StoryCorps: “We’re just people too.”

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Jennifer: I don’t think you realize, Rae, what a leader you are to the other kids. Because even the times when you felt you didn’t have friends, I would go to the school, and walk through the hallway with you, and all I heard the entire time was people saying hello to you. So I think people look up to you, because you are not afraid to take a different path. And that’s a true hero: someone who can be true to themselves and kind to others, and live an intentional life that is different.

What do you hope the future holds for transgender or any LGBTQ people?


Rae: Well, as I once heard, humans are afraid of the unknown, so they don’t want transgender people in the bathroom, because they are afraid of the unknown. They don’t want gay or lesbian marriage, because they are afraid of the unknown. So, I think that they should just give us a chance, ‘cause we’re are not going to be evil. We’re just people too.

Jennifer: You’re being true to yourself, aren’t you, by being who you are?

Rae: Yes. Yes I am. In ten years, you may not know this, but I want to be in a giant martial arts academy. I want to own it. I want to be the head instructor. I want to teach my own classes. I want everybody to be accepted, and I want to be able to compete in tournaments as a male, because that’s been a challenge for me lately. I wanted to go to a tournament as a male in Tuscaloosa, and most of my instructors supported me. But a few at the head said no, but I came to Birmingham, and the martial arts there lets me compete as a male. I’m really happy about that.

Jennifer: Yeah, that was a situation where we actually faced some discrimination, a little bit of discrimination, for the first time, didn’t we?

Rae: Yes. It made me feel kind of upset, because martial arts is what I love. The whole world … all those evil people … they just fade away. I can’t think about anything but martial arts when I’m on the mat.

Jennifer: I’m just so proud. Happy tears.

Rae: OK.

Jennifer: I’m very proud to be your mom.

Rae: I’m proud to be your son.

Jennifer: I think you’re super-cool, and you’re one of my heroes.

Rae: You’re cool, I just live with you.

Amy Stiftel-Sedlis

Amy Stiftel-Sedlis

Assistant Producer


StoryCorps recognizes the profound historical importance of capturing the stories of the LGBTQ community and the urgent need for this work to happen now. StoryCorps OutLoud is a multi-year initiative dedicated to recording and preserving LGBTQ stories across America. OutLoud will honor the stories of those who lived before the 1969 Stonewall uprisings, celebrate the lives of LGBTQ youth, and amplify the voices of those most often excluded from the historical record. The end result will be a diverse collection of stories that will enrich our nation’s history.

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