Episode 67: Transgender female Sara, and her mom Katie
Katie is a returning guest from Season 2 who shared her story as the mother of transgender daughter Sara. Katie returns with Sara so that Sara can share her story in the hopes that it could help another young transgender person going through similar difficulties.
Intro Voices 00:04
Where do I go? It only happened once. I think I was singled out. The phone calls began about one month ago. What is hazing? Something happened to me when I was younger. I'm worried about my safety. He said he was sorry. Can someone help me? Where can I get help? Can someone help me? This is You Matter, a podcast for the NYU community developed by the Department of Public Safety. Where do I go?
Karen Ortman 00:36
Hi, everyone, and welcome back to You Matter, a podcast created to teach, inspire and motivate members of the NYU community who have been victimized in some form or fashion and to identify resources both on and off campus that can help. I am your host Karen Ortman, Associate Vice President of Campus Safety Operations at the Department of Public Safety, and a retired law enforcement professional. Today, I welcome a returning guest from season two, Katie, who previously shared her story as the mother of a transgender daughter named Sara. Katie's here today with Sarah, so that Sarah could share her own story in the hopes that she can help other transgender kids going through something similar as she. Katie and Sara, welcome to You Matter. Katie, what brings you back to You Matter?
I'm happy to be back. So what happened was when I originally did your podcast, of course, I asked Sara's permission, I would never do something that she wasn't comfortable with. She knew I was doing it, and she was fine with that. As time went on, I'd be listening to different podcasts, and if there was a purpose, she would listen to it. Like, the Trevor Noah book. I was listening to that one time, she listened to part of that, and then she said, can I do a podcast, the one that you did and tell my story, so from her perspective? I said, yeah, well let me inquire about that.
And here we are.
Karen Ortman 02:09
Here you are.
Here we are.
Karen Ortman 02:11
So Sarah, I'm so happy to have you here to talk to us. Let's start with your memory as a child. Go back in your mind and tell me what your first recollection is.
I was a happy child. I was just a happy child, you know, I was energetic, long hair don't care.
Karen Ortman 02:37
Long Hair don't care.
Karen Ortman 02:39
Okay. I like it.
When I started to remember, probably around one, two.
Karen Ortman 02:45
Maybe a little earlier.
Karen Ortman 02:47
Karen Ortman 02:50
So take me back to when you lived your life as a boy.
Well, my name was Sam, Samuel. When I was like, one, two, around then, maybe three I didn't really think about it that much.
Karen Ortman 03:07
You know, I did like kind of girl things. You know, everything is for everyone, I just want to clarify, but stereotypically girl things.
Karen Ortman 03:17
What, what kind of girl things?
I don't know, like dressing up, makeup, hair, Barbies. I also loved history, and I still do, fashion history.
Karen Ortman 03:28
When you lived your life as Sam, you liked to do girl things you like to dress up, and wear makeup?
Yeah, but it wasn't till about like, three, four that I kind of realized. What's funny, because I've met a lot of transgender kids my age, and a lot of them always say, you know, I am a girl, I am a boy, and blah, blah, blah. I never said that. I always said I wish. That was when my mom was like...hmm?
Karen Ortman 03:57
What do you think that meant when you said, you wished, as opposed to I am?
I mean, because I didn't know that was an option, at like, three, four, to just change. I did have supportive friends and neighbors, but you know, there's always going to be a couple of people that do not understand, that make for make fun of you. But, I'd say mostly, the people around us in our neighborhood were okay with it.
Karen Ortman 04:22
So when you were Sam, did you like to do anything that was traditionally a boy activity?
Not like sports. I did like trains. I like swimming. I used to be on the swim team, so there's a sport, but not like anything else.
She also likes antique cars.
Karen Ortman 04:38
I know. And yeah, I had like...
She collected cars, but they were all antique.
They were like, you get them at like CVS. They're the little, I don't know you call them. I also like those wooden trains and the wooden track. I would like to set them up and have like a mile long track.
Karen Ortman 04:53
So it wasn't like, you know...
Karen Ortman 04:57
You like doing both things that are typically assigned to each gender I guess?
And then I had like with my babysitters I would usually play like a girl role, like a game, but it was like Titanic or Anne Boleyn or just...
