Transgender student’s journey to LGBTQ activist

PHOTO: Marsha and her son Aiden, who is transgender, are longtime PFLAG members. Marsha is the founder of the San Gabriel Valley API chapter and Aiden is now the president of PFLAG Pasadena.PlayCourtesy Marsha Aizumi
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Marsha Aizumi’s daughter was a student at Arcadia High School in Arcadia, California in 2006, when she was struggling with her sexuality. Bullied and anxiety-ridden, the high school senior was ready to drop out. She was suffering from panic attacks and was diagnosed with agoraphobia, fear of being in crowds, public places, or open areas. Aizumi, concerned for her child, approached the principal and vice principal, and together they came up with a solution that would allow the student to take part in independent study and get her high school diploma.

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A couple of years later, Aizumi’s daughter came out as transgender and began the transition to male, a difficult process involving hormone therapies, surgeries and a legal name change to Aiden.

“There was, like, every day more light came back into his eyes,” Aizumi said. “I saw him walk by a mirror. And he stopped. And he looked at himself in the mirror. And I knew at that moment, he said to himself, ‘Gosh, this is who I always thought I should be.’”

Today, Aiden, 28, is pursuing his master’s degree, married, and is an activist in the LGBTQ community as president of the Pasadena chapter of PFLAG, an advocacy group.

PFLAG calls itself the nation's largest and oldest organization uniting people who are LGBTQ with their families and allies, providing support, education, and advocacy. According to PFLAG, it was “the first national organization to include transgender people in its mission, and has been fully inclusive of the entire LGBTQ community ever since.”

For more information on LGBTQIA issues and resources for LGBTQIA individuals and families, please visit www.pflag.org.