Trans Teen Hailed as 'Pioneer' After Becoming One of the Youngest to Undergo Gender Confirmation Surgery
Emily Tressa, 17, has documented her journey on her YouTube and Instagram accounts.
Emily Tressa is finally living her best life — as herself.
"For me, it almost feels like I'm finally fully complete now," Emily told CBS News after the June operation.
Emily explained that while she was assigned male at birth, she always knew she was a girl. Emily and her mom asked that their legal last name not be used.
"I used to look in the mirror and be like, 'Is it only me? Am I the only one that feels like this? That I'm trapped in the wrong body?'" she said.
Her mom, Linda, said it was important for the family to support Emily in her transition, which began with changing her name and changing her gender expression as a child. Later, with the support of doctors and psychologists, Emily started to take medication to prevent her from going through male puberty and estrogen to help develop a female body.
Dr. Jess Ting, the director of surgery at the Mount Sinai Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery, performed Emily's surgery.
"Emily is a pioneer because she is at the forefront of this generation of young kids, adolescents, who are realizing what they are much early in life and are able to transition even before puberty," Ting told CBS News.
Ting said that gender confirmation surgery can be "lifesaving" for transgender people. A 2018 study published in the journal Pediatrics found that trans teens are more likely than their peers to attempt suicide.
"We saw the unhappy boy and we saw the happy girl, and we knew the statistics and we knew we'd much rather have an alive daughter than a dead son, so it really wasn't hard," Linda told CBS News.
Emily has continued to share her story on her social media accounts in the hopes of inspiring other trans teens.
"It's OK to be who you are and just present to the world as yourself," she said.
You can follow her journey on YouTube here.
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