Karen Ortman 05:11
Oh, you liked Annee Boleyn, I remember your mom saying that.
...just like not an average, probably, five year old, you know.
Karen Ortman 05:19
Yeah.An old soul, right? You liked historical thing?
And I still do.
Karen Ortman 05:25
Yeah. When did you start becoming more concerned with presenting as a female?
Probably around kindergarten, you know, I always want to wear a dress to school. My mom said no, not necessarily, because she didn't accept it, but because, you know, she was worried about how other people would think.
So she had dress up clothes. As soon as she would come home from school she would take off her clothes and put on her dresses.
Karen Ortman 05:53
So how did you feel when you were wearing, what we'll call, boy clothes?
I mean, it wasn't really a feeling, I don't know.
Karen Ortman 06:00
Yeah. Why did you dislike wearing boy clothes?
Cuz that wasn't who I am, I guess. I mean, I didn't dislike it. In fact a lot of girls now, like the trends are similar, so some stuff I wasn't like, insane about.
She didn't give me a hard time about clothes until kindergarten, but she wanted to wear like a gown to school.
Karen Ortman 06:33
Was that for Halloween?
In general, she wanted to wear like a corset. You know, I was like, even if you were a girl you can't wear that it's a costume and you'll distract people and stuff. Everyone can't wear their costumes, now you're an elementary school.
Karen Ortman 06:48
So we talked about, you know, the clothes that you preferred wearing. You said, it wasn't really a feeling, but you just like wearing girl clothes better? Yeah. Because you liked wearing girl clothes better, in your mind, did that mean that you were a girl? Or, was it just a preference? Did you think at that time, I'm still a boy, but I just prefer wearing girl clothes?
I mean, sort of. I always say, I didn't really know, transgender was an option for a while.
It was almost like she felt something was wrong with her that she liked this stuff. She became very unhappy.
...and just very unhappy that she couldn't do girls do, the jewelry, they get dressed. She became very unhappy. So she didn't even know was an option, she just thought, something's wrong with me; that I'm a boy who likes these things. Why don't I like what the other boys like? That was like...would you say that's right? Totally. Yeah, that's definitely right.
Karen Ortman 07:50
Okay, so at what point did you even learn the term transgender?
I don't know. Probably first grade?
Karen Ortman 07:57
Do you know who explained to you what that meant?
I don't remember.
What happened was in first grade, so we'd been through many therapists, but we finally found a therapist who would legitimately work with transgender kids. So she first started seeing her and she just started trying to show her pictures, like, do you think this a boy or girl? Trying to start explaining to her that gender is non binary? She didn't say, she just kind of would show her pictures, what do you think about this person, who you think it is, and not lead her in any specific direction? She'd say like, oh, well, gender is not binary. Without telling her exactly what it was, she was kind of like, be sure to ask more questions. After a few appointments, I asked the therapist if she thought she was transgender? That's when she said there's no, there's no tests for that, in my experience...
Karen Ortman 08:54
No blood test.
...and there's no harm in trying out, so then that's when I got I read her the book.,I Am Jazz.
no, first you me MY PRINCESS BOY (?)
Yeah, but that was not to type a transgender. So, then I read, I Am Jazz, because that talks about a transgender girl. Then, I said to her, you know, so there's a term, Jazz is transgender and what that means is x. You know, people really do live like this, they're in the wrong body.
Karen Ortman 09:23
And then it clicked and she said, oh, that's me.
Karen Ortman 09:26
Yeah. So then, did things make sense for you at that point?
It made a lot more sense. But still, I even to this day, sometimes there's people that don't accept, and sometimes I think, still, what's wrong with me? Why did I have to be transgender? Why is it me? Out of all of the millions of people, billions? I don't know,
Karen Ortman 09:55
So in your heart and mind. Do you believe yourself to be a specific gender.
Yeah, I think I'm female. I believe a female. I know I'm female.
Karen Ortman 10:06
Okay, and how do you know that?
It's not something you know, it's not like, I mean, there is a way to technically tell, but like...I just know. I don't know, I just know I'm female.
Karen Ortman 10:23
You know, people know, I am black, I am white, I'm whatever, right? I know I'm female.
