization Point of Pride, and shared a personal poem in front of his 7th grade class.
A very rewarding experience in Daniel’s life was when he was featured in the PBS Frontline Documentary, Growing Up Trans. Sharing his experience of being trans and facing his fears of being in front of the camera, helped grow his confidence and sparked his interest in photography and creating videos. A favorite quote that Daniel embodies in his life is by Oscar Wilde, “Be yourself, everyone else is already taken.”
Gia is a 15-year-old high school sophomore. A high honors student, Gia also excels in sports. She was a member of her co-ed middle school cross country and track team since fifth grade. After transitioning from male to female before the start of eighth grade, Gia was uncertain about returning to the team. Her coach and teammates urged her to come back. She did and was named captain.
She earned all-state and all-conference and led the girls to one of their best seasons ever. Next, Gia tried her hand at field hockey, a sport she had never played.She joined the all-girls field hockey team her freshman year of high school. Her speed earned her a place on the JV team, and, despite being a novice to the sport, she ended the season as the second highest goal scorer. Field hockey season just started again and once again Gia made the JV team.
In school, Gia maintains an A average with a full load of honors classes. She was a founding member of her middle school’s Gay-Straight Alliance Club and, in high school, is a member of the Peace Project and Family, Career and Community Service Leaders of America. She is also co-treasurer of her class. Gia loves hanging out with her besties, shopping, playing with makeup and being with family.
Gia was featured in People magazine’s “Coming Out Stories.” The video series, which was featured in the magazine and online at People.com and EntertainmentWeekly.com, was done in conjunction with the producers of “Love, Simon” and GLSEN, which aims to make schools safe and affirming for LGBTQ students. Gia has also been asked by the Human Rights Campaign to apply to be a national Youth Ambassador.
Landon is a 15-year-old junior who is passionate about music. He plays trumpet in the marching band, honor band, full orchestra, jazz band, and student-led brass choir. He is also a member of the music honor society. He has competed in All-Region, where he ranked 1st overall in the district during his eighth-grade year and has received division one rankings in all Solo and Ensemble competitions. In addition, he has also placed competitively through art, where he received a Gold Seal at last year’s VASE competition.
Landon came out as transgender when he was eleven years old, just before the start of his seventh-grade year. He transitioned at school in the eighth grade. During the early part of his transition, he found a voice for advocacy – not only for himself but also for his fellow trans youth and his community. He started a GSA at his middle school and helped found the GSA at the high school. He has participated in local and state initiatives to expand or protect trans rights and has testified in front of his school board and state legislators. He is currently working with a coalition of GSAs to strengthen his school district’s non-discrimination policy. His advocacy can also be seen through social media, where his honesty and vulnerability provides inspiration and puts a human face to the trans experience. Through openly sharing his experiences, he hopes to help others in their own, shared commonalities.
In early April of this year, Landon delivered the “Federal Club Pitch” at the Houston HRC Chapter’s annual gala. He was able to share his story with more than 1k people and helped to garner support towards HRC’s mission. He was also featured in a June issue of the Rolling Stone, an article entitled ‘Trans in the South: Meet Kids Finding Acceptance in the Bible Belt,’ where he discussed and shared his experiences, challenges, and triumphs as a trans youth living in the South.
On Instagram, Landon is considered a “Public Figure” and has over 31k followers. Through his posts, he aims to put forth authenticity regarding his identity, experiences, passions, etc. and accessible information pertaining to transitioning, politics, and the lgbtq+ community. Being visible on social media and in his everyday life, he says, is his way of giving back to the community in which has given him so much. He also hopes that by sharing his story openly and by being visible, he assists people of all ages, backgrounds, experiences, and stages within their journeys, as figures on social media had provided that same sense of comfort and relief when he first began to explore his own trans identity.
ASPIRING BROADWAY PERFORMER
Nicole is a 17-year-old musical theater actress with Broadway aspirations. She transitioned at age 13. She is a passionate advocate for transgender youth and for the rights of transgender people in her home state and nationally.
Nicole was recently featured in documentaries produced by “them.” of Condé Nast and NowThis. She was also featured in a Freedom for All Americans campaign video created to protect non-discrimination laws for transgender people in Massachusetts.
Nicole performed the National Anthem in front of 19,000 Boston Bruins fans for the NHL’s “Hockey is for Everyone” campaign and is a finalist to perform with the Bruins for the 2018-2019 season. Nicole is an experienced speaker and panelist and has conducted countless media interviews for many major, national outlets including the New York Times and Megyn Kelly Today.
Nicole is an Actors’ Equity Membership Candidate (EMC) with 35 professional, semi-professional and community theater productions to her credit, including A Year with Frog and Toad, A Christmas Carol, Little Shop of Horrors, Les Misérables, Peter Pan, Shrek: The Musical, and Fiddler on the Roof.
Stella is a thirteen-year-old future politician who openly speaks about the importance of the youth voice. She began her political career at age ten when she spoke about safety and inclusion at a school board meeting. Since then, her platform has grown to include education, equality, and equity for all young people. Stella is working towards building a career in public office and teaching other youth how to get involved in their own communities.
Aside from politics, Stella plays violin, is an artist, and loves DIY projects. Traveling is one of her favorite things to do. Washington D.C. and Costa Rica are her favorite trips, so far. When not traveling, she is frequently found playing NERF wars with friends.
Grosshandler Family Story
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