Thirteen-year-old Tom Sosnik made the bold decision to come out as transgender to his classmates in a powerful speech that he posted on YouTube.
Sosnik, previously known to his friends as Mia, announced, "I am no longer ‘me.' I never really was. And now I finally stand before you in my true and authentic gender identity as Tom. I stand before you as a 13-year-old boy."
The brave move was prompted by the tragic suicide last December of another teen named Leelah Alcorn who killed herself after her family reportedly did not accept her transition. Tom wanted to send his message to other youth who may be struggling with the same gender identity issues.
"[Leah's death] made me want to act on a subject that has been bothering me for quite a long time. All of sixth grade, I struggled with my gender identity and I am now embracing my truth. For a while, I dismissed the fact that I hated my body. I pretended to be content with what I was assigned until, at a certain point, I broke," Sosnik told his classmates.
He continued, "I am no longer Mia. I never really was. And now, I finally stand before you in my true and authentic gender identity, as Tom. I stand before you as a 13-year-old boy."
After sharing details of the stress of hiding his true identity, Tom said, "I really hope that you will support my decision to embark on a harder route in life as the boy I truly am. Any form of support is received with much gratitude."
And support is exactly what he got. At the end of his speech, his classmates broke into applause that brought Tom to tears.