Karen Ortman 10:30
So she became very distressed around five or six. She felt like something was wrong with her. She was always asked me what's wrong with me? Why am I not like the boys? Why do I like old girl stuff? You know, she felt this, but she couldn't put into words. She didn't even know the such thing as transgender was even an option. She said she felt "something's wrong with me, what's wrong with me? Why?" After we had been to a therapist, who she's started working with, we've been through many and finally found a legit one that was really experienced, she started to show her pictures, and what do you think this person is, and explain to her that gender is not binary. After a few sessions with her, that's when I read her the book, I Am Jazz. Jazz is a transgender girl, and she explains what that is and how she feels. I said to Sarah, you know, transgender is a real thing, and people feel this way. That's what Jazz is. She said, oh, that's me.
Karen Ortman 11:39
Then it kind of made sense.
Karen Ortman 11:41
Sarah, how old are you today?
What grade are you in?
Karen Ortman 11:47
And, you go to school in Pennsylvania?
Karen Ortman 11:51
But you've been in a lot of different schools. You were in a New Jersey school. You were in New York City. Now you're in Pennsylvania.
Karen Ortman 12:02
Tell me about your experience at school. Do your peers know that you're transgender?
Not here. No.
Karen Ortman 12:11
Not in Pennsylvania.
Karen Ortman 12:13
Okay. How about your teacher or administrators in the school, do they know?
Yeah, the teachers and the administrators, they know. And the nurse.
Because they have...yeah.
Karen Ortman 12:30
And they're supportive?
Yeah, very supportive. They've never discussed it with her, but to me, they're very supportive. They would never discuss it with her unless she brought it up on her own.
Karen Ortman 12:41
So when you first knew that you were transgender, who did you talk to about it?
Karen Ortman 12:50
Most of the time, yeah.
Karen Ortman 12:53
Did that make you feel better to talk about how you were feeling with mom?
Sometimes, usually at the end, you know, after conversation, after crying and stuff it
Karen Ortman 13:07
Sarah, are you friends with any of your friends who knew you as Sam?
Karen Ortman 13:14
Tell me about that.
A lot of them are from New Jersey, because, they knew me before I was Sarah. So, you know, they were really supportive. My babysitters went along, I love my babysitter's, friends, the neighborhood usually went along.
Karen Ortman 13:30
Did any of your friends who knew as Sam have any questions for you?
Karen Ortman 13:38
They were just kind of like, okay.
Yeah, they kind of saw it as it happened, that she was always a little bit different. They maybe asked their parents questions so that they, kind of, were prepped. To them it was just like, that's who she is. When she was in first grade, it was cute, she was going to school as Sam but at her birthday party, her friend gave her a dress for her birthday, and another girl gave her a Barbie.
Gave me like a knockoff Barbie.
It was cute because I guess she must have been telling the girls that she wanted to wear dresses. And this girl, her mama said, what does he want...
Karen Ortman 14:25
At the time?
....for her birthday, and she said a dress. She got a dress, which was so cute. We actually have saved it. It's too small now, but we saved it because it was her first dress.
I still tomato soup on it in second grade.
Karen Ortman 14:38
We got it out.
Karen Ortman 14:40
But you saved it. It means something to you, Im sure.
They were often just really supportive, most of the girls. I just feel like girls get it.
But there were sweet boys in your class.
Yeah. Well, like the ones I didn't really like, you didn't know the parents....
Yeah, there was definitely some jerky ones, but she lucked out in her class, there were some sweet boys.
Karen Ortman 15:03
So who were your role models? Is there anybody that you look to that makes you happy? That, maybe, lived a similar experience as you?
Not necessarily, but I love like Shark Tank and stuff. My favorites are you know, they're just so inspirational, Barbara and Laurie. Barbara Corcoran and Laurie Grenier, they're just so inspirational and they're just pretty good role models.
Karen Ortman 15:35
Oh, I agree.
And also, Lady Gaga is great role model. She's amazing. She's queen.
Karen Ortman 15:42
What TV shows do you like to watch other than Shark Tank?
I like to watch the Simpsons, Bob's Burgers, the Disney Channel like Jessie, Sam & Cat on Nickelodeon. It's not animated, it's like with real people. Then I love Disney, Disneyland, Disney World, Tokyo Disneyland. I love all that.
Karen Ortman 16:02
I heard a rumor that you liked Howard Stern?
Just as interviews,
I tell her not to tell people. We're gonna have like, child services...
