Transgender teens discuss life and homelessness in DC

May 23, 2011

Devin and Sarah chatted about going through gender transformations during their teen years, how they came to live in The Wanda Alston House and how the group home is playing a role in their lives.

Read today's story: Gay and transgender teens find refuge at home created for them

Good afternoon, This is Devin. I am online and ready to field questions and comments. Thank you for logging on today.

Do you find hope in the evidence that, while prejudice continues, today's young people are more accepting of others for who they are, including gays and transgenders, more so than previous generations? There is hope, I hope.

There is always hope. Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. states, The arc of time bends towards justice. Evolution and progress are constant processes in this world. The question that I pose it at what expense will these advancements be made? Upon whose backs shall this generation stand to secure a future for the next? We all have an equal investment in this hope.

I believe that depends largely on the area of the country where one lives.  However, overall, I would have to say yes. :)

Ms. Sarah...when you go out on a job you dress like a woman or a man.

When I go on  job interviews I dress like  a woman as that is what I am.

What is the best way that someone could offer help and support to LBGT teens?

The best way that someone can provide help and support to LGBT teens is to educate friends and family about the challenges they face, lobby one's congressperson and tell them about the necessity of lgbt services, and volunteer with organizations that benefit lgbt youth.

How do people out in public generally receive you? Are people ever mean to you? After seeing the You Tube video of the girl in the Baltimore McDonalds I'd think it'd be pretty scarey being to transgender teen right now.

People in public generally receive me well. I have had instances where I faced indirect ridicule but thankfully no one has ever confronted me. Fear is a crippling state of mind. It is useless and there is no sense in fearing any man. I hold faith in the fact that I am protected by the Grace of Allah. Whatever he wills will happen.

with the exception of a some people addressing me as sir the vast majority of people receive me quiete well and treat me as the gender that i present as .

What's the hardest part of going from one gender to the other?

While their are many  difficult parts of transitioning from gender to gender i would have to say that the most difficult part would be facing the prejudices of others on the daily basis

The hardest part for myself is the uncertainty of my condition of health in the future. I hope that I will live to see my dream come true through fulfilling the accomplishments I have set for myself. I leave this in the hands of the cosmos and will be satisfied either way.

Your stories are amazing and I felt inspired reading about both of you. I work with an organization that provides support and services and transgender people. Do either of you have any words of support, guidance or advice for transgender teens or adults who are facing similar challenges that you both have been through? It would be wonderful to hear some words of hope from the two of you, who both sound like you are surmounting the incredible challenges you've faced. Your strength inspires others!

Thank you very much for your sentiments. My advice to other transgender youth is to stay true to themselves. This requires taking an in depth look into the reasons that they hold the feelings and emotions that they do. There is no need to rush into transition because life will reveal the true path that a person should be taking. Stay strong and never give up.

Awwwee.. Thanks and the only avice that i can offer a person in transition would be to just hold their heads high and not feel ashamed of who they are. If they are ashamed of who they are than other will treat them as such



What is the biggest issues that some of you in the general public  have in accepting transgenders?

Transgender Identity encompasses a vacillating and fluctuating existence. We are the result of the society in which we are raised, a result of life experiences, intuition, fear, hope, pain, and joy. Each individual in society should be valued for the gifts and talents that they contribute. I charge every person to look deep within themselves to find the same strength that transgender individuals use every day to fight against adversity in order to facilitate a spirit of unity and understanding for all whom we encounter.

Thank you for your time and may the mercy and blessings of Allah be upon us all.

It just seems weird.

Weird lies in the eye of the beholder. It is a completely subjective sentiment. What is weird for one may be normal for another. We all have the responsibility to accept the diversity of the entire universe. Even if we don't understand it. Transgender people have existed at least since the beginning of recorded human history.

How would some of you deal with a transgender child if he or she happened to be your own?

Are their any questions regarding our decision to live as another gender?

As a military wife, I've lived in several cities and I have never seen so many transgender males or females, or young girls who are "bull daggers" as I have seen here in DC. Why do you think that is?

Thanks for your question however i am not at familiar with the meaning of the term bull dagger . However if you wondering why their are so many transgenders in DC. The answer might lye in the tolerance that is found here. Here i can live asa girl and still find a job with relatively few problems. Something that at least for me was not really possible in PG over in Maryland


Devin and Sarah, I just want to thank you for sharing your stories. You are able to help more people than you will ever know by doing so.

