story by Kristen Jacobs
Senior Vic Tomes puts his pants on one leg at a time. He draws, plays instruments, and has friends that love and care for him.
In a lot of ways, Vic is exactly like the rest of us. But in some ways, he is not.
That’s how everyone is though, right? Everybody has ways they are like the rest, but they also have originality.
Vic is just the same.
Although Vic was born a female, he identifies as a male. At the beginning of his sophomore year, Vic realized who he was.
“Being trans, you’re always trans, it just comes to this point where you realize the way you’ve been living isn’t how you want to be living,” Vic says.
Feeling unaccepted, Vic hid his true self from the rest of the world. After falling into a depression, he attended therapy to release his thoughts and feelings.
Finally, Tomes surrendered to himself, and confided in his mom, Kristie, about who he truly is. On the way to a concert for the band Avatar, Vic divulged that he was transgender.
He was never surprised by his mom’s reaction — there was no screaming, no yelling, no crying — just unconditional love. That’s all she has ever had for Vic: love and acceptance, no matter who he is.
Once Tomes acquired enough courage, he decided to come out to the world on social media.
Of course, showing yourself to the world comes with a price. Although the truth was met with support, it was also met with hatred and hostility.
“People are very closed-minded,” says Vic. “But I’ve realized that I have never surrounded myself with negative people.”
In fact, many people in Vic’s life have been supportive, including his older sister, Haylea.
“Well I’ve always known on a certain level that he was transgender. At first, I thought it was just a tomboy stage and he would grow out of it, but later in life, I realized that it was who he was,” Haylea said. “When he told me, I was more happy that he had the courage to come and talk to me about it, and I wasn’t worried about anything else than protecting my brother and making sure he knew he was loved and that I supported him.”
Another JHS student that identifies as transgender, Shaun Williams, supported Vic’s decision to share his news.
“I didn’t expect it, but I was happy that he found himself, and I’m happy that we can relate a lot now,” Williams says.
Although Vic’s immediate circle includes supportive people in his life, he also has some people against him: one being the President of the United States, Donald Trump.
Months after Vic decided he wanted to join the Navy, Trump released a statement banning trans soldiers, saying “…the United States Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. military.”
According to a 2014 Research and Development study, it is estimated that somewhere between 1,320 and 6,630 transgender individuals serve active duty in the United States military. However, no statement was made about the actions that will be taken regarding these current military members.
Vic was disappointed by this statement, but has decided that if President Trump follows through with his declaration, he will join the Peace Corps. His dream is to travel and be accepted, both of which he can do in the Peace Corps.
“That’s my dream,” Tomes says, “to travel the world, meet as many people as possible, and help them in any way I can.”
Vic believes that body parts don’t define a person. He is confident in his belief that someone is who he or she feels they are, and whatever parts that individual is born with don’t distinguish the person he or she is inside.
According to Vic, he is the same as everyone else. He eats, he drinks, he breathes.
“The only reason I am different from the rest of you,” Vic says, “is my green hair.”