Sometimes it's like God, can you go like one day without...
Well I don't let her listen to...
I listen to the interviews.
Some of the interviews that I think will be PG. She loves music, like Paul McCartney
Elton John, Eddie Vedder and, you know.
Karen Ortman 16:31
I agree. Howard Stern's an excellent interviewer. So Sarah, tell me how you came up with your name.
Great question. Well, originally I wanted names like Mary, Joan, my great aunt's name is Joan and she's amazing, but I hated it, but I love her. Yeah, Joan, Mary, Elizabeth, all these all these, like Queens in the history book, Marie, Mary...
Yeah from the Tudor period. I was like, oh, you're not a Mary, you're not an Ann. I was like, can we just stick with an S to make it a little easier? And I was like, Oh,
I was like, YEAH, oh, there are some good S names for girls, so I was like, Sarah. Yeah. We were just, yeah. Since my old boy name was Samuel or Sam for short. My middle name is now Samantha cuz Sam.
Karen Ortman 17:20
So you're sticking with the S.
Yeah. It's also basically the same thing. Sam is the nickname for both boys and girls.
Karen Ortman 17:31
I like it. Yeah. And you liked it too mom?
Yeah, I was like, good. Done. It was just easier to stick with the S, I felt like it was probably a little bit...
Easier to remember. Yeah. Definitely
Karen Ortman 17:44
Okay. What do you want to be when you grow up?
I want to be on Broadway.
Karen Ortman 17:50
You do? In what way? Do you want to be an actor on Broadway? To sing? Yeah. Dance? Because there are straight plays on Broadway.
I want to be the singer on Broadway.
Karen Ortman 18:07
You want to sing on Broadway? MmHmm. Do you sing now? MmHmm. What kind of things do you sing?
Karen Ortman 18:16
Yeah. What's your favorite song?
Probably What's Wrong with Me from Mean Girls on Broadway.
Karen Ortman 18:22
Really? Why? Why that song?
Like Gretchen, you now, she's kind of a...you know. It's not why I like her. It's because she's...
Gretchen's a mean, girl.
Yeah, but it's because, you know, she's really insecure, and I can relate to that. Trying to fit in is so hard. So that song, you know, it's like, What's Wrong with Me?!?
Karen Ortman 18:42
Yeah. Okay. Well, we'll get back to that in a second. When you think of your future, do you have any concerns?
I mean, you know, having a child, naturally, I want to. I know, there are ways but I want to have a baby come out....I don't know.
Karen Ortman 19:01
Okay. So that's a concern.
Sometimes falling in love and getting married. I feel like that would be harder. But that's kind of it. And, how people will accept me. That's kind of it.
Karen Ortman 19:15
Yeah. Well, those are, those are big things. Hopefully, you can talk to people about that, you know.
Since we left New York, she seems to worry more.
Karen Ortman 19:28
Yeah. So why are you concerned since you've left New York?
Well, because New York is really accepting and all the people at my school, I don't know 100% accepting?
Oh, she doesn't know for sure, but she's nervous. Based on maybe a couple things...
Karen Ortman 19:45
Yeah. Do you have any plans of coming back to New York?
In a dream world.
I like Pennsylvania. I'm near my family, my mom's whole family.
Financially, it's such a less stress.
It's like $2 or $3 for like a Hershey bar.
I would love, I don't know what's gonna, we have to kind of see what happens after this pandemic, but it's just much less stress financially to be where we are.
Karen Ortman 20:16
The thing I miss most is just walking everywhere, right?
Karen Ortman 20:24
You used to love that.
I like the subway.
Oh yeah, she loves the subway.
Karen Ortman 20:28
Yeah, she can get anywhere. It's one thing, I never worry about losing in New York, because she'd find her way back.
Karen Ortman 20:36
So Katie, let me ask you. There are people that have no sort of basis of understanding what it's like to have a transgender child. And there are some people that might think that somehow this is something that a parent could be behind. A parent could convince a child that they're one gender over another. Not quite sure how people draw that conclusion. But, you know, some might say it's a phase. And that she'll grow out of it. What is your response to that?
I mean, it's, it's honestly, it's like laughable, because it's the craziest thing, because who would ever push their child?
