Continued from Page 24 Staley: Do you think the older people in your lives were thinking it was a phase because you were so young? Or do you feel like maybe your peers thought this was like make-believe? Zane: Yes. To both. The school was not so much a phase but like, “You’re confused. … You hang out with primarily boys and maybe they’re wearing off on you.” And my friends, some of them were like, “That doesn’t even exist,” and I’m like, “Yes it does! It was on YouTube!” Staley: What are the ways you’ve seen the dynamics in your families change since you’ve transitioned? Allison: Nothing much has changed in my family. … It’s the same way it’s always been. They swapped out brother for sister. And like, Allison. The only difference is my dad calls me sweetie instead of champ. Staley: I love that. That’s so great. How about you, Riggins?
Riggins: If they screw up, like with my grandparents, it’s fine. They called me (my former name) for like 12 years and she and her. Think of it as like, it’s just the opposite. You kind of just erase the opposite gender, like for you, male, or for me, female. Don’t erase those memories, but just focus on she is he. Staley: I tell people to think of a butterfly. You know, a caterpillar is a caterpillar, and it’s meant to be and that’s great. It was made to be that. And then when it turns into a butterfly, it’s now a butterfly, you know? Zane: Remind yourself you’re also kind of going through a transition yourself. ... You may have to remind them to give you gentle reminders: “Hey, I prefer this, this, this and this. Because it definitely does take time to rewire how you address someone, especially with parents, because you have been addressing your child as so-and-so for so long, and now they’re different and they’re going by these new names and pronouns.
The only difference is my dad calls me sweetie instead of champ.”
Riggins: My mom and my step-dad, they were on it, like, immediately. If they screwed up, they were like, “Oh God, I’m so sorry. But it wasn’t like they would screw up all the time. They got it down. My grandparents, they got it, they were totally accepting, but you know, they were a little slow. They screw up sometimes. Staley: How about you, Zane? Zane: When I came out, my mom was also immediately on it. … My dad was a little bit harder to deal with. He didn’t exactly accept that I was changing from his daughter to his son. He came around, but it just took a lot longer. I had two brothers. One of them is all right. He calls me Zane, he/him/his, all of that stuff. My other brother, unfortunately, passed away in 2016 from a drug overdose. He was always like standing up for me and making sure that my friends acknowledged me this way. He like actually threatened to beat up some of my friends for being disrespecting toward me! Staley: You mentioned your father coming around. What advice do you have for people who have someone they love who comes out to them? Allison: it seems a lot more daunting than it is. It seems like there’s trip-wires everywhere and you don’t want to set them off. Really, it’s just as simple as, do not refer
to them with male pronouns and terms. Just don’t describe them in that way. And the opposite for trans men.
| May 2018 PRIZMnews.com
Chris and Jessica Cicchinelli
Fixing Society via Cincinnati By Prizm News Perhaps no community in America has taken Leelah Alcorn’s message to heart more than her own hometown. Since the trans teen from suburban Cincinnati killed herself in December 2014 and posted a message to the world with the plea, “Fix society,” the number of children seeking help from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center has soared.
Staley: Allison, you had a big day yesterday. Zane, you’re graduating from high school. Riggins, you’re going to start high school. You all have big things going on right now. How do you feel about your futures?
Cincinnati has banned “conversion therapy.” And in January, Pure Romance CEO Chris Cicchinelli and his wife, Jessica, announced a $2 million pledge to start the Living With Change Foundation. It will help expand treatment, connect experts and educate everyone on trans issues.
Allison: Every day’s going to be another change, and every day’s going to be a new challenge to tackle that change, and I’m OK with that.
“We’re full steam ahead,” says Cincinnati City Council member Chris Seelbach, the foundation’s executive director and a Cincinnati City Council member.
Riggins: I see myself participating in Pride things, transgender things. I see myself helping others who feel the same as I do.
The Cicchinellis are parents of a transgender daughter who has flourished since she began transitioning. They knew that many children, though, are on waiting lists for treatment.
Zane: I went from wanting to be a doctor to wanting to be a professional ballet dancer. … Hopefully I can show people you can truly do whatever it is you want to do. It’s up to you. Staley Munroe is the creative director of Prizm. She’s a photographer and fashion industry veteran who worked in New York and Los Angeles before returning to her hometown of Columbus. You can contact her at email@example.com.
Seelbach says the foundation will help the hospital expand its staff. Its other major mission is training; Cincinnati Public Schools and 10 other districts already are on board. The Living WIth Change Foundation also has scheduled a Midwest Transgender Symposium for September.