Many of us remember being asked as a child what we wanted to be when we got older. Firemen, astronauts, nurses, and doctors were some of our typical responses. But imagine a young girl courageously saying to her classroom that she wanted to be a man when she grew up. It was a defining moment for her, and just part of her journey to become “him.”
And, after years of bullying, pain, anger, and self abuse, which nearly ended in suicide, Tony Ferraiolo has literally transformed himself. That sad girl is now a very fulfilled and highly sought after speaker, life coach, and proud man who is helping transgender youth and their families find their own truths.
Tony and some of the incredible parents, children and teens that he works with are part of the a new special, “Becoming Me”, that debuted today and will run throughout April as part of the PBS series, “In the Life.” Eight families with transgender and gender non-conforming children ranging in ages from 5 to 25 share their stories. With the healthy development of their children at stake, parents must confront binary perceptions of gender, widespread transphobia and controversial parenting decisions.
You can also view the program below or by clicking: http://www.itlmedia.org/clips/entry/becoming-me-full-episode
In addition, there will be an online chat on transgender and gender non-conforming children on Tuesday, April 3. In The Life Media Staff Producer Kathryn Morrison will be at itlmedia.org and available to respond to questions and comments for one hour starting at 5:30pm Eastern/ 4:30pm Central/ 2:30pm PSD.
In 2008, Tony also co-founded the Jim Collins Foundation, a non-profit, all volunteer organization whose mission is to provide financial assistance to transgender people for gender-confirming surgeries. Recently the foundation announced grants that they would be providing to two trans people. Learn more about the program at http://jimcollinsfoundation.org/
Jenn and I have had the chance to spend time with Tony and are blown away with his passion for diversity and equality, his incredibly powerful presentations, and his plans for the future, which happily include us! More on that later. You can connect with Tony at www.tonyferraiolo.com.
Congratulations Tony on all that you are doing in helping people celebrate their authentic selves. Diversity Works because of people like you. We are proud to know you.
Dan (and Jenn!)