From Tim To Sarah: Au Student Body President Unveils Big News (Transcript) | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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From Tim To Sarah: AU Student Body President Unveils Big News

MS. REBECCA SHEIR

00:00:03
Sarah McBride is a student at American University. She recently served as president of the student government. Lately there have been a few changes in the Delaware native's appearance and in her life. Just a few months ago, she was wearing a suit and tie. You see although she finished her term as student body president as Sarah, she began it as Tim. Lauren Landau caught up with Sarah earlier this week and brings us her story.

MS. SARAH MCBRIDE

00:00:26
My name is Sarah McBride. I'm a 21-year-old rising senior at American University. Over the last year, I was a student body president. And on my last day in office, I came out to the student body, through an editorial on my school newspaper, as transgender. I've known that I'm a girl as long as I can remember. Three, four, five years old, I remember thinking in my head, I know I'm a girl.

MS. SARAH MCBRIDE

00:00:47
When I was 7 or 8, I was watching a sitcom with my mother and there was a guest character who is trans. And I remember asking my mom what that meant and she explained it to me and my heart dropped. At the same time, I developed mind for some politics. The idea of being an elected official and being trans seemed mutually exclusive. So I chose the path that I thought wouldn't disappoint people.

MS. SARAH MCBRIDE

00:01:19
I chose the path that, on some level, I thought would be easier. And I continue to present as a straight man. I externalized everything. I thought that that if I can solve other people's problems that I can make the world a little fairer for them that it would make it worthwhile for me to be a boy. As a student body president, we worked really effectively in progressing the LGBT agenda on campus.

MS. SARAH MCBRIDE

00:01:40
It was incredibly fulfilling professionally and personally. But if anything, it only highlighted my own internal struggles more. It did, though, show me that if the campus community could rally behind a trans student they don't know in supporting gender neutral housing, then I would be all right if I came out. The moment when I said, all right, I can't take this anymore, I need to tell people, was on Christmas morning.

MS. SARAH MCBRIDE

00:02:06
I had recently just come to terms with everything and I told myself I'm going to tell my parents after Christmas. And I went downstairs on Christmas morning and the first present I opened was a button-up shirt and a tie. The button-up shirt and the tie were such a stark contrast between where I was and where I knew I needed to be. The stress from that and the symbol that it presented right in front of me was too much for me to keep inside. And so, within two hours of getting my present, I told my mom that I'm a woman.

MS. SARAH MCBRIDE

00:02:41
When I told my parents, I would say that they were shocked and surprised and there were definitely tears. I think a common reaction for parents of transchildren is a feeling of loss, the loss of their expectations for this child, the loss of the security of feeling like you knew everything about your child before. And on some level, it feels like a death. And a lot of times those parents go through a mourning period.

MS. SARAH MCBRIDE

00:03:09
My mom asked me if I wanted her to remove the pictures from the house. And I said, there's no need for you to do that. The first 21 years of my life don't suddenly evaporate. And the memories are important enough to me and I think to people around me that I'm not willing to just throw them in the trashcan. My dad said a few months ago, I have to be honest, I don't feel like I'm losing a son, I feel like I'm gaining a daughter.

MS. SARAH MCBRIDE

00:03:34
That reaction is a blessing. And unfortunately, all too uncommon. For far too many transyouth, coming out means getting kicked out of their house. The last month has certainly been quite a transition. On the one hand, I had to get an entirely new wardrobe. So that took some time, which was fun, but certainly expensive. My ex-girlfriend is the one who helped me put on my makeup for the first time.

MS. SARAH MCBRIDE

00:04:03
I am at a state of sort of meditation when it comes to my gender identity. For 21 years, every waking hour of my life, I thought about it. I thought about the fact that I wanted to be a girl. I was a girl, but I was presenting as a boy. I was born a boy and everyone perceived me as a boy. For the first time in my life, I'm not constantly thinking about my gender. There will be challenges, but I have that family behind me and that group of friends behind me.

MS. SARAH MCBRIDE

00:04:31
So I know I will have people to help me through the challenges, but also share in the joy. I wouldn't have been able to do this without the love and support of my friends and my family. And the idea that that's a privilege is not right. No one should fear that they're going to lose any family or any friends because they simply want to live true to themselves.

SHEIR

00:05:02
Sarah McBride is a student at American University, which holds the license to WAMU 88.5. You can find Sarah's op-ed, "The Real Me," on our website, MetroConnection.org.
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