'We're Not a Threat': Transgender Teen Shares Powerful Message on Bullying
Corey Maison, 14, said she always knew in her heart that she was a female.
— -- Corey Maison said she always knew in her heart that she was a female.
The 14-year-old transgender teen describes herself as unique, outgoing, funny and has dreams of one day becoming a supermodel. But for now, Corey's main focus is sharing her story of how she's overcome bullying, in the hopes of supporting others who face the same obstacle.
"We're not a threat," Corey wrote to ABC News. "We are just like any other kids. We only want people to accept and love us for who we are."
Corey was born with the same name, but was assigned male sex at birth.
Her mother, Erica Maison of New Baltimore, Michigan, said that Corey has been identifying as a female since she was 2 years old.
"The first time I took her to buy feminine clothes she was 10 years old," Maison told ABC News of her daughter. "She chose a neon pink and gray shirt and neon pink jeans. I think she wore them for three days straight before I made her change into something else so I could wash them."
Maison said that Corey was bullied for being transgender when she was younger. The first incident was when a child pushed her down a hill covered in frozen ice, causing injuries to Corey's face. Eventually, Corey was moved to another school as a result of the bullying, Maison said.
"Her school now is wonderful," Maison said. "The staff and students are very accepting. She's treated just like any of the other girls. She's allowed to use the girls' bathroom and locker room, and play on the girls' sports team and cheer team if she wants to."
With the intention to raise awareness of bullying, Corey appeared in a video introducing a new anti-bullying anthem titled "Misfit" by the Nashville-based band High Dive Heart.
In the footage, Corey shares her inspiring story live from the girls' bathroom at her school.
"I might look happy now, but I haven't always been," reads a flash card that Corey holds up in the video. "I've known I was different all my life. When I was little I loved to play with dolls and play dress up. I loved painting my nails too. Wearing my mom's high heels was my favorite! But only in the house. Never outside ... because I was born a boy. I never had many friends. I didn't fit in with girls, and the boys made fun of me. In 5th grade I was bullied so bad. Almost every day I came home from school crying.... One of the kids told me I should kill myself because no one liked me anyway. He told me no one would miss me if I was dead."
Corey's video goes from heartbreak to happiness when she shares how she overcame the bullying. Corey was inspired by transgender activist Jazz Jennings and saw a therapist who helped her transition from a boy to a girl, she said.
"When I turned 14 I started taking female hormones to start puberty as a girl," Corey continues in the video. "The day I took my first dose was the happiest day of my life.... I am so happy now. To all kids out there, bullying is never OK."
The BULLY Project, a social action campaign, shared Corey's video on its Facebook page, where it received more than 22,000 shares.
"There's something very inspiring about her having the space to tell her story and inside of that, there's a sense of her happiness that I think is really special," said Lee Hirsch, founder of The BULLY Project. "Being herself and the joy that it brought to her, that's what people resonated with. It was educational for people ... it was eye-opening."
Nelly Joy Reeves of High Dive Heart told ABC News that she and her husband Jason invited Corey to make the video after seeing a photo of her online.
"It takes an incredibly brave human at 14 years old to be a pioneer and spokesperson for what she's going through," said Reeves, who wrote the song playing in the video. "I know Corey was inspired by Jazz Jennings and now Corey is inspiring other children who are watching this."
Corey's mom Erica Maison said she hopes others will see her daughter as strong person who overcame the obstacle of being bullied.
"I hope she can be an inspiration to other gender nonconforming children and give them the courage to be who they are inside and be able to live their lives as the gender they identify with -- their authentic selves," Maison said. "I also want adults and especially other parents to see a transgender child that has 100 percent support from their family and peers, and see that she is happy and thriving and absolutely loves life."
She added: "I love that she is comfortable with who she is, and in her own skin. She knows what she wants in life and isn't ever afraid to go after it. She always goes out of her way to make others smile, and has the most generous and kind heart."
For a limited time, all proceeds from streams of "Misfit" by High Dive Heart on Spotify and any sales of the song on iTunes will be donated to The BULLY project, Reeves said.
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