Danny Martinez, a 16-year-old transgender teen, lived in the closet until a year ago.
“Being in the closet is kind of miserable,” Martinez says. “I just kind of felt hopeless knowing that no one would ever call me the right thing.”
Martinez is skinny and androgynous looking, and used to have a different, more feminine name. A name that never fit.
“I just had this certain discomfort when people would say my birth name,” Martinez says.
Like Rachel White, Martinez, 16, is under the transgender umbrella. However, Martinez’s family has struggled more with the change than the Whites have.
“There was this one point where me and my dad got in a fight and he told me, ‘You can’t be an amoeba,’ ” Martinez says.
Martinez’s earliest memory of gender discomfort came in a doctor’s waiting room, listening as the doctor used female pronouns.
“I was like, I don’t really like how this feels,” Martinez says. “I didn’t know what else I could be called.”
Martinez’s mother, Becky Martinez, says she tries to understand, but still struggles, especially with using gender-neutral pronouns and a new name.
“As a mother, it’s difficult,” she says. “You work really hard to choose a name for a child and all of a sudden they are rejecting that.”
Martinez’s parents are becoming more accepting, although it has taken time. Even now, Martinez catches them using the wrong name or pronoun. Becky Martinez says when she uses the wrong pronoun it’s an honest mistake.
“Not understanding is not the same as not accepting,” she says.
Danny Martinez says the kind of support Rachel White gets is rare.
“It’s really important to listen to what your children are saying and feeling,” Martinez says. “They wouldn’t question it for no reason. Not many people do that and it means something.”
Subscribe to the Morning Review newsletter
Get the day’s top headlines delivered to your inbox every morning by subscribing to our newsletter