Thank you it was my hope that that would be that outcome

But there's no surgery for most of us. We all feel there's a different, more confidant, more beautiful, more intelligent, more [insert your issue] person inside us and that the people who look at us and judge just don't see that real person we are supposed to be. But since there's no surgery for most of us, we just learn to deal. Accept, adapt, learn, stop judging ourselves by our corporeal bodies.

This is true and I want to say that most of us try that. We try too just accept ourselves for whom we are perceived to be by society. We try so hard. Harder than you can ever imagine. Yet usually to no avail do not succeed.  Also, I want to mention that for some of us just being able to live in the gender role of our preferred gender usually is enough to cure the inner  turmoil not all of us need surgery.  For the ones of us who do require the surgery we want  it because I guess it makes us feel more in sync with ourselves.  How would you feel if you had to look down between your legs every day at the genitals of the opposite gender.

Sarah, I liked all of your outfits in the photos!

Thank you very much you would be amazed at what you can find in Ross and Marshalls lolz :)


There is a medication that can halt puberty in young children, and early teenage years, that has been available for years. Do you think you would have liked to avoid going through puberty in the biological sex that you were born into? Was this ever an option for you or anyone you know? Did going through puberty as the biological sex of your birth strengthen or confirm the idea that you were not that gender, and it felt wrong?

This is really good question.  I do not know if puberty blockers existed prior to my puberty which began around 2001, however, if  these drugs had existed and I had had access to them then I would have gladly  accepted them to prevent me from going through puberty.  It would have made my life much easier now.   And yes, going through puberty as my bio sex didstrenthen my conviction that I was in the wrong body.


What do you think is the appropriate age to make such as life-long decision? I feel like I only really started feeling things fall together right in my 30s and 40s! So I worry about someone making serious decisions at such a young age. Our brains don't physicall stop forming til the mid 20s and the last part of the brain to form is the critical thinking, decision-making part.

This is true. However, the part of the brain which controls gender identity usually is established around 18 months if not sooner.  And while this  question is difficult to answer, I would have to argue that an appropriate time would be while the child is a teenager. Now that we have drugs to block puberty I see no reason to delay it beyond this. Also what many peope fail to realise is that hormones are not magic pills. The longer one waits the less effective they become in changning our bodies physically.


puberty starts way before an individual is mature enough to make sure a serious life-altering decision.

Yes that is true that is why children are given puberty blockers and NOT hormones like adults are. If the child changes their mind they can stop taking the blockers and return to their birth gender usually without any longer term consequences

I was raised a feminist: and NOT to define people by their genetalia. It's such a backwards sentiment: that you're a woman if you wear high heels and wear make-up. Let's all just accept the bodies genetics gave us and make our impact in the world through our creations and efforts. Save the whales. Write a novel. Help children. THAT is what defines our time here on earth, NOT what i see between my legs.

Interesting so if am a man walked into the womens room because he identitfied as a woman but clearly looked male  i do not beleive you would feel comfortable nor do i believe you would accept that person as a woman. 

also what do you mean by the body that genetics gave us. Their are people born one gender but with the genetics of the  opposite gender and sometime both genders

PS the feminist and thier theories on gender based on my research have been proven to not work and are the basis for much of the hurt and suffering of groups of people known as intersex.


They also are very bad for your heart. Many a nice person (who changed from a man to a woman with hormones) was lost too soon because the damage of taking all the hormones. I'd rather still have my friend regardless of what he wore or had between his legs. His heart and brain didn't change, only his cardiovascular health.

 I apologize for your loss, however I believe that is why people changing genders are encouraged to take their hormones under the supervision of a licensed doctor. Hormones can cause blood clots as well as a variety of other medical conditions if not taken in the proper dosages.

Thank you for your questions if you have any other questions you can email me at or find me on facebook. Thanks and have an awesome evening. :)

In This Chat
Sarah Feliciano
Sarah is a transgender woman who currently resides in the Wanda Alston House, which is a transitional housing space for homeless gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth between ages 16 and 24 in Northeast Washington.
Devin is a transgender male who currently resides in the Wanda Alston House, which is a transitional housing space for homeless gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth between ages 16 and 24 in Northeast Washington.
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