Corey Maison, from Chicago, is 14 years old. She was ten years old when bullies at school told her she should kill herself and that no one would miss her.
In a powerful Facebook video that has already garnered over a million views, the teenager shares her experience of growing up transgender and overcoming bullying to inspire others facing similar situations.
Corey doesn’t speak in the clip, but instead holds up pieces of paper to narrate her story.
In it, she explains: “I might look happy now, I haven’t always been”. In fact, the bullying she received from boys her age became so bad that she was reduced to tears almost every day and her parents were eventually forced to home-school her.
Despite her situation significantly improving thereafter, Corey says she was still made to feel like a freak when her mother first allowed her to wear a dress out to the shops.
“A woman in the store started taking pictures of me with her phone, another lady was pointing and laughing,” she says. “I felt so stupid. Like a freak. Like a misfit.”
It wasn’t until her mother directed her to a documentary about transgender woman named Jazz Jennings that Corey realised she was trans and everything in her life up to that moment “finally made sense”.
“There’s nothing ‘wrong’ with me. I’m transgender,” she reveals with a smile.
The realisation and subsequent therapy sessions gave Corey the confidence to return to a new school where she now uses the girls’ bathroom and plays on the female soccer team.
“I want to tell anyone being bullied [that] this is temporary and it will get better,” she says.
“Know that even though it may not feel like it now, you are incredible, you are beautiful, you are worth so much and you are loved.”