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Offering Hope and Support to Other Transgender Kids

By Daniel Heumann

I wanted to share my story with the public because I want people to know that even though I didn’t have a lot of trouble with transitioning, my family and I are here for you if you need us. If at first you are experiencing difficulties, just give it awhile, it takes time, and believe that it will get better.

When my family was first asked to share our story on FRONTLINE, I was scared to do that, and said, “No” at first. After a while of thinking it over, I changed my mind. I wanted people to see my story and thought it would be really neat to be on TV. I hope people will see us as a supportive resource if they need it. We want to always hold a place in their hearts, so they know they have supportive people in their corner.

Daniel in a clip from the documentary Growing Up Trans.
Daniel in a clip from the documentary Growing Up Trans.


I hope people learn about being transgender, and open up their hearts so they respect trans individuals. Trans people are different in a good way. Other people may not think that being different is good, but trans people are unique and special, and AMAZING!

There are some beliefs that people sometimes have about trans people that just aren’t true. Here are some examples:

  • Being transgender doesn’t exist or isn’t real
  • You should only be the gender you are born as

These are negative beliefs and they hurt trans people because everyone has the right to be who they want to be. To me, being trans means that when you were growing in your mom’s tummy, something got messed up, and the outside doesn’t match the feelings and thoughts and the inside.

While I was going through the process of being a part of the filming of FRONTLINE, I really wasn’t sure how many people would see it, and I felt a little scared. The response from my friends and family has been so great. Just a while ago, my cousins said they even wish they had seen me more on the film! Some of our friends held screening parties. When we watched the film, we were at my Oma and Opa’s house. My parents were crying at times, and I really loved hearing other kid’s stories. It was an awesome show, and it is important because some people have absolutely no clue what it is like to be transgender.

Daniel in a clip from the documentary Growing Up Trans.
Daniel in a clip from the documentary Growing Up Trans.


I really enjoyed Alex’s story and liked how his friends were supportive. I am fortunate to have friends like that. I know I am pretty young, but someone who is going through this knows how real it is to question their gender.

I learned a few things from watching the show. While Miri [Navasky, the film’s co-director] was narrating the program, she said that in the past only adults were coming out as trans. I had no idea that it used to not be talked about. I like that people are talking about trans issues because people need to be aware. I got to see Laverne Cox talk and I wish that more trans people would share their experiences so I can also learn from them too.

Your philanthropic support can help advance the work of Lurie Children’s Gender & Sex Development Program. Contact Lurie Children's Foundation at 312.227.7500 or foundation@luriechildrens.org to learn more.

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