I mean, I get the face, but
no different than, you know. And, you know, some kids yet could be a phase so that they, you know, that. I mean, they could like certain, I'm sure, there's plenty of boys out there who might have played with their sisters Barbies. And doesn't mean they'll end up transgender. I'm people ask me that. There's no doubt in my mind that she's a girl, there's no doubt in her mind. But she knows that. If she ever felt differently, she came to us, it's not, it's fine, then, you know, whatever she needs, whatever, however she feels is, you know, how we would support her. And nothing's medical at this point. So if she changed her mind, then you know, she changed and she might dress differently and change her name, you know, it's nothing medical at this point. So it's, it's not, it wouldn't be at the end of the world, it's, it would be more harmful to not allow her to be who she really is, then to, you know, just kind of go with it. And, and it's not like people don't take it lightly. It's not like we just said, Oh, yeah, sure. Go wear dresses. Cool. You know, I mean, this is, you know, years of
research and therapists, and, you know, a not an easy road reading books. Absolutely. Yeah, it's not an easy road. And, you know, it's hard for us particularly hard for for a parent, because when she is in pain, you know, there's nothing that a parent wants to do they want so you want to do is take away their pain. And I can't give her her Advil to take what you know. And so when she's upset and even to say things, first of all, I am not transgender. So you know, I can only imagine how she feels, but I really don't know how she feels so and I can't, I can't fix it, fix it, you know? So I can support her. But so that's kind of the hardest, the hardest part because I don't you know, you want to make the better, you want to make them feel better. But sometimes there's really nothing I could say. Yeah, other than support and love her. Everything's gonna be okay. And we're going to make sure she's okay. She just asked her faith.
Karen Ortman 23:39
What has the response been from your friend group?
My friends, they've been amazing. Yeah, everyone's been super, super supportive. And, I mean, I wouldn't associate with anybody who wasn't if they were like, they, we didn't really cut them out of our life. Because I would never allow her to be around someone who isn't supportive. And my friends been great. And people have been really wanted to learn about it. And I mean, people even that, I don't know that. Well, you know, it's, it's, it's been that's been good. Luckily, we are very lucky because that is not the case for many, many people. So we are very lucky in that sense. Yes. And yeah, so they've been great. Yeah, we're lucky.
Karen Ortman 24:25
Sara, are you happy?
Karen Ortman 24:32
Does anything about being transgender make you sad?
I mean, sometimes, like not, you know, like having a penis and
Karen Ortman 24:42
you don't, you don't like having a penis?
No. And, you know, just feeling different than everybody else.
Karen Ortman 24:50
If you could make a one wish for transgender kids out there, what would it be?
Karen Ortman 25:00
Okay, five as many wishes as you would like.
okay, actually one, that they can just be who they want to be from the start. Like if they wanted to be a boy or girl to be a boy. Yeah. And probably not just or have everybody accept them?
Karen Ortman 25:20
I think that they're great wishes. I wish they didn't have to be a wish. I think it was. I wish it was just that way, you know, that people were just accepted. Do you ever think about being a boy again?
Karen Ortman 25:35
Is there anything about being a boy that you miss?
No a lot of stuff are the same. I still have friends. I still have fun. A lot of the stuff I get as a boy and play with Barbies and stuff, I still know.
Karen Ortman 25:52
You're happy as a girl. You look happy.
We, you know, went with what she wanted to play with. You know, I mean, of course, like, you know, I had to talk my husband and a little bit along the way. But it just kind of became our norm. And she's so creative, and she loves to play pretend and stuff, too. So she showed the visibility and so we get a little figurines and she'd make up stories and make the mango tiles and like, build her sigh like she was always making up stories with new characters. But she only ever picked women to identify. She never ever ever picked them out. Yeah.
Karen Ortman 26:25
Do you have a lot of female cousins?
I have none.
Karen Ortman 26:31
You have no female cousins.
Like Not at all. My mom's sister like the main cousins. I interact with my mom sister. She had three boys. So you have all boy cousins. And then my mom's brother has two.
Karen Ortman 26:42
Wow, a lot of boys. Okay,
just second cousins are
all in T all in their teens couple of girls.
Okay. The second teens and 20s Yeah.
Karen Ortman 26:54
Sara, what would you want other transgender kids to know? When they're feeling down? What can you say to them to lift their spirits?
