Daniel S.

About 2,000 kilometers from London there’s a city called Kaunas. And somewhere at the outskirts of Kaunas there’s me. 19-year-old Daniel. A young transgender guy, living in your standard uptight Eastern European country called Lithuania.

Accepting myself as trans was, and still is, a huge challenge. When I first discovered what “transgender” really means, something inside me just split in two. Even though I identified with that very much and I finally had words to explain how I felt, I was also filled with extremely transphobic attitudes that the media constantly pumps us up with. I thought I was less than human, that I’m not worthy of love and happiness. I didn’t imagine a future for myself, because I would only hear stories about people who lived abroad, or people who moved to  open-minded countries. So I decided I should put my story out there and raise a little awareness about what’s happening over here.

I started coming out to friends about three years ago and I came out to my parents about a year and a half ago. I am happy to say that my mother has been my biggest supporter, always open to learn, listen and help. During these three years I’ve lost friends, but I’ve also met new people who appreciate me for who I am. Coming out and accepting who I am has not only helped me become more confident and comfortable, but I was also able to finally put an end to years of suicidal thoughts and self-harm. Right now I would like to help others do the same – one of my biggest goals is to set up an LGBT helpline. I would also like to create a group for families of LGBT children, so they wouldn’t feel so alone and stigmatized.

My activities include volunteering at a local human rights organization where I help organize events promoting diversity and bringing attention to various human rights issues. Here people still think anything positive about LGBT issues is “propaganda”, so I believe it’s especially important for young LGBT people, who are still struggling and need acceptance the most. In September I’m going to start my first year in University, where I’ll be studying Jazz Performing Arts.

Email: s.daniel.freedomrequireswings@gmail.com