For high-school seniors like Skylar—who live in prosperous suburbs, have doting parents, attend good schools, and get excellent grades while studding their transcripts with extracurricular activities—the hardest part of the college application is often the personal essay. They’re typically asked to write about some life-changing experience, and, if their childhood has been blessedly free of drama, they may find themselves staring at a blank screen for a long time. This was not a problem for Skylar. Skylar is a boy, but he was born a girl, and lived as one until the age of fourteen. Skylar would put it differently: he believes that, despite biological appearances, he was a boy all along. He’d just been burdened with a body that required medical and surgical adjustments so that it could reflect the gender he knew himself to be. At sixteen, he started getting testosterone injections every other week; just before he turned seventeen, he had a double mastectomy. The essay question for the University of Chicago, where Skylar submitted an early-action application, invited students to describe their “archnemesis (either real or imagined).” Skylar’s answer: “Pre-formed ideas of what it meant to have two X chromosomes.” No matter what people thought they… Read full this story
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