Club vice president establishes identity
Published: Wednesday, June 6, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, June 6, 2012 02:06
Many times young adulthood is a time of transition.
Finding one’s identity can be a difficult task for some especially when it is more than just the clothes you are wearing, but rather the body you are living in.
Jaden Hathaway, 21, an English major, came out to her parents as a lesbian at the age of 14.
“I was always just a tomboy then,” Hathaway said. “My senior year the word ‘transgender’ had come into my life and that’s when I knew that was what I was.”
Transgender is the state of one's gender identity (self-identification as woman, man, neither or both) not matching one's assigned sex.
Hathaway whose assigned sex is female, now identified as a male.
At age 18, Hathaway sat his immediate and extended family down one evening, who gave a lukewarm reaction to the declaration that he no longer identified himself as a female.
That night, as Hathaway’s parents went outside to talk, he heard a knock on his door.
It was Hathaway’s then-11-year-old brother, Max Hathaway.
“He just hugged me and said, ‘I love you, bro’ and that was it, I’ve been his brother ever since,” Hathaway said.
Hathaway had been bullied from elementary through high school, where he says he was only known as the “gay kid.”
During his time at Charter Oak High School, the bullying worsened, causing Hathaway to transfer to Covina High School in the middle of his junior year.
“Switching schools really did change my life because I was in danger at Charter Oak. You see those horror stories, yeah that was me.”
In his senior year of high school gender dysphoria hit, causing Hathaway to quit playing softball, which he calls “the hardest decision” he ever had to make.
Gender dysphoria is a mental and emotional condition in which a person experiences intense feelings of depression, discontent and indifference to their gender identity.
At the time, Hathaway still identified as a female.
Being in a girls' locker room on a girls’ team proved to be something Hathaway could not handle and he quit the sport he had played for eight years of his life.
After taking a year off of school Hathaway enrolled at Citrus College where he immediately became a member of the Gay Straight Alliance club.
Since 2010 Hathaway has carried the title of being secretary, vice president and president. Though he admitted running the club is exhausting, he said that the club has turned his life around.
“Everybody always wants to make a difference, but to be able to actually see the difference happening is something that could never be replaced,” Hathaway said.
Hathaway says his biggest supporter has always been his brother, while he still struggles to get his parents to use male pronouns when referring to him.
“Jaden's transition was not something I had to adjust to. His appearance may have changed, but he had always remained the same on the inside,” Max Hathaway said.
During his time at Citrus, Hathaway met his partner of three years, Riley Davalos, 20, who is also a member of the GSA.
Davalos identifies as “gender fluid,” meaning an individual who identifies as both man or woman, neither man nor woman, or switches between both genders.
Hathaway identifies himself as a pansexual, which one can be attracted to all genders and sexual identities. Both have experienced gender dysphoria.
“He's been amazing and insanely brave. I've never seen him as anything but Jaden, my best friend, or Jaden, my boyfriend, or Jaden, my fiancé. He's just mine,” Davalos said.
Davalos said that Hathaway’s parents are fully supportive of their relationship.
Hathaway plans to start working in the summer in order to start saving up for his further transition into being a man. The name change alone will be about $480, not including Social Security, medical records and other legal paperwork.
Hathaway hopes to get top surgery, also known as male chest construction, which gives the chest a more masculine appearance.
From there, Hathaway hopes to start the process of hormonal supplements, which requires a year of gender-specific counseling and expensive intervals of hormones.
When asked about where he sees himself in 10 years, Hathaway jokes that he never thought he would even make it to age 20.
“Writing, in a house of my own, with the love of my life, which I have already.”