"If you said you were gay or lesbian, people got it. But if you said you were trans they were like, 'You're what?' " says Brooke Guinan
NOTE FROM JESS CAGLE, EDITORIAL DIRECTOR, PEOPLE AND ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY:
In the moving comedy-drama Love, Simon (in theaters March 16) Jennifer Garner and Josh Duhamel star as the parents of Simon, a high schooler played by Nick Robinson who struggles to tell loved ones that he’s gay. Acceptance in America has increased dramatically in recent years, but coming out as LGBTQ is still a profound and often traumatic experience.
PEOPLE and ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY, along with GLSEN, the non-profit that fights to make schools safe for all kids, invited individuals from all walks of life to share real-life coming out stories. COMING OUT STORIES (produced by Ryan Buxton) can be seen at people.com/comingoutstories and on PeopleTV (download the app on your favorite mobile or connected TV device).
Growing up, New York City firefighter Brooke Guinan says she spent many years living in a state of fear because “I didn’t feel like I fit into any sort of acceptable box,” she tells PEOPLE. “If you said you were gay or lesbian, people got it. But if you said you were trans they were like, ‘You’re what?’ “
Now, 10 years after identifying as a transgender woman, the 30-year-old says she’s the happiest she’s ever been “because I’m just comfortable. I know who I am and that’s enough.”