Well, that you're not the only one I mean, that kind of can sound like me and like you're not the only one that's going through this but like more like you're not the only one that's going through this and I can feel I understand more than anyone because I you know,
Karen Ortman 27:17
Yeah. And you know, it will get better. That's gonna come out tomorrow. Yeah, but I will get better and there are people on your side? Right?
Karen Ortman 27:30
That's nice. What do you do to lift your spirits when you're sad?
Saying pet my dog because she's love fluffiest little just she thinks she's a person. It's it's an issue.
Karen Ortman 27:45
What kind of dog?
She's a poodle mixed with an Australian Shepherd Aussie.
Karen Ortman 27:48
She must be beautiful.
Karen Ortman 27:51
what's her name?
Karen Ortman 27:53
Lucille. I love it.
We call her Lulu or Lucille
or bubble girl?
Yeah, I don't know how we started that.
I call her Pucci. There's so many names there.
Karen Ortman 28:06
Katie how how can you offer support to other transgender parents out there who may be struggling any advice?
I would say listen, the most important thing is to just really listen and you know try not to really give advice or talk them out of it. Just listen, first just listen and then educate yourself there's tons of books out there and you know I'm you. I'm part of like some private Facebook groups that are for transgender parents you know you have you know, don't be don't be ashamed find someone that you trust and feel comfortable with. Because it's a lot to handle on your own. And the only really way to get resources is you kind of have to take a chance and trust somebody tell a couple people because I can't tell you how many people random people have or not someone has reached out to me like that they have a friend of a friend you know struggling so I've spoken to many parents it's like if someone's calling me or getting their phone number
calls with your kids play Roblox Yeah,
yeah, she'll play Roblox or the kids or you know, sometimes I'll say like this kid's struggling you know, do you want to talk to this child and cause she's she's outgoing so and she's done that
Karen Ortman 29:29
you play what with other kids?
Roblox? It is actually no I will say the thing.
It's a video game
Karen Ortman 29:36
And it's like a video game we create a character and there's like a bunch of games you can play and create one game so it's like a bunch of different games in one.
so someone else be playing in the game you're playing, but she likes because you know this. You know she's dying for social interaction. So she likes to FaceTime on one device and then the other way she plays Roblox so they can like chat and get in the same game. Okay, chit chat. Got the game?
Karen Ortman 30:00
Got it. So, that brings me to this question. Are you going to school remote? Or are you in person?
Well, I've been remote for the past two months. I did start like, a couple, like two months in school and remote. I hated it. It is the worst thing in the world. It sucks. But no, she goes back going back on Monday. Well, that's Tuesday, cuz of Martin Luther King Day.
Karen Ortman 30:23
Yeah. Okay. All right. Is there anything that I haven't asked you that you think is important to say?
I just want to say it's like it's just like, we live in a small world and you know, people. It's kind of, it's fun. It's not it's kind of I don't know how to explain it. Like, it's funny because I when I was run, like, I don't know. I don't know. Just when I was little I still do. There's this YouTube channel called the Mommy and Gracie Show. And they would review like dolls like Monster High dolls. And Mommy, Melissa, she had MS and Gracie was a unique child. She had autism. And yeah, they were super funny. And they like oh, whatever. Like they were like the most unprofessional YouTube. That's really what they call themselves,
like, talk about the toys and rape them right? And
maybe like hashtag so profesh. But just recently, her daughter Gracie came out as like he's transgender. And his name is now Kaden.
Karen Ortman 31:17
No. So mom, Katie. Anything that I haven't asked you that you would like to add?
I just I wish people would have more of an open mind and open heart and stop thinking that they know everything or there's no possible way. You know, they're only a child. Yeah, and just, you know, before you make any comments, research, do some research. There is some stuff out there you can find this the opposite. That's not true. But, you know, you really can't make a judgement until you've actually met a transgender person. Or you know, or non binary or but because it's not, it's, it's not easy. No one's gonna just choose this. This isn't like a parent's like, Oh, I wish I had a girl. So let me do this. You know,
it's not in the baby books. Not in the baby. Yeah.
