MIAMI (AP) — The transgender community has gained a degree of acceptance in recent years with the help of such celebrities as Caitlyn Jenner and Laverne Cox from “Orange is the New Black.”
But for those who are less known, it can be more of a struggle. Many young transgender people, wrestling with their identities, find themselves shunned by family, friends and co-workers. Episodes of homelessness, alcoholism, drug abuse and violence often follow.
“A lot of people really don’t realize the immense amount of pain the average trans person goes through just trying to live their life,” says Eli, a 17-year-old male who was born a girl and lives in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Eli and other young transgender people in South Florida illustrate the hardship this community faces. They also show its resilience. Here are their stories.