18-year-old trailblazing transgender student helps community through youth-led Gender Cool program

ByEric Resendiz KABC logo
Saturday, June 10, 2023
Transgender student helps community through Gender Cool program
A trailblazing transgender student at an L.A. County high school is helping his community through the Gender Cool program.

LOS ANGELES -- Some of 18-year-old Alex's passions include acting and set building, which keeps him busy.

But what also keeps Alex -- a senior in high school -- busy is being a part of the Gender Cool Champions group.

Gender Cool is a youth-led group aiming to bring positive change by sharing young people's experience and creating awareness about the transgender community.

Alex is transgender.

"My pronouns are he/him. I do advocacy with the Gender Cool project. But I have also been doing a lot at my school since I was the first transgender student at my school," Alex said.

Alex is from the South Bay and attends school in Los Angeles County. He said his journey has not been an easy one.

A part of his identity is his name, Alex, which took a while to get legally changed. It's also been difficult to get his name changed on things like medical records too.

Another big challenge Alex faces and overcame was getting acceptance of his identity from his family.

"I am a third generation Mexican, and it's also been a little bit of a struggle when it comes to gender identity because a lot of the religious trauma that it comes with it," Alex said. "But, surprisingly throughout the years, (my) grandparents have really grown to it, which was a struggle because my grandparents mean a lot to me."

Alex said he did not have much help or people to turn to for guidance at school when he was going through the toughest times of his journey, and there are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to the transgender community.

That is why he wanted to help get involved and stand up for his LGBTQ peers. For instance, he makes sure people use correct pronouns when addressing others.

He told a story of when a teacher misgendered a fellow student.

"At the end of class, the teacher did actually misgender the student and I corrected her. That was the first time the teacher got (the) student's pronouns correct in the entire school year. It means a lot because I didn't have someone like that when I was a freshman because I had to fight my own my battle. So, it was nice to be there for them," Alex said.

Even though Alex has faced challenges, and is a champion for others -- he also knows he can count on his own champions, his sister and mom.

Alex said he'll continue to advocate for the transgender and nonbinary community, and he hopes to work with lawmakers. After college, he said he would love to return to his high school and be involved with the theater department.