The thing I love most about my life right now is getting to be my authentic self, day to day. I have really grown into myself, despite not having any sense of self or direction when I was younger. I feel a responsibility to do what I can in my time here to aid the progress of trans rights and acceptance, for every LGBTI kid yet to come who would benefit from community and representation.

Meeting a stranger, while having my appearance, is daunting. I have no idea from first glance what they will even know about transgender people or gender diversity, or how they feel about it. With kids, it’s different. Most kids, given the opportunity, are straightforward, and just ask about my appearance. I don’t have a problem with that, and I normally give an equally honest reply, that it makes me happy.

I had no expectations coming into the workshop apart from hopefully meeting and connecting with trans and gender diverse people out of my age group, the actual activity of preserving of fruit and vegetables in jars very much secondary, but enjoyable. We were paired, and my partner Brenda suggested granny smith apples and blueberries, both which I love, so we got to work. After the apples were peeled, we put them in boiling water to soften, to then be cut up for our jars. The apples made a snug fit in the pot, and as they floated and jostled in the water, I was reminded of a short conversation.

A few friends of mine, their brother and I had a wonderful day out at a waterpark, and when we tired of the rides, we sat on inflatable donuts and floated around the lazy river. A six-year-old was fueding with my friend’s little brother, but when they finished splashing and chasing each other, she came up to us. She asked why my nails were painted and I said they made me happy. She nodded and then asked if I was a girl. I said yes, she nodded again and then paddled away. I am always amazed at how quickly kids understand. Interactions like this comfort me, and fill me with hope for our future.