So when she gets annoyed with me, like, you know, so it's on the baby book. But she she knows that we've done the best we can but sometimes, like she'll, she'll get mad and be like, Well, you didn't, you know, until whatever I'm like, I said, it wasn't the baby books. You know, like, you know, what do you do anyway? We don't do it the best we can. We're figuring this out as we go to right. You know, I mean, it's just struggles. You know, like, overall, she's happy, but she struggles particularly recently, right, Sarah? Yeah. I think it's been hard because the pandemic so she has too much time to think. And she hates spiritual school. So she's been, you know, like, down in general. Yeah. And then recently at night, she's always been she starts to cry, because she's like, cuz she'll go the bathroom bed and she'll be like, just like, Oh, I can never I'm always reminded I can never change No, she says I can never I can never change this. I'm always reminded what the that she has, like, yeah, that she's transgender. Because when she goes the bathroom like she can be feeling good and singing her songs and having a great time in the shower, belting you know, bounce my her tunes, and then she got you soap and then I'm like, yeah, and then she gets upset. And then then it's bedtime. And she's like, I can't, I can never get away from this. I can never change it. You know? She's like, no,
Karen Ortman 33:18
we're talking about body parts that yes, yeah, yeah.
What her penis? Yes. Okay. And you know why? You know why? why she asked me a lot. Why her? Like, why does she Yeah, and I, you know, it's heartbreaking, because, you know,
you know, yeah. And I just say, you know, she's meant for great things. She's going to show people the way and people and to make a difference in this world.
Karen Ortman 33:41
I agree yes. And on that note, I'm going to ask you, if you do me a favor and sing your favorite song for me?
Can I do a little bit of the lines before the song too?
Karen Ortman 33:56
I think she is mad at me. It started when I burped in the car. Regina let me in. I'm sorry about the car burp. Tell me what's wrong with me. My body, face, my hair. Tell me all my many faults. Tell me like you care when we both know you're cruel. And we both know you're right. I could listen to you like a fool all night. What's wrong with me? How I speak, how I dress. What's wrong with me? You keep me guessing. Mom called me beautiful. Don't believe her anymore? No, I'mlistening to you what do I do that for police. Don't ignore me. Tell me who he hates today and I will fall in line. Hug me while my shoulders tense. We'll pretend we're fine. No, we both know one day, they'll be blood on the floor. Which one will betray the other more? Watch me, where's my mind? Where does it end? Maybe I need to find a better friend. What's wrong with me? What can I do? What's wrong with me? Could it be you? It's probably me. See that you see what's wrong with me?
Karen Ortman 35:57
Wow. That was beautiful.
Thank you so much.
Actually, speaking of acceptance, we are in New Jersey. She, she took voice lessons, she loved to sing. So I just like try to, she was young, but I was gonna let me let her know that things she could do that she loves. And her voice teacher. He was a male. He was he was wonderful. And you know, towards. Towards the end, she started you know, she started wearing dresses as she came in. And they were just like, whatever. And later on, we were in New York, and we ran into him. There's this place that they're always doing, like tons acting stuff and shows no auditions and stuff. So there's always stuff going on. And we ran into him. And so then she started voice lessons with him again. So it's interesting. She was voice she did voice for them when she was Sam. And then she was Sara. And, you know, all along the way. You know, he was amazing. So I mean, we have been touched by really a lot of special people in our life.
Really a lot of people.
Karen Ortman 36:56
What's because you're such a special child.
Thank you so much.
Karen Ortman 36:59
And I know that you're going to be on Broadway someday, and I'm going to come watch you. So thank you so much for singing that beautiful song.
Thank you so much. I loved being here.
Karen Ortman 37:10
And thank and I loved having you here.
Yeah, and maybe we'll check in. Yeah
Karen Ortman 37:14
and you'll come back another time. What do you think?
Yes, it'll be so fab.
Karen Ortman 37:18
Yeah, that'll be good.
She wouldn't say it'd be so
I can't stop saying fetch.
Mean Girls eh.
Karen Ortman 37:24
Well, that's okay. Because we were just talking about Mean Girls. Thank you so much to my guests Katie and Sara and to all of our listeners for joining us for today's episode of You Matter if any information presented was triggering or disturbing, please feel free to contact the Wellness Exchange at 212-443-9999 or NYU's Department of Public Safety and their Victim Services Unit at 212-998-2222. Please share, like, and subscribe to You Matter on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Tune in or Spotify.