Why a brand new license is a milestone on transgender man's journey

For this 22-year-old transgender man in Sacramento, getting a new driver's license with his new name and new gender means so much more. (April 4, 2017)

Somewhere in the spectrum of the gray is a slither of color. 

That's a line from 'Fragments,' a book of poems written by Stephen Lewis, 22. It's where he channeled much of his teen angst, something we've all experienced at some point in our lives. 

For Stephen, part of that angst came from being born a gender he did not identify with.

"I think I always knew," said Stephen. "Growing up especially when puberty hit, my newly developing body didn't feel congruent with what I felt on the inside."

Stephen was born a girl and even as a young kid, it was a gender that never really seemed to fit.

"At my husband's Christmas party, he came dressed in his dad's suit," said Janine Lewis, his mother.

But the place where Stephen really realized who he was meant to be is a bit ironic - an all girl's Catholic high school.

"I think I really came to terms with it once I got to high school," said Stephen. "Once I was surrounded by girls all day and didn't feel like any of them."

It's been a busy two years since Stephen started his transition. Over the weekend, with his parents by his side, he attended the GLAAD Awards in Los Angeles. 

"It was awesome. Patricia Arquette got the Vanguard Award. Her sister passed away, she was a transgender woman," said Stephen. "Everyone felt it was so heartwarming. It was really fun too, I mean free drinks. You can't go wrong with that!"

Stephen has been so busy, that on the same day he spoke with ABC10's Frances Wang, he also had a consultation for a double mastectomy and got a special delivery: a brand new license! 

The new license had his official new legal name as well as 'Male' under gender. To him, it's a huge milestone in this journey. 

READ MORECalifornians could choose gender on birth certificate

But he knows he's lucky. Many others who are LGBTQ don't often have his support system and he knows his biggest cheerleaders are right at home.           

"One of the [GLAAD] board members talked about that because I'm like 'Hey I'm Stephen. These are my parents.' His reaction was 'Wow. I wish my family could go with me to something like this'," said Stephen. "I've had my struggles, my ups and downs with this journey but it really hit me a lot of people don't have that support.Their family doesn't even want to recognize."

His mother said it all has to do with remembering what's really important.

"Nothing should come between you and your child," said Janine. "No matter what. If you don't understand, try and understand. If you don't know how to contain your dislike, you have to think of that other person and not yourself.'

Janine was so proud talking about her son, she couldn't help, but let a big secret slip out on-camera, one Stephen didn't even know about. When LGBTQ advocate Lady Gaga performs in Sacramento this August, Stephen will get to go backstage and meet his idol for the second time. 

© 2017 KXTV-TV


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