My name is Ben Greene, and I am an openly transgender man. When I first came out, I struggled with my identity. A lot. I didn't know who I was or who I wanted to be, and I didn't know if the people around me would be able to love who I was becoming. I spent a year in the closet grappling with the notion of masculinity and where I fit in; I was dealing with intense anxiety and depression as I was preparing to lead an inauthentic, secretive, and short life. I had seen no positive representation of trans people, so I didn't know living a happy life was an option.
When I finally came out, I was embraced with so much more love than I had imagined I deserved. With time, I learned to understand, accept, and love who I am, and I started to find my groove in educating others: first peers, then school administrators, companies, and communities! After giving a TEDx talk in my sophomore year of college, I decided to take a leap of faith and make a career out of public speaking and advocacy work. I changed tracks to graduate a full year early and now work full time speaking and consulting with different groups teaching them how to be more inclusive. My activism extends to several different fields, but it all points back to the same thing. In everything I do. I'm just trying to maximize my good.
Whoever you are, if you're reading this wondering if this means there could be love and hope for you too, the answer is yes. There is hope, there is opportunity, and it will get better.