After struggling for decades in silence, college senior Sarah McBride has finally let the world know who she really is.
It's never easy to be a college student, and things get especially difficult when you try to juggle academic endeavors with a office in student government and a social life. Now try doing all those things while also struggling with your gender identity. That's what Tim McBride, the outgoing student body president at Washington, D.C.'s, American University, did for more than three years. While most of the world saw a high-achieving, smart, talented kid, he saw himself as a man living a lie.
Now a senior preparing to graduate, McBride's tenure as president ended on the last day of April. On May 1, newly free of the stresses of representing an entire university's students, he took to The Eagle, AU's student newspaper, to finally come out as a transgender woman.
"For my entire life, I’ve wrestled with my gender identity. It was only after the experiences of this year that I was able to come to terms with what had been my deepest secret: I’m transgender," McBride wrote in an op-ed titled "The Real Me." "As SG President, I realized that as great as it is to work on issues of fairness, it only highlighted my own struggles. It didn’t bring the completeness that I sought. By mid-fall, it had gotten to the point where I was living in my own head. With everything I did, from the mundane to the exciting, the only way I was able to enjoy it was if I re-imagined doing it as a girl. My life was passing me by, and I was done wasting it as someone I wasn’t."
Tim McBride is now—and in many ways always has been—Sarah McBride. And her coming-out article has already inspired many of her classmates who had no idea about McBride's internal conflict. "If a Sarah McBride who couldn't be her full self could accomplish as much as you already have, I can't wait to see the amazing things you do as you move forward, " one of McBride's classmates wrote in the article's comments section.
For her part, McBride has already used the experience of coming out to her family as a lesson about privilege. "I grew up in an upper-income household, in an accepting environment and with incredible educational opportunities," she writes. "I never worried about my family’s reaction. But those worries are all too common for most. For far too many trans individuals, the reality is far bleaker; coming out oftentimes means getting kicked out of your home. I say this not to diminish my own experience, but to acknowledge the privilege and opportunities which have been afforded to me."
It sounds like McBride is going to do just fine once she graduates. Now how to get Lady Gaga to play her coming-out party?